CyberMax Micro+ defeats the Ramsey FM100BEX from head to toe

What? Cat got your tongue? :-)

Let me tell you why.

I am fairly confident in my conclusion because I owned both this units in my days as a pirate radio dj wannabee. I’m pretty handy with electronics, kit assembly, and rf design. I did come to realize that most of the fun wasn’t in the dj’ing but mostly in the assembly of the kits, optmizing boxed units to perform above their rated specifications and seeing your friends and family enjoy the rig. Tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.

Let’s see the specs first. Hey!!! Everybody wants to see the specs first. It’s always the specs.

 

RAMSEY FM100BEX specifications

  • 2 Line inputs and one mic input-plus a built in mixer!
  • New Line output for monitoring your show!
  • PLL Crystal controlled for rock solid frequency
  • Left and right channel peak hold indicators and large LED frequency display
  • Built in power supply, just plug it in! Now operates from 85-264VAC (47 63 Hz) without jumpers!
  • 25 mW output standard, optional 1W configuration for operation outside the US!
  • Auto AGC microphone muting function for cool talk-overs
  • Rugged steel enclosure for years of service


The true professional workhorse of our FM Stereo transmitter line, the FM100B has become the transmitter of choice for both amateurs and professionals around the world. From the serious hobbyist to churches, drive-in theaters, colleges and schools, it continues to be the leader. Not just a transmitter, the FM100B is a fully functional radio station and provides everything but the audio input and antenna system.

This professional synthesized transmitter is adjustable directly from the front panel with a large LED digital readout of the operating frequency. Just enter the setup mode and set your frequency. Once selected and locked, you are assured of a rock stable carrier with zero drift. The power output is continuously adjustable throughout the power range of the model selected. Audio quality is equally impressive. A precision active low-pass brick wall audio filter and peak level limiters give your signal maximum "punch" while preventing overmodulation. Two sets of stereo line level inputs are provided with front panel level control for both. Dual front panel LED bar-graph meters provide left and right channel audio level metering. In addition to the line level inputs, there is a separate microphone input with a built-in mic mixer to control the level. Not enough? How about unattended microphone ducking! When enabled, the presence of mic audio automatically reduces and overrides the line level input! Just like the professional units at a fraction of the cost.
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CYBERMAX Micro+ specifications

  • Rated output power: 0mW-3000mW, max. depending on model, with temp and SWR protecion!
  • RF Output connector: F
  • RF Output impedance: 50 ohm
  • Frequency range: 87.5 108 MHz (ask for other bands)
  • Modulation: FM stereo, RDS (if installed)
  • Digital audio inputs: USB
  • Analog audio inputs: 3.5 stereo jack
  • Audio input: 1Vpp
  • Frequency amplitude: 30Hz 15kHz (limited by standards)
  • Harmonic distortion: 0,15%, 30Hz 15kHz
  • Pre-emphasis: Flat, 50uS, 75uS, selectable with jumpers
  • Power requirement: 12-15V/1.5A stabilized
  • Limiter: Yes, built-in
  • 2×10 LED: VU-meter (Music) or LIGHT SHOW, selectable via LCD
  • Dimensions: 165x155x35
  • Ambient temperature: -5° to +60°C
cybermaxmicrov4_4_b

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What’s on paper does not necessarily translate to real life. Judging from the specs alone, the CyberMax is more technically advance than the FM100BEX. I don’t care if you don’t agree with me. Because in my opinion a manufacturer who engages in selling electronic kits should make the specifications one of the selling points. So it makes me wonder why Ramsey, with the FM100BEX, can only provide the features above. They could be hiding something. And I know what it is.

Now the CyberMax Micro+. I wish it was sold in kits but it isn’t. I got the boxed transmitter. And it was AWESOME. Don’t get me wrong. The Ramsey FM100BEX is also great. But it’s like comparing a motorcycle to a 10 speed bike. The CyberMax does live up to its specifications. BUT barely if you crank up everything. In normal operating conditions, and you get to hear it a mile away, you’ll think its one of those commercial FM stations. That’s how great it is.

What both transmitters do great:

  1. both do transmit quality stereo audio. 2 stars for the FM100BEX. 5 stars for the Micro+
  2. both have signal stability. 1 stars for the FM100BEX. 5 stars for the Micro+
  3. both are in stereo. 3 stars for the FM100BEX. 5 stars for the Micro+ (is has digital inputs)
  4. both have great control panels. 5 stars for both sets

What the Ramsey FM100BEX fails in:

  1. It has a noisy power supply. It introduces hum to the signal.
  2. It has no digital input. (the FM100 was designed before the digital age so a little slack is in order)
  3. It uses the BA1404A. (I still have a couple of this – and they are hard to find here in asia)
  4. Stereo separation is just so so. A BA1404 limitation
  5. PLL circuit is not as stable. Introduces noise. A BA1404 limitation.

What the CyberMax Micro+ fails in:

  1. let me think first…

My review, if you can call it that is from the perspective of a “seasoned” electronics hobbyist. From this perspective the CYBERMAX Micro+ aces, trashes, defeats, buldgeons, kicks, tramps, kills, shames… the Ramsey FM100BEX ass from head to toe and back. This is what I dreamed my fm station would be when I was in high school.

What makes the Micro+ better than the FM100BEX is the way the cricuit was designed. The Micro+ uses an RF circuit designed from scratch. It is by all means an entirely discrete stereo encoder designed to operate 24/7/365. You can even control it through your computer. You can never accomplish this level of quality at its price point from a BA1404 chip.

BUT.

Now from a users perspective? You know the dj, your son, girlfriend, buddies, boy scout troop who you show off your fm station to… Well I must say, the race is neck to neck. I laid out both sets (girlfriend and 2 buddies) and asked them which looks sexy. The girlfriend and 1 bloke chose the Ramsey, the other dumba*s went for the Micro. Guess what I chose? Like I told you, neck to neck.

All of them found both sets easy to use. Both were hooked to a computer: Ramsey [xlr mic (AT2020), netbook -> mixer -> FM100BEX], CyberMax [usb mic (Samson CO3U) -> netbook -> Micro+). Nothing to compare here as both worked perfectly, although the girlfriend liked the Ramsey better for the retro effect it had.

Conclusion

The Ramsey FM100BEX is a dinosaur. The Ramsey FM100BEX is vintage. The Ramsey FM100BEX is retro. BUT. It gets the job done. Smoothly.
The CyberMax Micro+ V4 is modern. The CyberMax Micro+ V4 is state of the art. CyberMax Micro+ V4 is digital. It also gets the jobe done. Smoothly. AND better.

P.S. Geez… I think I was a little biased. Don’t you think so?

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2 Responses to “CyberMax Micro+ defeats the Ramsey FM100BEX from head to toe”

  1. robert July 29, 2013 at 3:36 PM #

    Thanks for the review i really enjoyed reading it im so thinking of using pcs electronics because i like the fact one of there cards can be used with sam broadcaster at first though i alway had a thing about ramsey i did get one of their catalogs to check too see what they have and i believe its nothing like what pcs electronics has.

    • bosslot
      bosslot July 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM #

      Yep. I too was a Ramsey addict a in my early days in fm broadcasting. The day I found pcs electronics… I never looked back. But I still recommend Ramsey for the “boy” stuff. Hehehehe!!! You know like Boy Scouting…

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