Audio Solutions Question of The Week: What Is the Squelch Feature Used for on My Wireless System?

What is the squelch feature used for on my wireless system?

Audio Solutions Team

Answer: Some Audio-Technica wireless systems, like the 3000 Series, feature a receiver with squelch adjustment. Squelch is a detector circuit that functions similarly to a noise gate for the receiver. When the receiver does not detect a radio frequency (RF) signal above a certain threshold, this detector circuit will mute the audio. Please consult your owner’s manual to confirm if your A-T wireless system is equipped with an adjustable squelch.

When a receiver detects an RF signal from any source, then squelch can open and allow audio to be passed through. If the receiver happens to detect an RF signal from a Digital Television (DTV) station, then it is possible that radio frequency interference (RFI) might be heard in your audio system. This is why it is important to first run a frequency scan with your Audio-Technica wireless system. If your wireless system has scanning capabilities, please review the owner’s manual for scanning instructions and review our Question of the Week post “How Many Wireless Systems Can I Use at the Same Time” to determine if you are operating on available/compatible frequencies. If you are not able to perform a scan, adjusting the squelch can be an effective tool to reduce RFI, but there is a catch…

In most cases, the squelch control should not be adjusted. However, within normal wireless system limitations, the squelch level may be used to reduce RFI issues, with the trade-off being reduced operating range. With the increased or “tightened” squelch levels, the RF sensitivity of the receiver is effectively reduced, and thus the RF energy required for the receiver to detect an RF signal from a transmitter will need to be much stronger. As an example, if the user is operating on a frequency that isn’t available for use in a given area, the RF energy emitted by the DTV station may be heard in the audio system. In this case, the squelch level can be adjusted, but the operating range of the wireless system will be reduced. When the squelch level is adjusted, placing the compatible transmitter much closer to the receiver will be required for successful operation. However, if you have the receiver’s squelch at its maximum setting, and the RFI signal is still stronger than the transmitter’s signal, then that frequency will not be available for use in that area.

Adjusting the squelch level can help to reduce RFI issues, but doing so is typically a last resort effort to obtain maximum channel count before upgrading your wireless system(s). If you’re still not sure how or when to use squelch, please contact us. Wireless operation can easily become confusing, so talking with the Audio Solutions Team is a great way to help with frequency coordination, squelch settings and other wireless issues.

One last point: The adjustable squelch setting should not be confused with Tone Lock™ squelch, which is an advanced feature found on some Audio-Technica wireless systems. Be sure to check back next week when we’ll discuss the specifics of the Audio-Technica Tone Lock squelch!


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