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Author Topic: Desk Mic: MD-100A8X vs MFJ-299  (Read 3259 times)
KG7LWZ
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Posts: 94




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« on: May 12, 2014, 06:41:54 AM »

Not sure where to post this question. There really isn't a sub-forum for microphones.

Anyway; I have a Yaesu FT-857D that I'm using as a base station. Obviously, sitting for periods of time and finally talking could get a little uncomfortable with the traditional mobile mic that the FT-857D comes with. Hence, I am in the market for a desk mic. I sort of speak on the "Low Volume Quiet" side of things, so I was thinking that an amplified desk mic would be a good idea. But after a lot of internet searching, it seems that the main desk mic people have used on the FT-857 as a base station, seems to be the Yaesu MD-100A8X. Now, I'm not sure if this is mainly for "Brand Loyalty" or if this mic truly is a really good solution for the FT-857.

Less noted, but highly praised by those who do use it, the MFJ-299 also seems to be a pretty good solution. I do like the fact that the MFJ-299 has a meter, an EQ, and some voice adjustments. Price wise, they are almost the same price. $118 for the MFJ-299 with the appropriate cables and shipping. $139 for the MD-100A8X with the appropriate cable and shipping.

Was wondering if anyone here had any experience with either mic; and especially if you used it on a Yaesu FT-857D. Thanks.
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Born Wild - Raised Proud: 73
Cheyenne, Wyoming
PA1ZP
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Posts: 256




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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 07:52:13 AM »

Hi

I do have a Ft857D also and tried many different mikes on it.
the best choise for this rig is the MD100.
And it still will not sound perfect, but that has to do with the inners of the radio.

But a MD100 sounded better as anything else I tried on the FT857d.

Good luck with your quest and on he air
73 Jos
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 10:53:22 AM »

The advantage of a hand mic is being able to put it close to your mouth and then adjusting Mic Gain for a level just high enough to modulate adequately and not pick up ambient noises.  

One of the more annoying aspects of poor operators are those who put a mic on the desk, lean back in their chair and crank Mic Gain high to compensate.  

The listener is then forced to listen to the cooling fan on the radio/amp, squeak of the chair, dogs, and the wife banging pots in the kitchen.  Smiley

Mounting a mic element on an extension arm can be helpful or just picking up the desk mike and holding it close while leaning back in the chair are good methods as well.

Amplified, CB-type microphones are really not needed for ham radios, and make it much more likely to pick up excess noise and/or over modulate the radio.  Learn how to monitor your ALC level to prevent over modulating.

The most reliable and economical method is to use manufacturers recommended mics for the radio since they are specifically designed for good performance.  However many hams (myself included) enjoy collecting and using different microphones.   Any mic can be used with any radio with proper impedance matching, wiring, and level adjustment.  

Enjoy, bill

p.s. The MFJ 299 looks like a nice unit with several features making it flexible for use with different radios.  I have a similar unit Kenwood made years ago, which allows changing between different radios with compensating adjustments.  The trade off is A. losing desk space B. you aren't going to cradle that on your chest while leaning back in the chair for extended QSO's.  Smiley    It's all a matter of personal taste.  Either mic will give you good performance.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 11:07:24 AM by KB4QAA » Logged
KG7LWZ
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Posts: 94




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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 12:26:53 PM »

Thanks for the replies. That's the tradeoff and question I am now faced with. If I get the MFJ-299, I get the advantage of the EQ, some amplification, a meter, etc... But I have to keep it placed on the desk and lean into it to talk.

if I get the MD-100A8X, I don't get any of the other features mentioned, but the microphone pops off of the stand, (Like a musician's microphone), and I can hold it in my hand and sit back if I want to. (It has a secondary PTT button on the mic, besides on the stand).

So I guess, I need to decide. Thanks again for the input. mike....
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Born Wild - Raised Proud: 73
Cheyenne, Wyoming
VA7CPC
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 07:13:33 PM »

This article should be mandatory reading for anyone considering a desk mic:

http://www.eham.net/articles/19996

A question you haven't answered, and that nobody has asked:

. .  What do you want to accomplish, that the stock mic (probably an MH-31) doesn't do?

I use a "dynamic vocal mic" (an Audio-Technica stage mic similar to a Shure SM58) on my FT-450, and get good reports.  I'm certain that the Shure SM58 would work on the FT-857.  The Heil HM-12 might work as well, or better -- it has more "presence boost".

The SM58 has _really good_ rejection of handling noise, and _really good_ "hiss-and-pop" filtering.  No PTT switch, but that's easy to arrange. 

You can mount most any hand mic (SM58, HM-12, etc) in a $25 mic stand (with boom) from the local music shop.  It's clumsy, but cheap, and it lets you put the mic where your mouth is, instead of on the desk.

The "low cut" TX EQ adjustment on the FT-857 will remove whatever "excess bass" those mics have. 

.       Charles


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KD8GEH
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2014, 09:39:12 AM »

I prefer Heil, you do have settings on ur rig to adjuct the eq etc. I use a Goldline Heil, home brew boom with a foot switch. Comfortable and sounds awesome.   Check out Bobs tips here: http://www.heilsound.com/amateur/dsp-settings/128-all-things-yaesu


73 Dave KD8GEH
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2014, 04:42:52 AM »

There is nothing wrong with the Yaesu MD-100A8X.  And I haven't used the MFJ.
But have you considered a headset/mic setup?  Heil makes several that you might want to use.
Headsets can be very versatile!

-Mike.
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KG7LWZ
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Posts: 94




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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2014, 08:01:16 PM »

I appreciate all the input. I have thought of a headset mic/speaker, but I'm not a real fan. I don't have a lot of background noise to deal with and I can hear the HAM quite well. I have an external speaker. (Actually, that's an understatement). I've been involved in a lot of music/live recording. I actually have a lot of recording studio equipment. So the audio from the ham is coming through some pretty good speakers, via preamp/amp/eq. (Of course I only EQ up to 5K in audio frequency). Obviously, HAM microphones use quite a bit impedance difference than my studio mics, so I don't want to use them. Plus, I really don't want to deal with building a PTT.

But, because I have a lot of mic stands, booms, swivels, etc... I am leaning more towards the MD-100A8X because it can be removed from it's stand. I could put it on one of my swivels, booms or mic stands. Although, I don't know how the mic itself is connected to the MD-100 stand??? Is it a long cord? Without cutting it, can an extension cord be added?

I think no matter what, I've probably am leaning at 90+% towards the MD-100A8X. Just trying to figure out the best way to use/mount it. Thanks again
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Born Wild - Raised Proud: 73
Cheyenne, Wyoming
KC9YTJ
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Posts: 77




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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2014, 05:56:07 AM »

I have an MD-100A8X and like it quite a lot.  Works nicely with my FT-450D.

The MD100 base has a permanently-connected wire extending from it which terminates in a round 8-pin plug that connects to the microphone.  That wire is about a foot long.

You also get a coil cord that's probably about 6 feet if you stretch it, which has the Yaesu RJ-45 connector on the radio end and a round 8-pin plug that connects to the base's 8-pin transceiver jack.  Or, since there is also an RJ-45 jack in the mic base, you can reverse the coil cord for use with a radio that has a traditional round 8-pin mic jack.

You can cut out the middleman (the base) and hook the coil cord directly to the microphone, but then you lose the base controls (big PTT switch, PTT lock switch, High Emphasis, Filter and Low Cut switches, and the scanning control) and have only a PTT button on the mic to play with.
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KG7LWZ
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Posts: 94




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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2014, 12:11:00 PM »

Thanks YTJ. I don't want to get rid of the base and all the controls. HOWEVER, you did mention something that is very promising. Although the mic cord is permanently attached to the base, the other end (8 pin connector) does disconnect from the microphone. I can simply make/buy a female/male extension cord for the microphone. Allows a small footprint on the desk for the Base controls; and allows me to put the microphone on a boom/swivel mic stand. Similar to my studio mics I use. And the mic has a PTT on it, so that makes using it simple. I can definitely see this as a good permanent setup. Just have to make sure I place the base unit of the mic out of the way so nothing lays on top of the PTT. LOL.... Thanks for the promising info. I liked the additional controls of the MFJ-299, but being able to disconnect the mic and use it on a stand, and the mic has an additional PTT so I don't have to fabricate a switch, just sealed the deal. Thanks everyone. mike....
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Born Wild - Raised Proud: 73
Cheyenne, Wyoming
KC9YTJ
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Posts: 77




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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2014, 12:14:28 PM »

Note also that the PTT on the mike is not a momentary-contact switch like you'd get on a typical handheld mike.  It's a toggle, and it stays in until you click it again.

The reason I know this is that mine happened to get clicked on somehow between last night and this morning, and when the 450D came up it was flashing its TX light at me Smiley
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KG7LWZ
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Posts: 94




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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2014, 12:53:57 PM »

Thanks. I actually remember reading about that in the user manual online. But no where could I find info on the "Length" of the mic cord; and more importantly..... that it actually DISCONNECTS. If it can disconnect, I can make an extension cord. Thanks. mike....
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Born Wild - Raised Proud: 73
Cheyenne, Wyoming
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