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Mototrbo vs. analog audio comparison, you be the judge

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radioman2001

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It seems that this MOTOTRBO topic keeps coming up every week. To me that means that there is a problem, and if someone talks about it positively all the time that's going to fix it. I am not all that impressed with any digital format, either it works or it doesn't no in between. All the tests seem to be with a full quieting signal, I like to see a test with a poor signal and see what you get. I listen all the time to digital systems and where I am I get a lot of digital breakup, I wonder what it sounds like at the receiving end of the people having the conversation.
 

JRayfield

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Springfield, MO
Here's a link to a test that my father and I did, comparing analog and MOTOTRBO, in a very weak-signal situation.

We have a UHF trunked repeater system on a 300 ft tower at our shop. I connected a MOTOTRBO repeater to the trunked-repeater antenna system, so that we could be comparing as closely 'apples-to-apples' as possible.

My father was 26 miles from the shop, and holding a Motorola HT1250LS+ portable in one hand and a MOTOTRBO XPR6550 portable in the other hand. He first talked on the UHF LTR analog system and then on the MOTOTRBO repeater.

You can tell that he's right at the 'edge' of coverage. Part way through his transmission on analog, you'll hear some noise completely take out his voice. Part way through his transmission on MOTOTRBO, if you listen very closely, you'll hear a very slight 'twist' in the audio (it occurred during a pause between words).

I was recording this at the shop, using a micro cassette recorder, next to an XPR6550. So the audio quality of the recording isn't the best.

http://radiointerop.com/downloads/Analog_MotoTRBO.mp3

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma


It seems that this MOTOTRBO topic keeps coming up every week. To me that means that there is a problem, and if someone talks about it positively all the time that's going to fix it. I am not all that impressed with any digital format, either it works or it doesn't no in between. All the tests seem to be with a full quieting signal, I like to see a test with a poor signal and see what you get. I listen all the time to digital systems and where I am I get a lot of digital breakup, I wonder what it sounds like at the receiving end of the people having the conversation.
 

MTS2000des

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to be honest the TRBO doesn't sound bad at all to me, though I don't hablo Espanol. But I didn't hear any artifacts or distortion. Does it sound full bandwidth like analog? Not at all. No compressed digital will. Most cellphone audio is just as horrid, especially CDMA carriers with their awful half rate codecs. But this is the price we pay for squeezing more out of less.

Full bandwidth audio=a wider carrier, and that isn't gonna happen, the FCC is forcing narrowband. Get used to it.

TRBO and NexEDGE sound way better than the ancient IMBE codec of P25 phase I anyday of the week. at least the radios don't cost an arm and a leg either.
 

Jay911

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As digital signals go, the OP's video was clearer than most I've heard, but still not as good as the analog signal. I have next to no command of the Spanish language, so perhaps part of it was related to not being able to understand the language, but I found the digital voice harder to hear clearly and had less amplitude/loudness.
 

bosco836

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I am a regular user of a Mototrbo system and can say that the audio - in ideal conditions - has the potential to be rather clear. However, I must say that I still prefer analog FM to Mototrbo audio for day to day use. I find that Mototrbo audio often times is difficult to understand, and subsequently, find myself straining to hear what our dispatcher is trying to tell us (especially if the phone/other radios are going off). Conversely, this problem seems to be less of an issue while operating in analog mode.

I think that Mototrbo is simply something you either like or hate. In talking with my fellow colleagues - there seems to be a divide between two camps - those who like it, and those who don't - with very little middle ground.
 

micco

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My FD just switched from analog FM to digital MotoTRBO and we all want to go back. In ideal low noise environments it works ok but as a Engineer I have to get in the truck and close the door to be understood. We have gone back to analog line of site non repeated channels so we can communicate on fire grounds. To me the entire thing seems like a waste of tax payer money. Should have just narrow banded.
 

JRayfield

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Springfield, MO
Something is definitely wrong with the system or radio setup. Here are a couple of sound clips of tests that I personally did, in and around a fire engine, as well as some other sound clips of high-background-noise environments with MOTOTRBO.

Fire Engine test (this even included using VOX - Voice Activated Transmit - which will NOT work in analog mode in this kind of high-noise environment):

http://radiointerop.com/downloads/Fire_Engine_Audio_Test_2.mp3

MOTOTRBO transmissions from a helicopter:

http://radiointerop.com/downloads/Helicopter_Audio.mp3

MOTOTRBO transmissions with radio close to lawnmower engine:

http://radiointerop.com/downloads/Turbo2.mp3

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma

My FD just switched from analog FM to digital MotoTRBO and we all want to go back. In ideal low noise environments it works ok but as a Engineer I have to get in the truck and close the door to be understood. We have gone back to analog line of site non repeated channels so we can communicate on fire grounds. To me the entire thing seems like a waste of tax payer money. Should have just narrow banded.
 

Jay911

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All the testing in the world doesn't matter. It has to work in a real-world situation. The transmissions made without a headset sounded significantly muffled and on the borderline of being able to be understood, and I'm not going to buy headsets for all my radios just to get back to the level of clarity I have now with analog comms.

Besides, while the background noise reduction might be significant in terms of transmitting, these comms clearly (excuse the pun) have reduced volume compared to similar analog comms. Be it AGC, noise reduction, or something else, if I'm standing in front of a helicopter that's landing on the highway, if I can't hear someone call out "wave him off" because the digital sound is too quiet, it doesn't matter how awesome it sounds.

Jason Low I, EMD, EMT-A, FF/SF NFPA 1001 II, VE6SRT, IC ROR(A), and sometimes Y.
 
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JRayfield

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Springfield, MO
These were 'real world' tests. The one on the fire engine was done out back here at the shop. The one with the lawnmower engine was done at my house. These weren't done in any kind of 'lab'.

The helicopter test was 'real world' - the guy was in an A-Star helicopter, in flight. I don't know how much more 'real world' you can get than that.

And I have NO idea what you mean by the audio was 'muffled'. It was all very clear and easy-to-copy in all of these tests. The only one that was done with a headset was at the beginning of the test on the fire engine, and I took the headset off part way through the test, with very little change in audio.

By the way, an analog portable in a helicopter is pretty much unreadable, unless you're using a noise cancelling headset. I've tried it. It doesn't work well at all. And I'm sure that an analog radio would not have worked with my 'lawnmower test', either.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma


All the testing in the world doesn't matter. It has to work in a real-world situation. The transmissions made without a headset sounded significantly muffled and on the borderline of being able to be understood, and I'm not going to buy headsets for all my radios just to get back to the level of clarity I have now with analog comms.

Jason Low I, EMD, EMT-A, FF/SF NFPA 1001 II, VE6SRT, IC ROR(A), and sometimes Y.
 

torontokris

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Toronto Canada
Any local TRBO I have heard comes in with BOOMING audio over analog.
same analog signal is staticy etc but the TRBO comes in loud and clear.

That being said if the signal is iffy as with any digital then it breaks up.
 
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