How to Fix a Bad Radio Voice

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

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  1. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    As you say, compressors are difficult to master. As such, for amateur radio use, I definitely recommend that the vast majority of operators stay well clear of using such. They just do not have the test equipment, nor the actual skill, to properly adjust the compressor and a poorly adjusted unit is going to cause all sorts of problems.

    Glen, K9STH
  2. W2JKT

    W2JKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Indeed, "turn it up until I'm at max power all the time" is not a good methodology for adjusting a compressor. :D
  3. KI7HSB

    KI7HSB Ham Member QRZ Page

    My parents and extended family are all from Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle area. Despite my parents leaving Texas in the 1950's and my being born and raised in Idaho, I still managed to inherit a slight southern twang in my voice. I think it's genetic... It gets worse when I either am around my family or I am drunk. Irritated the hell out of my now ex wife, who's family roots are in Missouri...
  4. WE4E

    WE4E Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Most of it has to do with microphone. On camera, he uses a little electret condenser on his tie. On the radio, it's an RE20 or an SM7 or similar, and he talks inches from it. Two totally different micing circumstances. For TV, there's a modest amount of single band compression and a little eq. For radio, multiband compression and limiting. The result is as you describe, completely different sound.

    Yes, it level control, but think of it in terms of dynamic range - the difference between the loudest and softest part of the audio. More compression means less dynamic range. Lower dynamic range means higher average audio level. Higher average audio level means higher average RF level. It also means that you can run a lower and more consistent ALC level. The radio doesn't have to work so hard.

    Disclaimer: that's NOT permission to turn all the knobs to 11. There is a sweet spot where the balance of compressor gain reduction, level, and attack and release times, and eq boost or cut, is correct and appropriate. Done correctly, it is unobtrusive and improves the transmission. Done poorly, well, you've heard it.

    The only test equipment required is the ears and the wet part between them. The skill, well, that's another matter. Experimentation and experience produces that.
  5. AC1GX

    AC1GX Ham Member QRZ Page

    All can agree -- overmodulation is the enemy, and does not make anyone sound better. However, sending increased average audio power does not mean sending louder. In fact, intelligibility can be enhanced with proper compression.

    Here's another audio tip which can be used or misused:
    As touched upon by WE4E and others -- the distance from the microphone changes frequency response. For a dynamic microphone, bass response drops off about 3 dB per inch. If you choose to add bass by talking closer to the mic, keep in mind that you may need to speak more softly or take other measures to reduce the audio reaching the transmitter.
  6. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    Most people do not "hear" their own voice the same as what others hear for several factors including the fact that their own voice is conducted via bone mass to their ear drums. It is much easier to adjust compressors, etc., using an oscilloscope than trying to do it "by ear". Some people can do it but most really cannot accomplish proper adjustment "by ear".

    Meanwhile, the compressor is not properly adjusted and everyone else has to suffer!

    Glen, K9STH
    N8AFT likes this.
  7. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    From experience and from what I've seen posted here, the best thing to do is to turn that compressor switch on, then turn it all the way down. I've also found that I can't adjust compression for myself, using my ears. As was said, I just don't sound like myself to me, so how can I do any 'voice' adjusting that is good rather than bad? The majority of other people can't either. Having someone who knows what you really sound like do that compression adjusting is your best bet. BUT... how do they hare their receivers adjusted? That's another 'catch' that will get you. Doing it by ear is not a good practice at all. What about that "turn it on and all the way down" thingy? That's the only way I know of to get the least amount of compression. At least it won't do all that much harm. But it's ON, so you can feel good about it.
    And there isn't enough allowable audio bandwidth with amateur radio to make yourself sound "broadcast" quality, just can't do it legally. [As if any of this is going to 'cure' some of the audio you hear on the bands.]
  8. AC1GX

    AC1GX Ham Member QRZ Page

    So true --but in this hobby within a hundred hobbies, do we share knowledge or withhold it?
  9. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's important to keep in mind, particularly for the Watt Watchers, that you're being heard by ears, not electronic equipment. The brain uses a variety of cues to decipher what is being said and they include changes in volume. Having that peak Watt meter quiver in place is fun, but you're audibly blurring your speech by removing the cues that your listener's ears are expecting to hear.
  10. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Best thing about compressors is;
    A) They Are Adjustable.
    B) They Can Be Turned Off.
    C) They Are Generally An Un-Neccesary Option/Function.

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