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Caution! Your current choir microphones will become jealous.
I admit it. I'm a microphone junky, and I don't get surprised by something new very often. I've tried a lot of microphones, and finding new solutions is fun for me. And when you're in a business like mine, everyone has the new thing or a revolutionary product. Quite frankly, I tire of hearing about it because there hasn't been a whole lot new and different in the world of microphones lately; mostly just cheaper and in a different box.
In August of 2007, one of our clients called with a question. He asked whether I thought that a large diaphragm dynamic microphone would work as an effective choir microphone. Before I get started on the story, let's step back. I have been working with this client for over 10 years. He is the Audio Director at a large church in Saint Louis and he pals around with world-class audio professionals – truly among the very best in the world when it comes to live sound.
My first reaction was that a dynamic microphone couldn't possibly be sensitive enough to pick up a choir well. The benefit of a condenser microphone is that its diaphragm has a lower mass and is more responsive to sound. He went on to say that his condenser microphones ($600 each) were too sensitive and that, even though they sounded great, he was having trouble with feedback and that he was picking up not only the choir, but everything from the third row of the congregation, to the drums, to the guitar amplifier along with the choir, and 6' up the back wall where the monitors were being reflected.
In short, he had plenty of sensitivity, but no isolation; he was picking up every noise on the platform. And when the choir ended an upbeat number, he had to make sure that the cutoff wasn't marred by feedback. Needless to say, that wasn't what he wanted.
We discussed it a little bit more, decided that a large diaphragm dynamic microphone might work and started to look around. Finding this hypothetical microphone took a little doing because the manufacturer doesn't promote it that way. The company calls it an instrument and broadcast microphone. After hearing the rest of our story, the company knows it as a choir microphone, too.
For years, other manufacturers have made large diaphragm dynamic microphones for radio broadcast, but they didn't have the fidelity for much other than AM radio. Do you want your choir to sound like AM radio, even if it is loud enough? Of course not.
Not 45 minutes from Saint Louis, in Fairview Heights, IL, Bob Heil (of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) has been making microphones quietly for 25 years. Bob is the best friend of Joe Walsh (of the rock group The Eagles) and Joe had been experimenting with Bob's microphone for Amateur Radio (Ham).
One day, Joe said, "Bob have you ever tried your microphones on a guitar amplifier?" Bob said, "No, of course not." To make a long story a little shorter, the Heil Pro Series of microphones was born and Joe Walsh has something like 30 Heil microphones on tour, and I think that I understand that the tour is using exclusively Heil microphones. Best friends or not, Joe Walsh can use anything he chooses, and he had for years, until this discovery.
After the first use of the PR30 on his choir, my Saint Louis client wrote the following: "The PR30 is an incredible choir mic! Lots and lots of gain, sounds really good and pronounced on vocals. Feedback issues are gone and I actually had to bring the fader down since they were so loud! I've never had to do that, it's always been the struggle to squeeze out any little bit 'more' before feedback. And did I mentioned, I'm not using any EQ on the microphones; they're flat, totally flat!"
If you're able to say that about your choir microphones, you're doing something right. Over the next couple weeks, the comments kept coming: "Dave, I am now getting unsolicited compliments on the choir like 'Hey, the choir's getting better. They must be working hard.' and 'What are you doing different with the choir?' and 'Did we get new speakers? I can really hear the choir now!', all from people who wouldn't normally notice or that you think would care.
Having sat in this chair for 18 years, I don't often hear comments like that. And since then, I've sold a whole bunch more of the PR30 to clients who are equally pleased. It's truly fun for me to promote a product that has the ability in and of itself to make a major impact for less money than you might expect. The Heil PR30 has incredible rear rejection so you hear only what you want to hear without all the other clutter, but also with perfect fidelity dues to Heil's use of a little extra upper midrange in the microphone's response curve for clear, smooth sound.
Most choirs would need just 2-3 of these microphones on microphone stands or suspended from the ceiling. To find out more about Heil microphones, call today.
* Large format dynamic element
* Smooth response - sounds like a ribbon microphone
* Wide frequency response
* Articulate natural mid range
* Perfect for broadcast studios
* Fabulous on choir, guitar amp, horns, drum overheads
* Properly positioned hum bucking coil and heavy steel case insure maximum shielding
* Assembled and tested in Illinois, USA
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