6500 vs Elad FDM Duo

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  • Updated 2 years ago
I recently purchased a Flex 6500 an finally I had the time to read the manuals and make some benchmark to compare it with Elad Fdm Duo. These are my impressions:

HW
Elad cost is 20% of 6500 so Flex is of course much superior. 100W, ATU, balanced input, possibility of GPS board. But Elad has a HW interface so you can use it without PC and works very well.
Weak point is the PRE always ON but from a practical point of view I have seen no difference.
On Flex it's missing a cat to drive band change of an AMP. Ok, with some SW and tricks maybe you can do that by PC 232, but why Flex complicates so much the ham life? How much is the cost of a 15 pin lug plus a chip?

SW INTERFACE
Elad has a numerical setup while Flex is visual. Flex is much superior and frequent updates to .pdf manual is a big plus. Flex is more friendly, once you use Ssdr you cannot return to any other interface, fantastic, everything is where is logical to be.
EQ on RX and TX of Flex is a plus but it's not incisive, even with sliders full up or down. For better MIC eq I had to use an external mixer. On a 6500 level radio Phantom power is a must...

RECEIVING TEST
On very weak signals, inside/below QRM, Flex seems to be very very very little better, bur NR of Elad works better than Flex in this moment. 

Considering the price, you get from Elad much more value for your money, 1150 + a little amp and you have a radio that is better than my FTDX5000, that I sold.
Considering the quality and SW interface, once you use Ssdr you don't want to use anything else. There are some issues to be fixed (to delete a NF you have to right click on it to erase it, but you have to know where it is...) but I'm in love of SSDR interface...

NR is not on the level of Elad or other legacy radios, Flex team should work on it on 6500 and especially on 6700, whose second receiver is not usable for noise cancellation.

The weakest point of Flex is the mic. You connect the Elad mic and the modulation is fantastic. I made many tests with the help of my friends. The modulation quality of Flex is terrible, I had to find a compromise with the parameters to arrive close to a Elad hassle free, but Elad remains much better. Even connecting a professional AKG headset the modulation quality is not acceptable for a radio with this price. I corrected some problems with an external mixer. I also tested some condenser mic instead of dynamic but it was worst. I also used a Composer Pro and I fixed some problems but, I repeat, from a top level radio tx audio MUST be HIFI-SSB.
Even my Kenwood TS2000 is much better than Flex...
I will work on this problem in the next future.

Even with the very big problem of TX audio quality, the SW is fantastic, so using any other radio is a step back, impossible. I'm very glad to have bought this radio.
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Stefano - W2WTZ

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Posted 3 years ago

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Rick WN2C

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Stefano, I use a Heil PR 781 with my 6300 and use the PR781 -3.2 ESSB profile and get outstanding audio reports both on SSB and AM. Have been told that it is Broadcast quality by some who work in the Braodcast industry. So you see, I can't see what it is that you want your Flex to do. Maybe you are just not using the right mic. As to the Elad, it is a different radio with knobs and maybe one day soon Flex will be that way. 

Can you say...Maestro

Rick  WN2C
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Stefano - W2WTZ

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Rick, is possible to know yr TX audio and EQ regulations?
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Rick WN2C

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Stefano, I use the default PR 781 settings. Go to the top left of the screen to profiles, profile manager. transmit and click on either PR 781 or PR 781 ESSB and then click on load. This is the default setting for the PR1 781 microphone. I have been told that (using ESSB setting) the audio sounds "like an AM broadcast station".  Not sure how true this is but I will tell you this...lI get alot of compliments on the audio. try it and ask for the audio reports and tweek from there. Once you find the settings that others like (that know your voice) then save it. You may have to ask others for the proper way and where to save it to. 
Hope this helps and hope to hear you on the bands.

73 de WN2C
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k3Tim

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Hello Stefano.

You may need a different mic with the Flex.  Somewhere I read on this site the Audio was intentionally  flat and one had to use the EQ.  Can't find that link however.  
This link may help with EQ adjustments:

https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/203853305-Rules-for-EQing-Voice-for-Optimal-Phone-O...

I have listened to my transmissions in second receivers and the audio seems fine.

This is an interesting mic:

http://www.aurycle.com/aurycle-a460-large-diaphragm-fet-condenser-diy-microphone.html

DIY project...  Nice quality on parts and the brass machining. An FET mic preamp is built in.  One downside is it requires 48V phantom power.

Best,

k3Tim
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Tim,
These are indeed excellent articles. I have use these insights, especially the article on Equalization, to help fine-tune the TX EQ on my 6500. If someone can't get great audio out of their 6000 series, they either have:

1) a lousy voice to begin with. (You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.)
2) a lousy Mike to begin with. (Same comment as above)
3) they haven't understood how to adjust the EQ properly.
4). Something is miswired.

The flexibility of the Flex begins with a basically flat audio characteristic and it REQUIRES use of the TX EQ to make it sound great. Yes, it takes a little time to set up, but when finished, there are few rigs that sound like a properly adjusted 6000 series.

There are several inexpensive Mikes that will sound great. Two of them are at Radio Shack for under $40.
I use a Heil PR22UT that I got for $107. It is not necessary to spend over $200 - $400 to get great sound.
But it does take a little work.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Ken, I have a Heil HM-Pro. I used your eq setting and they worked great. Unfortunately in some upgrade those settings got burnt up. (I changed default) and that was about the time FRS came out with the HM_PRO default profile. I liked yours better. So if you can post a link I'd appreciate it.

So, other readers, listen to Ken on audio equalization....what he came up with was outstanding.
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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My DX and rag chew profiles are in this thread...

https://community.flexradio.com/flexr...
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Stefano - W2WTZ

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Thank you Ken very precious help. Full duplex too is a nice idea for monitoring the TX audio adjustments. I'm realizing my regulations and EQ are wrong...
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Stefano - W2WTZ

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I read it and increased intelligibility boosting a little 2k and 4k.
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Simon Lewis

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depends what you want Stefano... I HATED the ELAD, its UI was terrible and the menu system awful bad.

Given the support from Flex and the number of software updates I bought a second 6500 .. I am totally blown away from the Flex .. the ELAD left me cold .. I sold it in a month.

Their software is also not set up for TX and is more like a rx software modded slightly.

I use a Heil Pro 7 headset .. I don't get any issues busting pileups .. I don't ragchew and I am not looking for high quality SSB

yes the 6500 is more expensive but I don't get easy operating with the ELAD.

I took the 6500 into a weekend of combat on TX3X and T2GC ... I can tell you it kicks ass!

RTTY mode on the Flex using FLdigi is amazingly good

CW is brilliant and SSB works very well in a pile

Throw in the panadapters and DAX .. I love DAX! .. its a killer

Give me 2 x maestros for these 2 and will be great!

Yes I agree 100pc the interfacing for anything like amps etc is badly missing

this needs fixed ASAP ... provide RS232 for band data CAT and I can interface to anything!

Cheers

Simon ZL4PLM
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Dudley - WA5QPZ, Official Rep

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Many audio complaints are due to miss wired microphones. Pin 7 , is not for shields or connecting to pin 5 (chassis ground). Pin 7 is for mic minus only , Pin 8 is audio. And some mic plugs can be rotated 180 degrees, so be careful . Some commercial cables are mis-wired, so be sure that pin 7 is not shorted to pin 5.
-Dudley
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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I haven't got an ELAD, but I concur that the audio quality of the original FR mike FHM-1-F8 and YAESU's MH31A8J is terrible.
I use a YAESU MD-100A8X desktop microphone and get very good reports.
Alex DH2ID
(Edited)
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Stefano - W2WTZ

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The AKG headset is a broadcast quality type with dynamic mic, best solution in this moment.
I had to adjust TX EQ.
I tried SAMSON C01 condenser and I had to use an external mixer for Phantom and becouse the TX EQ is not enought. I equalized with both TX EQ in SSDR and on the mixer. It's a 60 USD mic, so it's cheap, but when connecter through the mixer to a PA sounds very well.
When connected to 6500 audio quality is very far from ESSB. Rick, I'm very glad the problem is not inside 6500, If you use ESSB on 6500 it means the problem is in adjustments only.
Pls consider that Elad, without any EQ and without any fine adjustments it sound very very well, as well as any legacy radio.
In the next days I will do some more tests. I evaluate audio quality by Yaesu 857 and with the help of my friends with TS2000, Flex 5000.
I used the back XLR-jack plug, not the front one. I used the front one only for the original mic (that is terrible in my opinion).
Simon I know what I want, the 6500 is correctly priced an I love it, the miracle is how Elad made an sdr, with hardware interface, that works very very well for such price. SSDR is wonderful I know, but NR is not at the expected level, I hope in next release... In this moment NR even on its simpler SW is better on Elad. Test it personally, side by side, as I did.
Simon, I sold my Elad last week, after having used for some weeks SSDR, I can't no more use anything else... :))
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Stefano - W2WTZ

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Using Tim Allison suggestion and Ken's masterpiece videos I increased my TX quality, I understood it's only a problem of levels and adjustments. Now my AKG headset works much better. Standard mic instead remains a poor mic.
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N3NER

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I have both radios, Flex 6300 and the Elad-Duo.  For the money the Elad is a slam dunk but I'm not saying its better than a flex.  However, the Elad should not be overlooked.  If you're looking for a SDR under $1100 that has it over everything else in its price class, you can NOT beat it.
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David G4NRT / Z21NRT

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I too have both radios (6500 and FDM-DUO). I am selling the Elad at quite a loss but I absolutely hate the UI when compared to SSDR. That I am prepared to make a substantial loss says it all as far as I am concerned.

I do not find using it in standalone mode at all easy. It looks and feels clunky to me and I can't get rid of it fast enough. It is not at all intuitive as most of the conventional rigs I have previously owned have been.

The fact that FlexRadio own both the hardware and the software is what makes the Flex radios the best on the market IMHO. I suppose it is a bit like the Apple v MS argument!

Once the Maestro arrives I think that I will have the best combination for my type of amateur radio. I use an MS Surface Pro 4 to drive my 6500.

I'm using either a Heil Pro 7 headset or a Heil PR-781G with mine and have received nothing but praise for my audio.

An interesting discussion!

David G4NRT
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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David, I concur with your opinion about the Elad UI. A friend has one and
we had a lot of problems setting the Elad up and running it successfully.
I am running a RFSpace SDRIQ here, which is a great little RX and works
fine to receive NAVTEX and WXRTTY here in my shack.
The CloudIQ is it's up-to-date successor (but a bit more expensive).
Alex DH2ID
(Edited)
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Simon Lewis

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I sold my ELAD within a month at a loss - the worst bit of kit I ever bought!

Terrible UI and awful as a standalone and the software was bad too

My 6500 while a lot more expensive is a world apart

Even at the price the ELAD is a poor deal ... IMHO
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David G4NRT / Z21NRT

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I'm glad to report that I sold mine today! I'm sad to report that it was at a considerable loss.

However but I do not regret having bought my 6500 for a single second!

David
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N3NER

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I have both the ELAD and flex 6300 and all I can say is the ELAD hands down is worth every penny. For what you get for $1050 shipped from the UK is fantastic.  I had mine up and running within 15 min as a stand alone and also using the UI with no problems at all.  The UI is good, not as nice as the Flex but let's remember, we are comparing apples and oranges here.  If and when they come out with a 100 watt version, they will be a competitor with the big boys...  Oh and MARS mod is easy as pie.

Also in case no one is aware (I have not fooled with it) other than the UI it comes with a software package to control the radio via a web site!  Setup a p2p tunnel and your remote from anyplace. 
(Edited)
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Bliss Wheeler

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I appreciate your unbiased opinion.  I can see you have some technical expertise.  I'm certainly not an expert, but my technical expertise is pretty solid.  I've been in the MARS program for 37 years.  I appreciate your comment about the MARS MOD.

I don't own one but I'm looking at the little FDM-DUO. I've toyed with SDR equipment for a while now.  I believe SDR is the wave of the future.

The new ICOM IC-7300 is an indication of what is coming.  The cost of that radio is ~ $1500. The performance is very impressive for the price.

The ANAN SDRs are pretty impressive, but when connected to a network, are very bandwidth  intensive.  

 I've played with the AVALA-01 and it has been fun to  make work reliably. The filtering  capabilities of SDR is impressive.  

I don't own a flex and  the cost is beyond what I'm willing to pay.  SDR is really beginning to catch on.  While the FLEX systems are nice radios, a little more time and FLEX will have some real stiff competition to contend with.
(Edited)
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Barry N1EU

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The ANAN should be directly connected to a dedicated NIC and therefore has no impact on your LAN.

Barry N1EU

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