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Reviews Categories | Speakers for communications use | ClearSpeech Speaker CSS-1 Help

Reviews Summary for ClearSpeech Speaker CSS-1
ClearSpeech Speaker CSS-1 Reviews: 35 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $179.95
Description: Powered Speaker with integral DSP noise reduction
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the ClearSpeech Speaker CSS-1.

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KE3HO Rating: 4/5 Aug 15, 2002 08:45 Send this review to a friend
Almost a 5  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Based solely on performance, I would have given this unit a 5, not because it is perfect, but because it is the best DSP unit I have found. It could be better, but it is better than any other I have found. It will not pull a signal out of the noise - if you can't copy the signal without this DSP you probably will not be able to copy it with this DSP. It does not perform miracles. It does do a very nice job of reducing the background noise. As someone else said, with this unit you could even listen to HF in the car with your YL along without catching a load of crap about "that noise".

Aside from performance, I have a few issues with this unit that kept me from giving it a 5:

The instructions say that it should be powered through a 1A fuse. This should be included, even if they just used an inline fuse holder.

There is no On/Off power switch - just a switch to enable or disable the DSP. My mobile setup, like many other, has the power run straight from the battery. An On/Off switch should be included as well.

The case is nicely made. Although it is molded plastic, it seems to be fairly tough, rigid, and the pieces fit together well. The mobile mounting bracket is also molded plastic, and I have some reservation about that. It is fairly thin, and while I have not broken it yet, give me time and I will probably manage it hihi.

The power cord is very light duty. Of course, it is more than adequate for the 300mA max that the unit draws. For a piece of mobile gear I would have used heavier wire just for mechanical strength. The conductor is 0.020"(0.5mm) in diameter, which is 24 AWG. Much to delicate for a mobile installation.


K9VDD Rating: 5/5 Jun 14, 2002 18:30 Send this review to a friend
A REAL MARRIAGE SAVER !!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK guys & gals, when was the last time you went HF mobile and brought your other half along, only to hear a complaint soon after starting out that that radio sure sounds like a "hash" grinder and all static. "How can you hear anything"? Then add the road noise and the "noise" of the complainer !! Makes for a rather poor ham radio experience to say the least!

Now comes the Clear Speech machine!! Nice quiet and clear audio, no "hash" and no complaints from the back seat drivers !!!! Result.... enjoyable HF mobile experience and a good trip and a SAVED MARRIAGE!

73, Ralph K9VDD
KC5UN Rating: 4/5 Apr 25, 2002 15:30 Send this review to a friend
Close, but not perfect  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Much more effective noise reduction than my IC-706's audio DSP, and it really does make listening less tedious. Not nearly as much attenuation and distortion of the desired signal as the '706's built-in DSP circuit for a given amount of noise reduction; however, there is some attenuation, and the distortion does take some getting used to. The notch filter does remove hetrodynes effectively, but takes a few seconds to do it. I don't know if this is a 'feature' to allow its use on CW, but the Icom's notch seems to work better, albeit not on CW.

I was somewhat unpleasantly surprised to learn that the speaker draws about 200 ma as long as it's connected to a power source. You'll either need to add an on-off switch or jumper cables if you go a week without driving the car. When I called customer service to verify this, I got a very pleasant person who suggested that I get power for the speaker from the '706's antenna tuner jack. Elegant solution, as long as you're using a radio that has switched power available. I think most folks would go an extra couple bucks for an on-off switch with a power-on LED as a reminder. (Admittedly, it's a minor squawk.)

I really do like the speaker -- it makes listening to HF in the car much more enjoyable.

Tom, KC5UN
WB4M Rating: 4/5 Apr 25, 2002 11:19 Send this review to a friend
Agree with W5SU  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I installed my CS speaker in my SUV, used with an Icom 706MK2G. After using it for a few weeks now, and reading the other reviews of it, I have to agree with W5SU's assessment of it. Yes, it definitely will reduce the static and background hash and help you to hear much better. But like W5SU mentioned, it also knocks down weak signals that you are trying to copy. Additionally, mine makes a person's voice higher in pitch, and also gives it an unnatural, metallic sound, as if the person was in a barrel. Like most DSP units this one works best on strong signals. But when listening to weaker signals, I prefer to turn it off and use the Icom's DSP and SSB filter.
Oddly, when I use the radio with the engine not running, I get tremendous RF into the speaker, and it is almost as if I am listening to a monitor speaker. I wound some RF chokes on the speaker cable but it did no good at all. But when the motor is running, the RF goes away.
I wish the power cord was a bit longer but that is a minor issue.
Overall I think this is a good unit that will make your mobile listening much better than a regular external speaker.
W5EJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 7, 2002 11:37 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Product  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned three ClearSpeech boxes. I upgraded one in the summer of 2001 to a newer and better version for the car. I also use the box without speaker on my IC-756PRO.

The nicest thing about the unit is how much more pleasant it makes listening. A signal with any strength sounds like you're listening to a VHF FM station... no noise.

Unlike at least one poster, I have found several signals I could copy in my noisy mobile installation with the CS turned on that were not copyable with it off. Not all such uncopyable signals, but it definitely makes some of them 100% copy.

My first CS was the fifth type of DSP noise reducer I've tried. The CS is the ONLY DSP I've found that WILL dig some signals out of the noise. I highly recommend it.

In fact, I rank the CS and MFJ's Antenna Analyzer as THE two most outstanding new ham products in 20+ years.

Ed, W5EJ
N4VNV Rating: 5/5 Apr 7, 2002 11:07 Send this review to a friend
Best in thirty years of listening.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have written glowing reviews of the ClearSpeech speaker for over two years now. And one thing has become perfectly clear while reading the reports of the naysayers. Some of you would complain if you were hung with a new rope.
W5SU Rating: 3/5 Apr 7, 2002 10:57 Send this review to a friend
Pleasant listening, but just an illusion  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I tried one for a while due a fuel pump noise problem while operating hf
mobile, but eventually sold it on Ebay. I used it with IC-706 (early model - no DSP) and also FT-100 with DSP. It certainly was effective in reducing a lot of the noise that
my noise blanker couldn't handle, and definitely made listening more
pleasant. In fact, it was much better than the FT-100's DSP.

But I EMPHATICALLY disagree that it makes a contact possible where it wouldn't be possible without it. Even though it strikingly reduced hash and made listening less stressful, I found that it only gave the ILLUSION that signals could be more copyable.

The true test was to find a signal that was marginal - right smack dab at the noise
level, and see whether the Clearspeech would make it intelligible. I was NEVER able to make that happen. I also noticed a strange occurrence - - With Clearspeech on, a weak but copyable signal would disappear into the mud as I accelerated. The fuel pump noise didn't get louder...the signal just faded. But as I took my foot off of the accelerator, the signal came back. But when accelerating with the Clearspeech turned off, the weak signal stayed at the same strength and the fuel pump noise increased and obliterated it. So clearly what happens is, that the Clearspeech processes away the weak signal along with the noise. So when you listen to it, you only get the perception that you're listening to a quieter band. If a signal is not above the noise level in the first place, you'll lose it when you turn on the Clearspeech.

The other problem was that the processing of the signal couldn't quite
catch up with tuning across the band. So unless I tuned very slowly and
deliberately, I had to turn the Clearspeech off, tune in a signal, then
turn it on again.

Whether or not it'll help you depends upon your needs. It will definitely quiet the background noise and make things more pleasant. But if you're expecting it to make communications possible in conditions that otherwise had prohibited them, it WON'T work.

Carl Solomon - W5SU
Dallas, Texas
N0GV Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2002 19:54 Send this review to a friend
This is a good solid product at a very fair price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

Got one of these puppies about a month ago -- it is noticably more effective than the DSP Noise reduction in my Yaesu FT-847 with much higher audio output even when used in combination with the FT-847's DSP NR. It works very very well on correlated noise but less well on random "white" noise (about 10 dB or so from what I can tell, so it works very well but not *as* well as it does on periodic noise). For the $150 or so that it cost it was well worth the money. No, it does not do everything for everyone, but if you are mainly on phone and in a noisy/crowded area electronically this may well be the right tool for you. It can make a contact possible where it was not possible without it -- that is the difference.

Bottom line -- I like the unit, it performs as advertised and is at a price which should cause Timewave (the competition) to rethink it's market position/pricing.

Grover Larkins
N2EIO Rating: 4/5 Mar 16, 2002 13:47 Send this review to a friend
Qualified "good"  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The ClearSpeech speaker does what it claims to. My comments are based on SSB operation of my base station, although I'm looking forward to going mobile. How effective is it? Better than the DSP noise reduction in my high-end HF transceiver. So what's not to like? The speaker in the unit is usable, but I would have expected better for the money. The base radio's internal speaker sounds much more natural. You can plug another external speaker into the back of the ClearSpeech unit, but then you are up to three speakers for one radio! Also, there are power leads for the ClearSpeech, but no power switch. For me that means that the unit is powered up whenever my base station power supply is on. You can hear a nice "pop" as it powers up, and a series of dulls pops when you power down. The unit emits a constant low-level hiss when power is applied, and other low-level noises when transmitting. (None of this is likely to be noticed in mobile operation). According to the "manual", the unit draws "300 ma or more" when in operation, and 140 ma even when not activated. This is somewhat irritating because I only use the speaker when I need the noise reduction. (A simple solution would be the inclusion of a power switch on the unit). Finally, the unit removes "up to 95%" of background noise. The "up to" is significant. Bottom line, it works!
K1UC Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2002 20:11 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this for use with my FT-100/ATA-100 HF mobile to quell the hash noise, and it is exactly what I needed. I've tried all the tricks for getting a quiet vehicle, none of which did very much for me. This unit gets rid of the hash and I no longer get a headache trying to listen on HF. It makes listening a pleasure and passes signals that I could not otherwise hear. It does a nice job on heterodynes as well.

I compared this unit to the FT-100 DSP and it's far superior for quieting noise and passing a good signal that's easy to copy. I can still hear a very slight amount of ignition noise with it, but the FT-100's noise blanker does a superb job of eliminating that.

I highly recommend trying this unit for HF mobile. It comes with a 30 day money-back offer, but I'll bet once you try it, you won't send it back. Worth every penny.
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