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Live Sound

Joan Baez Inspired a Heil Microphone

Folk legend currently completing her last extended tour.

New York, NY (April 10, 2019)—Folk legend Joan Baez has been touring the world on what will be her “last year of formal, extended touring,” and along for the journey have been a passel of Heil Sound microphones. It turns out, however, that more than 10 years ago, the artist inspired what became one of the brand’s best-known offerings.

According to company founder, Bob Heil, back in 2008, “Joan happened to sing into our PR30—which isn’t a handheld mic—at a rehearsal, loved the sound and asked if a handheld version of it was available. Weeks later, I came up with a design for the PR35. I credit Joan with giving me that spark of an idea that turned into one of the most successful microphones that Heil Sound makes.”

Miking the Bacon Brothers Live

Fast-forward 10 years and Baez spent most of 2018 on her “Fare Thee Well” tour (which now stretches into 2019) with a three-piece band and a new batch of Heil Sound PR35 microphones for vocals. The current leg of the tour kicked off in Europe after rehearsals in Barcelona and winds through North America until returning to Europe at the end of the summer.

Jared Herman spent most of the tour tackling both FOH and “partial” monitors for the touring group before handing it off to engineer Derek Williams this month. The band currently consists of Dirk Powell (piano, bass guitar), Grace Stumberg (vocals) and Gabriel Harris (percussion). Herman controls monitors from FOH on a DiGiCo SD12 for Baez, Stumberg and Powell, while Harris has his own DiGiCo SD11 located on stage so that he can control his mix.

Herman noted, “I find that the PR35 gives me not only the full body of Joan’s lower vocal register, but also the sparkling top end air that I find lacking in other live vocal mics. I also found them to have an extremely warm analog sounding quality across all the singers which is nice as I’m working mostly in the digital realm at FOH.”

Heil Sound •