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How to Fix a Bad Radio Voice

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N8FVJ, Oct 8, 2019.

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  1. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Your identity is usually based upon your looks. You can look like James Bond or an unshaven mountain man. We are created equal- right? Not.

    On the radio, your good or bad identity upfront is your voice. Some of us sound like a professional broadcaster and unfortunately some of us do not.
    I am in the 'do not' group. My voice sounds very young (I am 69) and does not have much low frequency. It also is a northern Midwest voice, not that smooth sounding a little southern OH, KY, VA, North & South Carolina voice.

    Now, some radios have an equalizer built-in. So with the right microphone you can adjust the response. But, the microphone is important too. If you have a bass voice with little highs a Heil HC-10 or Goldline does produce boosted highs. On the other hand a Heil PR20 produces more bass output with a flat midrange for voices lacking bass. If you have a built-in equalizer you can get a good sound on the airwaves. A microphone that suits your voice can get a few more dB adjustment from the equalizer.

    For older radios without a built-in equalizer, a microphone that suits your voice helps. But an outboard microphone equalizer is best. A few equalizers exist specifically made for Ham radio. Two that stand out is the W2IHY equalizer and a model made in Ukraine simply called the 7 band equalizer compressor with echo and compressor.

    The Ukraine equalizer is listed on eBay and an internet site called Transverter-Store. On the internet site a video shows the performance and it is impressive. Frankly, a little echo sounds great as it adds some dimension. Just do not overdue it or you could be labeled a dreadful CBer. This equalizer offers + or - 6DB range. This is a new model replacing the 5 band equalizer without echo. The great part is it only costs $70 and operates off of your 13.8 volt DC power supply.

    The W2IHY equalizer has two models. The 8 band Equalizer and the EQPlus. Both have a noise gate that reduces background noise. These equalizers offer - or + 16dB range. That is a huge range. The Standard equalizer does not have a compressor, but the EQPlus does have a compressor and an acoustic enhancer. They are $299 for the standard version and $389 for the EQPlus.

    So, using my Kenwood TS-950SD without a built-in equalizer, what did the Ukraine 7 band equalizer do for my feeble voice? First I removed my Heil HC-10 that boosts the midrange & highs and bought a Heil PR20 that boosts the bass with a flat midrange that more suits my voice. Perhaps the W2IHY with 16dB boost would work well with either mic, the 6dB bass boost works well enough with the Ukraine equalizer. Placing the equalizer in line I have a much bigger sounding voice. It now has good bass and a normal midrange. I simply sound big now vs the wimpy sounding guy behind the microphone. Hey, we are not all created equal, so I bought an equalizer.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
    G3ZPF likes this.
  2. AG4RT

    AG4RT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have a face for radio and a voice for newspaper.
    KB2FCV, K9ASE, NL7W and 6 others like this.
  3. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You use CW?
    WW2PT, K7KBN, K7MH and 2 others like this.
  4. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    To state the obvious, “On the radio” isn’t just phone operation to most of us. If using phone is a problem, there are options.
    K7MH and N2EY like this.
  5. AG4RT

    AG4RT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It doesn’t keep me from inflicting my voice on others. ;) I don’t do Morse, but I do use other digital modes.
  6. KA8NCR

    KA8NCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Frankly, I disagree.
    N4NYK, KA0HCP, G0GSR and 5 others like this.
  7. WE4E

    WE4E Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Generally, equalizers are better at removing defects than they are at creating features. Microphone selection is key, much like antenna selection. And it's very individual, i.e. not one size fits all. Sounds like you've found a combination that works for you. Proximity effect is your friend. The closer you talk to that PR20, the more bottom your voice will have. You can use that to your advantage.

    I will never understand why Julian has ±16db of boost/cut in that thing. If you need 16db of something to fix your audio, you have much bigger problems. I hear a lot of bad audio at the hands of that thing with the knobs all at 11. I like the EQ Plus. The compressor is decent, actually, and the expander is much less severe than the gate on the 8 band.

    I have a 5 band UR6QW and I like it, although it's a toolbox item. I don't use it everyday. It's good quality stuff, although all that echo box stuff was wasted parts in my mind. It sounds awful on SSB.
  8. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    UR6QW is $130
  9. N3AB

    N3AB Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Gary, thanks for the laugh. Had a bad day today, but your post got me smiling.

    73, John N3AB
    AG4RT likes this.
  10. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Isn’t judging someone by the sound of their voice somewhat superficial?

    Pleasant conversations and compelling topics make much better impressions than over-equalized audio.
    WJ4U, N8AFT, K8AI and 2 others like this.

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