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Author Topic: Which Mic and EQing  (Read 1690 times)
AF6D
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« on: February 26, 2019, 12:43:47 AM »

I currently have a Heil PR 780 connected to a Yaesu FT2K. I almost always get good audio reports except on one occasion when I heard from Art Bell who wasn't a friend of mine but was everyone else. Nonetheless, he told me that my audio was off and needed to be adjusted.

As one that used to do stage and sound work I am familiar with basic EQing  but not microphones for broadcast work. Our mixers generally had three-band per channel at best. Low mid-range and high. We would use a pink noise generator like a dbx and EQ the room and set it up for feedback control.

The Yaesu FT2K has its own 3 band parametric EQ and it seems to be effective. But is I rebuild the station with the intention of replacing the FT2K but just not yet, I would like a better microphone and the ability to externally EQ it. I can use a stereo EQ and use the B-side to EQ the station speaker.

I am looking at the RE20 or a SM7B. Each has its qualities. Regardless of which one I choose, what is the best way to EQ the microphone without tying some of the up on the other end that says "you sound fine" when that is a subjective statement? I'm not looking at creating a 4K wide station. In fact I know that for DX you actually want to narrow it down. But I still want to control. I can also add a compressor / limiter while I'm at it.
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W2BLC
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 03:09:52 AM »

Understand: If you ask six ops how you sound - you will get six different answers. The preference is to work with one person whom knows how you "normally" sound and make your adjustments accordingly.

If you really sound good - you will occasionally receive unsolicited "you sound great" reports. If you sound bad, rest assurred that you WILL be told!

So easy to tinker with a few EQ setting - compared with microphone swapping and audio chain circuit "improvements" of the old days.

Based on over 60 years on the air - Bill W2BLC
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AF6D
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2019, 11:59:29 AM »

I fully agree that if you ask six different people you'll get six different analysis. LOL. That's why my question was how do I adjust the EQ without somebody listening? Do I need a spectrum analyzer? I don't know if the one in my service monitor would work for audio. I never really gave it any thought. How does the studios EQ a microphone? As I mentioned, Art Bell came on before he passed away into a net I belong to and told me that my audio sounded off and I needed to adjust it. He always had excellent sounding audio. So like I asked, what is the professional way of doing it?
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KD0REQ
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2019, 12:13:25 PM »

a broadcast studio does not EQ separate mikes. they strive for everything flat as a ruler, and then play with the Orban until they get the sound they want. if individual jocks sound crummy, they might get a different mike, and possibly a different studio.

in commercial recording, everything gets diddled to the producer's satisfaction. EQ, send and return to processors, etc.

in ham radio, the bandpass filters in SSB generation should leave you in a 2.1-2.4 KHz window, and that is done in accordance with FCC regulations to fit the channel. if you don't like the place the hump falls, as long as you don't try for super-fi and overlap the channel you tuned to, hey, play. put a recorder on a separate receiver with a coathanger antenna, and adjust.
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WB8VLC
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2019, 01:00:51 PM »

I wonder if Art Bell died because you didn't fix your audio to his liking?

Don't sweat the small stuff.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2019, 04:32:29 PM »

 
Understand: If you ask six ops how you sound - you will get six different answers.

And statistically five out of the six are so old their hearing is shot.  You're going to be chasing this one for a while...

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
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WA7AQH
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2019, 05:18:48 PM »

 A pretty simple solution to audio control/shaping/routing is to add a digital effects mixer. Adding a digital effects mixer gives you great control over just about any audio characteristic you like and opens up a whole world of mics for you (when you have total control over EQ and compression on the output to the radio, you can use a mic with a 20-20,000 hz response curve with no problem). My personal favorite for the price is the Behringer XR-12 paired with a Shure SM-58A for a mic and for a headset it's the Radiosport with the high output dynamic capsule. With the XR-12, I can leave everything connected always and switch between mic and headset with the click of a mouse. Let's you control your computer audio as well and record your radio audio out to a USB drive on the mixer or to your computer. Pretty great bang for the buck for $250 in my book. A headless digital mixer has pros and cons compared to a physical sliders and buttons mixer, but that's a much longer discussion. Just make sure you've got a at least two stereo channels out and that each input can be individually set up with different settings for each of the outputs.

You don't say if you're going to add additional radios in the future or not, but I'd guess you will.  If you're using more than one radio, add W2IHY's iPlus and you can move mics, keys, PTT, speakers, etc, among three radios with the turn of one knob. I don't run my audio out from the radios through the iPlus because I want to listen to multiple radios at the same time on external speakers but with a mixer you don't have to; those go straight to the XR-12. You can set up EQ and compression profiles for each radio as well and, using the same mic and not changing anything in the radios, choose between those with a simple mouse click.

Lots of ham specific audio gear out there, but slap a "ham radio" title on it, and the price goes up pretty steep. W2IHY's stuff is very well built, does a solid job, but has a "ham radio" price tag on it. His EQ alone will run you almost as much as the XR-12. His iPlus is, however, unique from what I've found. Great tool. And as far as mics are concerned, don't get me started on Heil. :-)

Add a couple of 4-5" self powered studio monitors, and you'll have a highly flexible audio set up that will outperform almost any of the "ham radio" gear on the market (including the new, outrageously priced "DSP speakers" which are pretty much irrelevant for a modern radio with DSP built in anyway) for a small fraction of the cost.

If you're interested, I have a powerpoint from a presentation I did for the local DX club on improving station audio I'd be willing to share. Contact info is good on QRZ or PM me if you're interested.
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K1VSK
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2019, 07:47:19 PM »

Understand: If you ask six ops how you sound - you will get six different answers.

and most of those 6 will be using some cheap computer speaker.

Why people try to emulate AM audio in the sSB world is baffling - if it’s that important, use AM and stop cluttering up the bands with unnecessarily wide bandwidth SSB signals. Or better still, use CW and the problem disappears.
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AF6D
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2019, 10:16:26 PM »

I regret that somehow I was not clear enough with my question. As i mentioned I don't want to tie someone up on the air asking for an audio report. I know that to be subjective. I want to know how to professionally EQ myself off the air. I own numerous Behringer and Mackie mixers; SM58's, Heil mics, and I'm about to buy either a RE20 Gold Line or a SM7B. Both are higher end professional microphones, although I've used the Heil PR780 to do some serious vocal recordings. It had good quality audio.

The question is how do I EQ a microphone by myself using perhaps a spectrum analyzer or similar. I don't want a computer based solution. If the computer fails I'd have to reroute my mics. An outboard audio mixer is my preference. I have several 12 channel Behringer Eurorack RX1202FX rack-mounted mixers. These are decent, ultra low-noise mixers with two band EQ on each channel. Using the Send/Receive I can easily send the audio to a decent equalizer for the mic(s). I can use a single channel, 2 channel or even a 4 channel using two inputs for mics and two to EQ my receiver audio on two radios. I have radios but tend to use one HF/6 rig and one 6/2/440 radio. PTT closure is easy using a connector on the back of the rig for a foot switch.

I am not a radio collector but want one older rig in case the crap hits the fan. I'll leave it in a faraday cage. I already have a FT-847 that has very good VHF/UHF performance but I'm waiting for the ICOM multi-band V/U/S. Otherwise I'll either add Elecraft transverters or SSB Electronic. Elecraft won't tell me why they are better. I've go the money and living at 6,300 feet above southern California with a nearly 360 degree coverage pattern I can do quite well from here. I have an 85 ft. tower just for V/H/S and plenty of heliax. So... no need for a fancy mic/ptt switching setup, although I'd love to put tone boards in and use a Motorola Centracom. Even a rack mounted Zetron. I digress...

What I need to learn is how to EQ my mic myself offline.
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WA7AQH
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2019, 04:24:27 PM »

My apologies as in my response I don't think I read your OP carefully enough.

So I'll start over. There are certainly ways to make adjustments off line if you don't include the transmitter (record yourself and listen to it in a stream that is as flat as possible), but the transmitter will add it's effects as well (sometimes large effects) such that the only way to include it is to put the signal out over the air, record, and listen to it. Even then, as you noted, it's subjective and varies by both the human and electronic ears you receive it with. Best advice I can give you is to find a friend that knows your voice well, talk to him/her over the air, have them record it with no EQ, DSP, etc., applied, and then listen to it. Make adjustments, rinse, and repeat. Or record your own transmission with a separate receiver with appropriate attenuation/protection. Good news is we're talking about a single voice and only a spoken word range to deal with, namely 200hz to about 4khz max.

But, no, don't know a way to EQ it offline and have any predictability as to what it will sound like over the air.  Side story example: I was at the very first ball game at the new San Francisco Giants ball park in downtown San Francisco. At the beginning of the game, the sound system was terrible; mushy, bassy, and generally not very good. Even though they could EQ it as an empty stadium and computer model the effect of people in the seats, until those seats were actually filled they couldn't tell what was actually needed. By the seventh inning, they had it dialed in pretty well, but sounded to me like they continued to play with it for the next few games.
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AF6D
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2019, 11:21:20 PM »

Thank you for taking a second look.
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W9IQ
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2019, 03:40:20 AM »

If you think about what practically influences the spectrum and quality of your transmitted voice during a QSO, you get a chain like this:

     Room Acoustics -> Mike -> Transmitter -> Propagation Effects -> Receiver -> Speaker/Headphones -> Room Acoustics -> Operator

You can only control the first three.

Evaluate your shack acoustics. You ideally want a dead room - no acoustic reflections. Carpeting, ceiling tiles, and anechoic panels can help.

You can EQ the mike itself by using a professional amplified studio monitor (SM) with a published response curve for the frequency range of interest, a pink noise generator (PNG), a parametric equalizer (PE), and an audio spectrum analyzer (SA). The PNG is connected to the SM which is placed 1 foot from the microphone at the appropriate orientation. Connect the SA to the output of the PE. Adjust the SM output level to ensure that the downstream audio chain is well below limiting. Adjust your PE so that the audio spectrum levels observed mimic that of the published curve for the SM. The mike is now EQed. Record your PE settings.

You can repeat this procedure but include the transmitter and a receiver in the chain. Just put a dummy load on the transmitter and connect the SA to the speaker output of the receiver using an appropriate attenuator. But keep in mind with this setup that you are adjusting for not only your transmitter audio characteristics but for the receiver as well. You could test this with a couple of the most popular transceivers to find your best compromise, for example. But do recognize that there are still other factors left at the end of this chain that may negatively influence the results, despite your best efforts.

- Glenn W9IQ

« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 03:52:12 AM by W9IQ » Logged

- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
G4AON
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2019, 01:44:43 AM »

Heil microphones are over hyped and over priced. Back in 2007/8, when the Elecraft K3 first came out, I ran an EU Elecraft net. The K3 has a built-in 8 band mic equaliser and didn’t come with a mic. Needless to say, there were a lot of combinations among the 50 or so stations that came on the net. One of the best sounding used a 1 Euro electret mic from eBay... no point whatsoever in spending a heap of money on microphones for communications purposes.

My favourite mic is a computer headset, which is on its second set of earphone sponge covers, it cost around $20 several years ago and gets used daily.

The best way of comparing microphones and settings, is to transmit into a dummy load and record your transmissions with an external receiver set for a bandwidth slightly wider than your TX. If you make notes of the settings, then play back the recordings, within a few minutes you will arrive at the combination which works best for your voice and room acoustics. An SDR receiver is probably the easiest to use for this purpose.

73 Dave
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K7RJB
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2019, 11:55:15 AM »

Does your radio not have a monitor feature?

That and some headphones will get you a long way.
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AF6D
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2019, 05:14:09 PM »

My FT2K has a monitor feature but it sucks. I can listen to myself but someone always says you need to adjust this.... you need to adjust that. I was all tuned up with no complaints and then Art Bell joined and told me I needed to adjust my audio. Obviously before he died he ran a broadcast station. Ho hummm... no hummm...
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