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Flex 5000 and ESSB

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by W1MSG, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. W1MSG

    W1MSG Now W1MSG

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    Flex 5000 and Smooth Audio with Rack Gear



    I just upgraded from a Flex SDR-1000 to the Flex 5000A and it was probably the best upgrade I have ever done. The abundance of new options on the 5000 over the 1000 is amazing.

    I am somewhat of an audiophile and have a complete audio rack system that was set up for the SDR-1000, I thought it would be pretty much plug and play, well I was mistaken. The 5000 is a bit pickier on whats coming into the radio. I plugged in to the back of the 5000 and left all of the PSDR settings at factory default with all the processing turned off, that was my first mistake. I had horrible pumping and scratchiness on the audio. I then found a wonderful set up article by W1AEX, Rob Connelly. Rob explains in detail how to set up the PSDR gain settings. His recommendations worked to an extent but I still had a bit of scratch, so this is how I managed to get my audio straightened out.

    I did a bit of searching on the Flex knowledge base and found that the TX Buffers for phone on the DSP tab needed to be set for 4096 so I made that change. Then I had to get the mic gain on the main view of PSDR to work correctly set at 35, which is ½ scale. I opened the mixer with the mic gain set at 35 and set the meter to MIC and tried to get the meter reading right around 0. I had to enable the mic boost to keep the mixer setting at the ½ way point or just a touch less. If you use more than that you tend to pick up that nasty scratch in the audio. I don’t use the leveler and the ALC settings are at the default menu settings. My ALC was between -5 and 0 on the meter. My audio is now clean and smooth just as it had been on my SDR-1000. Audio reports were excellent and I am now a happy audiophile with a Flex 5000.

    My Rack gear consists of the following;

    AKG Preception 220 Condenser Michrophone with POP Filter
    Behringer UltraGain PRO Mic-2200
    Behringer Ultra Curve PRO DEQ-2496 Parametric EQ
    Behringer UltraFex PRO EX3200 Ultraband sound enhancer
    Behringer Virtualizer PRO DSP2024P Effect processor

    This set up works the best for my voice characteristics and what really sounds good to me, your experiences may vary.
     
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  2. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Nice write-up. Can you do any recordings of it so we can hear what it sounds like?
     
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  3. W1MSG

    W1MSG Now W1MSG

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    Yes I can, The flex built in recorder will record the processed audio but the files are kind of large. I'll have to find a program to make them smaller without sacrificing the quality. Any suggestions ?? The flex saves them as wav files.
     
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  4. W1MSG

    W1MSG Now W1MSG

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    I converted a test audio clip to mp3, there isn't much degradation in the audio with the conversion but there is a non registered logo that's a bit annoying.

    Let me know what ya think. I don't have the best voice for radio but then again I'm not a broadcaster. Its natural and sounds just like me :w00t:
     

    Attached Files:

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  5. Klondike Mike

    Klondike Mike Active Member

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    Well, if it sounds like that on my receive end, that would be superb!
     
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  6. W1MSG

    W1MSG Now W1MSG

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    It should sound pretty close Mike, I had a couple of people do some recordings and play them back over the air and it pretty much sounds just like that.

    I also did a little work on my article and put it in PDF format with some graphics. Not alot of folks bother with rack gear on a flex, buy hey ya gotta have some kind of knobs to play with.. :D
     

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  7. Klondike Mike

    Klondike Mike Active Member

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    What kind of control do you have for TX bandwidth? What setting where you running with that sample?
     
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  8. W1MSG

    W1MSG Now W1MSG

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    The recording was done at a 5k wide transmit profile. The Flex 1000 and 5000 are capable of up to 10k wide on SSB 20k on Double SSB, AM, and FM. Its very flexible when it comes to TX profiles. The 1500 and 3000 are restricted to narrower profiles but I dont know exactly what the limits are. Here is a picture of my TX Profile setup.

    txprofile.jpg
     
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  9. unit248

    unit248 Active Member

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    On a related note, to turn WAV files into MP3s, I generally use LAME, which is open source (completely free, no annoying audio watermarks). I use it on UNIX (FreeBSD), but there are versions for Windows too.

    LAME project page:

    LAME MP3 Encoder

    List of Windows LAME utilities:

    LAME MP3 Encoder :: Related Links

    I think winLAME looks like a good one to try.

    (Yes, I know the name is really... lame. But the software works well. :) )

    -Bill
     
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  10. W1MSG

    W1MSG Now W1MSG

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    Thanks Bill, I downloaded it and it seems to work pretty well. I'll do another test audio file and upload it when I get a chance.

    Craig
     
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  11. W1MSG

    W1MSG Now W1MSG

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    I had to make some adjustments on the rack as I was getting a bit of tearing on the audio .. It seems the 5000 is a bit more picky about the audio coming into it. Most of my problems seem to have been coming from the EX3200 Enhancer. Now that I have that completely straight I think the audio quality is even better than my SDR-1000.

    Here is the latest recorded file, I also need to get someone to record me on the air to make sure its all working correctly. The nice thing about the Flex 5000 is you can record your actual transmit audio.

    View attachment w1msg audio test.mp3
     
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  12. KG0MN

    KG0MN W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    I have a question or two but I will preface it with a comment. I have heard great things about the Flex 5000 and hear it is a great radio. Myself having been at this hobby for so many years I can never see myself not having knobs to tweak and turn and that is likely the reason I'm still using my beloved Drake gear along with the 590 and 2000 Kenwoods I use.

    The second thing is I can't understand why ham want their radios to sound like an FM radio station. Plus a lot of these same operators trying for the FM radio audio then in turn try to sound like a radio announcer when they talk. Personally if I was wanting to get that much of kick out of sounding that particular way why not go into broadcasting? I really do hope you enjoy you new rig because they don't come cheap these days and if the way you operate and sound is the way you want it, more power to you. Please just don't get to wound up it trying to achieve perfection with the audio because if you do it will become work and not something fun to do.
     
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  13. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    It can never sound just like an FM radio station. Personally, I'm not trying to either. Using quality audio gear with slightly more bandwidth can be done to get away from sounding as it has in the past. That is to say, getting rid of that nasal/metal sound which is hard to understand. As an ex sound engineer, I certainly can see that it is more than possible to do. Even at 4 to 5 kc's wide, it can sound substantially better. No one wants to have a commercial broadcast sounding station; they just want to have what is available to them in order to improve Ham radio. I believe the eSSB crowd has proved that.

    Try using a high/low impedance transformer with your Drake and a Heil PR-40 and tell me that it doesn't sound much better. You might also consider using a computer cable to your TS-2000 with the Kenwood software (I do) and change the DSP settings and get 4kc's wide out of it. It is adjustable, so you can always adjust it back when it suits your need. Do it all of the time.

    For that matter, we have computers and digital modes can also be used on the radio too. Does this mean that we shouldn't use that either? Where does it say that Ham radio cannot be improved upon? To say such a thing, is to fly in the face of the very principles that started Ham radio in the first place. To remove innovation and growth is to kill off enterprise and experimentation for Hams. I surely don't want that; do you? Nothing wrong with it - IMO . . .
     
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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
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  14. W1MSG

    W1MSG Now W1MSG

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    I think Robb summed it up pretty well, its just another way to operate. I'm not trying to sound like a broadcaster but I am trying to give the operator on the other side of a QSO a pleasant listening experience.
     
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  15. 985chicago

    985chicago Member

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    Very well said Robb, I also enjoy playing with audio.I don't claim to be a fm station broadcaster certainly with my high pitched voice.Some guys like microphones,amplifiers,antennas,collecting,etc. Keep the hobby alive:headbang
    985chicago.
     
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