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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: 18 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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HAMDUDE Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2011 04:28 Send this review to a friend
performs great  Time owned: more than 12 months
On my second unit, don't remember why i sold the first one, definetly a mistake. losing hearing at 51 years old, found another unit and picked it up. after installing and adjusting for a few hours during numerous contacts, found the right settings. by turning the unit on and off during qso's, you can really see the effectivness of the 616. as others have said, "where is the 15 cent on/off light?" on the quality of mfj: i have had numerous items and have only had 1 failure. i know you should not have to take apart a new unit and check solder joints, tighten bolts etc, but i believe thats a good practice for anything you buy new outside of a radio unit, i reccomend this item.
W8RMA Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2011 18:12 Send this review to a friend
Saying "QRZ?" too often? GET ONE!  Time owned: months
About 10 years ago an ear doctor told me I was losing my high frequency hearing. Nothing serious, but as I grew older he said it would probably get worse.

So because I didn't need much of an excuse to buy any kind of gismo that would plug into a radio, I bought the MFJ-616.

I hooked it up but didn't see much of a difference with it. Oh, it made the highs higher and the lows lower and at times it could knock down certain types of atmospheric noise, but it certainly didn't make anything more intelligible.

I was going to sell it, but all the reviews raved about it, saying it returned the fun of radio to those "old guys" who couldn't hear good any more. Now I are one!

Over the past several months I noticed that I was having more and more trouble hearing a lot of people on the radio. (I attributed it no-code licensing. I figured all these new no-code hams were using their old CB power mics. HI HI)

Finally I considered the remote possibility that maybe the problem was with my hearing. I doubted it since I'm only just shy of 69 years old , and I remembered that MFJ-616 back in the corner of a closet.

So I dug it out, dusted it off and pluged it in and started turning the knobs.

I damned near fell out of my chair!! I don't have the writing skills to properly describe the impact that little box has had on my radio enjoyment, so let me just say the following:

If signals are sounding flat and muffled and you are saying "QRZ? Please repeat your call" more and more, if you think that the letters B, C, D, E, G, P, V and Z should be outlawed from ham radio call signs, it may be time to consider an MFJ-616.

SWMAN Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2010 06:06 Send this review to a friend
Perfect/great now!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just the other day I gave the 616 a 2 because of the bad RF problem I was having. Come to find out from the good elmers here on eham I traced out the problem to the power supply. I was using the same supply for radio and the 616 which was causing a ground loop and feedback. I connected to a separate supply and wow, no more RF at all. Now I can give it a 5 plus thanks to the good elmers here. 73 Jim
N4GW Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2010 17:41 Send this review to a friend
Pleasantly surprised  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was very pleased. I picked up one of these up off of eBay for a good price. I was skeptical because MFJ sometime has quality issues. I dont have any hearing loss but have always been disappointed in the sound quality coming out of todays radios and speakers. I finally found a speaker I really like. The new Palstar SP30H. i also did a review on this speaker here on eham. Even with this speaker, I though things could work better

My MFJ 616 arrived just in time for the CQ WPX contest this past weekend. The unit is basically an audio equalizer that works only on the voice range of frequencies, and it actually works really well. This may be one of the best kept secrets in HAM radio. You can adjust the audio to your liking and really pull out what the other person is saying. It really helped in the contest for those whose audio is not transmitted at its best.

If you get one of these, you will not be disappointed. It may even make bad speakers sound good, but it would be best to start with a really great speaker too
K5OQ Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2005 11:49 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding - With A Serious Limitation  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

Outstanding - With One Serious Limitation

Recently, I had a sudden and nearly-complete loss of hearing in one ear. All that I could hear in the affected ear were a few high frequencies at high amplitude. The prevalence of wide-band transmitter audio caused my bad ear to vibrate like a broken speaker cone when subjected to moderate levels of high-frequency audio.

The MFJ-616 Speech Intelligibility Enhancer now allows me to listen to all types of transmitted audio with adjustment for a specific station's audio - on my IC-756 ProIII. The MFJ box allows tailoring of four broad ranges of the audio spectrum, either boost or cut. By cutting the 2400KHz range, the eardrum rattling sound is abated. Only one station that I speak with often has such piercing highs that I must use all of the 2400Hz cut (about 20db) to reduce the rattling in my eardrum.

The MFJ input in mono, but there are two separate audio amps, so you get a pseudo-stereo effect, and there is a Balance control to shift more audio to one speaker or headphone than the other. Why there is no red LED for ON/OFF is a puzzling oversight.

MFJ points out that only 4% of speech intelligibility is contained below 500Hz. Even when both ears were nearly perfect, I did not enjoy listening to most of the "broadband" audio signals on the air, with the emphasis on low-end. Now, I cut the audio below about 300Hz on most broadband audio signals - and enjoy better intelligibility. The middle ranges can also be cut or boosted, depending on particular abnormal frequency responses in your ears.

For now, I am using two AES PCL-1 speakers, an old Heil Pro boom headset, and a variety of stereo headphones. I will experiment with different speakers and perhaps one of the new Heil boom headsets.

The MFJ-616 has one glaring weakness. It is designed to correct for symmetrical loss of frequency response in both ears. Although it has two audio amps and a Balance control, this does nothing to help where one ear has a profound difference in frequency response from the other. What is needed is a dual-channel design with separate filters for each ear. For example, if I cut the 2400Hz response by about 20db in deference to my 'tin' ear, I am also robbing the good ear of the higher frequency response.

I am giving some thought to buying a second MFJ-616 and use one for each ear, with one speaker from each unit and a composite stereo headset plug to tap right and left audio from the two units. It would be nice if MFJ would produce a new model with two audio channels and separate audio bandpass tailoring for the right and left ear. A lot of people with asymmetrical hearing would probably pay the price for such a unit. Why buy a $3,000 to $10,000 rig if you can't hear the output clearly? What's another $300 to hear clearly! Say again your prefix, please. Dick K5OQ
K9FTB Rating: 5/5 Dec 9, 2003 15:19 Send this review to a friend
Meets Expectations  Time owned: more than 12 months
I took a chance purchasing an MFJ product, given their reputation for product quality and customer support. This product has performed very well and is trouble free (about 18 mos. now). I find that once I've set the audio bandpass for "my ears" there's little need to adjust it in the future.

My only nit to pick is that there is no power "on / off" indicator (LED, lamp, etc.). The power switch is push in / out style. At a glance, it would be handly to see if the power is on or off.

You can certainly vary the audio bandpass and the unit makes quite a difference in what you hear - especially if your higher frequency hearing is shot, as is mine.

Never have had the cover off (yet) so I can't comment on manufacturing quality.
W4JFR Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2003 20:11 Send this review to a friend
I am pleased  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased this item rather skeptically. I have never been a fan of MFJ and assumed at first that this was nothing more than a gimmick. But, like the first reviewer, I have experienced some deterioration in my hearing (age is 52). I have particular difficulty hearing in the lower range of the human voice. So, I thought I would give it a try. I have been very pleasantly surprised, to the point that now I can't live without it. I use it with a Ten Tec Paragon and Sennheiser HD 590 stereo headphones -- I have no speakers hooked up to the unit.

The audio quality is greatly improved and, more importantly it allows you to adjust for the variations in an individual's voice characteristics. Now, I find myself "tweaking" it every time I listen to a new station. The effect is not only higher quality audio, but a sense of noise reduction as well. It is particularly good with rather weak DX transmissions. Stations that I could never read clearly before, now sound much better.

The product lives up to its claimed performance and, I believe, is well worth the money.
Jim, W4JFR

WA6IPD Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2002 16:32 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have a severe hearing loss and have to use headphones to hear anything on the radio. It was becoming more and more difficult to copy voice signals so I thought I would give the MFJ-616 a try and WOW what a difference it made. I am using an Icom IC-756 with Kenwood HS-5 headphones, I also have the Heil Proset but for my ears the HS-5 works best. Everything they claim for this unit is true, I can actually make signals sound as clear as they did when I was 20 years old. I also find that sometimes when there is interference I can copy the signal 100% using the 616 but nothing when I hit the bypass. Itís a little pricey but for me well worth the money.
Here is some added information for those thinking about buying hearing aids. For minor hearing loss the in-the-ear units are fine. They tend to be fragile, the battery doors often break, they eat batteries, are uncomfortable and often oscillate. Most people quit wearing them after a while. The price of hearing aids is negotiable so never pay list price, shop around. You should also get units with automatic volume control, they call that compression. As your hearing deteriorates you will want to get behind-the-ear units. These have more gain but again they are uncomfortable, suffer from wind noise and transmit your chewing noise so when you are out eating forget about hearing. If you forget you are wearing them and it is raining you will likely need new aids. Here again insist on compression, also with this aid you can get directional microphones so ask for that feature and insist on wind shields for the microphones, even with wind shields you will be lucky to hear in the slightest breeze. I gave up on the commercial units and designed my own pocket unit which suffers none of the above problems. Had I done that to begin with I would have saved thousands.

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