Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kenwood TS-590S Audio Testing

EDIT:  The audio on this post is extremely overdriven due to incorrect recording levels on the PC.  I have updated this with the correct setting in a new post at:

There has been a lot of discussion lately on one of the mailing lists that I subscribe to pertaining to the audio tweaking that is possible on the Kenwood TS-590S.  I am far from an audiophile, so I thought that I'd do some playing around this evening and record some test files to hear what the different default options sound like.

Thus far, I have to say that I like the sound of the rig without the EQ on for ragchews, but I think that the High Boost options are great for DX.  Take a listen and let me know which ones you think sound the best!  I tried to record each file with the same configuration as far as what I say, where the mic is, ambient noise in the room, etc.  I am currently using the stock mic, but am hoping to upgrade to the Shure SM-7b in the near future at the suggestion of a friend in the A/V world.

So, without further adieu, here are the files:

So, if you listened to all of those files, you are quite the patient person!  Hopefully the sound of my voice wasn't too unpleasant, at least I hope it was better than sticking a rat-tail file in your ear.

On a different note, look for an upcoming post regarding the EZNEC antenna modeling program and some PERL scripts that I wrote to make it easier to do certain things in it.

With that I'll say 73 for this evening and wish you the best for you and your family and GUD DX!


Richard, KK4JDO


  1. So I've gotten some feedback that I might have to mic gain set too high. Thanks Mike, K9JRI! If I'm going to listen to someone about audio, it will be a guy named Mike! ;-)

    To elaborate on the testing set up, I was using slightly less then a conversational volume and had the mic about six inches from my face. The mic gain was at 30, so I did a quick test with it at 20, and it did sound a little less harsh, so maybe tomorrow I'll try re-recording all of these with a lower mic gain. Feel free to continue to check these out, though, and let me know if you concur!

  2. I guess that I should add that I do mostly digital modes these days, with the exception of the 590 net and occasionally checking in on SouthCARS, so audio hasn't been my top priority. But I really do appreciate everyone's emails about this post!! It is super awesome to know that folks even bother to come check this site out!!!

  3. Yeah, let's hear them at 20 (maybe even 15) and see if there is a difference in the degree of harshness. Of the above, Proc off, Conventional sounded the best to my ear.


  4. I much prefer the conventional with the processor off. To my not so good ears the others kind of sound the same in terms of harshness. I run my 590 with mic gain at 50 using the Heil Proset Elite and consistently get good reports.


  5. Richard,

    Thanks so much for doing this, excellent comparisons! I actually think the proc on will give you a bit of sigmal boost on SSB, of course you want it off for digital. I've have no problems with the 590 on PSK. I have USB input at 1 or 2, and adjust audio levels till no alc is showing, seems to work great!

    Can you describe how exactly you did this? Perhaps a dumb question. Did you just have TX moni on and then use audacity to record the normal USB audio? Thanks! Paul WB2JVB

    1. Hi Paul,

      First, let me say that the audio on this post is badly overdriven, and a better example is at:

      That being said, you are correct, I recorded the output via USB. If you turn menu 68 to "on" your TX audio will be sent out USB just like RX audio. I then used Audacity to record the audio and export it to .wav format, which as far as I understand it is a non-compressed audio stream that will give you as close to real-life as possible.


      Richard, KK4JDO

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