Heil PR 10 Microphone Review

| febrero 12, 2018

Heil PR 10 Microphone Review

The PR 10 microphone from Heil brings professional-quality sound to the amateur station. This high-quality mic can sound good as is, or can be easily tailored to your taste using the equalization found in many modern transceivers

Heil PR 10 Microphone ReviewHeil PR 10 Home-Station Microphone Package

Reviewed by Joel R. Hallas, W1ZR

The Heil PR 10 microphone is a compact version of Heil’s professional microphones, such as the PR 781. This microphone is currently offered only as part of a package with the LB-1 push-to-talk (PTT) table base stand and a special boom that can be usee to extend the mic further forward, so the stand can be back and out of the way on the desk. While the microphone appears to have ports along the sides, they may be part of the off-axis rejection system. This microphone responds to input directly from the direction of the windscreen in the front, not from the sides.

The stand is worth a few comments by itself. The stylish stand with the PTT switch in its base is equipped with blue LED lighting at the front and surrounding the riser. The lighting is visible in the title photo, and is powered by two AA batteries located in the base bottom. A switch on the side allows the light to be always on, always off, or on just while the PTT switch is depressed. While a red version of the stand is available (LB-1R, $100), the black version that comes with the mic package does not appear to be available as a separate item, nor does the short boom.

The 8-inch boom extends to the rear of the mic up to 5.5 inches forward of the stand threads. It is clamped there by a thumbscrew through the plastic mounting clamp. A similar thumbscrew is provided to maintain the proper boom angle.

The boom acts like an extension with the mic plugging into the front and the cable into the rear. With the boom and mic fully forward, there is considerable weight trying to “lower the boom,” and I found my thumb not up to the task of keeping it in place, but pliers did the trick. The stand is heavy enough that it won’t easily be knocked over or need to be chased around the desk. The PTT switch was in a good spot, but I found it a bit heavy to actuate, especially for long periods — perhaps that’s adjustable, but I didn’t explore.

The mic features Heil’s dynamic element. This one has a 1 1/8-inch-diameter, low-mass aluminum diaphragm and is specified with a frequency response of 85 to 16,000 Hz with an output level of -55 dB into a 600 Ω load.

The response is almost flat, but has a slight rising characteristic at the higher ranges to provide improved articulation for voice use. The pattern is cardioid, with a rear null that can be used to reduce equipment noise pickup, as well as provide an aid to the anti-VOX functionality in your transceiver — if the rear points toward your speaker.

Hooking It Up

The microphone has a three-connection male XLR plug at the rear. The boom has a female XLR connector on one end to mate with the mic, and a male XLR on the other end efor the cable to the radio. XLR is the standard connector used in professional audio systems, delivering a nominal 600 Ω balanced connection, along with a ground lead. To hook the back end of the boom to your transceiver, you will need to either fabricate a cable or order one of the CC-1-XLR series adapter cables available from Heil. These are available to match the eight-pin round mic connectors used by Kenwood (also Elecraft), Icom, TEN-TEC, Yaesu, and others. A modular-plug version for Yaesu radios is also available.

These $40 cables include a breakout cable at the radio end that can accept a 1/4-inch mono phone plug from the push-to-talk stand.

A cable is provided with the stand that plugs into the Vs-inch mono socket in the stand and connects to the 1/4 inch socket at the CC-1-XLR radio end. The one apparent incongruity that baffles me is that, while the CC-1-XLR cables are 8 feet long, the supplied PTT cable that will usually go to the same place is only 2 feet long.

How It Plays

I tested the microphone with my Elecraft K3 transceiver, first using the built-in MONITOR function and then in on-the-air comparisons. For my monitor testing, I started with the transmit equalizer set to no compensation, or a flat response, with the transmit bandwidth set to ESSB, so I could hear more of the mic response. I compared the sound to that from my usual SSB desk mic, a 15-year-old Heil HC-5 element in an Astatic D-10 case on a grip stand. I thought that the PR 10 sounded crisper and more natural than my usual mic. When I set up my usual equalization, I still preferred the sound of the PR 10.

Next, I set the K3 transmit equalizer up the way I would usually if using a flat-response microphone. This had no base boost, a gradual increase to about 600 Hz and then a more rapid increase in the higher registers to +10 dB at the high end. By having more low-end response,

I sounded much more natural, but having a lot of transmit power in the low-end speech components is not the most efficient, because the low end uses a lot of transmitter power without adding much to the information content. By reducing the response below 300 Hz significantly, I made it more efficient for communication. These are the settings I usually use for my mic with the articulation, and the articulation-focused PR 10 came out very well.

I think the K3 equalizer really made the differences between mics much less significant. I would take the time to make sure the equalizer was adjusted to make my voice sound best with whichever mic I was using.

To finalize the comparisons, I called upon a friend in the next town who knows my voice very well. Bruce, N1ZU, suffered through blind testing, similar to what I did on my monitor. We picked 10 meters to avoid interference. Our signals were strong enough that there was little noise, so we could hear the audio response without external artifacts. Bruce thought that the PR 10 sounded much better than my HC-5-based mic, with a much more natural sounding low end and fewer artifacts.

My conclusion is that any mic you use with your transceiver, including this one, will do best with the equalization (if you have it) carefully adjusted. In fact, I have found that the equalization and compression settings are more important than the exact mic selected, although the mic has to provide sufficient clean and undistorted sound to give the equalizer something to work with. The PR 10 does that very well.

Depending on your voice, if you don’t have equalization settings, you will likely be happy with the PR 10, and may like it even more with some added equalization to make it sound just the way you want.


The PR 10 comes with a single folded information sheet describing the microphone, including its specifications and particular instruction on talking into the end, not the side. It also shows a number of the accessories including booms, stands, and switches, as well as a Bluetooth adapter.

Manufacturer: Heil Sound, Ltd., 5800 N. Illinois St., Fairview Heights, IL 62208; www.heilsound.com. Price: PR 10 Package, including LB-1 PTT stand and boom, $277; CC-1-XLR series adaper cable, $40.

view this article in pdf: Heil PR 10 Microphone QST Review

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