Founded in 1966 by Bob Heil, Heil Sound is a professional audio company that has managed to flourish for decades thanks in part to their extensive knowledge of the market and forward-thinking microphone designs. If you're serious about your audio gear, you're more than likely familiar with the brand. Today, we decided to take a look at one of their more popular offerings -- the PR 22. As a live dynamic vocal mic priced at $185 for the standard version and $117 for the UT version, it's a direct competitor to the industry standard SM58 along with dozens of offerings from several other manufacturers. With that said, does the PR 22 have enough of the goods to separate itself from the rest of the pack? Long story short -- it definitely does.

The Features

The Heil Sound PR 22 is dynamic cardioid microphone based off the company's highly popular PR 20. And while they share many of the same features, the PR 22 is by no means a simple followup. One of the main complaints about the PR 20 (and most other live dynamic mics) is the excessive handling noise. In order to deal with excessive handling noise, mic designers roll off everything below 125Hz. While this definitely helps with handling noise, it also removes about an octave of a singers voice. Heil Sound designed the PR 22 to keep that octave all while still reducing handling noise, giving the mic a much fuller sound.

As far as build goes, this thing is built like a tank, featuring a heavy steel construction and a tough all around build. This makes the PR 22 a perfect choice for those wanting a mic that can withstand more than a few drops and the ruggedness of life on the road. And last but not least, the PR 22 comes with a leatherette carrying bag, a mic clip, and three metal wind screens (black, silver and gold) -- a nice bonus for those who like to customize their equipment. If you don't want any of the extra accessories and just want the mic, the $117 UT version is a great value. It's the exact same mic as the standard version only without the extras.

pr22_groupHeil Sound PR 22 Dynamic Vocal Mic @ $185.00

The Heil PR 22 represents completely new dynamic microphone technology designed for a wide range of professional applications such as live sound, commercial broadcast, and sophisticated recording. Never before has such quality been built into a dynamic vocal microphone. With its wide frequency range, outstandingly low handling noise and the ability to handle +140dB SPL, the PR 22 outperforms the tired, 30+ year old industry technology. The end result is a microphone that can answer the call for any application.


The Sound

If you're looking for a mic that all about clear, vibrant, cutting tone, then the PR 22 is exactly what you've been waiting for. Its high-quality upper mid-range obviously makes it a great live vocal microphone, but it's particularly smooth low-end and overall clean tone make it one that sounds as good as mics that go for twice the price. Add in it's improved noise handling and increased frequency range and you have one of the best live vocal mics in this price range. If you're accustomed to the Shure SM58, you'll find the PR 22 produces a much more articulate response, especially in the lower-midrange, making vocals sound much more defined and structured. Sure, it's pricier but well worth the extra cash in my opinion. Better yet, it's versatile workhorse as the PR 22  but can be used on other sound sources as well. For example, its frequency response and superb dynamic range suit it perfectly for use with a snare drum.

Final Thoughts ...

If you're in the market for a fantastic live vocal mic, look no further than the Heil Sound PR 22. Featuring superb clarity, a fantastic frequency range, and reduced noise handling, you have a mic that is more than good enough to replace the industry standard and well worth the slightly higher price. Add in the PR 22's fantastic versatility and you have a powerful sonic tool to add to your arsenal. All in all, I can't recommend this mic enough.