RF Limited 2018 Turbo Microphone Review
Echo microphones are one of the most popular sellers on the market. CB radio is a hobby, but it's also entertainment and echo microphones create a way for people to have fun and help them to differentiate themselves on the air. While many operators see them as an annoyance, if used properly they can add a distinct sound to your voice and the amplification aspect can really bring up your audio.
In the hand held echo microphone market there is one brand that is tops and that's the RF Limited line of echo microphones. From their earliest models to the current EC-2018XTR Xtreme their echo microphones have proven themselves to be the clear leader in echo quality, ability, and overall audio. Now that's not to say that a DM-452 or similar isn't a great value, but if you want the best hand echo microphone with the most options you should be looking at the RF Limited mic's.
The Road Noise EC-2018 Turbo with talkback is an amplified hand held power echo microphone with 4 pin Cobra / Uniden connector. The microphone features a push-to-talk button on the side and a red on-the-air LED on the front of the microphone. It's advertised as having "Reflex Echo", "Whammy Sound Effects", and even the ability to do an "Alien Voice".
The controls for this microphone are both internal and external and located on the back of the microphone. As you can see in the photo below, the echo volume (or the amount of the effect) is located on the left of the microphone while the echo delay (length of the echo effect) is located on the right. These controls are wheel based potentiometers and are easy to adjust, although there are complaints from users that they are easy to bump during use in a mobile environment.
The other two controls are located on the circuit board and are accessible through small holes located in the back of the microphone. VR2 give you access to the talkback control so you can adjust the amount of talkback you'd like to hear through your radio. VR3 adjusts the amount of amplification or gain the microphone will have when you speak into it. Both of these adjustment points can be reached with a small phillips screwdriver.
The microphone takes a 9V battery which installs in the bottom section of the microphone. The cover for this area just slides down and opens for access. If you need to access the inside board for some reason you can remove the large thumbscrew located in the center of the back microphone cover. This allows you to remove the rear cover completely so you can see the push-to-talk control button area, as well as all the control points on the circuit board.
Removing the board from the front housing reveals a small microphone element and SMT (Surface Mount Technology) on the circuit board. As you can see there is quite a lot more happening on this circuit board than a standard power microphone circuit board.
In the picture below you can see the actual push-to-talk switch (round piece) which is pushed in when the button on the outside of the microphone is depressed. One of the main complaints about these microphones is that over time you may encounter a PTT switch or button that will break. While I can understand how this could happen I've owned different variations of this microphone over the years and have never had any issues with any of the push-to-talk elements.
Hands down this product is the best hand held echo microphone on the market when compared to other echo/power mics and you'll pay the price - $54.95 at most locations. In return though you get a high quality microphone that has excellent response and sound quality. Even if you never plan to use the echo feature the microphone still has a great sound to it. I've owned multiple units over the years and it's an all in one package - echo, power microphone, and talkback. Many people will pay big money for a shop to add an echo board and talkback to your radio, but one of the neat things with these microphones is they offer all of those features, and since it can be moved and used in multiple radios you aren't limiting your options.
Is it easy to do a review on something that's already proved itself in the marketplace? Sure it is. But for those who haven't tired one of these microphones yet, you now know what you've been missing.
On the Back
EC-2018 Turbo Specifications
Sensitivity: -25dB @ 1 KHz (at maximum output and minimum echo)
Impedance: 1 K Ohm
Frequency Response: 500 - 3 KHz
Echo Frequency Response: 500 - 3 KHz
Echo Time: 600ms Maximum
Battery: 9 Volt Preferably Alkaline
Internal Noise: 0.5mV or Less
Microphone Element: ECM Type
EC-2018 Turbo™ Wire Color Code