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Who Is Bob Heil?
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Bob Heil started his theater organ career at the young age of 14, playing in various restaurants and at 15, he started playing the 4 manual Wurlitzer in the St Louis Fox Theater. It was during that time, that Bob learned to listen as he voiced and tuned that 25 year old Wurlitzer monster. Listening and mentally dissecting what he heard would prove to play a very important part in his future. At this same time, Bob became an avid amateur radio operator and fell in love with designing and building all kinds of transmitters, amplifiers and antenna systems.
1960's and 70's
The first half of the 60's Bob was designing, building and playing various theater pipe organ installations in the Holiday Inn North restaurant in St Louis. After playing 8 years, 6 nights a week, he decided to enter the retail music industry opening one of America's first 'pro' music shops in the small Southern Illinois hometown of Marissa. Because of the success of his music shop he was thrust into the rock market. He pioneered the live sound industry with clients such as the Grateful Dead, the Who, Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck and scores of major touring acts of the 60's and 70's. It was Bob's unique approach to audio that created some of the most innovative products still in use today. The Heil Talk Box, made famous by Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton and Bon Jovi, as well as perfecting the first electronic crossover were some of Bob's great products. Heil Sound was selected by those sound companies still out there in the trenches today, to receive the first ever 'Pioneer Award' at the 1995 Audio Engineering Society convention in San Francisco.
As the 80's drew near, Heil Sound entered the amateur radio market to fix a problem that rotted the very core of Bob's most beloved hobby - poor transmitted and received audio. So, Bob applied the science of audio that he learned from the likes of Paul Klipsch, Don Leslie, Martin Wick and studying the Bell Labs Fletcher Munson curves. He developed his HC series microphones which brought maximum articulation to amateur radio communication. The goal of Heil Sound is still; to hear the world better and to improve communication.
As the nineties rapidly approached, Bob sought to bring the audio and video industry together. Combining thirty years of electronics experience with his passion for the movie theaters, Bob became the "guru" of the home theater movement in America and has designed over 2,000 audio/video systems as well as become one of the premier teachers and lecturers at major electronic and satellite conventions. Heil Sound was awarded the 1989 "Satellite Dealer Of The Year" by the SBCA in Las Vegas.
What's Happening Now?
The Heil professional division brings some new and exciting Heil innovations to the commercial broadcast and recording studio world using many of the techniques Bob learned from voicing and tuning that Wurlitzer theater organ 50 years ago.
Recently Bob was invited into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to put up a display of his historically important gear, including the first modular console (the Mavis) his custom quadraphonic mixer (for the Quadraphenia tour) and the very first Heil Talk Box.
No manufacturer has ever been invited into the Rock Hall before.
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