The Heil PR40 is a dynamic broadcast pro that excels primarily in voice-over applications. It’s been referred to as the Gold Standard for pod-casting, and is build rock solid while also being very flat and neutral. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic. It doesn’t require much EQ’ing, and putting it set to flat will do the trick in most instances. It doesn’t need phantom power, but a good mic preamp with around 55-60 dB of clean gain is a must. Preamp vs. Interface.
Broadcast ready sound, with an extended low frequency response.
Extremely warm, intimate sound. Clear and articulate representation of your voice.
Superbly flat frequency response.
Easy to EQ with.
Bright and rich like a condenser, but controlled and soft like a dynamic.
End fire pattern rejects side and rear noise. Excellent noise reduction overall.
Nice foam/plush/leather case.
Built rugged, with a beautiful and flawless finish. It’s heavy, with everything being metal.
Comes with clamp that has an adapter that screws in to allow the clamp to be used on different sized stands and boom arms.
A Preamp with 58 dB of gain, or a cloudlifter + interface. More on that in a jiffy.
Good compression (either a hardware compressor or a software plugin).
Heil broadcast boom and mounting piece, suspended shock-mount, and a pop-filter (Popless VAC-PR40). The Electrovoice 309a Shockmount & OC White desk-mounted boom are also solid, and should be considered.
Acoustic Sound Treatment. It is important to note that this mic does a great job of rejecting room noise, but Acoustic Sound Treatment never hurts!
What people are using?
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP.
Great match with the Steinberg UR22.
Symetrix 528E Processor.
The Shure X2U XLR to USB adapter works well, and provides a a mic control and headphone jack.
Alesis Mictube solo with 65dB of gain & +5dB drive with XLR to XLR
What do I recommend?
As with the SM7B, I would go with a cloud-lifter because it’s more affordable, and you can bypass having to buy an expensive Preamp.
So in a nutshell:
Steinberg UR22 + Cloudlifter + PR40. This ensures that you get that extra 25dB of gain (provided by the lifter) in order to effectively and properly amplify the mic.
Note: In my Shure SM7B review, I also recommend the Cloudlifter. Which mike you go with entirely depends on your intended use. More on that in my Final Word.
Who this mic benefits?
Endorsed for all of the following:
Kick Drums due to that deeper low end response.
Not as good for:
All around recording.
There were some reviews that mentioned it’s effectiveness with instruments; namely Bass, Didgeridoo, and Kick Drums. Please don’t buy it solely for these purposes however.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
True dynamic mic. Does not need phantom power.
End fire pattern that rejects off axis noise. This makes it perfect for podcasting and broadcasting.
Use the low frequency gain knob and the HF knob as well. The mic may become a tad bright but both of these methods should do the trick in taming it down.
Sounds great with EQ set to flat
The PR40 has a slightly “scooped” mid-range that may take the nasal “honk” and stuffiness out of your voice.
The Proximity effect is good. Anything more than 6 inches away from the mouth starts to sound thin. The sweet-spot here is around 2-4 inches. You can also put your lips right on the grill and the proximity effect is still controlled. It never becomes too thick or muddy.
You may want to mess around with an expander/compressor/limiter/gate to go with the mic, in order to fine tune the sound.
The main draw of this microphone is that it is designed to record only the sound that its closest to it, while rejecting everything else. This makes it great for less than perfect recording environments.
A solidly built microphone that is perfect for voice-over applications, with a broadcast ready tone. Doesn’t do as well with instrumentation, but remains a Gold Standard with it’s primary intended use. Remember that a good mic preamp is mandatory for this mic to truly shine!
Similarities & Differences
Both of these mics are front address moving coil.
Both need adequate shock-mounts.
Both are built very rugged and durable.
The PR40 has a faster transient response and more top end presence.
Because the PR30 has less high end than the PR40, you may not need the Cloudlifter all the time.
The PR30 does better with electric guitar, snares, and toms, while the PR40 is better for kick drums and bass cabinets.
The PR40 is a bigger, beefier mic.
The PR40 is a bit hit and miss for vocals due to it’s presence peak. On the right voice it sounds great (Deep and resonant bass heavy voices). On thinner nasal sounding voices it’s not so great. The PR30 works better in this instance.
The PR30 tends to sound better on more sources than the PR40.
The mid-range on the PR30 is a bit more forward (presence), while the PR40’s sound more scooped (recessed).
The PR30 is lighter.
The mics are shaped a little differently.
Deciding on which of these mics is best for you depends on your intended application. If you’re looking for a naturally beefier mic in the low end, and prefer a broadcast ready mic that also does well with kick drums and bass cabinets, then the PR4o is the man.
If your aim is more towards the vocal side of things, and you need to mic an electric guitar, snare, or tom, the PR30 does well. Overall I would probably choose the PR40, but stay tuned real quick.
In my mind, the top 3 dynamic microphones are:
It is a very close race, and in fact the RE20 and PR40 have been subject to much debate over which is better. My ultimate recommendation today comes in the form of the glorious SM7B. It’s an extremely versatile mic which is why it nabs top spot.
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.