Heil Sound Changes Hands

Heil Sound has changed hands. Founded by Bob Heil, K9EID, and based in Fairview Heights, Illinois, Heil Sound is a manufacturer of microphones, microphone accessories, and audio accessories for both professionals and amateurs. The new owners are Heil Sound President and CEO Ash Levitt and Director of Operations Steve Warford. Sarah Heil, who was co-owner of Heil Sound, has retired, but Bob Heil will continue to do outreach work and amateur radio product design as Founder and CEO Emeritus.

“My life has been about achieving great sound, whether on the concert stage or in the amateur radio world,” Bob Heil recounted. “I’ve watched Heil Sound go from a regional sound company to a world-class microphone manufacturer. This company has been my passion, but it is time for me to step aside. There is no better team to carry the company forward than Ash and Steve, and I have the utmost confidence in them.”

Heil Sound is a name well known within the worldwide amateur radio community for its microphones and “boom set” microphone/headset combinations. The company marked its 50th anniversary in 2016. The company began in 1966 as Ye Olde Music Shoppe — a music store in Marissa, Illinois, Heil’s hometown.

Heil initially made a name for himself working with music performers to provide sound reinforcement for their live gigs, initially supplying full sound system packages for venues and festivals throughout the Midwest and later working with world-class acts such as Humble Pie, The Who, The Grateful Dead, and Joe Walsh, WB6ACU. Heil said it was the Dead’s Jerry Garcia who suggested the Heil Sound name. Among other innovations, Heil created the quadraphonic sound system for The Who’s “Quadrophenia” tour as well as the Heil Talk Box, made famous by Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton.

Levitt and Warford both started working with Heil Sound as teenagers, building and packaging products. Levitt took a different career path in academia for several years but continued to regularly consult with Heil Sound. He returned to Heil Sound full time in 2017 and assumed the role of president in 2020. Warford worked his way up in the company over the course of his tenure and, for the past several years, has been responsible for daily operations.

“Steve and I are honored to carry forward the legacy of Heil Sound,” Levitt said. “We care very deeply about Heil Sound’s role in the industry and intend to build on that going forward with new products and greater distribution. An important part of that role that we pride ourselves on is the connection we have with professionals and end-users. As a musician and former broadcaster, I have spent a lot of time on stages and in studios in front of a microphone and understand our users’ needs. I and everyone at Heil Sound share a passion for what we do because it helps others achieve their creative endeavors.” 

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