Tecsun PL-880: How to fix the audio level problem

photo (5)As more and more people are beginning to receive their Tecsun PL-880s, I’m receiving emails and noticing comments regarding an “audio level problem.”

Here’s the symptom: when you tune your brand new PL-880 to a relatively weak station on AM or shortwave, the audio level jumps from low to high in what seems like a random pattern.  It’s very annoying. Like me, many assume they have received a faulty unit–some have even sent their new PL-880 back for refund.

In reality, the PL-880 is simply following a default muting threshold level and the audio is responding accordingly. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for this–you won’t find it in your owner’s manual, but you will find it in one of the first PL-880 posts I published:

Hidden feature: Adjusting the Tecsun PL-880 muting threshold

I hope Tecsun will start shipping their PL-880s with the threshold set to “00” or off.  It would certainly lead to less confusion and frustration.

You can follow all Tecsun PL-880 updates by bookmarking/checking this link.

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14 thoughts on “Tecsun PL-880: How to fix the audio level problem

  1. Harry

    One day the PL-880 only played full blast volume. I could not reduce the volume. I tried the suggestions on this site and was able to reduce the volume to about 1/3rd level. The volume control still has no effect and I cant control the volume. I tried the 4-7-9 buttons, I pulled the batt until the display dropped out and I trid the reset pin hole. Nothing helped with being able to have a functioning volume control. Any suggestions??

  2. Chris

    I have the volume jump around where it is hard to get to the desired level. I believe the potentiometer is dirty or worn. I believe the volume is set with a DC voltage set by the pot which is read by the main radio chip and it in turn sets the volume output level. So you’ll never hear static per say when turning the volume control but the processor is just trying to interpret the noisy analog input voltage from the volume pot. I’m thinking of adding a capacitor to the line to see if that might dampen the effect.

  3. John Richards

    Very disappointed with my TECSUN PL – 660 receiver.When I turn it on it starts at about half volume and I cannot turn it down.On the local FM band it is far too loud.The TECSUN people in Australia tell me they have never heard of this problem.Any idea of a fix? Cheers .John Richards,Dunedin,New Zealand.

  4. Larry Heilman

    The problem is AGC overshoot when you’re on single Side Band makes the first word very distorted and it’s okay until there’s a pause and the first word is very distorted it’s very annoying

  5. Larry Heilman

    I ordered one today.I’m a ham opetater(since1972),primarily to monitor 75meter lower side band,I MUST fix the ssb/agc.can you provide the correct solution.(I used to be a Motorola road technician).I can do the repair.THANK YOU,Larr.

  6. Alasdair

    I just bought the Tecsun pl-880.
    It was fine for a day, now the volume knob doesn’t work after it was turned off for 2 hours. I found to can override the volume by holing the 7 key, however that only goes down to lever 30.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  7. tw

    I just wrote a rather lengthy comment about the radio under your review, but after reading the above comments I see that probably the “auto squelch” issue is indeed an issue of firmware 8819, and was (hopefully) fixed in 8820. Unfortunately, this is what Kaito is selling as of yesterday. Those like me who bought 8819, we need to let them know their entire shipment needs to be sent back for firmware updating…this is simply irresponsible selling on TECSUN’s part (rushing to get the radio out before X-mas when it was clearly not ready).

  8. Mito

    Unfortunately we who bought the Amazon we can not fix the audio level with ’00 ‘I believe that there is only one reason and that is the firmware version 8019 because I see that there is a newer version of 8020 with which this hidden option works.
    The same thing was with the PL660, so I had to modify. Us with this version of 8019 remains the only hope to be supplemented with the firmware in the future.

      1. Tom Stiles

        This morning the shortwave bands were very quite and the dbu readings were around 10 to 15. In this condition the cutting out of the audio was apparent even thou I was able to set the muting threshold to 00 (firmware 8019). Note that the audio does not completely cut out but is greatly reduced. It like using squelch and being on the hair edge. I would have thought setting it to 00 would have turned off the squelch effect totally. Guess I will have to return mine too as this is very annoying. Hopefully I can get a replacement that does not have this problem.


      2. tw

        I believe there are actually two things going on in vers 8819, which would explain why you can adjust 8819 (but not completely turn it off). I wonder if yours has the same second sort of brick wall mute despite being on “00”–mine does and it is hugely annoying, unless you stay on strong stations.


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