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When can we expect an improvement to noise reduction and Automatic Notch Filter?

Trucker Member ✭✭✭
edited October 17 in SmartSDR for Windows

I have owned a 6000 Series radio for almost 8 years. SmartSDR has been improved in many areas. But, for some inexplicable reason, basic features like Noise Reduction, Automatic Notch Filter and an All Mode Squelch, continue to lag behind compared to other amateur radio transceivers and software. Even radios decades old have a better ANF. As for noise reduction, many radios and their software have better noise reduction. There are algorithms that are well known, including those used in WDSP library by Dr Warren Pratt ( NR0V) that is not proprietary that could be used to improve SmartSDR's implementation of noise reduction. I have been experimenting with VST audio plug-ins working through DAX that are a huge improvement over the noise reduction in SmartSDR. Also I have tested a program called RM Noise ( Two threads about it in the Community) . It works great. But, requires an internet connection to access a server on the internet to process the audio. While quite good, this introduces latency as more users use the application. Plus, it's unknown what the author of the software plans to do with his program. So, for this reason alone, I don't consider it a reliable alternative to the poor working noise reduction in SmartSDR. It boggles the mind to think that Flex Radio who openly advertises themselves as being cutting edge technology. And yet, a radio like the Icom 7300 has a better ANF and noise reduction than SmartSDR. I really do like the hardware and customer service from Flex Radio. They are certainly tops when it comes to customer service and building quality radios. But, their total lack of caring how well the basic features in SmartSDR preform, is simply, beyond understanding. It is my sincere hope that someone at Flex Radio who makes the decisions on software development will realize how important working, basic features are to their customers. I ,and others I know, are reluctant to recommend a Flex radio to anyone who wants a great operating experience. If someone asks me to recommend a Flex SDR, I ask two questions. Do want working basic features and are you wanting remote operation? If you are wanting remote operation, then a Flex 6000 Series radio will be the easiest to setup and get going. But, if noise handling capabilities are important to you, then you may want to consider other options as Flex Radio's SmartSDR isn't there yet. And given how long this has gone on, may never be improved to be the equal of, or better than, the DSP functions like those in Thetis for the Anan radios or even other transceivers.

End of rant.......




  • Lionel
    Lionel Member ✭✭✭


    would you post more info on your use of vst. I looked at the site, native instruments, but any guidance you can provide will be appreciated.

    I agree with the Flex NR needing update.

  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    Google VSTHost. It is freeware available on Github. You need to set it to use Wave , under Devices. Then start DAX and set it to use Dax audio 1 RX Audio. You can drag and drop a vst plug-in into the main form and it should automatically connect the input from DAX to the plug-in and the output to your output device ( computer speakers) . Depending on which plug-in you are using, you will get a reduced form that you can expand to display any controls on the plug-in.

    I am not at my computer right now. So, I may have left some details out. I will check again in the morning and have my system up and running. I will refine or modify any information I might have overlooked.



  • Ha Gei
    Ha Gei Member ✭✭✭

    Simple quick answer :

    I guess NEVER . Apart from bugfixing , since i have the 6x ( 2019 ) , there has not been any real change in the software usability or feature set, although there a long wish lists in the forums .

    Darren Kohn, maintainer of powersdr for the old flex radios, brings out more features than you can follow every few weeks ... but you need to be a happy owner of pre 6x Series Flex.

    ( Which I AM )

  • Pete La
    Pete La Member ✭✭

    If you notice FRS has stopped advertising "New Software = New Radio", so I guess we now know where they stand with providing the customer with anything more than bug fixes. Your right, I've had my 6400M for more than 5 years and I have not seen any new software additions to SmartSDR except for memory fuctions being added. There have been a ton of new firware releases, but I don't count them as new software. They now claim that they are the "best technology partner on the planet", and that they "aim higher and look farther in hopes of creating tools and solutions for things we can''t even see just yet". I guess that means the can't read these blogs to see what their customers have been asking to be fixed or added to the software. As I have said before, Flex Radios are a great concept, wonderful eye-candy, the best at remote operation, but very unreliable and too slow to improve. They are also falsely advertising that the 6400 has two independent receivers - IT DOES NOT. I'm surprised the haven't been sued yet over that one.

  • k0oks
    k0oks Member ✭✭

    They should open source SmartSDR. It's not like people would be using it with other hardware. Open source can keep up with development and stay on top of new technology. Flex just doesn't seem interested in improving their products.

    nVidia's Broadcast AI noise removal is pretty amazing. It takes a halfway decent S/N ratio (not going to help with weak stations), but it makes any decently strong signal sound like you are in the same room with them. Do a web search for nVidia Broadcast. It can be used via DAX.

  • ka9ees
    ka9ees Member ✭✭✭

    I believe bits of it are in the software used for their military applications. So it cannot be open source.

  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭
    edited October 18

    Anyone can create an application to control the Flex 6000 Series radios using several API's that Flex Radio makes freely available to anyone interested in creating their own interface and control application. The only thing that they do not make available is the internal firmware of the radio. Personally, I prefer that to people mucking around in the firmware and creating different versions that may or may not, break the system. It would be a support nightmare for Flex Radio trying to run down problems created by 3rd party applications and firmware. There are several ways to add or improve the basic features of SmartSDR that doesn't require messing with the radio's firmware. Using applications like RM Noise and several VST plug-ins using different DAW software or even a hosting program like VSTHost and DAX are the easiest way to improve the noise reduction and even the Automatic Notch Filter. Some of the freeware vst plug-ins are fairly good. There are paid plug-ins that work better. Personally, I prefer plug-ins that don't require an internet connection to send audio to a remote server for processing the audio.

    Dr Warren Pratt's WDSP library is freeware and can be incorporated into an application as long as the developer makes the source code available. It takes someone with a good understanding of his library and how to use it properly. I have toyed with the idea of figuring out how to create an application that uses WDSP and DAX or even the I/Q stream ( what WDSP expects to connect to) to create my own application to process the audio locally. So far, I see I have a lot to learn! But, it is certainly possible.

    The NVIDIA application is fine as long as you have a GPU that is supported and Windows 11. Compatible video cards seem to start at $200 and go up from there. I am not sure that is the path to take. Another poster in the Community uses something similar built-in to Sonoma OS for the iMac and other Apple computers. It really works well and from the video he posted. If I find a good deal on a used late model iMac, I might give that a try.

    There are many ways to improve the DSP functions using outside applications and/or, hardware. But, it should not even be necessary if Flex Radio would devote some time to fixing what they should have long ago.



  • k0oks
    k0oks Member ✭✭
    edited October 19

    Totally irrelevant. The military uses tons of open source software, and software derived from open source.

    Th big point is that Flex either needs to start updating their products, or release SmartSDR as open source so that others can.

  • k0oks
    k0oks Member ✭✭
    edited October 19

    Citation needed. You saying the military doesn't use Linux??? They use tons of open source software.

    Just to name a few applications of Open Source in the US Military:

    The U.S. military's use of open-source software (OSS) has expanded over the years due to its versatility, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to modify it to meet specific needs. Here are some well-documented applications and initiatives related to the U.S. military's adoption of open-source software:

    1. Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux): Developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), SELinux is a set of kernel modifications and tools for enhancing the security of Linux. It's integrated into several Linux distributions, and its methodologies and tools are widely accepted in the Linux community.
    2. Open Technology Development (OTD): The Department of Defense (DoD) released a roadmap for the implementation and encouragement of open technology development. This document underscores the benefits and methods of leveraging open-source software for military use.
    3. FalconView: Originally developed by the Georgia Tech Research Institute for the U.S. Air Force, FalconView is an open-source GIS (Geographic Information System) application that has been widely used for flight planning and other tasks.
    4. Distributed Common Ground System - Army (DCGS-A): Parts of the DCGS-A system, an Army intelligence system, have utilized open-source software components. The adoption of open-source components was part of a larger initiative to create a more modular and adaptable system.
    5. Open Source Corporate Management Information System (OSCMIS): OSCMIS is a web-based, open-source application used by the U.S. Department of Defense for human resource management.
    6. Ozone Widget Framework (OWF): A project initially started by the NSA, OWF is a web application that allows users to run and display multiple web applications simultaneously in the same web browser.
    7. Mil-OSS: This is a grassroots movement spearheaded by active and concerned military personnel and civilians interested in the adoption of open-source software for the U.S. military. The group often hosts events and works to promote the benefits of open-source software within the defense community.
    8. Defense Digital Service (DDS): Part of the U.S. Digital Service, the DDS operates with the intent to bring technology best practices into the DoD. This includes the use and advocacy of open-source solutions for various challenges.

    This discussion is outside the scope of this forum, but the military makes extensive use of open source, both using and contributing back.

  • k0oks
    k0oks Member ✭✭

    The nVidia Broadcast software does require an nVidia card (I have top of the line nVidia's for work applications), but it does not require Windows 11. I use Windows 10, and it works just fine.

  • k0oks
    k0oks Member ✭✭
    edited October 19

    And straight from the horse's mouth, on a DOD website:

    Q: Does the DoD already use open source software?

    Yes, extensively. The 2003 MITRE study, “Use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the U.S. Department of Defense”, identified some of many OSS programs that the DoD is already using, and concluded that OSS “plays a more critical role in the [Department of Defense (DoD)] than has generally been recognized”.

    And that is a study from 2003. They have been using Open Source and contributing to Open Source extensively for decades in fact.

  • ka9ees
    ka9ees Member ✭✭✭

    Maybe I misspoke or you misunderstood. I never said the military doesn't use open source software. I meant Flex doesn't. I have been told face to face that they don't. Could they? Sure. But they have a good reason for not.

  • k0oks
    k0oks Member ✭✭

    I apologize for the misunderstanding.

    However, whoever told you Flex does not use open source is entirely misinformed or does not understand open source-- or they qualified it with some other predicate that is not included here (e.g. doesn't use open source in X or Y). Most non-developers are not aware of the depth of use of open source.

    How do we know that Flex uses OpenSource extensively?

    1. Flex has stated that the "internal processors" in the radio that are what get rebooted with a full power down run Linux, which is of course open source.
    2. You can also look at your install directory of SmartSDR and clearly see numerous open source dll (code library) files such as libopus, portaudio, newtonsoftjson, etc.

    Lastly, and in plain English:

    Please see page 201of the "FLEX-6400M and FLEX-6600M User Guide v3.x"-- Section 43.2:


    Portions of the software contained within the FLEX-6000 Signature Series transceiver are covered under the GNU General Public License (GPL)

    So it is perfectly clear that Flex DOES use open source quite a bit both in the internal radio hardware, and in SmartSDR. Not sure who told you otherwise, but they clearly need further education on this topic.

    Open source software is inherently neither secure nor insecure, The DoD knows this, which is why they have been using it for decades, rather than naively ruling it out.

    I am sure there are certain application where some organizations/government wants complete control over their software, and when they do they typically fork the open source project and modify the code internally, keeping their modifications private, which is well within most OSS licenses if they do not release the compiled form.

    Code re-use is a common and desired trait for software developers. Re-writing tried and tested code normally leads to more bugs and more security flaws than using code that has already been vetted. Of course anyone has the opportunity to check the code themselves before integrating OSS into their product. The vast majority of analyses have found OSS to as secure, or more secure, than closed source code, and certainly much faster to patch zero-day vulnerabilities.

  • ka9ees
    ka9ees Member ✭✭✭

    I don't disagree with that one bit.

  • Bob KC9RF
    Bob KC9RF Member ✭✭

    I have two SDR radios a Flex 6600 and a Anan 7000 DLE III. Just for comparison the Anan NR and NR2 is much improved over the 6600 NR especially when the parameters in the Anan can be adjusted.

    No fan boy of either radio just a comparison of both radios side by side.



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