Best way to set the volume controls?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
On SmartSDR there is the volume control on the slider next to PC audio, a volume slider under the frequency display, and then there is the Window's volume control associated with the little speaker on the taskbar.  And then on my set up, I have yet another volume control on the little Lepy amplifier that drives the speaker.  Any suggestions on how to set those for the best audio and least futzing?

Bob, WK2Y
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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Posted 2 years ago

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It is a personal choice so you will get different answers.

For me the practice I take related to REMOTE volume on the PC, not the physical radio headphones or speaker, is on SSDR all speaker volumes at full. Then do the following for SSB and AM. 

start with all filter off and tune to an open frequency
- AGC Fast and adjust to silent or almost silent
- if needed add NB I find starting at 50 to be good for cutting mechnical noise and
have little to no impact to the voice quality of a signal
- if needed add NR 0-5 usually is enough though it does impact the signal more
- ANF (auto notch filter) is good for birdies and tuner uppers but opens up when people are talking
the TNF works better to knocking out these items and keep them quiet when people are talking.

You may have different perferences. This is just the process I have found to work well for quiet less fatigued listening.
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Here is my setup and usage of volume control sliders (VCS)
  • I have power speakers so I have the volume on that to about 90% so I never touch that.
  • The top VCS to the right of PC audio is the master volume for the Flexradio adjusts the output that goes to the speakers.
  • The l VCS below that is for headphones only.
  • The slice VCS I'm adjusting all the time when running multiple slices. I usually have this quite high near like 80% and adjust the AGC Threshold to the point where the band hash is reduced for the most part and the level of what I'm listening to just starts to drop resulting in a nice comfortable audio. I then readjust the slice VCS for comfort.
  • If you have external speakers connected directly to the Flex then you don't worry about the volume control on your task bar as that is for you pc speakers.
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I say embrace the futz... this it ham radio after all!

I run all my audio into an 18 channel mixer (including multiple mics) for maximum futzibility

This one goes to 11
--Nigel Tufnel
I think Nigel's point is about headroom.  Different knobs help in different situations.  The controls on the slice define how that slice fits into the mix.  The main volume control in SmartSDR sets the over level, and the external knob on the audio amp or speakers set the max volume you'd ever want, either to keep your ears intact or to prevent creating distortion by over-driving the speakers.

If you need to empasize one slice over the others, either turn that one up or turn all the others down or mute them.  If your neighbor starts his snow blower outside your window, crank up the Smart SDR volume but leave the slices alone.  

I try to keep the slice controls in the middle.  That way it's easier to raise or lower the volume of just one slice without having to touch the other slices.  I also play around a lot with the pan controls so I can have one slice in one ear and a different slice in the other.  The mixer in Slice Master 6000 helps a lot here.

To minimize futzing, just put every thing at 75% and use the control on the amp or speakers to adjust the overall level... but where's the fun in that?
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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Love it.  More knobs and sliders!!, Yes!!!
Thanks.  :-)
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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BTW, What mixer are you using?
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The mixer is Behringer X18.  If anyone told me I'd need (want?) an 18 channel mixer I'd have called them crazy.  I suppose the same could be said about eight slice receivers.  But... software defined radio... software defined mixer.  It's really more than just a mixer.  It shows up as an 18 channel (mono) sound card.  Any of the 18 channels can get their audio from the computer over USB or from an analog preamp on the device.  The output gets mixed down to 6 mono buses that can be linked as three stereo pairs, and of course, can be fed back into the computer over USB.  

For inputs I have a few radios connected including both the left and right outs from the flex as well as four DAX inputs.  The DAX channels are not processed by the Flex, but the X18 can do processing if you like.  To work with the DAX channels, though, you'll need to use something like Voice Meeter Banana or even better ($) is Dante Via.  (But dont expect the setup to be easy ;)  

I also have four different mics connected.  One of the output channels is connected to the balanced mic input on the back of the Flex.  I can swap headsets at will.  Just put on the one I want to wear and unmute its mic.  Or just unmute the 781 and leave the headset on the hook.  Set the levels once (or as often as you like to futz) and away you go.

A second output goes to the mic input on my iphone.  When a call comes in I can just add it to the mix and use which ever mic I'm wearing.

The remaining four outputs each go to a different speaker set up as two stereo pairs.  I can watch youtube with the audio coming out one pair but keep the radio audio going out the other pair.  With the speakers spaced enough my ear can tell me which slice is active.  Muting the non-radio pair is just one click.

Using the noise gate on the inputs is like having a squelch.  When I do RTTY contesting, I put VFO A on the left and VFO B on the right.  With the noise gate set properly I know which side is transmitting and which has a signal coming in.  The on board effects processor can make you sound like a kilo-watt trucker on CB.

I had a blast setting it all up and now just tweek things as conditions change.  But since most of the tweeks have to do with the relative volume of a slice, the Slice Master mix tab is always near by.

It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up
-- Ferris Bueller.
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Ken - NM9P

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I generally run the "Main Line Audio" up all the way.
And I like to start my individual Slice channel volumes at 50%.

This assures that I can run each individual slice up or down as needed to emphasize one over the other.

My final room speaker volume I set with the actual speaker or amp's volume control.  (or the Window's sound app control)

This setup also lets me get maximum flexibility out of the CW Sidetone and Phone Monitor settings....

If you run the individual slice volume at full, and turn the Main speaker down, then your sidetone and monitor may not be able to be loud enough, since they are also controlled by the mains and headphone control after their own level setting.

But as others have said... it is a matter of personal preference.

Ken - NM9P
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Ross - K9COX

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Be sure to use DeoxIT on all of those controls to avoid noise