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D-104 to Heil conversion

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by Matt Dillon, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. 2RT307

    2RT307 Sr. Member

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    I have used one of the HC-5 kits in a "dead head" D104. The conversion was easy. The sound was good, although somewhat bassy on my voice. (I am a baritone). I would almost compare the sound to a Turner SSK. Keep in mind that the Heil's are close talkers...not the arms length most are accustomed to with the stock D104. I personally like the sound of my voice on a stock D104 element over the Heil. I would not recommend killing a good D104 element in favor of replacing it with a Heil, but if you have a dead one like I did, the Heil is not a bad choice for a replacement.

    As you can see by the responses, you will get a lot of different opinions on this. I have tried a LOT of different mics. Some match up great with certain rigs, some don't. Find what works best for you. You can drive your best friends crazy asking them, "how do I sound now"?

    I can tell you from personal experience with a 718 that a W2IHY 8 band EQ and an inexpensive Radio Shack "studio" mic will get you unsoliscited compliments on your transmit audio. But that's opening a whole other can of worms!

    Best of luck and have fun!

    73,
    RT307


     
    1 person likes this.

  2. RatsoW8

    RatsoW8 Supporting Member, W9WDX ARC Member - WD8T

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    Heil mics a more responsive to a wider range of frequencies than a standard communications microphone so yes, if you have a muddy muffled sounding voice to begin with the mic will reproduce it that way and you'll need some degree of EQ'ing.

    I was a sound guy for a touring unit of a military band for a couple years so I have a little more insight into why a quality mic like a Heil doesn't work with everyone particular voice characteristics(without a little EQ to flatten out the response). I think everyone who wants to experiment with microphones should dl a spectrum analyzer and take a look at that their own voice freqs before buying a pile of mics.

    To avoid having to use an EQ just use a communications microphone with a narrow "mid range" response. No more muddy muffled sound because the comm mics are designed to cut lows and highs.
     
  3. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator
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    First send Bob Heil an email, Yes he does respond. Ask him if you can send a recording of your voice because you want help in choosing the right mic.
     
  4. Mudfoot

    Mudfoot Elmer

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    Could be a case of...

    Muddy in muddy out. :D
     
  5. K9GAS

    K9GAS W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    The muddy sound is usually on the low end. I've found Heils to be muddy and so has so has several musician friends. They need more pre amplification then eq. I like the Sennheiser 421 but prefer the Shure sm7b for my voice as I have a raspy low end. BUT, it needs at least 60db of preamp for it work the way it was designed and then it's wonderful. I use it on my Kenwood 590s and preamp with a Presonus Studio Channel full at 66db. If you don't have a muddy low end like I have then the Heils are great, I'm meaning his studio line. I have headset with the 5 element and even I sound somewhat tinny or nasally. As already mention if you have a tv/radio voice, the stuff in the middle, about anything works and sounds good. Almost. :) it's all just personnel.
    A side note, you can just about tell when someone is using a Heil studio on a Yaesu, they have this particular sounding low end, odd.
     
  6. Eastside

    Eastside Well-Known Member

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    Those are some expensive studio mics you mentioned....your serious about sounding good on the air.(y)
     
  7. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    What I like about using my Sennheiser MD-421 is the five position roll-off filter built into the microphone. A simple twist of the switch goes from 80m rag chewing to 20m dxing.
     
  8. K9GAS

    K9GAS W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    That is a nice feature, my voice just sounded better on the Shure. Plus at the time when I bought it I had a $75 discount on it. :)
    I run a tube preamp, I can crank the drive on it, talk about a sharp dx sound. I might just sound Italian. :)

    Eastside, I just really started using it on my radios as I don't really get involved in music any more.
    It is fun though and yeah it sounds good. I don't go for bass, but articulation. This Shure is a low priced voice over mic. It's just one more silly thing to spend money on. :)
     
  9. Eastside

    Eastside Well-Known Member

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    I play electric guitar and have used tube amps for many yrs...the preamp is used to drive the amp to distortion on the lead channel....what do you use it for on vocals?
     
  10. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    Cool on the tube audio amp. What kind of tube(s) do you use. I used to run a tube line amplifier with a pair of 12AX7's. It had superb audio and lasted for about 20 years of 24/7 service until I replaced it with a Radio Design Labs STA-1 solidstate module.
     
  11. K9GAS

    K9GAS W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Garth mine is using the same tubes. I hope to get that kind of life, that would be nice.

    Eastside, I could do the same, but I keep the drive less than 30% so it's very clean. This setting is great for acoustic guitar as well. Its nice the 590 has recording on board that allows me to hear how it may sound so I can adjust it.
     
  12. Eastside

    Eastside Well-Known Member

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    Yeah....I bet you turn it up just enough to get that nice warm tone...then call it good.(y)
     
  13. Eastside

    Eastside Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't you just plug a studio mic into the top of a d-104?
     
  14. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Hey Rat,
    I just got a W2ENY element. Reading the paperwork with it sounds like you bypass the mic's amp. Is that right??
     
  15. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    It seems the search for a microphone is satisfied so this is just for information's sake.
    Heil microphone cartridges are still available, you just have to ask for them. And converting a 'D-104' for use with a Heil cartridge isn't difficult at all. It amounts to 'gutting' the mic-head of it's present cartridge, making a holder for the Heil element, and wiring it properly.
    It wasn't to a 'D-104' but I've done that modfying with Heil elements several times. In most cases because I wanted a particular microphone 'style'. If the element will fit into a microphone without a lot of modification it's a fairly simple thing to do. Of course, you have to pay attention to what kind of element that radio is designed to use to start with. An electret type mic isn't as 'simple' to convert as a dynamic mic, you know? It can be done, it just requires a different way of going about it. (Heil makes adapters for that too.)
    In my opinion, the best microphone you can use is one that makes you sound exactly like you do 'in person'. After that, it's just vanity.
    - 'Doc
     

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