The Heil PR40 is a broadcast ready mic that excels in primarily voice-over situations. Called the Gold Standard for pod-casting, this dynamic mic is ruggedly built and superbly flat and neutral. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic. You won’t have to do much EQ’ing, and a setting of “flat” will do the trick in most cases. 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.
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 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 a sprinkling of reviews that did mention it’s prowess with some 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 ruggedly built microphone that is perfect for voice-over situations, 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 a must for this mic to truly shine!
Similarities & Differences
Both the SM7B & PR40 benefit from the Cloud-lifter, and require about 55-60 dB of clean gain.
Both mics do well on a flat EQ setting.
Both reject room noise really well, and are more forgiving of less than ideal studio conditions.
The SM7B is a more versatile mic that does best with vocalists, while the PR4o is best suited for voice-over applications.
The SM7B has some color and warmth to it, while the PR40 is a very flat and neutral piece.
The SM7B may become a tad muddy in the lower registers, while the PR40 retains that deep low end presence without becoming over zealous to the point of distortion.
The Heil PR4o has no additional features, while the SM7B has a bass rolloff and a presence boost.
The SM7B also comes with 2 windscreens while the PR40 has none.
I would give the slight edge to the SM7B, as it’s more versatile, comes with added features, and has been called the Gold Standard of dynamic mics overall. If you need a mic that’s better suited for vocals, voice-over, AND would like something that excels with instruments, the SM7B is your boy.
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.