Bob Heil To Receive Honorary Doctorate From University of Missouri

We are thrilled about our latest press release. I guess we’ll have to start calling him Dr. Bob now.

Bob Heil To Receive Honorary Doctorate From University of Missouri

(Fairview Heights, IL) The University of Missouri-St. Louis will grant an honorary Doctor of Music and Technology to Bob Heil during its December 20th commencement ceremony. Heil will be recognized by the university for his contributions to the world of broadcast, live and studio sound, and innovations to the Amateur Radio industry. In addition to receiving the honor, Bob will speak at the commencement.

bob_heil“Bob Heil’s lifelong accomplishment and ongoing innovation speaks for itself,” said Marcel Bechtoldt, the manager of information technology at UMSL who nominated Heil for the honorary doctoral degree. “He continues to add to his many years of research in sound reinforcement and shares his wealth of knowledge in workshops, conference presentations, authored books, podcasts and at educational institutions worldwide. His passion for playing the theater organ and his interests in electronic technology gained in amateur radio at an early age were great foundations, allowing his creative juices to flow through the decades.”

“I am humbled and thrilled to receive this honor,” said Heil. “Throughout my life I have held the belief that human stories, whether told through conversation or song, help tell who we are as people. I’ve been blessed to be part of how those stories get conveyed to the world.”

The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 75,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses. The health care system operates several hospitals and clinics in central Missouri, while the extension program provides distance learning and other educational initiatives statewide.

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How I Prep for a Tour – by Robert “Void” Caprio


Prepping for a tour is usually a big deal for me. I like surprises but not the kind that show up on the road, those are usually not a good thing. I like to be as prepared as possible so I thought it was a good blog subject to cover what goes on in the preceding days or weeks leading up to a tour.

To start, I always hope have a good bit of time in the rehearsal studio going over the set to learn the material and make sure everything’s ready to go… including myself! If it’s a new artist I’m working with and I don’t have the luxury of rehearsal time with them, I go buy a bunch of their stuff on iTunes as well as check out recent shows on YouTube if available.

To me one of the most obvious places to start with is to advance the shows as much as possible. On the last summer tour I did mixing FOH for Cee Lo Green we were carrying all our own gear (supplied by Clair Bros.) so it was a bit different than having to advance a club or theatre run with gear and PA du jour but there is still a lot of ground to cover. So I sat down with our PM and went through the ins and outs of each venue.

Since we were opening for Lionel Richie obviously a lot of the tech stuff was taken care of by his very capable crew and the Clair guys along for the ride, but we did our part to make all our jobs a bit easier. We also made sure the stage plot, input list and output patch were up to date. I keep all my artist’s tech packs in pdf form up on my web server so it’s always available and I can just point people to the link rather than have to send an email with attachments that may or may not go through a spam filter or are too big for someone’s inbox.

One of the things I do often and especially prior to a tour is go through and check out all my mics to make sure they’re in top condition. I first check them over to make sure nothing’s loose or broken on the outside and nothing rattling on the inside. If all is well there I then perform a noise test. I blast pink noise out of a speaker at about 85dB (A weighted) and put the mics up to the speaker one at a time and look at their output in SMAART. I’m not looking for perfect audio precision here, just an obvious problem like a huge dip in the high end or something like that. It’s actually rare that I catch a problem but it does happen and when that occurs, off to the manufacturer that mic goes for a ‘refreshing.’

When I know my mics are ready to go I can check over any other gear I’m bringing. I make sure I also have spares of some of the more important items. Among these are my iLoks for plug-in and Pro Tools authorizations. I make sure they’re all up to date with the newest versions and installers as well as confirming that my “Zero Downtime” account is active and not about to expire.

I also have at least two hard drives (solid state these days) with files and backups of EVERYTHING. Two is one and one is none! I also download all the latest drivers for any gear I’m using that require them but the catch is I don’t install a new driver until I need to. If it ain’t broke… well, you know the rest.

From a stage point of view I make sure all the mic cables are in good shape with no breaks in the insulation and that they’re all loomed together if possible. I double-check all the instrument cables too. I confirm that all the mic stands are in good working order. I can’t stand mic stands that are loose and floppy so I go over these with a fine toothcomb to make sure nothing’s going to fall over during a show.

This is a big reason that I use as few mic stands as possible. I like the cleaner look of a stage with less mic stands on it and there’s obviously less chance of a stand tipping over. I use lots of “claws” on the drum kit in addition to my own “L-bars” on guitar amps.

Now that I’m on a club tour mixing FOH for Wiz Khalifa my tour prep routine is still largely the same yet I do have to reach a bit further to the house guys in each venue to make sure we’re all on the same page. Input lists, plots and all that are updated and any gear being carried gets a once-over to confirm proper operation. Since we’re not carrying production (except for my mics, RF mics for Wiz and IEMs) and I could be faced with a different console every night I build show files for all the digital consoles and store them on multiple USB sticks.

I’m always shocked to hear from house techs that so and so just came through their house and had to build a show on a digital desk from the ground up. I simply can’t imagine that. For me it’s a simple matter to download the appropriate offline software and go to work. We all know we have enough downtime to do it so in my opinion there’s no excuse for showing up without even a rough, basic show file on a USB stick.

From a personal luggage point of view I make sure my bag is packed with all the essentials for a tour. Two pairs of shorts, at least two pairs of long pants (jeans and Dickies work pants), one nice polo or dress shirt, plenty of socks and underwear, bathing suit, flip-flops (for the bus, those skanky showers and the hopeful pool/beach days), a hoodie, rain jacket and finally about a dozen t-shirts (H&M sells ‘em cheap)…mostly black or dark grey of course.

I know as an FOH engineer I don’t necessarily have to wear the “roadie uniform” but it’s so ingrained in me at this point that it’s just a habit to buy those items. As far as toiletries I carry all the usual suspects… toothpaste, toothbrush, toothpicks, deodorant, shaving cream and razor, shampoo and bar soap (not every hotel provides this, and certainly the venue showers don’t), handi wipes, bug spray, sunscreen, vitamins, cold medicine, pain reliever, etc….

There’s always more and of course things change often but generally speaking that’s the gist of it.
I love my job!

Void

Robert “Void” Caprio has been a great FOH (Friend Of Heil) for quite some time now. He is a Long Island, NY “renaissance man” with extensive experience behind the console, both in the studio and live. He has toured as FOH/MON engineer with great artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Cee Lo Green, Ms Lauryn Hill and Eve 6.

VOiD has also been achieving success as a composer having recorded & released three albums for music library companies OneMusic & 615 Music. VOiD’s compositions have been heard extensively on the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Food Network & Saturday Night Live among others.

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Micing A Snare Drum

 

Editors Note: This is the first in a series of educational articles from Mike Sessler on micing percussion instruments. You can read about Mike’s background at the bottom of this article.

Chasing the Holy Grail

Getting a great live snare sound sometimes feels like chasing after the Holy Grail. And if you ask 10 FOH engineers how to go about it, you’ll get 11 answers. The truth is, there is no one way to mic a snare. How you go about it, which mic’s you choose and where you place them will all depend on a variety of factors.

The first factor is the snare itself. A 12” maple snare will sound quite different from a 14” aluminum one. Some snares are dark and full-bodied, others sound like gunshots, while others sound like metal trash can lids. You will select your mic to either highlight or mitigate those properties, depending on the style of music.

Popular music calls for a forward and powerful snare sound, while jazz works favors a smoother, laid back sound. Finally, you will have to adjust your snare strategy based on the musician. Some drummers attempt to put the stick through the snare head every hit, while others are far more controlled. Some are consistent, others get a different sound and volume with each crack of the stick.

Choosing a Mic

While not an absolute rule, the majority of mic choices for snare are dynamic. The reason for this is simple; SPL handling capacity. The snare is a pretty loud instrument (and if you don’t believe me, stand next to a drummer for a few minutes). When a mic diaphragm is set just a few inches away from all that SPL, it needs to be able to handle it without distortion—or splitting in two.

There are many popular choices for snare mic’s, and a quick search online will turn up a dozen options. Don’t be afraid to try ones that aren’t marketed as snare mic’s, either. Often, the best sounds come from unusual choices.

Some engineers pay a lot more attention to mic selection than others. I know some who will use whatever mic is in the locker and “fix it with EQ or plugins.” That’s one approach to take. I would argue that you can get a much cleaner sound by matching the mic to the snare, musician and musical style.

My rational for this is simple; phase. Once you start adding all kinds of EQ and plug-ins to the signal chain, the phase starts to shift around. Remember, phase is time and the snare is an instrument of time. Messing with the phase will mess with the sound and make it harder to fit the snare into the rest of the drum kit.

Over the years, I’ve found that making a good mic choice makes my job at FOH a lot easier, so I am careful with my mic choice.

Placing the Mic

Again, there are no hard and fast rules here. Some like to point the mic across the top of the snare. Others will point it straight down toward the rim. Still others point toward the center of the drum and some will shoot for a point halfway between the center and the edge. Each positioning will emphasize certain frequencies while de-emphasizing others. What you want to bring forward will depend all many of the factors mentioned above—the drum, drummer and style of music.

heil-sound-micing-a-snare

As the position of the mic moves from pointing to the center to the edge, the sound will often get brighter. If you find your snare is sounding a bit dull and not cutting through the mix enough, you can point down closer to the edge. If it’s cutting too much and taking over, move it more towards the center. It’s amazing how small differences in placement will make large changes in the sound. So before you reach for the EQ or fancy plugin, try a few different positions with the channel flat.

Another consideration is whether to use one mic or two on the snare. Some engineers are adamant about using one on top and another on the bottom, while others use nothing but a top mic. It’s hard to argue that one is better than the other, especially when you look at the big name engineers who use both techniques. Which you choose will come down to the sound you’re trying to achieve (and the channel count of your console).

When you’re using two mic’s (one on top, one on the bottom) the top mic will provide the crack and the body. The bottom mic will give you the buzz of the snares. In proper balance, this sounds great. I’ve used both methods and lately have gravitated toward a single top mic. Then again, I’m about to start experimenting with mixing in a bottom mic.

I recently changed my top mic choice and I want to see how a bottom mic will round out the sound. And this is one of the most fun things about mic’ing drums; there is always something else to try.

Keep it in Phase

Keeping the mic’s in phase is important with most sound sources, but it’s critical with drums. Because the impulse of the snare is so short in duration, it doesn’t take much in the way of time variations to screw up the sound. Remember, phase is time, and if you’re out of phase, you’re out of time.

If you’re using a top and bottom mic on the snare, you will likely flip the polarity switch for the bottom mic. Try to keep the diaphragms in the same plane, and coincident to the heads to cut phase interactions. You may find you have to add a tiny bit of delay to one or the other mic’s to keep things sounding fine.

It’s easy to tell if there is phase problem; solo up the top mic, then add the soloed channel of the bottom mic and listen to the combined sound. If the snare immediately thins out and sounds worse, you have a phase problem. Again, fix that before you go reaching for the EQ knobs.

Good Choices Make Great Sounds

I often tell my kids when they’re heading out, “Make good choices!” This admonition applies to drum mic’s. Good choices—mic, positioning and phase alignment—will give you a great snare sound. All this before you add EQ or plugins. If you get it right at the source, the rest of your job is a lot easier.

About Mike Sessler

Mike Sessler started Church Tech Arts in 2007. The website provides quality articles on sound, lighting and
video applications for the house of worship industries.Mike-Sessler

Mike has written over 1,500 articles that have been read widely across the world. Mike works as a Project Manager for AVL Projects at Visioneering Studios in Irvine, CA.

For 20 years Mike has also been active as a technical arts director for a variety of churches. We are thrilled to provide this first, in a series of articles on live sound techniques from Mike.

If you would like to contact him directly, click here to send him an email.

 

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Heil Sound and the band UME with Lauren Larson

 

Ume immediately won me over with their raucous bursts of guitar-driven art rock, with front woman Lauren Larson threatening to take the whole thing off the rails with the abuse of her guitar strings. Still, underneath this Ume possesses an air of intelligence and depth… When it comes to art, psychedelia, and rock and roll, it doesn’t get much better.” – Village Voice

lauren_larson_of_UME

At Heil Sound we have an affinity for Austin bands. Through the years we’ve become friends with many great artists there and Ume continues that tradition. As you can see they are getting rave reviews for their live performances and recordings.

They are steadily moving up the proverbial ladder, opening for some pretty heavy acts. We predict great things from this band, which is why we chose them for our latest Facebook promo. We believe in rock. And roll…Click here to check out their Web site for more information.

lauren_larson_of_UME_2

Click here to enter our sweeps on Facebook through September 2014.

Click here to read the legendary Robert Scovill’s blog on mixing live sound.

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Hot for Teacher – By Robert Scovill


Editors Note: We are beyond pleased that, industry guru and all around nice guy, Robert Scovill has taken time to write Heil Sound’s first guest blog. Robert is currently touring as FOH mixer for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

robert_scolvill
In my travels around the globe, both on behalf of Avid Technologies as well as for my touring clients, I have met countless men and women who desire to get into the field of music production. In nearly every one of those encounters there is one undeniable thread that runs through them; the quest for more knowledge on the subject and more “training”.

And it’s here where the questions really start. “What kind of training do I need? Where can I learn to operate one of those? Can you recommend any books on live sound? Are there any schools that teach this? And on and on it goes.

Well, okay, here we go … For starters, many of today’s name recording studios offer training as component of their revenue model and some are even incorporating a live sound component. Of course, many technology manufacturers offer operational training as a component of their business or marketing models. Even sound companies are now starting to offer in house “on campus” formalized training for their employees. And there has certainly never been more “audio schools” in play both in the post secondary education market as well as in the formalized university setting.

Heck, I’ve even joined in the fray over the past couple of decades now. I’ve lead many AES chapter classes and seminars, I’ve consulted on curriculum for audio schools, helped develop courseware for manufacturers and as of late have worked with numerous churches helping to “train” and orient their staff members with classes and seminars. In the not too distant past I’ve even held my own series of five day workshops for budding live sound professionals called “The Complete FOH Engineer”.

So, with all these training avenues in play it begs the question; what is missing? Why is there still such a thirst for training? And maybe more importantly, if there’s all this training available, why does the industry as a whole feel that live sound in particular has not gotten all that much better over time or is not really evolving comparative to the pace in which the technology is evolving?

Well … I have my theories and I’d like to share them with you. So, if you’re interested, then please read on.

For starters, as the industry has grown and evolved it’s not done a great job of identifying the different disciplines and then correctly positioning both the types of training needed for a given discipline in conjunction with developing consistent content and approaches for the given field of expertise. By this I mean, we have a tendency to equate all training as “audio training” or “live sound training” when in fact it really needs some well defined silos in order to make the teaching and the subject matter more targeted, and in turn, more effective for the student and the industry they will serve.

As an industry we’ve also done a relatively poor job of establishing a base line of any sort with regard to concert sound that can be consistently taught. I mean consider that everyone of the classroom settings that I mentioned above – including my own seminars – would be wildly different in terms of content. Ask 10 of the biggest sound companies what new hires coming in to their companies need to know and you’ll likely get 12 different answers. Take a cross section of what is being taught with regard to live sound among the “audio schools” and you would be hard pressed to believe they are all even teaching the same subject. In essence there is a LOT of confusion in the industry by both parties; teacher and student.

It makes me think of this great exchange from a movie called The American President where a young staffer is calling out the president on his lack of leadership from a recent speech compared to the man running against him in an upcoming election. For me this quote kind of signifies the challenge before us where Lewis’s mindset represents the men and women trying to enter the field and the Shepard mindset represents the industry as a whole.

Lewis Rothschild: … “They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.”

President Andrew Shepherd: … “People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”

Now, while I could likely make these words fit nearly any of the situations I mentioned above, it seems most analogous to how folks are responding to today’s operational training for digital consoles or DAWs where many folks consume or “drink” these courses in believing they are going to be taught “how to mix” or “how to record” when in fact what the course/training is really focused on is little more than how to “operate” the technology.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that you need to be skilled in one or the other. Operational fluency, in and of itself is great for the manufacturer and is certainly required for you the user as well because, let’s face it, being able to actually operate the thing sitting in front of you is a big asset. The alternative is certainly not so rosy. Especially in light of how complex the machines are now and how different they operate from manufacturer to manufacturer.

But the missing piece from the skill puzzle with regard to people who desire to mix, is the “why”. The thought of “why” I would want to do something on a given piece of technology and that speaks directly to context and taste with regard to the what you are actually mixing, not simply how to get a signal from point A to point B and add it to another signal. What is not taught, and frankly is much tougher to teach and learn, is how to “respond”. This is never been more necessary than while mixing music, especially live music.

The answer to the question “now what?” when given the seemingly infinite choices of what to do after hearing and examining a given input. It’s just simply not cut and dried with regard to what to do every time for a given style of music – and frankly, I hope it never gets to be that way. If it does, it essentially becomes a paint by numbers profession where subjectivity and taste are not in play. I mean, how much skill and influence is actually required to paint by numbers. Right?

I’ve oft said in front of anyone who will listen “I can teach a monkey how to operate the technology, what I can’t teach him is why to choose a particular tone shape on a given instrument in order to get it to work and fit into a particular blend or style of mix.” Although, I’ll tell ya what, after taking my ten year old to see “Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes” last night, maybe I’ll need to rethink that statement. 

I find the skill of mixing to be somewhat analogous to photography or even painting. Have two or more people paint or photograph the same image and see how varied the results end up being. Meaning; just because I know the operational ins and outs of the camera, or the paintbrush and the canvas for that matter, having that ability does not make me a competent photographer or painter. I have to have both and eye, and THEN skill to operate whatever it is I’m going to use to put my vision on display. In the case of audio, not an eye, but an ear and not a camera but a mixer or DAW.

And this is the missing ingredient that I see all around the world with folks that want to be “trained” to be a mixer. They equate it to console operation. By most accounts many have little insight into what actually makes music tick. Why does this sound or that sound actually work? What drove the artist or producer to choose that sound for that part? I mean, at the end of the day, it’s really music production appreciation and studies isn’t it? And, honestly, from the lens I’ve been looking through, it’s doesn’t appear to be being taught in but a very few places on planet earth and rarely if ever in live sound.

So, for all of you mixer wanna-bes out there, here’s my advice to you. Eat live and breathe music. And stretch out to as many types of music, recorded in as many ways as you can find and take it all in. Break it down, study it, live it. Once you do that, your challenges will be less about learning to operate all the cool-guy toys and more about simply making great sonic choices in order to make great sounding music regardless of what technology you’re sat in front of.

Believe it or not, the sounds are actually inside of you waiting to get out, not inside the console or the workstation. Now, if the sounds are not currently inside you, then you now know what kind of “training” you actually need. Good luck, now get busy!

robert_scolvill_bob_heil_sarah_heil

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Theatre Organ Favorites-You Call This A Hobby?

Welcome to Bob Heil’s first blog. Read it and enjoy.

I’ve always been fascinated by the theatre organ, and I’ve had a love affair with the Mighty Bob_HeilWurlitzer since I was a teenager. The theatre organ was developed to replace the large orchestra that accompanied the silent films of the 1920’s. Now one person could do the accompaniment, with the organ controlling thousands of pipes with sounds of brass, woodwinds, percussion and stringed instruments. All of these were real instruments that were controlled with air operated hammers and beaters. Together it became, as the inventor Hope Jones called it, a “Unit Orchestra.”

At fifteen I was blessed to become the assistant organist under the direction of Stan Kann at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Mo. It was an incredible experience, aspects of which have stayed with me to this day.

We had to tune and voice the thousands of pipes in this monster, which taught me how to listen – mentally dissect the various harmonics of these five rooms of pipes from 32’ to 1”. This is where I learned how to listen. I spent years playing six nights a week, four hours per night, which strengthened my listening ability as well as the musical assembly of notes and tones. I recorded two record albums in those days too. Exciting times!

Our Home In The Ozarks

Sarah and I recently moved into our dream home in the Ozarks. It’s a beautiful place on several acres of land; enough for me to lay out my very large antennas for ham radio, my other passion. Also on the property is an outbuilding and I’ve turned the upstairs into a studio forloading_bobs_organ my Wurlitzer. Once we got the organ into my studio in the Ozarks ¬– not an easy task (see photo) – I set about recording an album of my favorite theater organ songs from the 1920’s, 30’s, and ‘40’s. Oh, and a couple by a “guy named Heil” from 2014.

About My Wurlitzer

It’s a three manual (keyboard) digitally sampled theatre organ built by the Allen Organ Company. Lyn Larsen, one of the top concert theatre organist’ designed the stop list and picked out specific theatre organs around the USA to be digitally sampled and built into a console of his design. This was the second Lyn Larsen model that Allen had built and Lyn wanted to make sure that after all of the sampling and construction of the instrument, it was what he had originally designed. To check this, Lyn came to my studio and spent hours doing the final voicing and tuning to his exact requirements. The organ is stunning.

bob_at_the_organ

Meeting Dr. Brushard And Loving Sarah Heil

I originally recorded twelve tracks for the album but one afternoon as I climbed the stairs to the studio loft a melody hit me. It was an interesting melody, one that I couldn’t get out of my mind. So I hit the record button and this great fun song came roaring forward. I do not know a Dr. Brushard and I have no idea where that title came from but ‘The Theme from Dr. Brushard’ was born and named on that day. A day or so later during a practice session I was thinking how fortunate I have been and what a blessing to be supported by my wonderful wife Sarah. Thinking of how much I loved her, this melody came to me and again, I turned on the recording equipment and “I Love You Always” became a reality.

I love to share this great music and I get such a joy from playing each day. My hope is that many will enjoy this new CD.

Bob-At-St-Louis-Fox-Wurlitzer

Below is a selection from “Theatre Organ Favorites” called “It’s Today”. If you would like to order one of Bob’s CDs please click here to send us an email.

Bob Heil

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It’s My Job

It’s no secret that Heil Sound has been on a roll lately. The whiteboard in my office that I use to keep track of demo requests, loaners, and the like is covered with a “who’s who” of bands, solo performers, sound mixers, and tour managers all wanting know about the Heil Sound mics. It’s crazy, really, when I look at it. There are serious players here. Honestly, not all of them will work out-some will try a mic and end up going back to their old stuff and others will slip through the cracks for various reasons, etc. For me, it is a kick just getting the call knowing that these guys have heard about Heil Sound and are interested.

Neil Young book coverHere’s an example. I received a call from Dave Lohr who, along with Tim Mulligan, mixes Neil Young’s live sound. Ironically, I had been reading the Neil Young biography, “Shakey” at the exact time that the phone call from Dave came. Needless to say, I was thrilled, but more than that, I came off as a Neil Young expert while on the phone. Anyhow, they wanted to try something different for Neil’s vocal so I sent them a PR35 and a PR22. Dave had told me that Neil buys his own mics, owns hundreds of mics, and when he buys mics it is by the dozen. This was sounding very good. Three weeks later I got a phone call from Dave saying that everyone loved the sound of the Heil mics but, because their tour was leaving soon, they were going to stick with what they had. Of course I was…not devastated, but certainly disappointed. But I had made a couple of new friends and The Friends Of Heil (FOH) gained new members and that’s good.

Greg McVeigh

Guesthouse Projects, Inc

Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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Tommy Can You Hear Me?

Tommy Emmanuel Image“Guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel has spent most of 2011 touring the world, performing concerts in Europe, Asia, and even Russia. Best known for his complex finger picking style, energetic performances, and the use of percussive effects on the guitar, he now brings his high-energy show to the US for a series of summer dates. Along for the entire voyage has been a full package of Heil Sound microphones…” So begins a press release that I just completed over the holiday weekend.

From my point of view, the ideal situation is to have every mic on a stage be a Heil microphone. Some production people have a problem using only one brand throughout a stage. I’ve never understood that, but I’m fortunate in that nine times out of ten a Heil mic will be a better fit than a competing brand. Sound mixers are a feisty and independent bunch though and there are times when they will insist on using something that perhaps could have been covered with a Heil mic. But in my perfect world…

Back to Tommy…

Steve Law, Tommy’s FOH mixer, formerly with Keith Urban among others, sent Bob an email earlier this year inquiring about providing some Heil mics for Tommy Emmanuel’s upcoming tour. It consisted of a lot of dates and the opportunity for some great promo. Bob asked me to intervene, which is my job, and figure this out. I’ve known Steve for a long time and flat out asked him if he could get every mic to be Heil. I wasn’t sure about this as Steve has done ads for another small boutique mic company and I didn’t want to put him in a bad spot. Steve said he personally had no problems with it but would check with the powers-that-be at Tommy’s management company and get back to me.

Here is how the conversation went as reported back by Steve.
Steve to management, “Think we could use Heil Sound mics for the whole stage?”
Management to Steve, “If Tommy is cool with it, sure.”
Tommy to Steve, “I’m cool with it.”
Done.

Heil shipped a box of mics to rehearsals and now every input that needs a mic gets a Heil. Tommy has commented several times to Steve at the great sound he is getting. Steve, Tommy, and the band have been a fantastic addition to the Friends of Heil. Tommy does interviews, Steve invites interested parties to sound check, and even the merchandise table has cards inviting people to join the Heil Sound Facebook page. I couldn’t ask for more and I thank the entire organization for being so cool.

Greg McVeigh
Guesthouse Projects, Inc
Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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Listen Up, Rock & Rollers

Leo LaportePut down your drumsticks, guitars, bagpipes (I’m talking to you, Dropkicks), and other high decibel devices for an hour of Bob Heil and tech guru, Leo Laporte. Bob will join Leo on a live broadcast Wednesday, March 23, 7:00 PM Eastern. Tom Merritt and Leo LaPorte host a show called “Triangulation,” where, according to the twit.tv Web Site, they talk to the smartest people in the world about the most important topics in technology. They graciously invited Bob to the Twit.tv studio in Petaluma, CA to participate in this Wednesday’s show. And as far as Bob and I are concerned, microphones are very, very important topics of musical technology. Leo is a blast-I saw a live broadcast last week in Austin that he did. The show is brought to you by TWiT Netcast Network – streamed live Wednesday at 7:00 PM Eastern/4:00 PM Pacific at http://live.twit.tv/.

Greg McVeigh
Guesthouse Projects, Inc
PR/Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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There’s Music in the Madness

There is music in the madness tonight in Austin. Thousands of people are in the streets partying and, mostly, behaving. This being St. Patrick’s Day has added its own layer of crazy into the mix. I swear I heard a reggae band playing “Danny Boy” at a very high SPL. The venues that are using Heil Sound mics have settled into a nice groove and all is going well there. FOH (Friend of Heil) Ryan John has been all over the place mixing the band Twin Atlantic. So much of this festival involves “run and gun” performing, which can mean multiple performances in different venues in a single day.Heil Sound Mic image

So, my question is, and has been for some time here, “why do the bands do this?” They drive hundreds of miles to get here, usually in a cramped van, to set up their own gear, and play just a few songs. Which brings me to my pet peeve and rant.

In my perfect world, every band would carry a mic package and there would be time for those mics to be properly set up for each show. Well, that ain’t gonna happen here, but singers need to carry their own vocal mics and insist that it gets used. Take a PR 22 or PR 35 and don’t perform unless the sound crew agrees to plug it in and use it. Sonically, it will make a huge difference. Also, the Heil mics’ rejection characteristics make them perfect for cramped stages. Last, and not least, is the hygiene factor. Without getting too graphic, germs are building mini-condominiums on microphone grill screens all over Austin this week. Come on, it’s cold and flu season and you are going to put your mouth on that grungy mic??? Do your band a favor and pack a vocal mic with your gear. I also recommend a product called “Microphome.” Our buddy, Tommy McCoy, invented this mic cleaning solvent and it works.

Anyhow, back to my question of why bands do this gig. They do it for the love of playing music. Period. And I salute them for that.

I’m off to pick out an urn to ship my ashes back home in. More later!

Greg McVeigh

Guesthouse Projects, Inc

PR/Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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