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Thread: NX-3000 & NX-5000 - OOB info, Audio Settings, dumb defaults

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    Default NX-3000 & NX-5000 - OOB info, Audio Settings, dumb defaults

    I am hoping to compile favorite audio settings, top defaults that should be changed, and other recommendations for people new to the NX-3000 and NX-5000 series. If anything I state is inaccurate, please point it out.

    This was written at the time of firmware 4.23 / KPG 4.22 for NX-5000 series and firmware 3.21 / KPG 3.21 for NX-3000 series.



    Top "gotcha":

    KPG-D1x:

    There are two programming modes, "Personality" and "Channel Table" (bad!). If you go down the path of "Channel Table", you are stuck, and changing modes will result in loss of all channel information.

    The drawback of "Channel Table" is that you CANNOT mix two digital modes within the same Zone. To Mix DMR/P25/Analog, NXDN/P25/Analog, or DMR/NXDN/Analog within the same zone, you MUST choose "Personality".

    Modes.PNG

    KPG-D3x defaults to the equivalent of "Personality" mode.

    Small catch: To add more Systems, you must browse inside of a system, i.e. select "System Information" inside of System 1 before the +/Add button is available to add more systems.



    Band limits -- Kenwood spec sheets are sometimes wrong. For example, the TX limits listed on the NX-5900 and NX-3400 spec sheets include part of the receive only range, which is not allowed by the programming software.

    KPG-D3x/KPG-D1x OOB:
    The actual band limits for KPG-D3x and KPG-D1x are:
    VHF: 100.000000-280.000000
    UHF: 327.000000-550.000000

    800/900 (KPG-D3x) (Stricter):
    RX: 851-870.000000, 935-941.000000
    TX: 806-825.000000, 896-902.000000

    Open Ram edits seem to work for 900MHz, including saving codeplugs. Have not confirmed writing to a 900MHz transceiver yet.

    KPG-D1x 7/800 MHz:
    RX: 763-776.000000, 851-870.000000
    TX: 793-825.000000, 851-870.000000



    Audio Settings:

    The below settings pertain to DIGITAL only
    , and are relevant for both the NX-5000 and NX-3000 series. NX-3000 is voiced similarly, however with less internal speaker output.

    Anyone who has spent years listening to Analog audio on Jedi or Astro25 internal speakers is probably going to have a very hard time at first with the NX-5000 series Analog audio. If you like a lot of Bass with your music, you will probably have an even harder time. The EQ settings DO NOT work in Analog mode.

    However, if you've used a mic such as the NMN6191C, you will probably get used to how the NX-5000 series sounds much faster. If you are used to Harris or GE analog audio, you will have almost no problem at all.

    The Analog audio is very clear and intelligible, and resembles other Kenwood products, but vastly different from Jedi/Astro25. Also note that some issues in early firmware with low TX audio have been resolved.


    DIGITAL:

    The single most important setting for most usage environments is changing ANR preset from "Standard" to "Light". According to the help file matrix, the main differences between "Standard" and "Light" is the equivalent of unchecking "Low Noise Level Adjustment" and "DSP" in a custom profile.

    ANR.PNG

    From the help file: "Low Noise Level Adjustment allows you to configure whether to activate the noise cancellation process in an environment where background noise is low."

    Unfortunately, this option does not work very well. Having the DSP ANR in full swing in normal environments, without the equivalent of a Motorola "SINC+" type algorithm is as bad as AF Suppressor on Trbo products. Extremely muffled, grainy, and reduced distance that users can be from the microphone without becoming very choppy in low noise environments.

    The "DSP" ANR is still too aggressive in low noise environments.


    TX AGC works well, however is slightly too hot. I recommend starting with -4 on the "Mic Sensitivity" if using TX AGC. Unlike Trbo, Mic sensitivity is still at play when AGC is enabled. Think more Astro than PCR.

    Interestingly enough, -4 is also the value Kenwood chose for their "Public Safety" preset. However, they cranked up ANR all the way to "Professional" in the "Public Safety" preset, which for most situations will result in grainy muffled audio.

    If turning TX AGC off, you will need a bit more mic sensitivity, at least 0.

    If using the more aggressive ANR presets above "Light", I recommend turning TX AGC off and tuning Mic Sensitivity manually. The TX AGC and ANR profiles higher than "Light" appear to fight with each other.


    Lastly, if using the internal speaker or a mic that responds well to lower end, I recommend some very gentle low-end boost for the RX EQ, either the same or similar to the "Bass Boost" preset, such as:

    Low 2
    Low-mid 2
    Mid 0
    Hi Mid -2
    Hi -2

    If you are not particularly used to an XTS internal speaker, or if you like the treble boost on Trbo, then definitely don't go boosting the low end here. However, shaving off some hi takes out some of the shrillness and can improve overall intelligibility.

    If you are trying to squeeze out every bit of volume without distortion, leave the EQ Flat. However, it may be time to invest in a different audio accessory if this is the case, as the internal speaker has a ton of headroom even with EQ!


    RX AGC: Don't use along with TX AGC. TX AGC is aggresive and will keep levels flat on its own.



    Dumb Defaults (opinion):

    1.) Caller ID display is set to "None" instead of "RAN" by default in KPG-D1x, resulting in UIDs not being displayed out of the box.

    2.) Backlight is not configured to come on from button presses or volume adjustment by default. The backlight is useless in the default config. Also, 5 seconds is too short, 10 seconds is more reasonable.

    3.) No talk permit tone ("PTT Proceed Tone" in Optional Features 2) on conventional by default, from experience, most users prefer talk permit tone.



    Other differences for those familiar with other brands:

    1.) There is Scan List, Single Zone Scan, and Multi-Zone scan. You can still get extremely granular with zone/multi zone scan using the "scan add" checkbox, which can also be controlled by a button, similar to "nuisance delete". KPG-D1x lets you set a short press on a single button to "Scan" and a long press to "Scan Delete/Add", however KPG-D3x appears not to. This could be a bug??? However, this is not the same as a true Nuisance Delete.

    Note that Scan Lists are limited to 31 entries, so it can be beneficial to embrace the Zone scan options.


    NX-5000 RX Performance (anecdotal):

    Analog:
    Using OEM Antennas (watch out for knock off Kenwood antennas) you will notice a slight improvement over a freshly aligned XTS5000 for fringe signals, not on the bench but in real world. The Kenwood default squelch is pretty tight (level 5), so be sure to loosen it up if needed.

    NXDN:
    6.25 is the way to go, no matter how you look at it. Don't use 12.5. The way NXDN behaves with poor BER is pretty smooth, if anything smoother than DMR. Although not technically proven/quantified, it seems NXDN may be slightly more forgiving of multipath and reflected signals than DMR after basic simplex A/B testing with XPR7550e in facilities with steel and freezers, etc.

    DMR and P25 -- not enough direct A/B sampling with other brands yet to say. Audio quality is extremely good on both, TX and RX.
    Last edited by PSEhub; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:04 AM.


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    Audio Settings Update/Summary:

    Create a low noise and a high noise audio profile

    Low Noise: (< ~102dB)

    RX EQ:
    Low: 0 or +2
    Low-Mid: 0 or +2
    Mid: 0
    High-Mid: -2
    High: -2

    RX AGC: Off

    TX EQ: Flat

    TX AGC: On

    ANR Preset: Light

    Mic Sensitivity: -4

    Optional: Set maximum volume to ~23 only if users are known to consistently set radios to maximum volume out of ignorance.



    High Noise: (> ~102dB)

    RX EQ:
    Low: 0 or +2
    Low-Mid: 0 or +2
    Mid: 0
    High-Mid: -2
    High: -2

    RX AGC: Off

    TX EQ: Flat

    TX AGC: Off

    ANR Preset: Standard

    Mic Sensitivity: -8 to -14, tune to accessory and ambient noise level
    Last edited by PSEhub; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:02 AM.

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    Good info, thanks!

    Still trying to figure out exactly how DMR site roaming works. Nobody seems to know (or they aren't sharing it) and Kenwood's documentation leaves alot to be desired.

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    I will have to give these audio settings a change and see how it goes. RX I am ok with, have had people comment on the transmit audio saying it is "different" but not dead.




    Anything in particular you are having an issue with? I have it programmed and it seems to work correctly, however I do not typically use those channels. Motorola definitely has the quirks of DMR site roaming worked out better. I do not have a programming file on this PC to open it up and go over it step by step.

    Quote Originally Posted by NSPD View Post
    Good info, thanks!

    Still trying to figure out exactly how DMR site roaming works. Nobody seems to know (or they aren't sharing it) and Kenwood's documentation leaves alot to be desired.

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    In regards to analog TX audio, I think the best way to describe it would be "flat" or "dull." Even with the AGC/compression the high end is still a bit muted when compared to Astro25/APX radios. I found setting the microphone type in the audio profile to "microphone 3" gave me a little more of a high end boost. Not much, but enough to tell the difference.

    EDIT

    Another neat feature I've noticed, on Brandmeister DMR, is that the radio will automatically pull the current caller's ID and callsign information. Not sure where it gets that from, must be some kind of Soft ID feature.

    I have no ID lists set up for DMR, but any call I hear on the local BM repeater will automatically have the user's callsign and name show up. Very cool and useful.

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    The Kenwoods support talker alias, which is passed on the Brandmeister network. Still surprised Motorola doesn't support it. It has only been part of the standard for a few years now..

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    One thing weve come across is on the 54WDM microphone (now discontinued, but a lot still out there) They seem to have a particularly low audio output. So low that to get good modulation 'density' in analog we find ourselves turning them up to +6 or +8 db (external) mic gain. If the user speaks directly into the mic, within 2-3", it works OK, but more typical is its on their shoulder or chest, they grab it and push the button without turning their head towards it. In that situation we see, around 1-1.2khz total peak deviation. Very poor. We havent figured out if thats inherent to the design or a batch problem, but we have a lot of them out there with that issue, so thats been the fix.
    TX AGC Ive found is too aggressive in DMR mode. Depends on the receiving radio. I had to turn it off to get it to work on a Tait T3 system without sounding like *** to the Taits. It sounded way the hell overdriven. Once I disabled TX AGC, audio sounded great! I tried to reduce the mic gain to compensate, but once I turned it down enough to fix it in AGC mode, there was virtually no AGC happening. I had some discussion with Kenwood about it. I feel like the AGC is 'targeting' the wrong output level (too high) in DMR mode. When I reduced the mic sensitivity, it just boosted the level until it hit its gain limit, then that 'fixed' it, but at that point its worthless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colt45ws View Post
    One thing weve come across is on the 54WDM microphone (now discontinued, but a lot still out there) They seem to have a particularly low audio output. So low that to get good modulation 'density' in analog we find ourselves turning them up to +6 or +8 db (external) mic gain. If the user speaks directly into the mic, within 2-3", it works OK, but more typical is its on their shoulder or chest, they grab it and push the button without turning their head towards it. In that situation we see, around 1-1.2khz total peak deviation. Very poor. We havent figured out if thats inherent to the design or a batch problem, but we have a lot of them out there with that issue, so thats been the fix.
    TX AGC Ive found is too aggressive in DMR mode. Depends on the receiving radio. I had to turn it off to get it to work on a Tait T3 system without sounding like *** to the Taits. It sounded way the hell overdriven. Once I disabled TX AGC, audio sounded great! I tried to reduce the mic gain to compensate, but once I turned it down enough to fix it in AGC mode, there was virtually no AGC happening. I had some discussion with Kenwood about it. I feel like the AGC is 'targeting' the wrong output level (too high) in DMR mode. When I reduced the mic sensitivity, it just boosted the level until it hit its gain limit, then that 'fixed' it, but at that point its worthless.
    The problem is that Kenwood doesn't have a James Barrus. They need to higher one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSPD View Post
    Good info, thanks!

    Still trying to figure out exactly how DMR site roaming works. Nobody seems to know (or they aren't sharing it) and Kenwood's documentation leaves alot to be desired.
    If the radio is in 'Personality' Mode;
    You have to create a 'System' Under personal, with the type 'DMR Site Roaming'
    Then, you create personalities within that system. It will treat every personality within that system as being exchangeable.
    So, lets say you create one and put in 3 personalities,
    1 : WA1 Baldi
    2 : WA1 Oso
    3 : WA1 Cougar

    You would put lets say Pers 1, "WA1 Baldi", in a zone, because thats your 'home' channel. The radio will roam between the personalities within that system. If it hears Oso better, it will switch to that personality, and "WA1 Oso" will be displayed on the screen. When you power off the radio, it will remember that WA1 Oso was the best, and revert to it upon power up.

    So this has some pretty enormous limitations for Amateur use, if thats what you were looking for. Ive abandoned the idea of utilizing it on my 5800. Plus, Ive lost interest in Ham DMR anyways, so too much headache for not enough gain.
    You cannot scan these channels. In fact when you place a personality from a Site Roaming system in a zone, it will disable scanning for the entire Zone, so you'd want to keep these separate.
    Since it treats all the personalities in the system as the exchangeable, if you want to use multiple TGs, you have to make a new System for each different TG you want to site roam. Otherwise it will jump to any random TG in the system that it happens to hear.
    I think I found the limit was 32 systems when I was looking at this. So at most, you could Site Roam 32 TGs. Or whatever the limit is. Then you'd have no systems for anything conventional.
    Also, side note, its default is Unchecked, but you most likely dont want to enable "Active Site Hunt". If it doesnt hear any repeaters in the system within a timeframe, it will TX to try and wake them up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colt45ws View Post
    Also, side note, its default is Unchecked, but you most likely dont want to enable "Active Site Hunt". If it doesnt hear any repeaters in the system within a timeframe, it will TX to try and wake them up.
    I use this for some Solar Powered applications, where I've completely disabled beaconing using special methods on SLR1000s. It works very well, but again not "most situations". Only trick is you need a tiny bit of hang time for it to work well.

    If you have more than several groups, you should be using S Trunking, not DMR site roaming, so the limitations of systems/groups are a moot point IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PSEhub View Post
    The problem is that Kenwood doesn't have a James Barrus. They need to higher one.
    Update, after more testing I can say TX AGC definitely should not be used.

    They made the same mistakes as Moto.

    What I said about ANR set to Light still holds true.

    A Mic Sense of 0 or +2 for low noise with TX AGC off and ANR Light, or Mic Sense of -8 to -14 for high noise with TX AGC off and ANR set to Standard are my current favorites/gotos.