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Microphone Recommendation

Al Reeves
Al Reeves Member ✭✭
I  recently purchased a Flex 6300 and I'm looking for recommendations from others as to the best microphone to use.  I have tried the Heil PR-40 but have had mixed reports.  I have had a few folks tell me that the Heil PR-781 was the way to go.  Would like more input so your responses would be most helpful.

TNX and 73


  • RFord
    RFord Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Al I have used the PR-781 with the Flex 6300 (with the on board EQ) and received excellent reports.  Currently I use the RE-20 connected to a Symetrix 528E for voice processing.  I have been very pleased with the results...

  • Lawrence Gray
    Lawrence Gray Member
    edited September 2018
    I have used a Logitech $20 headset with an iPad, a Koss $30 headset, a Heil Pro 6 headset, a Heil GM-5, and a Heil 781. Once the eq and gain were setup for my voice, I received unsolicited compliments on my audio using any of these mic's. I have done on-air tests, switching mic's and asking for opinions on quality differences. I have not found much difference on SSB. Received audio quality has numerous variables--the microphone is just one variable. The Flex, with EQ and gain set properly, produces good SSB audio with most microphones.
  • Gerd Henjes
    Gerd Henjes Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    The Heil PR 781 is a good choice Al... direct into the Flex, using the Flex equalization controls.

    Gerd, W2ISB
  • Dan -- KC4GO
    Dan -- KC4GO Member
    edited March 2018
    I have been using a Shure PG-48 for 2 years. After following Ken NM9P EQ instructions get good reports. I used this into the balanced input with VOX or PTT as needed.  Cost less than $50.00.
  • Ken - NM9P
    Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    If you already have a PR-40, I would see no advantage in moving to a PR-781. What is needed is some time spent perfecting your Mic Profiles - gain level, filter passband, PROC and TX EQ, etc. The Default Profiles for any of the Microphones is only a starting place. Check out my tutorials on transmit audio on YouTube. YouTube.com/NM9P A little work with these controls will be rewarded immensely . Ken - NM9P
  • Jay Spaulding
    Jay Spaulding Member
    edited May 2017
    I have the 6300 and running PR-781 with the W2IHY EQ and EQplus. Good reports. But I'm going to replace mic with RE-27. Jay W0JAY
  • KF4HR
    KF4HR Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    I use an Electro Voice RE27N/D with my 6700 and when properly setup, get excellent audio reports.
  • Lee - N2LEE
    Lee - N2LEE Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Al, asking someone what Mic you should use would be like asking one of us to pick you out a pair of shoes. Everyone has different taste and preferences. Yes there are standards which you have already mentioned but a mic is extremely dependent on YOUR voice and its characteristics. This is where EQ settings come into play to tailor the shape to your voice and the type of audio you are looking to achieve. Some hams like 2.4khz punchy some prefer full spectrum 3.3khz audio.

    I would say the hardest part of setting up the audio on almost any radio is the EQ settings, not the mic. (assuming you start with a decent mic). Unfortunately it takes a lot of testing and tweaking which can be frustrating.

    My suggestion is to try to adjust the EQ the best you can to your own ear by listening to your own signal, then get multiple reviews from someone you trust. One CAUTION... find out what radio and speaker system the person is using to give you feedback. If the feedback is from someone with a narrow passband and computer speakers then that is not a valid reference. And finally remember most radios have Receive EQ so depending on how I like my receive EQ can effect the report you get.

    The nice feature of the FLex is you can save multiple mic profiles and try different settings and ideas.

    Hang in there and keep at it. :)

  • Steve W6SDM
    Steve W6SDM Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Lee speaks the truth. Microphones are like toothbrushes, very personal. That being said, I have been using the PR781 for years, with my 6300 and before that my 5000 and 3000. They question you should ask is why not use the PR781. After all, there are already presets for it built into the software. It's long proven with many, many operators using it for Flex, and the price is reasonable compared to some of the microphones in that class.
  • Ned K1NJ
    Ned K1NJ Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017

           Ken is absolutely right.  The PR-40 can be "profiled" from ESSB to hardcore
    dx communication.  The real limiting factor in many situations for any of these
    microphones is the audio system (including ears)  on the other end.  Do as Ken
    suggests and you will be well-rewarded for the effort.  You will be able to set up
    a group of configurations suitable for whatever type of operation you might like.
    The PR-40 is great.  You can make it sound like a PR-781 if that's what you want.

         Keep at it,

                             Ned,  K1NJ
  • Mike VE3CKO
    Mike VE3CKO Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 2019
    Ken hit it right on, you already have the PR-40 which is a step up from the PR-781. How a microphone sounds is very difficult to judge by a report. So many factors can affect the report like band conditions and who is giving you the report, the equipment and settings of the listening station, is it the same person, your shack conditions, levels, bandwidth, EQ, position/distance from the microphone just to name a few. To tell subtle differences of microphones and settings requires someone with a good ear for audio and a lot of patience. Listening on the bands I've heard many reports of guys telling their buddies they sound good when they really don't, but it's good enough for them. It depends on what the definition of "good" is.

    The fact that someone gave you a better report on the PR-781 vs the PR-40 surely means you did not have the EQ or other things optimized for the PR-40, or something other variable changed when you swapped out microphones.

    I've set higher audio standards for myself as are a lot of hams these days. We've got an elite radio, why not input better audio to our radios? My PR-40 goes through a tube pre-amp to help smooth out my voice. Speaking of Ken, NM9P, he has some great tutorial videos which will assist you setting up your SmartSDR microphone and profiles for various operating conditions. I've got them linked on my QRZ page but for convenience here they are:
  • Al Reeves
    Al Reeves Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017

    I watched the video to set profiles using FDX feature.  The TX audio I hear is echoed with a slight delay.  I di mute the TX slice speaker.  What am I doing wrong?

  • Ken - NM9P
    Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    The delay you hear is the combined processing delay of the transmitter audio chain and the receiver audio chain. You do not use MON for this setup, or you will hear your voice twice. The slight delay takes a little to get used to. But it is very handy to hear the actual differences made as you adjust different parameters. Just be sure that your receive channel filter is wider than your transmit filter and that your RX EQ is off, or you will not hear exactly what your transmitter is sending.
  • Ian1
    Ian1 Member
    edited May 2020
    PR 40 and adjust the equalizer properly and you have almost broadcast quality.

    I use this setup and find it superior in it's voice articulation .


  • Al Reeves
    Al Reeves Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017

    Did some more settings.  Slice A on XVTR with speaker muted and set to TX on 7160.  Slice B on ANT 1 with speaker unmuted and set to RX on 7163.  MON off.  Activated MOX and can see audio profile on both Panadapter displays but cannot hear any audio from Slice B.  What am I doing wrong?

  • Al Reeves
    Al Reeves Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017

    Do you do all the EQing with the W2IHY gear and set the Flex TX EQ to flat 0db?  Or do you do further EQing with the Flex EQ?

  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited June 2020
    I thought I'd jump into this discussion.  I have a PR40.  It is a great mic, but a little expensive.  It does suffer from the proximity effect more than other mics I have, so I use a windscreen and talk right up on it so that I am always the same distance away from the mic.  Since it has a wide frequency response, you do have to properly adjust the bass EQ settings (cutting, not boosting for most male voices).  I also find that the output on this mic is a little low, so I use an external mic preamp and feed the output into the balanced line in on my 6700.  For a 6300, you would use the front mic connector and the internal +20 dB mic preamp in the radio.

    I used the default PR781 mic profile as a starting point for the EQ settings and then adjusted it to my voice by listening to my transmitted signal with a FLEX-5000 with the filters wide open to set the EQ and then backed the RX filter back down to 2.9k to tweak the TX EQ.  You can also record your post-processed audio and play it back (see the SmartSDR Software User's Guide) or have another FLEX owner record you off the air and play it back to set your EQ too (it helps if the op knows what your voice sounds like normally) to set your EQ settings.  Then save your settings with a new mic profile.

    I use a variety of other mics from time to time, like a Shure SM58 (40 years old, beat to heck and still one of the best vocal mics I have ever owned) and a variety of large diaphragm condenser mics and some cheap dynamic vocal and instrument mics with good success.  I have used an RE27 too.  It is a fantastic broadcast mic, but it is really expensive.  I wish I owned one.  The key takeaway here is that you do not need an expensive mic to make a FLEX-6000 sound great.  If the mic has a wide frequency response and covers the low end well, you can match it up with a FLEX-6000 and make it sound great.  But it takes a little work to match it up using the EQ.

    It really helps to have a fundamental understanding of how best to use an EQ and what effect boosting or cutting will have at specific frequencies in relationship to a male voice.  There is a good article in the HelpDesk for this: https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/203853305-Rules-for-EQing-Voice-for-Optimal-Phone-O...

    I can't stress too much following the rules for cutting before boosting.  An EQ is not going to provide vocal content and characteristics that are not already present in your voice.  An EQ is not a miracle worker. What it will do is allow for you to "match" a mic and AF audio chain to your voice to make your audio more intelligible (sound like yourself).

    Work on that PR40 and I guarantee you will have great results.
  • Ken - NM9P
    Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Set slice b to same frequency, same mode. Make sure that Both slices have the red (TX) ant selector set to XVTR and the blue (RX) ant selector to ANT1. Make sure the FDX is activated by clicking on FDX on the bottom bar. (Where CWX, TNF are). Double check that you haven't accidentally muted the main speaker or headphones, or the receive slice .
  • Ken - NM9P
    Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Right on point, Tim. And the article you posted is excellent. I use a Heil PR22UT, which was about $106 about the same as a SM58 in price. And I get great audio reports. I would love to have a PR781 or PR40, mostly for the off-axis noise rejection, but they are priced out of my budget. I have heard a lot of both models, and also the RE's, and most of them sound great. The ones that have problems are the ones that have the low-cut set too low, or especially those who do not realize just how much bass response the PR40 has and boost it even more. With a "full range" mic, I always begin by cutting several sliders on the low end, sometimes rather dramatically, before I ever get to boosting the high frequencies. The 6000's tx EQ, filters, and processor can make a good mike sound great, and a great mic sound wonderful. But a badly adjusted SDR can make even a wonderful mic sound very bad.
  • Manfred HB9FLU
    Manfred HB9FLU Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    I use several of the already named microphones. For my voice the Sennheiser 835 s gives best on air reaction. It's very punchy but has a warm, natural sound and best of all, it's not that expensive. Compared with other mics it has consistent sound quality when varying distance or move off axis. Enjoy your new radio, you'll find the best microphone for your voice. 73 de Manfred
  • Andrew O'Brien
    Andrew O'Brien Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    I would echo Ken's suggestion.  I have a Heil Gold Elite with my Flex 6300 and was not getting many great comments (not a lot of bad comments either ).  Then I spent some time learning how to tailor the audio and listen to it back.  Then I started to get unsolicited positive comments on the HF bands. 
  • Don Stefanik
    Don Stefanik Member
    edited June 2020
    I had the PR781 and sold it and purchased the RE27ND.
    Love the mic and have excellent reports on my audio.
    This will be the last mic I will ever need.

    Mic gain 40
    Proc DX+

    I do the Wolverine ssb net on Monday nights. 3.935
    Work 40 or 20 meters when ever.
    But I love 160 and I'm on 1.970 1.940 1.930 and 1.850 at night.
    If anyone wants a qso give me a time and a band/freq.

  • Ken - NM9P
    Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    I haven't used one, but by the spec numbers, response graph, and reviews, it looks very nice for the price.

    Ken - NM9P
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited March 2017
    The Sennheiser 835 has a slight high-frequency emphasis starting at 2500Hz and peaking at 4500 Hz.  This will provide an accentuation of the human voice making it a good mic for radio work.
  • George
    George Member
    edited March 2017
    I have used my FLEX-6500, mic RODE Broadcaster + Universal Audio LA-610 MkII image
  • John Watson W4JCW
    John Watson W4JCW Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    I have a PR-40 running VERY well with my 6300, see my website and go under audio profiles to see the settiings I am using with GREAT results! www.3895khz.com
  • Peter K1PGV
    Peter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    That is one KILLER setup. Really nice choices of gear. The UA is warm... the Rode is accurate, has a low cut switch, and has a built-in filter for plosives. You could pay a lot more and not get that much nicer gear. Nobody on ham radio NEEDS a mic and channel **** like this.... but your ham hobby sure can give you an excuse to buy it. I can see this as great for a rag chew,,, but I wonder how if it can be adjusted to punch through for DX type work? Thanks for sharing, Peter K1PGV
  • George
    George Member
    edited March 2017
    Hello, Peter!


    The call of DX, doesn't represent problems.

    For my voice:
    MIC RODE Broadcaster:
    HPF 70Hz On

    LA-610 MkII:
    Gain: -10
    Mic: 500
    Level: 6.5
    High 4.5 (0)
    Low 70Hz (-3)

    Mode: Comp
    Meter: GR

    Peak Reduction: 7
    Gain: 7

    Line (40)
    DEXP (50)
    PROC (NOR or DX)

    63 (-4)
    125 (+1)
    250 (-6)
    500 (-3)
    1K (-1)
    2K (+1)
    4K (+5)
    8K (-5)

    BW TX: 50Hz ~ 3000Hz
    Flat Response: 80Hz ~ 3000Hz
  • Doug - K3TZR
    Doug - K3TZR Member
    edited September 2018
    Ken, The you tube videos are a great help, thanks for taking the time to make them. Have you ever tried your procedure using a mic and headphones connected to a PC (i.e. using Opus). I gave it a try but there is an echo and a great deal of some sort of noise. If I turn down the mic gain the noise goes away (along with the voice of course). I can’t figure out what is causing the noise and the echo.
  • Ken - NM9P
    Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited April 2020
    I have successfully used it via Smart Link remote on my office desktop and a computer headset mic. Also via lan WiFi on my laptop at home. The DownwardExpander (DEXP) doesn’t work via remote/PC Mic input, so that may allow more noise. I’m not sure whether the noise you are hearing is from too high RF gain on your monitoring slice, or two high Mic gain. I have noticed that I need to be extra careful not to drive the mic too hard when in remote mode or when using PC Mic input. And make sure you aren’t getting the mic playing back through the computer speaker/headphones via the sound card interface, and not just the Flex Radio receiver. Also, make sure your PC internal settings aren’t doing any unexpected processing before it goes to the rig. You will definitely have more latency via the pc and or remote setup. This may also make it sound like more echo. Good luck. Ken - NM9P

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