Rock Audio Legend Bob Heil Dead At 83

Bob Heil displays the Heil Talk Box used by musicians such as Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Slash, Richie Sambora and more. (Radio Sound/Screengrab)

Bob Heil, credited with creating the template for modern rock sound systems, has died. He was 83.

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Heil was more than a radio engineer, he also was well-known for inventing unique touring sound systems for legendary rock acts such as The Grateful Dead and The Who.

Along with that, Heil manufactured microphones and satellite dishes for broadcasters and live sound engineers, and was known as a true innovator in the field of amateur radio.

His Heil Talk Box became popular for artists such as Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh and many more.

“Bob fought a valiant, year-long battle with cancer, and passed peacefully surrounded by his family,” Heil Sound posted on Facebook.

“Driven by a lifelong passion for sound, Bob’s pioneering work revolutionized how concertgoers experienced live sound.”

Bob Heil at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. (Radio Sound/Screengrab)

Per Radio Sound:

He opened “Ye Olde Music Shoppe” in Marissa, Ill., in the early 1960s and found success catering to professional touring bands. Heil Sound was formed in 1966 to provide pro touring gear and systems, and system design and equipment for music festivals.

Among his innovations is the famous Talk Box used by Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton, the quadrophonic mixer for the Who, and modular mixing consoles. The company entered mic manufacturing in the 1990s based in part on the prompting of Bob Heil’s friend the musician Joe Walsh.

In the 2022 announcement the company quoted Bob Heil saying, “My life has been about achieving great sound, whether on the concert stage or in the amateur radio world … This company has been my passion but it is time for me to step aside.”

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