Heil Kicks Out New Bass Drum Mic
By Radim McCue Published August 18, 2009
Heil Sound is a company with a reputation for recent microphone innovations, has introduced the PR 48 large diaphragm dynamic microphone for kick drums. Bob Heil, the legendary sound engineer (and speaker builder) developed the microphone after discussions with many of today's top drummers and sound mixers. "The kick drum is arguably one of the most important instruments on stage or in a studio when it comes to micing. It is a tricky beast. Just because a microphone shows specs that favor low-end reproduction doesn't necessarily guarantee good results. The feedback that I received from the pros as well as my own research, confirmed that a microphone can and needed to be developed for this purpose. The PR 48 is the end result and I am very proud of it."
The key to a kick drum mic is the ability to handle high sound pressure levels and reproduce good drum sounds without getting overwhelmed by the noisy overtones a big drum can produce. The PR 48 features a 1.5-inch diameter element, and is mounted in a vulcanized double shock mount, which offers complete isolation within a rugged cast metal housing. The PR 48 metal housing was designed with a slanted entrance to the 3 pin XLR so the cable assembly is easier to connect. A specially designed low pass filter sets the -3 dB hinge points at 30Hz and 8kHz with a +10 dB peak from 50 Hz to 80 Hz. The response rolls off at 8kHz, which helps control unwanted top end "noise" inside the drum, while keeping frequencies critical to kick drum harmonics found when the beater meets the drum head. The microphone provides a 600-ohm balanced output and can handle over 150 dB of SPL.
Originally featured as a part of Heil Sound's HDK Series drum microphone kits, and now offered as a stand alone product, the PR 48 has quickly become a favorite of top drummers and sound engineers. Kick drums pounded for the likes of the B-52's, Stone Temple Pilots, Tool, The Wallflowers and Sheryl Crow are using the PR 48 in concert. Alan 'Nobby" Hopkinson, FOH mixer for Tool had this to say, "The new PR 48 is killer, absolutely loving it, I actually cut right back on the sub bass harmonizer I've used for ever on the kicks, as your mic is giving me all the low end I could ever need, and indeed the system can handle."