Do the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ Sound Better Than the DV Dongle?

A number of customers have reported anecdotally that the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ (formerly DV3000) have good audio, but is that just perception or is there some truth to it? I spoke with Rich Kovars, Applications Engineer at DVSI, who talked about the ThumbDV™/PiDV™ AMBE-3000 chip vs the Dongle’s1 AMBE-2020.

From the DVSI Website:

“DVSI’s AMBE-2020™ and AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chips, are both DSTAR compatible. iCOM originally introduced the DSTAR system based on the AMBE-2020™ Vocoder chip that utilizes DVSI’s AMBE+ technology. Since that time, DVSI has developed and produced the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip that implements DVSI’s latest generation AMBE+2 technology and is fully interoperable with the the AMBE-2020™ vocoder chip used for DSTAR. The enhancements of AMBE+2™ technology in the AMBE-3000™ vocoder chip can provide superior voice quality in some circumstances. The highest level of voice quality can be achieved when the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip (or equivalent software2) is incorporated into the equipment used on both ends of the radio link.”

So the answer is a definite maybe.

1 The DV Dongle is manufactured by Internet Labs.
2 Current ICOM D-STAR products use a software vocoder that incorporates the 3000 advancements.