Kenwood TS590 SG has terrible TX audio apparently?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by OK8EI, Jul 28, 2021.

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  1. OK8EI

    OK8EI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am really interested to buy a Kenwood TS590 SG as a next radio. I know that it still uses older technology in comparison to the newer radios with SDRs, scopes etc., but for me the 590 looks very attractive.

    However, I met an operator online yesterday and he told me that the 590 has terrible TX audio (in his opinion). He said that anyone he contacts who is using a 590 sound terrible. Apparently there is a firmware upgrade to improve it though.

    I'm not sure. I cannot find anything similar reported on here or anywhere else.

    Can anyone confirm this for me that this is true or anything similar? Or perhaps better, debate it:) Thanks.
  2. K2CD

    K2CD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe that operator has a "tin ear"? Or maybe he is a "FILL IN THE MANUFACTURER" fanboy. I have worked MANY operators using the 590S and 590SG and they all sounded good to me. There's really nothing to debate. Get on the air and listen for yourself.
  3. W4LJ

    W4LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The TS590SG has a built in audio equalizer and an audio TX monitor. I have the TS590SG and use it with the stock hand microphone. I get excellent audio quality reports. It's important to set up the equalizer. However, it can also be set so that it sounds bad (too much base, tinny or too narrow banded). Set it so that it sounds good via the TX monitor (for your voice) and you are good to go.
    The free Kenwood computer control program (ARCP-590) has an 8 band equalizer that the radio alone lacks.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  4. OK8EI

    OK8EI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for your reply. These were my thoughts exactly. I will be using it together with the Kenwood MC-90 desk mic, so hoping for some decent TX audio, of course with plenty of trial and error audio adjustments on both the mic and radio.
    W4LJ likes this.
  5. K2CD

    K2CD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, that's a bit of a provocative statement. It implies that something is inherently wrong with either the rig, or the firmware. Kind of hard to imagine that the firmware is at fault here, seeing there have been two iterations of the radio, or three if you count the 70th Anniversary edition.

    Now, yes, if you really want to make the radio sound bad you can go into the equalizer and mess things up. With the hand mic and the default values and no EQ, but perhaps a little bit of processing, and proper mic gain setting, I have to stretch my imagination to believe that the rig would sound bad without something else being the cause other than the rig itself. It's also funny because Kenwood has always had a reputation for their good transmit audio. What are the odds that the guy you worked who told you "that anyone he contacts who is using a 590 sounds terrible", has only worked people who have gone into their EQ settings and really hosed things up? Fairly slim to none, I think. Either that or he only worked one guy who sounded bad, and likes to exaggerate.
  6. N5AF

    N5AF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here's some good info on the 590 audio setup: Written for the S, but aside from the Menu Number selection references, the information should apply to the SG.

    Info on the menu number conversions here:

    With the ARCP control program (free from Kenwood) you can get all manner of crazy with the TX audio profiles. I spent hours working on audio profiles and finally settled on the built in HB1 or HB2 EQ profiles. They work best with my voice. Just remember to turn them off when running digital modes.

    The 590 is a great rig. I spend my operating time going between a 590 and a TS-2000. Can't make up my mind which one I like better! ;)
    KS2G and (deleted member) like this.
  7. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    Anybody can make a radio sound like crap if they try hard enough. My first radio, when I got my ticket, was a Kenwood TS820. I set it up by the book and my audio sounded bad. Off to the ham store and I purchased a Kenwood MC50 mic. Problem solved.
    I've gone through numerous radios over the last 45 years. I sill have my TS590SG and have gotten great audio reports. The receive audio sounds great to me.
    You're not finding all kinds of bad audio posts about this rig because they sound great if you set them up correctly.
    Don't be afraid to get one, they are still great radios. I have a TS990S but won't part with my 590SG.
    Barry, KU3X
  8. G0GSR

    G0GSR Ham Member QRZ Page

    At the risk of upsetting other owners, I agree with his opinion too but not "terrible, just not "good". I have a lot of experience in listening to audio in a control room setting.
    I have a 590s and in my opinion, there is something very basic wrong with the design.
    This is nothing to do with any of the limited range of "user settings" such as bandwidth and equalisation, all 590's have the same characteristics, the audio having a "hard edge" to it, presumably due to what happens after the TX audio is digitised. (who knows?)
    I have tried hard (believe me!) to mitigate this with the provided controls but to no avail.

    The "Proc" is just a distortion generator, even more-so on its "hard" setting.

    Fortunately, KW have not carried these problems over to its later 890 and 990 models.
    These sound just fine to me but the '590's.... bad.

    Just remember, the vast majority of Amateurs are incapable of providing an accurate audio report.

    My thoughts, my opinions, take it or leave it :)
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2021
    KA2MWS and PU2OZT like this.
  9. KS2G

    KS2G Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Perhaps, so.
    But in ten years using my TS-590S with a Heil Proset 4, I never had anyone tell me that I had poor-quality audio.
    In fact, just the opposite.
    WS9K and KU3X like this.
  10. N1FM

    N1FM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some of them have absolutely outstanding audio. I suppose you could 'adjust it' to make it sound terrible, but properly set up, it has superb audio.
    KU3X likes this.

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