Our “Parrot” echos back your audio on the Parrot talkgroup as well as your levels appear on the Audio Meter. This combination enables fairly good audio settings in a user radio without the need of of expensive gear.
Asking over the air for reports is very subjective and an inadequate method to address audio levels. Find out why (and more) below.
DMR Audio Levels and Quality are a Tough Cookie to Bake correctly
DMR audio can sound excellent. In the real world, well not so much. Some is technical but most the issues are in the hands of the user of the radio. As most users do not listen back to their own audios…either the listeners must jump in and help or it is a project for radio’s owner/operator. We have found many users don’t care about their audios and many users just put up with it so as not to offend the guy with the poor audio. But our users really need to help in this area. No one wants to be the Audio Police and everyone is a system manager as to programming their radios. But we should try to help alert the user with problem audio and encourage them to addresses their problem audio. All this historically has been mostly a crapshoot.
So we have the Parrot Echo Server available as a handy and simple tool to use. We refer to her as Polly. She has a twin brother, Tousan or Sam, who is quiet unless Polly is sick. They operate from different cages (servers). Both provide you the ability to set your audio correctly, especially if you use the Audio Meter to do a bit of the lifting.
The Level Meter shows more than your level but also hot and cold levels. It generally is listening to these talkgroups: Washington 2, PNW Regional 2 and the current net running, if there is an active net. The listening is first active talkgroup in the listening group, so if you don’t see your response, try again or look at Callwatch on PNW-D to see what talkgroups are active.
The Parrot server uses a voice standard which consists of lead-in and lead-out tracks that are there to help a user gauge their audio level compared to Duff – WA7BFN, our voice over pro. Duff’s tracks also provides a good example of what superb DMR audio can be. So the Parrot provides quality checking but less so, levels. The level meter picks up from there and provides the user a way to visualize their levels, instantaneous and average, against other users and other various filters.
Taken together, user transmit audios can be reigned in and made pleasant for all users of the network to listen to. So hears a suggested method on how to set up your transmit audio. We will use the Anytone radios as our sample reference as it is the most popular radio line in Ham DMR.
- The parrot is accessed via talkgroup ID 9998 on timeslot 2
- Key-up, pause for talk permit, then say something in your normal voice holding your radio or mic in your normal manner.
- Say something for 10-20 seconds to provide your sample to echo back
- You want to have about the same loudness as Duff and strive for his clarity
- Ideally adjust your audio levels in the radio (level 3, enhanced audio off is a good starting point)
- Moving closer to the mic, further, talking softer or louder is NOT the best approach to audio
- Use the level meter and strive to attain the system average level (typically -30.4 average and -17.6 peak)
- Also be aware of mouth puffing and sibilance issues (.e.g. Sally Sells Sea Shells down by the Sea Shore)
More details on Audio and how to better it: Audio Level and Quality
First Published: February 7, 2022 Last Updated: 2 years ago by Mike – NO7RF