Bob Heil and Heil Sound were clearly at the forefront of the modern touring sound industry. The four-channel system for The Who’s Quadrophenia, and the Heil Talk Box (can you say Frampton?), are two of his credits. The Grateful Dead’s use of Bob’s system might even be credited for inspiring their “wall of sound.” If it rocked in the 70’s, he was all over it.
Bob freely credits Paul W. Klipsch (PWK) with steering him in the right direction technologically. In the early 70’s, Paul telephoned Bob “out of the blue”, asking if there was a nearby cornfield he could land his plane in. When the shock wore off, Bob said “sure!”
A few days later, PWK landed near Marissa, IL to check out exactly what this whipper-snapper was doing. He must have been impressed, as he flew Bob and one of his employees back to Hope, AR to get some schoolin’. Two days in Hope had Bob reeling from the classic audio references Paul brought to his attention. The Bell Labs work in the “Symposium on Auditory Perspective” was central to Bob’s education.
Some years later, as Heil Sound essentially “took over the world”, Bob returned to Hope and begged PWK to build him some special, smaller LaScala speakers for monitors that would satisfy his client Jeff Beck. Paul begrudgingly complied, although he apparently did not reveal that he had made “runt” LaScala speakers sporadically since 1966.
In later years Paul would emphatically express his distaste for rock music. However, during one of Bob’s visits to Hope, he must have been keeping his personal opinions to himself since the outdoor testing that he vigorously participated in was fueled with good old rock & roll!
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