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Author Topic: Whats the real deal on the IC-7000?  (Read 5370 times)
K8RJL
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« on: March 07, 2013, 07:01:28 PM »

I bought a TS-590S but it's too much to take mobile. I'm now looking at the IC-7000 or Kenwood 480SAT.  The 7000 is my first choice due to physical size/DSP/Filtering but I've heard so many conflicting reports on major audio issues and the unit running hot/Finals failing. Some people say they got a great unit while others say they got screwed.  Being that so many reviews are describing the same problems, it's hard to believe that it's not a quality control issue rather than just a reviewer on a rant about personal preferences. I don't want to spend $1300 on something that I will worry about breaking down but it's the radio that best fits my needs.  How are the latest production units and have some of the issues been addressed, if they existed?

Thanks.
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KW6LA
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 10:46:48 PM »

The IC 7000 has been plagued with audio problems making them sound like your are in a barrel. I tell Hams all the time you’re on a 7k right? They answer HOW DID YOU Guess !!
The barrel sound Ugg !  Some of this seems to be the menu setting from the factory and other radios just sound bad. Others have had the Microphone modified by a Ham you can
find on the web. Nice looking radio, but I opted for the TS 480 and was glad I did. Better display and not so many stacking menu functions. It’s not a  HiFi radio at 2.4k TX width, but
for mobile use it does very well. In 50yrs of radios it’s the only one I have not changed out the Mic for something better. The 200 watt version is all you will ever need, if a casual
operator like me. Let’s see what others have to say ?
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G7DIE
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 05:22:18 AM »

I only know two people that use the IC7000, and both of them have had to send their rig to Icom for repair, one was mine and the other a friend's, so out of the two I personally know of in use, both have had reliability issues.

The above said, it's the best mobile radio I've used, I've had a number of Yaesu mobile rigs and an IC706MKII before this, I haven't had the Kenwood for the simple reason I don't like how the mic is connected to the body of the rig and not the head unit, it's not impossible to work around, but an inconvenience I didn't want in my car, I don't need 200W, if I can't do what I do with 100W, then 200W isn't going to get me where I can't already get, and I don't use tuners, my antennas are either monoband or screwdriver.

As far as audio is concerned, some do sound like they have a ping to their audio, there are no mic mods to mine, but I get very good audio reports, and I've had many people comment that they were amazed I was using an IC7000 because it didn't sound like one, what did I do, spend a fair bit of time with critical friends who were honest about the audio. If I could remember the settings there's no guarnate you'd get the same results, my suggestion would be to take the manual out with you and get a few friends to by hyper critical of your audio.

Yes it gets hot, especially on full duty modes, but I'm usually DXing on HF SSB so it's never been an issue, occassionally I rag chew with friends and I can see the temp rising, but never getting so hot I'd get concerned about it.

Menus, they are easy and a simple button press away for most used functions, the noise blanker works very well, LED traffic lights, cell towers, and poorly screened car ignition systems are nulled immediately. I don't like the sound of DSP, it sounds like badly synthesised immitation polar flutter or aurora, but it does have it's moments, three levels of AGC, twin IF shift, manual and auto notch filters, plus three receive bandwidths all do their bit to help on crowded bands, marginal conditions etc so it isn't short of features, it's not brick wall filtering and there's no amount of filtering if some W I D E Italian is in my passband, but they all help.

That's just my experience and how I put it to use, I can't help you make your mind up, it isn't everything to everyone, but I'd certainly recommend one Wink
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K0BG
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2013, 06:04:58 AM »

I own two 7000s, and I haven't noticed any problems.

Part of the bad vibes date back to Icom hiring an outside firm to replace the diode so the 7000 couldn't receive video. Unfortunately, they reassembled the ground clips incorrectly causing the audio birdie problem.

As for transmit audio, most folks run way too much mic gain, and don't close talk their mics. as a result, you sound like you're in a barrel. If you set the gain at about 7%, and leave the compression off, and place the microphone close (less than 2 inches from your lips), not one can tell what the transceiver is.
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WN2C
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2013, 08:07:30 AM »

I own 2 IC-7000s and have not had a problem with either of them.  The audio problem may have been with some of the earlier run.  I use one in the mobil w/ the stock mic and have gotten good audio reports and love just being able to control the radio w/ it.  If I want to change bands, put in filtering, I can right from the mic.  I also use the Heil traveler single sided headset w/ boom mic in the shack and have received unsolicited "great sounding audio" reports.  The radio needs to be set up properly in the quick set menu. 
As far as the Kenwood 480 and its 2.4khz bandwith, it sounds like what 2.4khz sounds like...pinched!! 
As far as having 200 watts...there is no signal difference until you get to maybe 400 watts and then only an S unit.
You also have a good NB w/ the 7K.  To be fair I am not sure how well the NB works on the 480.
It has IF DSP as vs AF DSP...which do you think is better??
In my opinion, the 7000 is the better radio, but it will cost you more also as better radios usually do.

Good luck with your decision
73 de Rick  wn2c
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K8RJL
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2013, 06:21:06 PM »

Thanks all for the replies.  I was hoping to hear from folks who have or are still using the 7000 so the replies are great.  I don't have any interest in the 200w Kenwood, just the normal 480SAT. I was just narrowing it down to those two radios. I guess it's time for more Youtube video watching. 

Thanks again,

Rob
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WD5GWY
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Posts: 406




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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2013, 07:21:06 PM »

I have both radios and like them both. But, if I had to choose only one, it would be
the ICOM 7000. The IF DSP and Noise Blanker in the 7000 is much better than the
AF DSP and Noise Blanker in the TS-480SAT. The one thing I really liked about the
480SAT is the display. It is very easy to see. (quite large compared to the 7000)
But, the 7000's display is easy to see as well.
  The 480SAT takes up a lot more room than the 7000. Especially if you do not remote
it. (using the MB-480 mount) The 7000 is much smaller and lighter. As for cooling
the 7000 does run hotter than the 480SAT. But, the case is a heatsink. I have yet to
have any heat related problems with the 7000. And I do constantly get good audio reports
and no one has been able to tell me which radio I am on. Even, guys that have heard me
on both radios. So, if someone is able to ID someone using a 7000, it is likely a guess.
OR, the person has not set up the radio properly.
  The audio on the 480SAT is very nice too. I have always got good audio reports with it
as well. I do not have the extra filters in the radio. Adding those would probably help it
quite a bit. They are both good radios. But, the one thing that I really don't like about the
480SAT is the fact that the microphone has to be connected to the body of the radio and
unlike the 7000, cannot be connected to the remote display. That to me makes no sense.
The design of the 480SAT is good for mobile use and putting the body out of sight. But,
having to run the microphone cable to the body limits where you can easily mount the body
and display.
   Both are good radios and have their pluses and minuses. But, again, if I could only  have
one of them, it would be the 7000.
james
WD5GWY
 
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KB2FZG
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2013, 08:09:12 AM »

I use a 7000 and think it's a great rig, I haven't had any issues out of mine so far (going on 6 years of mobile use).  I did have my microphone upgraded and I get constant reports that my audio sounds great.  To echo what K0BG said keep the mic gain low.  My mic gain is set to around 8% and that's plenty.  I will say that the rig does run a bit hot so care must be taken when mounting but you really need to take that into account with any mobile installation. 
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KN2RC
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2013, 06:29:59 PM »

if you plan on being 'parked' when operating, the sky-or your wallet-is the limit, & why limit yourself to a 7000 or 480?  why not break the bank & spend 4 or 5 or 8 or 12 THOUSAND bucks & have the ultimate rig in the mobile?   if you're gonna actually BE mobile while operating mobile, depending on how 'noisy' your locale is....i found the 706mk2g to not only have a better sounding xmit, but there was little if any difference in the rcv.  little enough to not justify spending another $1300 on the 7000.   along with my 706mk2g, i have friends with the 7000 & the 480, 200 watt version.  i prefer the 7000's rcv over the 480, but i think the 480's xmit sounds better to my ears.  and i still prefer my 706's rcv & xmit over both. 
i'm sure that didn't help  Wink 
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M6GOM
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2013, 06:41:09 PM »

OK my 2c.

The TS480 is the best for HF only. Quieter receiver, better audio both TX and RX, clearer display you can see even in direct sunlight and easier to use.

The Icom IC7000 DOES NOT have bad audio once you've done the AB5N mic mod. It can be made to have good audio with the stock Chinese mic but the AB5N mod does make it better. Like Alan K0BG, I run low mic gain and NO compression. The HF RX audio on the Icom 7000 sounds muddy to me and I've yet to find a solution not involving external audio equipment to overcome that. Add a $50 Behringer Xenyx 802 and the problem is sorted but not really a solution for mobile. On VHF/UHF FM it seems fine.

My Icom 7000 is an early launch year production model with the 8kHz tone that has been abused and it works fine, no finals failure, no overheating. My only issue is the AGC issue they have where it will for no reason start clicking with a slow decay at set intervals. Turning on NB fixes it but that gives a slightly distorted RX audio output.

If you are going to be parked up when operating mobile, use the TS590. My TS590 will be going in my motorhome this summer.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 06:44:22 PM by M6GOM » Logged
K0BG
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 04:43:57 PM »

Lets go over this again.

There are a bunch of guys out there who think they know more about the design of the 7000 than the guys who designed it. Not the least of which is all of those mic mods that seems to propagate the net. All of them defeat the noise canceling nature of the mic. In a mobile scenario, this is not something you want to do. Not only that, in order to compensate, the microphone gain must be increased. When it is, the echoes from the interior of the vehicle make the audio sound like an echo chamber, and increase every nuance of background noise, including traffic, tire, and body squeaks!

If you follow the instructions for setting the microphone gain, well explained in the manual, the transmit audio won't sound any different than any other Icom (they all use electric condenser microphones). All of this palaver reminds me of the trash the ESSB guys spout in an effort to justify their splatter.

The TS-480 is a decent transceiver. I owned one for several months. With the optional filters, it is a bit better receiver than the 7000. It doesn't overload as much by near by stations. However, if you haven't quieted your mobile down enough that you have to use the noise blanker, the difference between the two is all but moot. No doubt it is bigger, but I take indifference to the display being easier to read. In bright sun light, it is worse than the 7000. In my case, the 7000's video is fed to the NAvi screen, so the issue is also moot.

Lastly, I just don't understand how folks find room in their mobiles to install all of the peripheral hardware to "improve their audio", when a simple adjustment of their operating skills will solve the problem. But in the end, I guess they just have to play with something.
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M6GOM
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2013, 08:07:35 PM »

Lets go over this again.

There are a bunch of guys out there who think they know more about the design of the 7000 than the guys who designed it. Not the least of which is all of those mic mods that seems to propagate the net.

Yes Alan, we know your view on the mic mod.

I can hear with my own ears what difference it makes when monitoring myself on a WebSDR or getting someone to record me. Whether or not you agree with how it sounds is entirely a matter of personal choice. The AB5N mod does make a difference, adding a bit more clarity. A boost in the 2kHz range gives you better articulation which makes you easier to understand. Good TX audio does make a difference. Having good TX audio has allowed this station to bust pileups on many an occassion operating /M to stations including one over 8,000 miles away even though those in the pileups have been running 1.5kW into multi-element beams dozens of feet up on towers and I've been using 100W into my Little Tarheel II driving down the road.

Whilst it may defeat the noise cancelling nature of the microphone which I remain dubious as to how much increasing a hole by less than half a millimeter does, modern vehicles at least in the EU are quite quiet. Certainly nobody in the 2 years I've had a 7000 in the car has complained about background noise and I regularly hold QSOs at >70MPH.

Quote
If you follow the instructions for setting the microphone gain, well explained in the manual, the transmit audio won't sound any different than any other Icom

Yes it will because the Icom 7000 doesn't have equalisation to tailor it to your voice and doesn't rebalance the audio when you alter the TBW unlike all the other Icom 7xxx series. If you think I'm wrong in that statement perhaps you'd like to take it up with Bob Heil who has worked directly with Icom on transmit audio and states that the Icom 7000 has a problem with TX audio and the stock mic due to the fact that the Icom 7000 doesn't have equalisation unlike all the other 7xxx and 7xx Pro series Icoms. He even goes as far as suggesting to use the ACC2 port on the back and use external equalisation to get good TX audio from the Icom 7000. If you watch Ham Nation episode 36 he explains it.

I think that when it comes to TX audio on the Icom 7000 that Bob Heil may know a little more than you do.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 08:16:06 PM by M6GOM » Logged
KW6LA
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2013, 09:01:31 PM »

The above said, it's the best mobile radio I've used.

Not at all, but it is a very fine and simple HF radio/ Not THE BEST ! !. Hard to believe you guys get rapped so tight on the SSB problems.  “One says I might only guess at what I hear” regarding the 7K. How about a TS 870 with ruler flat
frequency response out to 6 Khz. Add AKG 240 headphones or a KRK ST6 near field studio monitor. This is not the crap 2 inch speaker in a steel box or a RX bandwidth @ 2khz. Good grief no wonder all sounds just fine. Look… I was
very close to buying this very attractive package, but my hot button was decent TX audio and a easy radio to operate on the fly SSB. The 7000 can sound Very good if you go the distance setting up the menu and Mic adjustments. I guess
there are to many appliance operators that own 7000’s and I do hear them on the air. M6GOM makes some excellent point so if you are to buy this radio great, just know they are a little touchy to set up RIGHT ! The 480 SAT does have its
down sides, but for those that just want a simple no frill rig for the mobile its worth a look. I had to get over the ugly Bat mobile look though Hi Hi. Sorry this post had to get so rough, but we Hams are very passionate about things hey ?

I do wish you best of luck with whatever radio you end up with. I love the multi color screen on the 7000, but for my old ears the IC 706 sounds just great. Now what do I use for a mic on the TS 870 ( RCA 77 DX Ribbon circa 1950 )
Not your Dad’s mic…………………..or maybe it is ?
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G7DIE
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2013, 05:07:08 AM »

No modifications here, nothing fancy attached to the rig either, and if we equate DX as to how good our audio is, then W6 long path is around 20,000 miles, there was a pile up and I was heard loud enough to be picked out of the crowd, this was whilst driving through my town, so maybe a microphone mod isn't necessary after all Huh

I was almost sold on getting an AB5N mod, I believed what I'd read on forums, heard on air, but unsolicited compliments on my audio, consistent DX to the other side of the World, my fair share of pileup busting, in fact one particular DX station stated that he heard me through the pileup even though my signal was a couple of S points below the strongest stations, simply because of the quality of my audio, made me realise I didn't need any kind of mic mod.

I guess those that have the mod will tell you how much it has changed their audio, how much of a difference it has made to their DX, their rag chewing etc etc, I guess no one wants to believe they may have wasted their money, that said, I wouldn't know what the mic mod sounded like, maybe I should buy one just in case Grin
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K0BG
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2013, 05:36:53 PM »

Quote
Yes it will because the Icom 7000 doesn't have equalisation to tailor it to your voice and doesn't rebalance the audio when you alter the TBW unlike all the other Icom 7xxx series.

This is incorrect. The 7000 does indeed have settings for the transmit audio. If you leave them along, except for setting the response to low, and the low end cutoff to 200 Hz with the mic gain to about 7%, no one will know you're on a 7000.

Conor, you can justify anything you want, but if you're on the receiving end, you'd already know what you sound like.
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