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Author Topic: "Kenwood audio" - what is it ?  (Read 959 times)
WB9YCJ
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« on: August 20, 2001, 04:44:54 PM »

What is:
1) Kenwood audio ?

2) Icom audio ?





 
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2001, 05:40:37 PM »

Years ago Icom was noted for very narrow low-fi contest bandwidth SSB audio.  Kenwood at that time had probably the best SSB audio.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2001, 06:20:50 PM »

"That depends on your definition of 'is'..." -- Bill Clinton.
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KA4P
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2001, 06:22:31 PM »

I dunno, but I have an Icom756-PRO, a Kenwood TS-570D(G), and  Yaesu 847 and I get good audio reports from all 3 rigs. Maybe my Heil mics make the difference?

KA4P
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AC5E
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2001, 06:52:39 PM »

That question brings on a chuckle. I am pretty well known as a "TenTec man," BUT I also own and operate rigs from all three of the Japanese majors.
  I will try the latest KenComSu for a while and get compliments on my "great Ten Tec sound." After I go back to one of my Omni's and mention that I have been trying one of the others someone will invariably say they thought I had changed brands, that there was no mistaking the great sound of whatever brand they favor.
  I suspect it's just another case of Toyota vs Honda; Sable vs Taurus; or Hammarlund vs Homebrew. Everybody's bird dog's the best. Even if it couldn't smell a quail if you rubbed it's nose in quail feathers.

  73  Pete Allen  AC5E
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WA9PIE
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2001, 11:52:43 PM »

Certainly, the mic DOES make a difference.  The Heil mics are tops in my book.  I use a dual-element HM-10 in the shack and a Heil headset/boom in the car (HM-706).  Both get great audio reports.

As always, set up a 2nd receiver and listen for yourself.

Mike, WA9PIE
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KA1DBE
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2001, 10:04:08 AM »

I hate to say it but "Way back when....."  You could almost always tell what rig a person was using by the sound of the audio.  The destinctive ones were Kenwood, Icom, and Collins.  Now, do to the advances in circuits and microphones, they all mostly sound the same.  As I remember it, Kenwood was rather bassy, Icom was a crisp, communication type audio, and Collins sounded like your high end AM receiver audio.  I would have to vote for the Collins.
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WB9YCJ
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2001, 01:37:02 PM »

IT GETS TOUGHER: Actually, in presenting this question, I was thinking RECEIVER audio.  And without myself initially mentioning Xmit or Rcv, all respondants (except Steve) responded about Xmit audio (interesting considering we spend at least three times as much in the receive mode).  From time to time, over the years, I have heard operators remark; "that clean sounding Kenwood receive audio" or "Icom receiver audio".  More specifically, my question regards the design engineers at these companies and if they intentionally design the AF stages with "emphasis" in certain octaves (1 or 2K) to attempt to sound cleaner, clearer, or better than the competition.  It has been proven , many low end rigs I.E. ic-728, 729, actually roll-off the audio at above 2 Khz to attempt to mask much I.F./A.F. hiss (thermal noise,etc.).  

I used a Yaesu for years and when I switched to a Kenwood R-1000 or Icom R-71a, it was like a breath of fresh air. I may re-phrase and re-post this question if not enough people step up to the plate.
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AC5E
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2001, 04:41:02 PM »

Hi again. Well - on the recieve side, using the same old Hallicrafters speaker I have been using for years, there is a big difference between low end and high end rigs. But there is not a great deal of difference between brands on the high end. Certainly not enough for my battered and abused ears to readily tell any difference at all.

  On headphones - I use a pair of Sony studio monitors and there is no appreciable difference in recieve audio - to me. Whatever difference there may be is lost in the changeover. But of course, that is entirely subjective.

  I don't think ten gauge oxygen free copper speaker leads have any substantial advantage over #12 stranded copper either. But I have friends who claim otherwise.
 
  73  Pete Allen  AC5E
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2001, 07:33:47 PM »

On a more serious note than previously (I posted the William J. Clinton quote, and nobody laughed):

You can make an SSB receiver sound very differently by changing injection frequency to the product detector, and with IF shaping created by filters having various characteristics.  As such, there is no real need to alter audio emphasis per se, and I don't believe many (if any) amateur (SSB/CW) receivers have specific audio emphasis.  

Having owned a wide variety of Kenwood, Icom and "other" transceivers and receivers, I doubt that there is any "Kenwood audio" or "Icom audio" commonality between models of the same brand -- at least, not any longer.  The original Kenwood and Icom amateur equipment product design engineers are gone (retired, or dead, or both!) and of course we are all too aware that Yaesu's founder and chief engineer became a Silent Key a few years ago.  As newer rigs are quite well laden with DSP features, both designer and user can shape receive audio to be almost anything he or she wishes it to be, since nearly every single parameter pertinent to these attributes is adjustable or programmable.

I will admit, however, that many of the "original generation" of JA-designed and manufactured amateur SSB rigs, which were largely analog designs, had characteristic receive audio response common over several models within the brand; such was the result of product detector injection at offset frequencies that created the ultimate "sound" of the received signals tuned in.  To my ear, Kenwood usually sounded broader, fuller, richer (more bass) and Icom usually sounded narrower and less rich (less bass) simply due to tighter injection and narrower "standard" filtering used by Icom, as compared with Kenwood.

73 Steve WB2WIK/6
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KA2QFX
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2001, 07:35:18 PM »

I must agree I agree with much of the previous posts.   The rice burner radios all seemed to have a unigue sound in their earlier generations. To my ear the ICOM was always the sharper DX type sound with abrupt but clean compression at the higher drive levels. The Kenwood had rather broader or flatter response and compressed sooner giving a more natural sounding envelope. And the Yaesu seemed flat but lacked low end smoothness and got somewhat distorted when ALC levels rose above a relatively low compression level.

Nowadays they all do tend to sound more similar and the digital enhancments to the radios internal adjustments make this more tailorable.  And some people say you have to match the right mic to the right radio. I've always felt it's more a matter of matching the mic to your voice.

One other thing that I've noted about "Kenwood Audio" (which is a noticable characteristic once you know what to listen for) was actually explained to me by a Kenwood tech out in their Ca service center.  He claimed that Kenwood designed their filters to have minimal group delay characteristics in their passband.  This explains a lot about their sound. This is a very notable quality when speaking of FM receivers where 75 KHz of bandwidth at 10.7 MHz must pass. I hadn't thought that 3 KHz at 7 - 9 MHz would be that big a deal. But it appears that at the band edges, where phase shifts become most pronounced, filters don't care what the passband width is, they shift regardless.

The resultant phase errors when recombined in the following stages result in a unigue type of sonic coloration which when pronounced is guite noticable. While this coloration may not be "heard" in the normal sense the psychoacoustic sensitivity of the human ear to phase shifts is well documented.  
This is most easily demonstrated when listening to a recording made at some distance from the audio source. The recording sounds echoey and distant while a person standing at the same location as the microphone does not hear any echo. That's psychoacoutstics at work in the brain.  The problem I have with this is at 8 - 9 MHz even a max phase shift of +/- 90 degrees is only a few microseconds. At audio frequencies I would think any phase errors from such a small delay would be less than detectable. But maybe not, or maybe something else is being introduced and transposed to the audio. I don't know but wouldn't mind hearing from a more knowledgable source. Any Audio Engineering Society  geeks out there??

He also claimed that Kenwood's same design goals gave the passband less ripple. Since crystal filters are simply multiple filters with different centers overlapping there are actually band edge effects throughout the passband. How they do this he didn't tell me. But Kenwood's filter skirts do tend to be a bit less sharp than ICOM's.

Whether this is the reason for the audible difference or not I can't comfirm.  What I do know is I like "Kenwood Audio". For the kind of operating I do I find the ICOM (older one's anyway) audio abrasive and fatiguing after an hour of field day activity. I can listen to the Kenwood all day and then some.  Yaesu's haven't been a problem for me, but I still like the Kenwood better. But I'm not a DX hound either.

Everybody's got the best bird dog I guess. In the lexicon of today's educational system "There are no wrong answers"  Yeah, right.

And I agree that oxygen free copper, ultra low capacitance, litz wire speaker cables are not verifiable in my living room either. But I do seperate the bass from the midrange/highs over two sets of fairly heavy cables and that did make an audible difference.

73,

Mark
KA2QFX
 
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WB9YCJ
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2001, 04:58:15 PM »

Bingo -- Steve's and Mark's last posts hit the nail on the head. Things such as product detector employment, filter shape factors, injection, BFO techniques, etc., all have a play in what we hear.  I wish most H.F. Hams could read those two enlightning posts. An "A" to Steve and "A+" to Mark.

Mark touched on something very related -- "Listener Fatigue".  I will now post a question here on "Elmer's", to address this phenomenom and attempt to extract from the readership their ideas (true or false) as to what technically causes "Listener Fatigue".  Should make for good reading and perhaps a few things we didnt realize.

Thanks to all who responded and 73,

   WB9YCJ/6
ex WB9YCJ/KH6 mobile.
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KC9L
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2001, 01:43:34 PM »

My two main HF rigs are a Kenwood on the desk and a Yaesu in the car.  Even when parked with the engine off (as to discount road noise, wind noise, engine growl, etc.) the Yaesu audio is much more fatiguing than the Kenwood (both are in the same price class).  I think it's due to the fact that the atmospheric noise in the Yaesu is higher pitched.  Why this is, I'm not sure.  I haven't looked at the block diagrams and schematics.  I would guess that it is the method that each radio uses to filter the signal, but whether it's post-rf-chain audio filters or the IF filters, I can't say.
I used to have an Icom on the desk and it was also harsher.  (I have hooked them up to the same speaker, so I know it's not just the quality of the rigs' internal speakers that's the limiting factor.)

73, Chris KC9L
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