A recent post on the NW Digital Radio blog suggests that the audio quality from their ThumbDV could be an improvement over that of the DV-Dongle. This, according to the post, is due improvements in the new AMBE-3000 vovoder. The older DV-Dongle is built on the AMBE-2020 vocoder. The evidence seems anecdotal at this point, however, an application engineer at DVSI suggested that improvements in the AMBE +2 technology “provide superior voice quality in some circumstances”.
I find this interesting because while D-STAR feels like a “new” thing, it’s actually aging quickly and I’ve often wondered how the hardware built on first-generation technology would hold up — and how it might be upgraded. Or not. In my opinion, the ability to upgrade the vocoder chip makes the modular design concept of the Universal Digital Radio look head and shoulders above the current crowd.
Full disclosure: I just ordered a ThumbDV this afternoon and plan to use it with a Raspberry Pi.