Heil Sound dynamic mics/SM57 alternatives

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Corey Y
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Heil Sound dynamic mics/SM57 alternatives

Post by Corey Y » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:36 pm

I was about to drop some spare cash on a couple new SM57s, just some workhorse mics. Now I'm thinking about trying out something different like a Heil PR20. Anyone have any direct experience on how they compare for snare and electric guitar? Any other good dynamic mics I should be aware of? New or old and easy to get my hands on.

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Post by thunderboy » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:57 pm

I love the Audix i5 on a lot of different things, particularly snare (just outside rim, parallel to head). I've never liked the Heil stuff, but there are plenty who feel the opposite.

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Post by blackdiscoball » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:05 pm

yeah the i5 is pretty much a 57 with more low end. (I usually roll a little off of it but it still sounds better I think)
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Post by friendlybunny » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:50 pm

I like the vintage sm57... the Unidyne III. I also like EV RE10/RE11.

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Post by dave watkins » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:00 pm

can't attest to the pr 20, but i have heard a lot of people singing it's praises around the internet for it's use on snare and guitars and all of the typical things you might use a 57 for.

i personally own, love and use the hell out of a pr30. sounds great on snare, and on kick. i haven't actually used it on amps but i would imagine it would do the job pretty well (maybe i'll get ambitious this weekend and track some samples). another thing i have found is that it works really well on certain acoustic instruments like hammer dulcimer, bowed psaltery, dulcitar etc. Bob Heil talked about the diaphragm design in tapeop issue 67, i think the multi density design of the diaphragm really lends it self well to capturing detail without having the high frequency harshness that a similarly priced condenser would have.

one of my favorite things to do is use my pr30 in a mid side setup with a fathead on acoustic guitar. big warm acoustic guitar wall of sound!

i definitely want to get a couple more Heil mics of various flavors.

and i also agree on the EV RE series mics, they sound great and you can often pic them up pretty cheap used.
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Corey Y
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Post by Corey Y » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:23 pm

The EV RE10 was the other mic I was considering. They seem to be pretty easy to find on ebay.

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:16 pm

I only have experience with the PR20 as a live vocal mic, so I can't attest to its usefulness in other applications that I'd pick a 57 for, but...

I really don't like it as a vocal mic. Keep in mind that I bought it for my girlfriend to use at her shows, so that's the only person I've heard sing through it.

It's insanely bright and harsh, with a pretty non-existent lowend. Last time I did FOH for her band, I spent the whole set trying to tame the brightness. I ended up just running on stage and replacing it with a 58, which also sounded like shit, but worked a little better for her voice.

I can't help but wonder if there's something wrong with mine, b/c ever review I've read has been very positive.
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Corey Y
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Post by Corey Y » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:38 pm

It's hard to trust online reviews when it comes to microphones. Not only is taste very subjective, but a lot of people say things like "This is the best microphone for snare I've ever used, I love it!" when they should be writing "This is the only microphone for snare I've ever used, it works!".

I may still just grab the ole reliable 57s, but I figured I'd get some feedback first on alternatives.

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Post by rwc » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:11 pm

beyerdynamic M88
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Post by losthighway » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:30 am

You know, I sang the praises of the PR30 as a guitar mic for quite a while. And then I realized I kept using it as a single mic for a scratch, not liking it at all, re-recording the guitar with a combo of it and the AT4033. The awesomeness of the guitar sound had a lot less to do with the PR30. It's thin, fizzy and weak. I've tried ramming it in to the grill to get some low end, and it just doesn't happen. More than a few inches away and it really sounds bad.

We had a huge party at my house where my studio is, and either I misplaced it, or someone stole it. Funny thing is, I don't miss it. Right now I would pick an AT4033, RE20, RE10, MD421 over that Heil any day.

I guess sometimes we change our minds.

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Post by darjama » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:19 pm

I've been guilty of being a sennheiser e906 evangelist. I thought I'd have to eat my words during a session last weekend, I was getting all sorts of weird sounds on a heavily distorted amp with it. Turned out to be a preamp problem.

So I'll still boost the e906. Great on toms too. The EQ switch is a really handy thing.

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Post by Corey Y » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:27 pm

I ended up sticking with the 57s for now. I found a pair for sale new for $160 shipped on ebay and snapped them up. I still have some mad money left in my PayPal account from some recent sales, so I may still pick up an EV RE10 or two. I was thinking about getting a Radial Phazer though, so we'll see.

I appreciate all the feedback. I may purchase some more new dynamics sooner rather than later and it will definitely be something different.

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PR-22 live

Post by Andy Peters » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:11 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:I only have experience with the PR20 as a live vocal mic, so I can't attest to its usefulness in other applications that I'd pick a 57 for, but...

I really don't like it as a vocal mic. Keep in mind that I bought it for my girlfriend to use at her shows, so that's the only person I've heard sing through it.

It's insanely bright and harsh, with a pretty non-existent lowend. Last time I did FOH for her band, I spent the whole set trying to tame the brightness. I ended up just running on stage and replacing it with a 58, which also sounded like shit, but worked a little better for her voice.

I can't help but wonder if there's something wrong with mine, b/c ever review I've read has been very positive.
I have a pair of PR-22s that I got direct from Bob because of all of the good reviews. I wanted to use it for live vocals with a particular band.

The main point is that it's got very little proximity effect, so if you're used to that on live vocals, forget it.

I tried using it in a handful of situations, both in small clubs and on a large outdoor show. It was been an epic disaster. Unless your singer is really strong and the backline is non-existent (everyone on IEMs, guitars through Pods, drums behind a shield) you will have so much stage wash that you will wonder why you're even bothering with mics on the amps and drums. Forget about getting wedges loud enough.

My impression, after testing, is that the PR-22 has a much wider pattern than the standard cardioid mics. Note that Bob does not publish polar patterns for any of his mics. My theory? Recall that omnis have no proximity effect. If you cannot use the type of "variable-D" venting/case that's found on the RE-20 to reduce the proximity effect, you can simply make the pattern wider.

And the wider pattern is no good on a live vocal mic.

The PR-22 does make a cracking-good snare drum mic (I still put something on the bottom) and it's also a fine mic on a stand for handheld percussion if you don't have an SDC available.

I have no experience with the rest of the PR-series mics.

I do have a pair of his Handi-Mics, which are pretty good for rack and floor toms. I wouldn't replace a perfectly good set of Audix D2s or EV 408/468s to get the Handis but at like $90/each they're a good deal.

-a

PS: I picked up an EV 967 for the lead singer of the band mentioned above, and it is excellent.
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Post by Wainwright » Tue May 05, 2009 10:50 pm

beyerdynamic m201 pricy but good
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Post by losthighway » Wed May 06, 2009 1:17 pm

Wainwright wrote:beyerdynamic m201 pricy but good
A lot of times it is 'the' snare sound in my place. I don't like it much for electric guitar amps though.

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