I am by no means an “expert” when it comes to adjusting the audio settings in the FT-2000, but through a lot of trial and error I’ve adjusted mine to the point where I get pretty good audio reports. All it really takes is some patience and helpful hams on the air to get great sounding audio out of the FT-2000. It also helps to benefit from those who have plowed the ground before you. Through a lot of reading on the FT-2000 Yahoo group listserve (particularly the contributions of K3UR) and some excellent resources on the web (one of the best is by VK6HZ), I’ve at least become satisfied that my audio is in good shape.
Now, before you adopt what I’ve found to be the best settings (or what anyone else has reported), be aware that the quality of your audio is directly dependant on the quality of your voice. The audio characteristics of your voice will in large part determine the optimal settings for your equipment, so be prepared to experiment. That’s the nature of amateur radio anyway, right?
There are a large number of audio components designed for amateur radio and others adapted from studio use, but I’ve kept things relatively simple. My audio chain consists of four components.
- Apex-215 Dual Ribbon Studio Microphone (I have also used the Heil Goldline GM-4)
- W2IHY 8 Band Audio Equalizer and Noise Gate
- W2IHY EQplus
- FT-2000 Internal Mic Equalization Settings
You should always start with the obvious: Read the manuals and follow the instructions therein! It will save you a lot of grief.
Connecting the equipment is just as important as tweaking the settings. My outboard components interface with the rear panel RCA audio jack on the FT-2000 (FT-2000 Manual, page 32, item 15). I find this gives better results than going through the front panel 8 pin microphone connector. The front panel mic connector is empty. I have a PTT line running to the rear PTT jack (Manual, page 32, item 14) for use with a foot switch, etc.
After you get the radio’s ALC where it needs to be (mine is just below the peak of the ALC meter), then move into the adjustments of your internal EQ and outboard audio equipment. Another great word of advice from K3UR and others: Don’t eat your mic! You should try to stay about 3 inches or so away from the mic when adjusting your settings.
After all of the above and many QSOs where adjustments were made, here’s where I ended up with my settings:
FT-2000 (PEP version with latest updates)
With the outboard equipment in line, I leave the internal speech processor OFF (don’t confuse the speech processor with the internal mic eq). I have placed my mic gain at level 55. I then entered the internal menu system and made the following settings (Note: Once you make these settings, the “MIC EQ” display will light on the FT-2000 front panel. There is no “on/off” switch for this. It is active once you apply the EQ to your audio).
- Menu 85 = 3000
- Menu 125 = 100
- Menu 126 = 10
- Menu 127 = 2
- Menu 128 = 800
- Menu 129 = 3
- Manu 130 = 3
- Menu 131 = 2100
- Menu 132 = 8
- Menu 133 = 1
Note: the above menus are for your transmit audio when the speech processor is off. Menus 134-142 adjust transmitted audio when the processor is active. Again, I do not use the internal speech processor in my set-up.
W2IHY 8 Band
After the above, I made the following adjustments to the W2IHY 8 Band:
- 50 = +6
- 100 =+4
- 200 = 0
- 400 = -4
- 800 = -6
- 1600 = +2
- 2400 = +4
- 3200 = +7
Here are the final settings to the EQplus:
- Bass = 10 o’clock
- Treble = 2 o’clock
- Comp/downward expander = on
- Compression = 12 o’clock
- DE Level = 12 o’clock
- Output Level = 2 o’clock
- Mic = 200
- Mic Power = off
- Gain = 7 o’clock (or a little less)
- Effects = off
These settings are used for my day-to-day rag chewing and are not designed for any specific application such as contesting, chasing DX, busting pile-ups, etc. When I want to add a bit more punch to my audio, I generally adjust the FT-2000 internal menu 85 to give the characteristic I am looking for. For this reason, I keep the C.S. front panel button programmed with menu 85 as its shortcut. This simplifies quick and easy audio adjustments from that menu.
As stated at the start of this post, I don’t profess to be an expert at the intricacies of FT-2000 audio processing with outboard equipment, but these settings have served me well.
I look forward to comments anyone wishes to share about this topic. Hopefully, the more we experiment with these settings, the better we’ll sound.