Saturday, October 14, 2017

Yaesu FT-891 Mic Settings

FT-891 Mic Setting Tips

The Yaesu MH-31 hand mic, which comes with various radios including the FT-891, doesn't impress most people.  I find that some EQ'ing can turn the sound into a very pleasing one.

My reports are excellent, so I'm passing this on. Your adjustments may differ slightly in the mid settings, depending on your voice (I have a mid-trebly voice).  I made these adjustments while listening to myself over another radio, then by listening with a remote station.

First, even before EQ'ing, it's very important that your ALC is set to peak at 1/4 to never much higher than 1/2, for clear audio (the FT-891 gets wacky above 1/2).  You'll want to adjust the ALC after EQ-ing, and watch it between band changes, as my levels change.  I have not installed the most recent Yaesu FT-891 update, per this writing, so I cannot say if this has changed.

Next, I prefer Menu 11-09 TX bandwidth set to the stock setting of 300-2700 for DX, or for rag chew, set to that or 200-2800.  There isn't a lot of difference, but the 2nd choice adds a bit more bass and clarity for those rag chews with better machines on the other end.

As for EQ, notice that Yaesu gives you 2 EQ lists.  One is for compression when on (menu 15-10), and the other when off (15-04).  I roll-off all lows below 300Hz. This is very important Also, I leave Compression (PRC in quick menu, set to my preference, between 25 to 50) on all of the time. I find that for DX, I want the compression around 10 to 15%, max.  For local stuff, around 5-10% (or less) is fine.  These settings ONLY work if you are using compression (PRC highlighted)

Next, we're looking at the longform menu P-EQ1 settings, starting with Menu 15-10 (settings for compression ON):

P-EQ1 FREQ 300  (adjust the low bass freq center point in Hz)
P-EQ1 Level -15    (adjust how much you add/subtract from low bass setting)
P-EQ1 BWTH 8     (adjust the bandwidth area covered by low bass frequency peak)
P-EQ2 FREQ 1300 (adjust mids frequency center point in Hz)
P-EQ2 Level 8        (adjust how much you add/subtract from the mid setting)
P-EQ2 BWTH 8     (adjust the bandwidth covered by mids frequency peak)
P-EQ3 FREQ 2300 (adjust the highs freq center point in Hz)
P-EQ3 LEVEL 10  (adjust how much you add/subtract from the highs setting)
P-EQ3 BWTH 8     (adjust the bandwidth covered by the high freq peak)

I set the switch on the hand mic to 1 for local rag chew, and 2 for DX.

AGAIN:  Please note, if you do not like to use compression, you must make the same settings beginning with menu 15-04 (settings for compression OFF), which is the same EQ list, but only affect when not using compression.  Yaesu gives you 2 EQ lists.  There is a group of setting for both compression on and compression off.  The compression menu items begin with a P (15-10, as noted above).

I hope these settings provide some guidance.  Here is a sample of audio between YB0AJZ using these mic settings, and KL7HRN on another rig (as recorded by myself HL1ZIX, in between in November 2018).  As it happened, I caught YB0AJZ in a QSO and heard he had just used the settings for his FT-891, which I had suggested here.  I had just handed back to him, and recorded his audio with KL7HRN.  The audio was recorded with my Icom 7300, and the filtering was set wide open on RX at 3.4 (although I may have been using the Notch to trim a smidge of noise off of the top).  I believe YB0AJZ was TX'ing with a bandwidth of 200-2800 on the FT-891.  This should give a really good indicator of how the above settings sound on-air.  He was on mic setting 2, at the back of the mic:


  1. I'm having trouble keeping the ALC under control. Only if I use the compression does the ALC behave. I've used your above settings with some success, but my voice doesn't sound natural and the power output on the radio is low. My voice is more on the lower side. Any suggestions on the ALC level?

    1. I always run at least a little compression, so I don't know what to tell you, other than keep the compression on, but less? I also own an Icom 7300, and compression is a requirement with that radio, or else the level is terribly low. Need more description about your voice "not sounding natural..." Are you using the hand mic, or another mic? Another mic will likely need tweaking. Everyone's voice differs, also. My voice is more mid/treble, so if you have a bassy voice, your EQ will need adjustment. I suggest listening to yourself using, on a nearby receiving site. Other than spending time with a friend giving voice feedback, it's one of the best options. I also have had luck using a second radio to monitor my signal from the FT891, in my home, while adjusting EQ and comp. Need to turn transmit power as low as possible, and unhook the antenna on the RX radio. Sometimes this can work, if the proximity effect doesn't cause weird sounds in the RX signal. Good luck.

    2. I should also mention that I keep my mouth quite close to the mic. Within maybe an inch, and I "talk sideways across" the mic face. Try varying the distance from the mic. This also affects bass. My FT891 has a higher average power output than my Icom 7300 (but 10w lower on peak power output). Oddly, the 891 sounds "louder" to DX.

    3. I appreciate the response. The "natural sound" problem I have is that I need to really mute the lower frequencies to make the ALC even approach 1/2 scale. This really makes my voice sound different, but I guess that could fine as long as it's understandable and clean.
      I think that you are right about using the EQ. I'll just have to keep playing with the settings. I listen to myself via the monitor function on the FT-891. Also, the microphone is a Tonor mic that I picked up on Amazon for cheap, but it seems to work really well on my Kenwood TS-450S.

  2. Just got an 891 to go with my two IC-7300's. For the price, and the size, and the remote face plate, and that I want to go HF mobile in a toyota corolla, the 7300's just wont work. I owned a couple of FTDX1200's before upgrading to the 7300's and near as I can tell, the FT891 is almost same as the FTdx1200 in a smaller box I just missed out on the $575 new ones with free Heil mic... oh well, but found a slightly used one (Made Nov 2017) for $500 still in the orig box - good deal.

    Owned two FT-857's for a long time (since 2004 or so). The technology in that series is long in the tooth...the caps are starting to change just due to the age of the radios. I dumped them to go with newer technology. I dont miss the all mode VHF or UHF...was never my thing.

    I'm a cw op. will be interesting to see how this 891 does on CW. The icom 7300 is a dream. The receiver is crisp on the 891. I dont notice the hiss that others suggest, but the CONTOUR control can adjust the audio passband and seems to allow you to adjust RX tone easily.

    The parametric EQ with processing ON seems to be the key. I'll report my EQ settings here once I get things set up. The MH-31 needs some EQing to sound good on air.

  3. What is the best way to use the mic gain on ssb its on 50 has anybody gone over the 50 and had good reports.

  4. I am using Processor 30 and mic gain 60 and Derek's TX audio settings which I input last night. And first thing this morning I end up in a QSO with HL1ZIX and Some west coast stations to test the settings!
    How about that for co incidence! Derek, It was great to speak to you this morning on the radio.
    Dave In Jakarta

    1. Loved it, Dave! Hope to catch you on the bands again, soon!

  5. Just received my FT-891 yesterday and really love it already. Thanks from this post, need play with these options today. 73 de OH6PV / OH6V

  6. j73tp. I received my FT-891 a few months ago, that's a good radio I liked it and am learning about it,the EQ settings that you gave I put these settings on my radio, am having better RX and TX. thanks guys, 73s.

    1. Having you been using the 891's voice monitor feature during transmit? Can you hear the differences in any EQ adjustments over headphones?

  7. I like wearing headphones on SSB. Can I monitor my voice during SSB on the FT-891 and hear what EQ qualities are actually transmitted?