Heil Sound

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Heil Sound, Ltd.
Industry Professional Audio
Founded 1966
Headquarters Flag of the United States.svg Fairview Heights, Illinois
Key people
Bob Heil (CEO, Founder)
Sarah Heil (President)
Products Microphones, Headsets, Booms, Shock Mounts, Radio accessories
Website www.HeilSound.com

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 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]

Current products[edit]

Microphones Notes
PR Series Includes the PR 20, PR 22, PR 28, PR 30, PR 31BW, PR 35, PR 40, and PR 48 models.
Heil PR-781 Dynamic Cardioid microphone designed for use with most makes of Elite transceivers of Kenwood, Yaesu, Ten Tec and iCOM. This model is an upgrade of the PR 780, which was developed to work with iCOM's iC 7800 radio.
RC Series Includes the RC 22 and the RC 35 wireless capsules.
Handi Mic Series The Handi Mic is an ultra-compact hand microphone that comes with either the iC or Pro element.
HM-12 The new HM-12 is designed specifically for amateur radio communications, and to work with the vast majority of low impedance transmitters.
PR-10 The PR10 is designed for amateur radio communications and includes a base with PTT and On-Air light.
Gold Elite The Gold Elite is designed for amateur radio communications and contains two distinctly different high performance dynamic elements.
The Fin Intended for live sound, recording, and broadcast applications. Similar to the Heil PR 20 the Fin is illuminated from the inside providing a unique look when plugged into a phantom power source.
Heritage Studio Designed for recording studios and commercial broadcast applications. Similar to the PR 20.
Heil iCM Designed specifically for owners of earlier iCOM transceivers that exhibit low gain in the microphone amplifier stage. It was developed in collaboration with iCOM.
Pro 7 Aviation Style Headset with interchangeable mic elements available in full range dynamic (HC7), ic Electret (iC) and DX Dynamic (HC74)
Pro Set (PS) Series The headphones include phase reversal technology, and include the Pro Set 4, Pro Set 5, and Pro Set iC, all with different features.
Pro Set Elite Series The newer Pro Set Elite headsets are intended for commercial sportscasters, podcasters and ham radio oerpators. Comes in two versions; the Pro Set Elite 6 and the Pro Set Elite iC.
Pro Set Media Pro The Pro Set Media pro is intended for computer use, containing a condensor microphone element to meet the requirements of computer sound card inputs.
Pro Set Micro Single/Dual Side A lightweight, high performance headset.
Pro Set Plus (DISCONTINUED) The highest quality Heil headset, equipped for outside use.
Traveler Dual/Single Side (DISCONTINUED) Can interface between 100 different radio models, cell phones, computers, and more.
Shock Mounts
SM-1 Works with the PR 20/22 and similar 1" diameter mics.
PRSM Works with the PR 30, PR 40, and similar sizes available in Champagne or Black.
HB-1 All steel external spring mic boom.
PL2T Removable top for easy microphone installation, internal tension springs for clean look.
SB-2 Intended for small spaces
CB-1 PTT Microphone base with push to talk switch.
Heilwire For making connections to microphones and other devices, such as for connecting microphones, foot switches, keyer paddles, and/or other data or control devices. The wire reduces capacitive coupling between the control lines and the sensitive AC audio signals residing inside the shield, resulting in significant reduction of the possibility of hum pickup or RFI issues.

Other products include a variety of gear bags, microphone connector and connecting cables, headset adapters, and microphone drum set packages.[8]

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. 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. ^ a b "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.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "aboutus" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  10. ^ "Ham Nation". The TWiT Netcast Network. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  11. ^ "Parnelli Awards Multi-media". Parnelli Awards. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 

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