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Reviews Categories | Microphones for ham radio | Kenwood MC 85 Deluxe Microphone Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood MC 85 Deluxe Microphone
Kenwood MC 85 Deluxe Microphone Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: A unidirectional electret condenser desk mic
Product is in production.
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N5XJT Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2014 12:29 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Mic!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Read many negatives about this mic but purchased a nice used one anyway. Wired it for my Yaesu FT-840 and found it works great if you use certain precautions: 1.) leave the compressor off 2.) Stay about 6-8 inches from the mic when talking and 3.)keep the mic gain down to 2-3 for best results. No issues, audio reports are great and signal reports generally about 1 S-unit higher using this amplified mic. Couldn't be happier!
ZL4AI Rating: 5/5 Mar 4, 2012 01:20 Send this review to a friend
2 extra S points to DX punch when working  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
When faults are removed MC-85 it is considerable enhancement to the TS-940 transmission ability. the compensation feature and mic amp feature enable one to set up an even audio continuous punch. Compare with talking with your normal audio on an ordinary non amplified mike which only peaks signal on long voice sounds, MC-85 make an audio with a continuous signal transmitted: It is like adding a CW carrier to SSB which is normal lots of low signal with occasional higher wattage peaks. The processing circuits provide slight reduction of voice peaks and add much more volume when talking at reduced volume. This adds considerable to a continuous of the audio signal and subsequently the DX signal: Result lot of reports of great audio and audio that punches through. Adding this ability is equivalent to adding a 500 watt amp which adds 2S points to your transmission.

Faults: Yes it does have matters that have to be first repaired.
1. The electrotet mic unit does touch the goose neck housing, and this creates an earth loop inside the between the circuit board, the goose neck housing and the mic element. This causes RF feedback when the mic is connected and some distortion to audio. Solution: as PB2DD did, teflon tape between the mic element and the housing [and removing the metal gauge strainer and not screwing back in the top ring, but putting a foam pop cover over the end of the stalk] and using an ohm meter to verify no electrical connection. To verify you must remove the screw that connects the circuit board earth to the metal body of the mic: Yes this removed 100% of the RF feedback when you are running an amp at over 500 watts power not touching the mic with your hand.
2. The suggestions of OZ9ABC were really using but did point out the root cause was lack of electrical conductivity between metal elements of the mic. That is paint and surface coatings between:
- the earth section of the circuit board to metal frame,
- the metal frame holding the circuit board to the body, [especially critical]
- the base and the body,
- the body and the goose neck base,
- the goose neck base and the goose neck base flexi section,
-the goose neck base flexi section and the mic element holder
cause resistances and lack of continuous earth circuit where earth circuit has been designed.
Solution. Remove the paint, put some solder on both side of the interface, and or a bonding wire: Verify electrical continuity with an ohm meter:
Result: 80% of RF feedback with an amp at 500 watts and a hand holding the metal parts disappears. Other solution is do not touch the metal body when operating, means no RF feedback whatsoever.
N9UY Rating: 4/5 Dec 9, 2011 17:51 Send this review to a friend
Quite a piece of work  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got my MC-85 at a hamfest for a price I couldn't turn down, because it enhanced the look of my Kenwood station, and because I have 2 radios. At almost 2 pounds and with all the controls, it is a formidable-looking piece of gear.

This is the first powered condenser mic that I have ever used; I quickly discovered that it is a LOT more sensitive than the generic desk mic that I formerly used. It took some getting used to. Once I learned to keep my distance from the thing, everything worked much better.

I do not use the compression or low cut features, preferring to let my radios handle those duties. Also, in my shack, with the mic level set low so it doesn't overdrive, the output level meter doesn't register at all. Maybe it's just my settings. Every once in a while, it puts out a very distorted signal for no apparent reason, and then this will go away.

Overall, I like the multiple-output feature and feel like it is a quality piece of equipment.
K3HKR Rating: 4/5 Oct 16, 2009 14:04 Send this review to a friend
Great Choice  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is a CONDENSER microphone, they take a little care and feeding, but they create the best overall voice reproduction. The MC-60 has always been a problem in HI-POWER shacks. In fact most microphones can become problems if grounds are poor and proximity to antenna system is nearby.

The CURE is to ISOLATE using a good 1:1 audio isolation transformer, all your problems are solved. Stay away from RADIO SHACK type units and select a Jensen, Bill Jensen himself has written a lot of good WHITE PAPERS on this subject and they can be found on the Internet. You can also purchase an old HM-15 (Heathkit phone patch) and rob the audio transformer. It will work perfectly.

My MC-85 works very well and yes I have it ISOLATED in front of my TS-2000. I use the 2000 "USER" setting (TX EQ) and get great reports.

It is easy understand how so many "intelligent" opinions lead to really poor decisions in the radio room...just my thought, try doing some homework.
W4KVW Rating: 5/5 Jul 5, 2008 16:51 Send this review to a friend
NICE!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I run my MC-85 with a KENWOOD TR-751A 2 meter All Mode rig & get GREAT audio reports.It is a LARGE microphone with lots of bells & whistles but looks VERY nice on the desk.I have NONE of the RF issues so many talk about here in the feedback & have NEVER had such an issue with ANY microphone.Think I'll keep it since in my opinion it's a WINNER all the way around! }:>)
PD0RTL Rating: 4/5 Feb 22, 2008 04:53 Send this review to a friend
Nice, but got some glidges  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got this mic now for 4 weaks.
works good, only the compressor looks a bit deaf with my high voice tone.

would be nice to have some spare cable for more rigs :)
G0YLM Rating: 2/5 Apr 13, 2005 03:14 Send this review to a friend
Serious RF problems!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great audio reports and easy to use, but....
Don't buy this assuming it will do the job it says and work with up to 3 other radios. In order to use it on my old ts870 i first had to unplug it from the ts790 vhf rig, otherwise serious RF issues. Did the various mods suggested to no great effect! I now have a yaesu ft1000 mk-v and the Rf is even worse even with just that radio attached!!!
Nice Microphone, serious problems!
73 Linda
M0CUS Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2003 03:48 Send this review to a friend
Brilliant  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I use a Kenwood TS950SD with my MC85 and get nothing but R5 reports. I dont get any feedback but then it may have been modified as I purchased it second hand so I am not sure. It does take a while to set up though which is where a patient friend comes in handy. Remember its also the controls on the radio as well as on the mic that need setting up for optimum performance.
PB2DD Rating: 4/5 Jul 18, 2002 14:47 Send this review to a friend
A designers fealure?  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought my MC85 desk mike second hand, just for its shape, would look nice on the desk beside my MC80 which is currently in use for a UHF radio. After creating the connector Icom compatible, this mike seems to be very sensitive for HF fields. You should now that my wire antennas are very close by the radio shack.
After the modifications with the extra earth wires, as described bellow by OZ9ABC (he also follows the instructions as described by ) it was a bit better, but on some specific parts of the HF bands, still present.
Measurements showed that the small electret element appeared to be connected with one side to its housing. This housing was in contact with the metal of the goose neck, so an earth gap / leak was created! No wonder this goose neck was so sensitive for HF fields.
Solved the problem by isolating the electret’s element, by wrapping it in thin Teflon tape, making sure it is isolated from the goose necks ground. All other mods were removed and all problems with distortion were instantly history!
I use the MC 85 without the build in compressor with a modern Icom HF radio and the TX tone setting on the Icom set to maximum high, and set compressor ´on´. With an older Icom HF radio, which I currently use for the holiday, with ´switched on´ compressor and ´low cut´ switch active. The microphone operates now like expected.

I hope that this modification solves your possibly problems also.

A designer’s failure? Or just a one-off mistake?

Best regards,

Peter PB2DD
GI0ZGB Rating: 5/5 May 9, 2002 15:26 Send this review to a friend
MC-85 High Quality Audio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I currently own the MC-90, MC-85, MC-60, Shure 526T, and overall I prefer the MC-85. Reading the previous reviews it seems troubled by stray R.F., I never had any such problems because my shack is free of such problems. However, I had to sort a friends R.F. problems and the worst affected was the MC-60, improving the earthing on his MC-85 sorted the problem with it, but the MC-60 was so hot it required two ferrite rods inserted into the coils of the mic lead. Later on the fitting of two line isolaters and better earthing arrangments cured the R.F. problems entirely. DSP rigs in particular require good earthing and isolation arrangments otherwise you'll get a lot of feedback problems. The audio quality of the MC-85 is superb, that said much depends on the type of voice the user has, I find Japanese audio engineers seem to have a strange concept what an American or European voice sounds like, that or they set their products to suit the Japanese voice, which to my ears seems higher pitched than what would be regarded as the average voice in stateside for example. I always got very complimentary comments about my TX audio quality using the MC-85, even when in standard unmodified format. Certainly, Kenwood should look to improving the shielding and R.F. immunity, but they are always mindful of making an already expensive mic more expensive.
In my opinion the MC-85 is one of the best in it's class, and it doesn't cause R.F. feedback, rather its excellent performance is degraded by it, so in fairness, it behoves the Radio Amateur to eliminate in shack R.F. before embarking on a critical review, for whilst that situation exists any mic cannot do its self justice.
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