Terrible audio reports with F3K first time on air

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I put my new (used) F3K on the air last night and the set-up went very smoothly. No issues at all with set-up and the F3K receive was awesome to behold. The problem is my transmit audio reports were awful... a few people said the Flex default settings should not producing such bad audio. I'm using a Flex Microphone (FHM-1-RJ45) and noticed audio feedback squeal through the powered-speakers when monitoring. I'm not sure where to go from here since you would think the default settings and a Flex mic would be a decent start for a newbie.
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ww8x.joe@gmail.com

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Posted 5 years ago

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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Sounds like RF getting in there. Does the problem lessen with lower power?
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John n0snx

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Joe  go to this link and set your audio chain exactly like he says...

http://www.w1aex.com/psdrgain/psdrgain.html

You can't listen to yourself with the monitor function unless you have earphones... there is too much feedback when trying to use external speakers.

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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John, your fingers were faster than mine!  hi hi.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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You can't use the MON with speakers, especially if you are using much compression.
Your audio amplifier may also be directly picking up your signal and feeding it back to you.  Try turning off the amp and using headphones until you get things adjusted, then try the speakers again.

Also,   If you haven't already, please watch these two excellent videos about setting up your TX audio on PowerSDR.  They will save you a lot of grief.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2trJjUObLkY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV_iolSf3OA

These are excellent tutorials.

I would recommend setting your mike for "Wide" audio and then setting the TX EQ and TX filter to get the response you want.  Look at your TX audio spectrum and make sure you do not have the low frequencies way too high.  They should not be overpowering the other frequencies.  work with the TX EQ to shape your audio response and be careful to follow these tutorials about proper gain settings at the several different places, and then never run your DX processor too high, it gets nasty pretty quickly.  Frankly, I hardly ever use it, but i DO have the COMP set at about 6 on my 1500.  These rigs are capable of fantastic audio, but you have to work at it i bit to get it there.  Then SAVE, SAVE, SAVE your profile!  Then make another one so you have one for rag chew and a different one for DX/Contesting/Weak signal, etc.
Good Luck!  you will get there.

(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Note:  I posted two videos, but the second one, by W1AEX is much shorter and easier to follow.  Both have good info.
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ww8x.joe@gmail.com

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Thanks all for the useful information and advice. I'll study those links and see what I can learn. I am very excited about this radio and have high hopes for success with it.
73 Joe
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ww8x.joe@gmail.com

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Watching the two video links is a real eye opener to the capabilities and customization available in a Flex radio. At least now, I have a broad overview understanding of how it works, but the details will be much slower to absorb. Realizing that individual voice characteristics and microphones vary widely, just wondering if some of these basic transmit audio profiles are able to exported and shared?
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John n0snx

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Joe if you click on setup then click on transmit, in the top right chick on more profiles. you can import any and all of those profile and use them all to find one that suits you...

John
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ww8x.joe@gmail.com

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John, I missed that detail when first setting-up but noticed after viewing the video from G7CNF that he was able to choose from a list of pre-defined settings. I guess users can export and import to share their settings as well. Very cool! 
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John n0snx

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I don't think you can actually export a profile you have made to someone else. I have send my settings to many people to try out tho.,You can build your own profiles and save them and you can modify the imported files and then save them... all of my profiles are from imported profiles that I modified....  such as bandwidth,EQ settings and the such... you can make profile from ragchewing ESSB to earpiercing DX
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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In addition to getting your audio levels correct, the next most important thing is to spend time getting your EQ correct in the 10 band graphic equalizer.  This will make or break your sound.  It can turn a relatively inexpensive mike into a pretty good sounding one, or it can take a $400 mike and make it sound like garbage.  Many people run the bass WAY too high and it sounds muddy or boomy.  Others cut or boost the midrange so poorly that it either sounds honky or like you are in a hole.  Failure to have adequate signal strength in the 1K, 2K & 4K zones will make your signals hard to understand.  Too much will make you sound like you have a lisp or a whistle when you talk.

The key is to listen to your signal in a 2nd receiver, preferably by taping it and listening to it later.  Using Monitor and headphones will not give you a realistic impression of your own sound because you will hear it as much through bone conduction as through your ears.  It takes a little bit of time with a dummy load and recorder, but the payoff will be constant unsolicited compliments in your audio!

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ww8x.joe@gmail.com

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The saga of bad audio continues... I've studied the youtube links and used most of those settings especially from G7CNF and while the audio is bearable, I'm getting reports of a intermittent 'rushing' sound when I stop speaking. Not from letting up on the PTT, but just a pause in the speech. Someone says it sounds like I'm taking a large, deep noisey inhale of breath. Well, gee that has to be a setting wouldn't you think? I have a ticket into Flex, just wondering if anyone has a suggestion. 
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Michael - N5TGL

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Sounds to me like local noise (potentially fan or otherwise) in the room that overwhelms the setpoint of the downward expander.  You may want to check that setting again.  Depending on the directivity of your mic, reflections in the room, local QRM, mic gain setting, all that can combine to give some funky audio.  I operate virtually all the time in headphones with MON on.  If there's something odd going on, you could hear it there, but the one problem is with the way the MON chain is set up, it is PRE compressor.  The only way you can hear the compressor is to listen via a second RX as Ken suggested.

Keep in mind that the supplied hand mic is good for communications grade audio.  It's not gonna sound that great.  I find that there is good technique to using a hand mic that can be helpful.  First, don't talk AT the mic, talk ACROSS it.  Also, set up for close mic operation.  When I'm using a hand mic, I hold it normally in my right hand, then put it to my face so my right thumb is resting just on the corner of my mouth, so I am talking completely across it, not at it.  That eliminates breath pops, and also enables you to turn down the mic gain so you pick up way less room noise.  I used the exact same mic in my mobile setup and people couldn't believe I was mobile as they didn't hear any background noise.  Such is the benefit of close-micing.  After setting mic gain this way, you'll need to reset the downward expander too.  Another benefit of holding/talking this way is that with your thumb lightly touching your face, you always keep a consistent distance to the mic, and thereby minimizes the need to constantly adjust settings.

Seeing one of your other comments you say that you are not "pushing it too far" and you have it "turned up to 45".  Couple questions about that...

How did you set mic gain?  Did you use the directions in the manual?  Other people's mic gain settings are not very useful due to different mic positions, mics and normal speaking volume.

What does 45 mean?  Is that the mic gain setting or is that the RF drive?
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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A few additional questions.  Are you using an external amp?  You may be driving it into compression and the amp is still picking up weak noise and bringing it up in level.   Have you set the "Leveler" too high?  it may be bringing up inter-syllabic noise.  If you have the time constants for Leveler and ALC set too short, it can have the same effect if you don't also have the Downward Expander set correctly.

Where do you have DX or COMP set?  I have found that I cannot use more than a 2 or 3 for the DX processor, and no more than about a 6 on the COMP, whichever is activated.  Otherwise, it brings the background noise up drastically upon pauses in speech.  Too much DX processor can also make you sound bad very quickly.

Next, put on some headphones and begin playing with the Downward Expander (modified noise gate) and begin adjusting the important, but tricky, settings on this.  It will quiet the noise between words/pauses.

Michael is also correct, the hand mike works best when "talking across" it at 1 - 2 inches distance.  Set the audio settings to use this technique.  I also use the "thumb trick" when I use the hand mike, which is not very often any more.

Good luck.
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Mike Hoing

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This is a simple answer that seems logical and maybe over looked. May suremyou are not overdriving the audio. I run my mic gain about 40 . Do you have alot of noise in the back ground

Mike
N9DFD
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ww8x.joe@gmail.com

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Thanks Mike... I'm not pushing it too far. But I notice I'm not being heard all that well vs. my other 100W rigs -- so I do have it turned up to about 45 or so. I have it recorded but not sure I can attach the audio file.
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Mike Hoing

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I assumed you had covered it, I just did not want to overlook the obvious. They have a great support team and will get it sorted out. Keep us advised as to outcome

Mike
N9DFD
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ww8x.joe@gmail.com

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Lots of interesting information, thanks again for taking the time to respond. Very much appreciated.