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Reviews Categories | Specialized Amateur Communication Products | MFJ-616 Speech Enhancer Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-616 Speech Enhancer
MFJ-616 Speech Enhancer Reviews: 19 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $170.
Description: Tailors the sound of your radio to your ears.
Product is in production.
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W9MT Rating: 4/5 Mar 20, 2017 21:25 Send this review to a friend
When it fully works, it does what it claims...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I just bought my 2nd one at the Scottsdale AZ hamfest on 3/18/2017. Here's why...

I bought my first one at the Show Low AZ hamfest in 2013 from the sponsoring club's (Kachina group's) consignment table. It was purchased at a great price ($20), but when I got it home, the Volume Control was so poppy and scratchy that no amount of contact cleaner would save it. So, surgery was required.

Once equipped with a replacement Volume pot, I became very attached to this device. Even using a pair of original ClearSpeech DSP speakers with my MFJ-616, the audio boost/cut controls at 300Hz, 600Hz, 1200Hz, and 2400Hz really allow boosting intelligibility of voices. I was pleasantly shocked at how much mud could be reduced on a received SSB voice and make my FT-817 sound like a radio costing $1000's more.

So, I always was on the lookout for another one for a 2nd transceiver's use.

I saw my 2nd unit at last Saturday's hamfest and asked the price (with MFJ-1315 wall wart). The answer came back $20 again. I didn't even try to chisel the price down and happily paid the seller. I was told it worked and belonged to an older ham who recently became an SK who had used it a lot.

I brought it home and tried it out. It worked well in all respects other than the 300Hz cut/boost control did nothing. You could turn it all day...still no effect. The other ranges worked like they should. Knowing MFJ's quality problems and seeing some questionable solder on the pcb, I touched things up. Still nothing. A simple Harbor Freight "free pocket DVM" buzz out test pointed to (you guessed it...) another bad pot !!! I changed it out and now Unit #2 works like a champ. I plan to use this '616 on another radio.

Moral of the story is twofold...

The MFJ-616 is surprisingly effective when fully functional...and MFJ uses lousy potentiometers.

This one had a defective wiper. My old unit had one with a bad carbon track. I doubt the SK ever had the thing working correctly. The 300Hz pot was probably bad from the factory.
M0KFO Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2016 03:29 Send this review to a friend
Works well  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I managed to pick one up mint for 50, which was only a few weeks old. I reckon the seller just couldn't get rid of the ground/audio loop and wanted shot of it.
My hearing is fine, but it works great as an amp/equaliser to power a couple of speakers.

I don't use it as recommended, I just turn the frequency controls until it sounds best.

I did have problems with ground/audio loop to begin with. I have a doublet which shouldn't give any RFI. I tried it on the vertical which is 180ft away from the shack still had it, dummy load still had it.

So, then went looking at what else it could be, I have snap on ferrites here and there. I made a shielded lead from RG58, no luck. I put an isolation 1:1 600 ohm transformer, no luck. What cured it eventually for me, was three ferrite snap ons on the two PSUs (recommended not to run the 616 from the same PSU as the rig) and three on the power cable at the rig end. And some on the speaker leads.

Now I just acquired a Ten Tec 715, seems the same problem, so looks like doing the same again, to sort that.

W1EQO Rating: 4/5 Mar 3, 2016 16:01 Send this review to a friend
This box works  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you are a contester, try one. Esp for the low, noise, bands.

I bought the box because I thought I had a hearing issue; over the years busted calls were creeping upward. So I bought a 616 box as a partial solution.

What happened was that I could pull the weak European calls out of the mud. Yea!

Jim, W1EQO
K4EJQ Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2016 19:17 Send this review to a friend
"Second" N4GW's Note  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
AD5HD Rating: 2/5 Jul 28, 2015 15:47 Send this review to a friend
Too much hiss  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a four channel parametric EQ covering 300Hz to 2400Hz. To obtain improved intelligibility the lower frequencies must be cut and the higher frequencies boosted. But if the audio chain generates a lot of hiss then the cut/boost simply makes it worse. Using it following a DSP denoiser (Timewave DSP-599zx) which is very quiet this hiss then obviates some of the benefit of the denoiser function. It's pretty annoying and makes it difficult to find a compromise setting that minimizes noise while maximizing intelligibility especially with weak signals. The noise arises entirely from the TL084 used in the EQ section. It's a perfectly acceptable audio opamp but not exactly low noise. Likely possible to improve upon it by changing out to a better quality opamp so that's next on the list.
KB0RDL Rating: 0/5 Jun 20, 2015 09:11 Send this review to a friend
Bad luck with mine.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading the great reviews on EHAM I decided to buy one of these to clear up the bassy "muddiness" I was listening to on 80 meters. The difference is that I bought the MFJ-618 which is identical in function but is designed to adjust two speakers individually instead of just one. I ordered from it DX Engineering for $219.95.

When it came I noticed that the unit was damaged although the box it was packed in at the factory was not, which meant that it happened at the factory. It had apparently been dropped on a concrete floor and bent a corner in but they packaged it anyway. Reasoning that it may have damaged the circuit board I called DX and they immediately replaced it for me. It was great service and they paid shipping both ways.

I hooked up the second unit and was surprised to notice that the sound adjustments produced no noticeable change in either channel. A few days later I was sitting my shack with the unit on and it started putting out some terrible audio hash all on its own. The radio was off at the time.

I tried to troubleshoot the unit. I tried different power supplies, different speakers and a different radio. Nothing worked. It was apparently a defect in the unit. I called DX and they are sending me a Mountain West noise reduction unit as a substitute plus a refund for the difference in price. I ran through my troubleshooting procedure with the technician and he agreed that it was the unit.

I feel awkward about this because everyone else has reported such good results and it's likely that I just got a bad unit, which can happen with anyone. The thing to remember is to buy it from some place where you have recourse if it doesn't work. DX Engineering was great.
WD9IQN Rating: 5/5 Apr 4, 2015 09:02 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic !!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was looking for something to use as a receive audio equalizer and to drive two speakers on my corner desk. I don't have a hearing problem but after reading reviews on the MFJ-616 I decided to give it a try. I plugged it into the audio out on the back of my Kenwood external speaker. This thing works great. I thought my Kenwoods and Yaesu's sounded great before. They are high fidelity now! Worried about rf ? I have never had RF get into the unit even with my amp on. I am very impressed with the MFJ-616.
NJ2H Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2013 08:12 Send this review to a friend
Even better than I hoped for  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been thinking about getting this for years (its about a fifteen year old product) and my XYL finally got it for me for Xmas. Well, I don't often speak in superlatives, but this thing really does help those of us with upper frequency hearing loss. The sound isn't very nice when set for full upper frequency boost and no bass, but you can sure understand it. My only gripe is that as an old design, it has RCA jacks for the input, so I had to head off to Radio Shack and get a phono plug and make a cable with a 1/8" plug on the other end to match up with my FT-950, but it was well worth it. Also annoyed that it doesn't come with a DC cable. You have to buy or make up one with a K connector, which is what I did. For the price, they could have included that or just use binding posts.
KD7S Rating: 5/5 May 15, 2013 15:26 Send this review to a friend
Surprisingly Effective  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Having a "serious to profound" hearing loss in both ears, understanding SSB signals, even with behind-the-ear hearing aids is often almost impossible. A very good friend was disposing of a Silent Key's equipment and offered me the MFJ-616. It took me a while to find the best settings for my particular hearing loss but now that it is "dialed in", it is like turning on a light bulb in a darkened room. If you are hearing impaired, the '616 will help. Simply said, it does what it is supposed to do.
KY4MRG Rating: 5/5 Jun 2, 2012 19:22 Send this review to a friend
Great product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was reading about the mfj-616 and how it worked
found one and it is great, i use with a couple of
radio shack speakers. With my high hearing loss this is the perfect piece of equipment for my needs. I wish i had one of these a while ago. I will use a while and then update this. This is gonna be great for those hard to hear signals.
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