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Reviews Categories | Microphones for ham radio | Astatic D-104 Help

Reviews Summary for Astatic D-104
Astatic D-104 Reviews: 70 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $90.
Description: The Liliypop Mike
Product is in production.
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K4JPN Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2019 17:43 Send this review to a friend
Great Mic  Time owned: more than 12 months
The D-104 is a great mic for old tube type high (2-3 Meg Ohm) mic impedance rigs (HW-101, SB-100, DX-100, Ranger etc). It is not good for low impedance rigs (600 ohm like Elecraft K2, and most modern transistor rigs etc. There is a simple solution, build a simple impedance change circuit. I built this simple circuit, from N9WB and it made my D-104 work great with my K2, which is a low impedance mic input. My D-104 now gives great audio reports.

Here is how I check my audio, this was published years ago in QST Hints and Kinks.

Many of the new rigs have the capability for one to listen to transmitted audio, for setting up levels, compression etc. The problem is that listening to your audio, while speaking it is difficult to comprehend differences in settings. I simply use my PSK31 interface to record into the sound recorder of my computer and then play it back. This eliminates the problem of speaking and listening at the same time. When I do this I actually state into the recording the various levels I have the compression etc. set at, then reset them at another value and make another recording. This permits me to listen to the audio files and know what is going out on the air, with different audio levels and settings.

The PSK31 interface is also useful when someone asks how their audio sounds. Simply record it into the sound recorder and play it back for them using the PSK31 interface. I often do this and then Email them the file, that way they are hearing exactly what I heard with out the effect of my rigs audio on the recorded audio I play back. I use the freeware program Audacity to record and playback

WW1I Rating: 0/5 Jul 22, 2019 14:56 Send this review to a friend
Still CB era junk  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This idea that because this mic lacks mid range and bass, it is somehow good, is nonsense. When I look at at the audio on my Flex using my PR40 with my EQ off, it shows close to level audio response from from 50 to the upper limit of my pass band. The D104 is the absolute worst audio on the bands. It lacks mid and bass to the point there is nothing to EQ. It sounds brassy and shrill because it is all treble with weak mid range and zippo for bass. I can spot a D104 on the scope in an instant, with the audio off. Even worse, the horrible audio is instantly recognizable. Painful.

Guys, I donít care who says what, there is a reason why nobody today produces a crystal element like they used in the D104. The reason is that we have better elements today that wildly produce better sound quality. To compare a crystal element in a D104 to a large diameter low mass dynamic is like you telling me a model T is better than a new BMW. Nonsense.

You donít need an expensive mic. A Heil Genesis mic is a great sounding mic, and it retails for $70. There are many brands of modern mics out there that sound great that are a good value. The D104 was a very old design for rigs that used high Z mics. They put a little preamp on them during the CB era and sold them to guys that didnít know any better.
AE7AA Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2019 05:01 Send this review to a friend
A great comms only mic  Time owned: more than 12 months
Using a D104 that has a good condition original element is like having a built-in Compander (Compression-Expander) that provides that extra 'punch' though the pile-up. It's sort of like virtually doubling your SSB power. I have been a user since 1950's, even used one on my first dxpedition in 1968 as VR3DY. Won many SSB contests over 8 years as KH6GLU, yup, with a D-104. The critics say the sound is too metallic...and they are RIGHT ON! That's what it is meant to do. Now many critics probably use 'equalizers' and multi-hundreds of dollar microphones from He!l or Yaesu. For AM-mode all this extra stuff will give you broadcast quality audio, but, it sure won't do much to help you to punch your audio through to that weak DX station. each his/her own opinion...I am speaking with many decades of use as well as rebuilding over 100 of them. Just make sure that if you get one, that the element is in good condition and you have provided an impedance match from high Z to Low Z for modern rigs.
KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2019 18:57 Send this review to a friend
for what I heard it's great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have never had one, nor I have never used one. I will probably never see one. But I think I am still qualified to rate it as I have listened hams on the air that were using this microphone. I liked their modulation. I have to say I do not generally like modulations that are too bassy so it might be a matter of preference or maybe that a proper match should be obtained with transmitter.
N5XJT Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2019 14:30 Send this review to a friend
Simply Great!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my first TUG8-D104 in 1976 and it still looks and works like a new one. Have used it with a Tempo 2020, Kenwood TS-530, Yaesu FT-840, Yaesu FT-107M, Kenwood TS-450 and currently using with my FT-890. Still performs well and receives very good to great audio reports. I have never received a bad audio report. Have since acquired a UG-8 stand with a 10DA head and another TUG8 stand with the DNZ head and a 10DA head installed. The original lollipop head is degrading due to the salt content in the element but can easily be replaced with a kit. These are great looking mics that work well and have never given any trouble. So with no disrespect to critics, I love mine and will continue to use them daily.
VE3TMT Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2019 13:34 Send this review to a friend
A true classic!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over the course of 40+ years as a CB/Ham operator, I've owned my fair share of D-104's. Currently in the shack I'm using a Silver Eagle on my TS-850S. The Eagle only compliments the 850's legendary audio. I tacked a .1uf cap across the output to tame the high end a little and the mic sounds great. I run both the mic gain and processor on the radio at 3, and have the mic barely cracked open. Don't use the high boost. It sounds fantastic. The legendary D-104 sound, but not overdone. When I want to work some DX, I simply switch over to my Koss SB-40 headset, hit the high boost and I'm ready to go. Couldn't be easier. My Eagle almost looks new and looks great in the shack.
W4KVW Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2019 19:22 Send this review to a friend
Does a great job  Time owned: more than 12 months
I currently own 39 Astatic D-104 Desk Microphones.I have a lot of different stands & heads from as early as the 1960's & they have GREAT transmit audio.I have been using them since the 60's when I started in radio & they quickly became my favorite desk microphone then & still are today.I have used them with Tube & Solid State CB's to Tube & Solid State Amateur Radios.I have used them for all types of Amateur Radios from FM mobiles to an ICOM 7600 on SSB & AM & they work well on all of them.People poor mouth them because they don't use the right models for their radio & some think they were designed for CB Radio when they were used in Amateur Radio before we had a CB Band so that is a Myth & they are scared of the CB Band but will never admit it.I will continue my use & collecting of these great microphones because they have always served me well.I also think they are the most Beautiful looking desk microphone ever produced by any company.
N9AOP Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2019 16:50 Send this review to a friend
Good mic for rework  Time owned: more than 12 months
Replace the D-104 element with a Heil element and rewire to have a decent working mic. I bought a silver eagle for $30 and I believe the Heil element was $45. I recently saw a gold eagle at a 'fest for less than $100. Probably should have bought it for the 'bling'.
HA7WX Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2019 10:27 Send this review to a friend
Engineered for efficient comms  Time owned: more than 12 months
This microphone was indeed intended for high Z tube rig a long time ago.
Yes it's sort of rough because it was intended for effective communications with an emphasis on high frequencies.
This has never been engineered so that it has the response of a studio microphone with plenty of bass.
Personally, i gave it a try on my Kenwood TS950SDX, the audio was so good, they recorded me and sent it to me.
In fact, this microphone would be well suited to work pile-ups.
That's it, and that's all.
By the way, and it's a question of taste, they are nice looking at a radio station.
Mechanically, I could imagine better, hence the 4 instead of 5, that's another subject.

N6BIZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2018 19:04 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have 4 d104s always get great audio reports
Very cool looking mics too
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