How loud is the 6600?

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  • Updated 2 months ago
Hello, being a Flex-6500 user, I'ld like to upgrade for a 6600 BUT before I do this, I'ld like to know about the fan-noise from the 6600... I really like the 6500 but his Fan-noiselevel nerves me since day one! Maybe someone out here can tell me about the difference or if there's any?
Many thanks in advance!
73 Hel, OE8TTR
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Hel, OE8TTR

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Posted 2 months ago

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Doug - W3UB

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I'm sure you will get a variety of replies. I had a 6700 for quite some time. It was loud (to me), but fairly constant in terms of noise from the fans.

I picked up a 6600 (non-M). When just using it in receive mode, it is definitely quieter than the 6700. But in SSB TX mode at 26W (my amp drive level), that fan kicks in and it is very loud to me. I have it mounted remotely in a closet, and it is still loud. I could not stand to have it on my desk for sure.

Now, my house is very quiet, in the country side. My hearing is good. And I don't like fan noise, so I am sure I am being a hard judge. Overall, I am fairly disappointed in the fan implementation. But, since it is in my closet I can live with it.

/Doug
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Duane, AC5AA

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I traded my 6500 on a 6600 earlier this year, and, while I could hear the 6500  fans, they never seemed obtrusive.  The 6600 fans are very quiet - I almost can't hear them at all.  Even when running FT8 at 90w they are very quiet.  Impressive.  
(Edited)
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Robert Lonn

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My 6600M has a fan???? I need to check because it is that Quiet!! :-)   Very Pleased,,, My Astron Switching Power Supply fan makes more noise!!
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Cal Spreitzer

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Having moved from a 6500 up to a 6600 I can say the 6600 has less fan noise than the 6500 did.  it's very quiet and I do not notice it. 

Cal/N3CAL
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K3SF

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i have a 6600M and have never heard the fan... i even looked inside to make sure it was running.. ( can see it thru the side vent) yep it was running but no noise at all.

i had a 6300 before the upgrade...could easily hear its fan..

Paul K3SF
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Jim K4JAF

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I also went from 6300 to the 6600 and the 6600 is quieter.  I cant hear it at all sitting 2 feet away on my desk.  Anyone who has to remotely mount it in a closet must have a bad fan or their hearing is a lot better hearing than mine.  
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I don't own a new Flex,,but the fan must be much quieter then a 6500 or 6700. The fan is much larger and runs at a much slower speed. But even my 6500 is not that bad. I understand why it's needed.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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My 6600M is less noisy than my 6700s, but none of them are objectionable. 


As for a plain old 6600, as a radio server your placement in your shack is as wide open as your 6500 placement is.


YMMV

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Ed N5DG

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I'm seeing many good report on the 6600 fan noise , If my 6600 was as quite as most are saying , I would love it . I have moved my 6600 to a closet also and the wall between the closet and my operating desk is insulated and I can still hear it .. It's like a paper cut , not to bad but it's there. 
Ed N5DG  
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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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You might want to find another ham locally that has a 6600 and give a listen.
I wonder if your unit has a problem with the fan controller?
Of course, both of us will have different hearing response curves, but my 6600
really is very quiet.
Only way to know for sure is to compare to another 6600 locally.

Neal
(Edited)
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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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I have a 6600.   I did not upgrade, this is my first flex.
I am sensitive to noise, and it really does not bother me.
It is MUCH more quiet than my Icom 7300.

I do RTTY, FT-8, and SSB, both at low and high power levels, and the
fan noise is less than my previous Yaesu and Icom rigs.

Neal
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Another 6500 user who went to a 6600. Noticeably quieter to the point of not noticing at all. Not that the 6500 was bad, but you’d alwasy know whenit was on.

Fan noise reduction certainly wouldn’t be enough of a reason to upgrade, but it certainly is a bonus.
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Doug - W3UB

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My 6600 when the fan is in the low speed mode is very quiet, 38-39 dBA measured 12 inches in front of it. But when it warms up the fan kicks up (does not ramp with temperature) to another speed which is pretty darn loud, about 52 dBA. Part of this is subjective, and is how we "like" the pitch of the sound.

If the fan were to slowly ramp up it might be a lot better. I use Decibel X for IOS, which I tested against a commercial sound meter a while back with good results.

Many people have computers with fans and other background noise which might make their baseline measurement much higher.

/Doug
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Ted VE3TRQ

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I was actually wondering if my 6600M had a fan! I'll join the crowd saying this thing is whisper quiet, even when running a long period of time at 50W digital. (I only run barefoot.) My K3/100 has a noisier fan.
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Ed N5DG

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We had a dishwasher that was rated at 38 to 40 DBA , I'm glad that darn thing broke . I like my new dishwasher that is 26 DBA  
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Brad A. Steffler

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I am 70 years old and wear hearing aids. Before I got the hearing aids, my wife said that she was disturbed by the loud output from the speakers. I changed to headphones and haven't looked back. Since my male, age-related hearing loss is in the higher frequencies where the sibilant consonants reside, I use my hearing aids all the time, even when on the telephone. Unless I have a guest in the shack, the loudspeakers are never on. I find that my headphones shut out a lot of noise, and did so even before I got hearing aids. (My hearing aid gain curve and overall gain are adjustable by an iPhone app)

My current amp, an AL-82, is so loud  that I began using headphones exclusively anyway. Maybe every one is being polite, but so far, I have  had no complaints of background noise. The mike  is directional and pointed away from the amp.

Bottom line: headphones might be a solution to fan noise if you can wear them for extended periods of time comfortably. My headphones are very comfortable and the pads easily fit around the hearing aids.

Even though my 6700 can be placed in another room, the need for reboots and dealing with PC glitches demands, for me, that I place the radio at my operating position.

Brad
KE4XJ
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Greg - N8GD

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I am 69 years old and have had a hearing loss since birth, mostly in the 1000-3000 Hz range (the main voice frequencies, unfortunately).  After having worked in industry for 21 years I now also have high frequency loss, too.  I wear hearing aids 16 hours a day (when not sleeping).  I learned long ago that hearing loss is a very personal and individualized thing.  I guess I am lucky in that noise does not bother me.  Just leaving a receiver tuned to noise on the HF frequencies for hours is no big deal to me.  I find fan noise to be of no consequence to me, either.  I always tell folks that when my brain hears noise, it says "good, I can hear that!"

This is not to say that those of you who are sensitive to noise are wrong - each of you has a problem that is 180 degrees from mine, and I empathize with you.  I have a good friend who is very sensitive to noise, and I know it is a big problem for him.

So, for those of you for whom fan noise is a problem, i wish you all the luck in finding quiet equipment, and I hope Flex keeps making strides in reducing cooling noise in their radios.

As for me, I'll just plug along with my hearing loss and hearing aids.  At least with the new aids I can finally hear the turn signal in my car.

And, by the way, those of you with good (and sensitive) hearing are able to spend more of your dollars on nice, high end Flex radios.  My 2 year old pair of microprocessor controlled digital hearing aids cost $5,000 - the price of a nice, shiny, new Flex 6600M!
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Duane, AC5AA

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I think we may be talking apples and oranges here.  I just downloaded DecibelX and ran it in my shack.

Nothing on (computer fan is zilch):  37-39 dB  ("quiet whisper")
Turn on 6600 (non-M) with mic 1' in front of it:  41.6-42 dB ("quiet home")   
Key Down into Dummy load - after 1 min fan increases slightly:  44.7-45 dB ("quiet home")
Ken Down for a minute to 2 minutes, fan increases again slightly:  45.5-46 dB ("quiet home")

I have the rig sitting right in front of me, about 18" from my ears, and I can still hear pretty well, and I do not consider this noise level even remotely intrusive.  Of course, we all have different tolerances for noise, but sometimes numbers are useful in determining if we're all hearing the same thing.

    73, Duane

(Edited)
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Greg - N8GD

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Just remember, a 6 db change is just perceptible to the human ear.  A 3 db change is imperceptible.
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Hel, OE8TTR

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Many thanks to all who replied to my question! As the very first one wrote we see some Pro and Cons...  :-)
My personal conclusion from all these inputs is, that the 6600 is quieter than the 6500 and this makes it even more interesting for me (Would be my 4th Flex...) - each dB lesser noise counts in a 4m2 shack - even more if you're noise-sensitive like me...
@ Duane... Biiig thanks for your measurements - these numbers are a great help!
Over the years I banned everything out from my shack which was under load louder than 55 dB - my 6500 is very close...  :-)
BTW, when in the shack I'm wearing headphones 99% - could'nt be without them!

Again, MANY THANKS to all
73, Hel

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N8SDR

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My 3000 had noisy fans from day one, I got use to it- my 6400 is whisper quite have o look to make sure its on. 
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Jim K4JAF

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How you doing Rick?  Agree with your comments on the 6400 fan noise, I cant hear it unless everything off in the room and my head next to the fan ports..  73s Jim 
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N8SDR

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Doing Well Jim, hope things are good for you.
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Mike Hoing

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What fan noise. I find if very good and not a bother at all

Mike NN9DD
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Robert Lonn

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Today my Flex 6600M took off and was flying around in my backyard like a small Drone!!! I guess the Fan must have been running at high speeds!!!! :-) 


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Mark WS7M

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I think the 6600 is quieter than any other rig I've had.  My 6500 was louder but after a short while I realized that having these non M radios on the desk made no sense.  So I moved them to a closet to the right of the desk.  

I've since moved them to a shed just outside my desk, right where the antenna feeds come.  So I hear zero fan noise ever from my radios and my SPE 2K amp (which can be noisy).