Most HamSphere users sound awful on the system. Most aren’t even aware they sound bad on the system. It’s not easy to hear yourself and few operators are willing to give someone an honest report on their audio quality for fear it would be offensive to do so. The Echo Server at 1.82345 offers too short a playback to get a good idea what you really sound like. So what to do???
Some people think engaging the compressor built-in to the HamSphere software will make them sound better. This is usually wrong. The compressor does nothing to improve tonal quality. In fact, the compressor tends to exaggerate the worst qualities of an audio signal. Generally speaking, I DO NOT recommend using the compressor built-in to the HamSphere (HS) software. In most cases it adds no value. Worse, most people have no idea how to use it and have no way of hearing what changes the compressor makes in their audio.
When it comes to HamSphere transmit audio, LESS is MORE. The most important thing is to learn good MICROPHONE TECHNIQUE. Most people make their microphones too sensitive, talk to close or too far away from their microphones and don’t set their MIC LEVEL correctly.
Most people don’t pay enough attention to the acoustics of the room from which they operate. In too many cases, the sound of their voice bounces off nearby walls or objects and creates echos or an annoying hollow sound quality to their audio. All of these things are easily correctable…without the use of the compressor. In most cases, the fix is SIMPLE: lower the sensitivity of the microphone!!!
I recommend NOT using the compressor at all. Take the time to figure out how to make your computer’s microphone setup sound the best it can outside of HS. Use the sound recording software built-in to your computer’s operating system (or one of many free sound recording programs available for download on the internet) to make test recordings of your setup.
Adjust the microphone settings in your computer’s sound-related screens so your microphone sensitivity is only high enough to adequately pick up your voice with the best quality. Figure out how far away you need to be from your microphone to sound clear without any background noise. This will require several experimental recordings. Practice making recordings of yourself speaking at various distances at a comfortable voice level. Playbacks will reveal what sounds best.
If you aren’t able to get a good sound from whatever microphone you are using, buy something different or better. Headsets with boom mikes tend to be the best choice for most HS operators.
Once you are able to make a recording of yourself and the playback sounds clean and clear, start up HS and adjust the MIC LEVEL so the needle kicks up to the top of the green bar on the bottom scale of the HS transceiver meter. Avoid going past the green bar. Remember: LESS is MORE.
If you hear someone who sounds especially good to you on HS, contact them and ask them detailed questions about their setup. You will find that most people who sound very good on HS are using boom mikes with their microphone sensitivity set properly, their MIC LEVEL set to avoid going past the green bar on the HS meter and the room they are in produces no echoes or reverberations.
Avoid using the compressor. It usually just adds distortion. The compressor usually makes bad audio sound worse. The compressor’s purpose in life is to produce an even level of audio despite the many changes in level that actually exist in the audio. The compressor DOES NOTHING to improve the TONAL QUALITY of a signal. The compressor is all about LEVEL not tonal quality.
The objective is to sound clean and clear as well as loud. Achieving that goal takes experimentation and effort. The results are worth the time required.
Feel free to share this information with anyone you like (or as many as you like!!!)
Till next time…73,
Frank N. Haas KB4T