Heil Sound

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Heil Sound, Ltd.
IndustryProfessional Audio
HeadquartersFlag of the United States.svg Fairview Heights, Illinois
Key people
Bob Heil (CEO, Founder)
Sarah Heil (President)
ProductsMicrophones, Headsets, Booms, Shock Mounts, Radio accessories

Heil Sound, Ltd. is an American manufacturer of professional audio equipment based in Fairview Heights, Illinois. The company was founded by Bob Heil in 1966, and is well known for inventions in live sound, the Heil Talk Box and a variety of high-quality microphones and headsets for use in commercial and amateur radio.[1][2] Heil Sound is also the only manufacturer to be invited to exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[3]


Heil Sound was founded in 1966 by inventor, organist, and amateur radio aficionado Bob Heil[2] in Fairview Heights, Illinois.[4]

Sound system design[edit]

Starting in 1966 Bob Heil came back to his home town of Marissa, Illinois and opened Ye Olde Music Shop, one of the country's first pro audio stores[5] where he also sold Hammond organs. He would also fix the organs on stage before a performance for the musicians. Noticing that some PA systems were small, and some did not produce full range sound and some could not project into a large crowd, Bob Heil started creating very large PA systems. Heil Sound began managing the sound in several venues around St. Louis, from auditoriums to bowling alleys.[6]

The company experienced its first breakthrough on February 2, 1970, when Bob Heil and his sound team successfully created a new and innovative sound system for The Grateful Dead at the Fox Theater in St. Louis after the Dead's former sound engineer Augustus Owsley Stanley III was incarcerated. Heil Sound then accompanied the band on tour, later accompanying The Who, The James Gang,[6] Jeff Beck,[2][4] ZZ Top, Humble Pie, Seals and Crofts, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Leslie West, J. Geils, Ike and Tina Turner, and Chuck Berry.[3]

Heil Talk Box[edit]

In 1973 Bob Heil invented the Heil Talk Box, which was the very first high-powered Talk Box to be placed on the market. Heil Sound created the first one to be used on Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm Tour. The product became a signature sound for Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton and Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi).[4] Heil Sound later sold the rights to Dunlop Manufacturing, Inc., where it continues to be a popular product.[7]

Amateur radio[edit]

Around 1980 many of the large acts Heil Sound was working with were no longer touring. According to Heil, "Punk rock was the direction that music was going, and there was no challenge for me in that, so I quit [touring]." Heil began listening again to ham radio, and after feeling that the sound quality was still "mushy with no articulation", began working on microphones.[3]

Heil Sound entered the amateur radio market, ostensibly working to fix what he perceived as problems in the industry involving poorly transmitted and received audio. Bob Heil developed lines of radio headsets and components.[1]

In 1982 Heil Sound introduced their HC Series elements, specifically the HC-4 and HC-5, which allowed the non-DSP transmitters of the time to produce different sounding audio by changing microphone elements. The most recent is the HC-6, which is used in many of their current microphone models.[8]

Heil Sound was also an early installer of large satellite dishes for radio.[1]

On May 24, 2011 Bob Heil became host of a new netcast show on Leo Laporte’s TwiT.tv network called “HamNation”. The show focuses on subject matter for the ham radio enthusiast. Bob’s first guest was rock star, friend and avid amateur radio operator, Joe Walsh, who also wrote the theme music.[9][10]

Home theaters[edit]

In the late 1980s, Heil Sound entered the home theater movement then becoming popular in the United States.


Heil Sound mics are different from others in the amateur radio industry by using large diaphragms.


Heil Sound has been invited to exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[3] Bob Heil was also named the Innovator of the Year at the Parnelli Awards in 2007.[11] In 1989 Heil Sound was named "USA Satellite Dealer of the Year"[1] by the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association in Las Vegas.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bob Heil, K9EID Speaker". SD900mhz. 2006. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  2. ^ a b c "List of Products by Manufacturer: name". Sweet Wave Audio. Archived from the original on 2011-04-11. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  3. ^ a b c d "Bob Heil: A Living Sound Legend". Musician's Friend. July 27, 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
  4. ^ a b c d "Then and Now: Bob Heil, K9EID". SLSRC. Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  5. ^ "Heil Sound Microphones". Recording Hacks. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
  6. ^ a b Daley, Dan (December 2008). "The Night that Modern Live Sound Was Born: Bob Heil and the Grateful Dead". Performing Musician. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  7. ^ Musician's Friend. Interview With Bob Heil
  8. ^ "Amateur Radio Products". Heil Sound. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
  9. ^ "About Us". Heil Sound. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
  10. ^ "Ham Nation". The TWiT Netcast Network. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
  11. ^ "Parnelli Awards Multi-media". Parnelli Awards. Retrieved 2011-05-07.

External links[edit]