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Poor call audio quality on Pro1?


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Back then it was a question. Nine months later it is a fact: call quality on Pro1 is far from satisfactory. So much so that when I'm home and need to video chat I make sure I use another device.

It comes as no surprise though as call experience usually needs engineers and QA teams to work closely together to fine tune it and FxTec is unlikely to be able to afford it any time soon.

On the plus side I'm confident most issues could be fixed or worked around in software so we can still hope that call quality will improve through firmware upgrade. Maybe Android 10 could help, who knows.

Edited by Slion
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3 hours ago, Slion said:

Back then it was a question. Nine months later it is a fact: call quality on Pro1 is far from satisfactory. So much so that when I'm home and need to video chat I make sure I use another device.

I think this problem is related to the active speaker during handsfree mode, sothe wrong one is muted.
It should be solved in software, as I feel only this is the problem with call quality.
(So the noise [the other party] comes near the signal [my own voice] mic which only has a few centimeters distance while the other speaker is at the opposite side but muted while in handsfree mode.)

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Yes, the handsfree mode could be fixed in software by using the other (upper) speaker. When I have my Pro1 lying on a surface, or when my finger is close to the bottom of the phone, where the loudspeaker and microphone are, then people hear an echo.

I am afraid that the distortions when doing a "normal" phone call (not a Wi-Fi call) cannot be fixed. These distortions seem to be the modem signals getting picked up by the audio amplifier for the upper loudspeaker.

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8 minutes ago, daniel.schaaaf said:

I am afraid that the distortions when doing a "normal" phone call (not a Wi-Fi call) cannot be fixed. These distortions seem to be the modem signals getting picked up by the audio amplifier for the upper loudspeaker.

Distortions in which side of the phone call?
...what do you and the other party hear?

If you hear some distortions in Pro1 then try lowering the volume.
If the other party hears distortion then I may not noticed it simply because the other party hears it.
However, I have not received complaints.

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1 hour ago, VaZso said:

Distortions in which side of the phone call?
...what do you and the other party hear?

If you hear some distortions in Pro1 then try lowering the volume.
If the other party hears distortion then I may not noticed it simply because the other party hears it.
However, I have not received complaints.

Distortions is probably the wrong word. Better words are crackling noise or interference.

I never asked the person on the other end of the call about the call quality, since I only make "ordinary" phone calls to/with people i don't know :classic_wink:. The interference can be so disturbing that I barely understand the other person, but since they never complained, I guess they don't hear it. I know this kind of interference from audio amplifiers and am sure this is what happens in the Pro1. It is only audible on the Pro1 loudspeaker.

Lowering the volume is not possible unfortunately because the caller volume management for the Pro1 is broken.

Talking about audio volume: I presume the audio coming into the earpiece amplifier is too low. Therefore the amplifier has to amplify the audio signal way too much, probably close to 0 db. This would also amplify faint interference from the modem to a level that is audible. Does anyone know if the audio signal going to the earpiece can be adjusted programmatically? Or is this part of the audio pathway done in hardware only?

Edited by daniel.schaaaf
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2 minutes ago, daniel.schaaaf said:

Distortions is probably the wrong word. Better words are crackling noise or interference.

Do you have a low signal at the place where you trying?

Usually I don't hear such a noise which I used to hear using my Nokia 3110 regularly.
However, in very rare cases, I heard this also in newer phones including Pro1, but usually there is no such a noise for me.
(If that is what you heard.)

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17 minutes ago, VaZso said:

Do you have a low signal at the place where you trying?

Usually I don't hear such a noise which I used to hear using my Nokia 3110 regularly.
However, in very rare cases, I heard this also in newer phones including Pro1, but usually there is no such a noise for me.
(If that is what you heard.)

Yes, the signal is low i my apartment, which increases the transmission power of the modem. I never had modem interference as loud as on the Pro1 though.

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2 minutes ago, daniel.schaaaf said:

Yes, the signal is low i my apartment, which increases the transmission power of the modem. I never had modem interference as loud as on the Pro1 though.

That seems to be the reason why you hear it.
In Nokia 3310, sometimes it was relatively loud anyway.

It can be hard to solve this problem in a phone where transmission and low-signal parts are close to each other.
Transmission power depends on the signal - if it is weak, the device tries to "shouting" more and more to be able to provide a usable user experience.
It also affects battery consumption as it needs more power, while if you have high signal, the used power is highly reduced.

I think other phones also have some noise in the very worst situation (worst signal level).
Also different kind of radio bands may have different effect on that noise while an unsupported band may lead to worse reception of the Pro1 than some other phones.
Pro1 supports a lot of radio bands, but it may happen some other phones have better coverage because of this (maybe higher chance for it in the US).

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35 minutes ago, VaZso said:

Transmission power depends on the signal - if it is weak, the device tries to "shouting" more and more to be able to provide a usable user experience.

Indeed. If the conditions are poor, it might even matter what ear that are used and how the device is held! As the signal might have to pass through the head or hand, if the mast is to the side of where you stand.

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6 hours ago, daniel.schaaaf said:

am afraid that the distortions when doing a "normal" phone call (not a Wi-Fi call) cannot be fixed. These distortions seem to be the modem signals getting picked up by the audio amplifier for the upper loudspeaker

Yes those can't be fixed in software.

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When I am entering in my house(of flats) which is around other houses that are 4 floors houses, phone reception signal can be cut, while I am in corridor in the middle of the house. The house is not that big - probably 5m is where reception is struggling from the window. And that is in the center of 1mil city agglomeration(in UK), where signal is perfect for any phone. Sometimes I have to stand next to window to have conversation, because 2m away can cause conversation to get garbled and cut.

Many people also were complaining that they could not hear me very well. At this point I would say that everyone I am having consistent conversations, so occasional callers just are not able to make it so far to complain.

So, I was also curious if this is something that is affecting some phones - probably earlier batch or is this normal and nothing can be done.

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On 11/6/2020 at 4:02 PM, glic said:

So, I was also curious if this is something that is affecting some phones - probably earlier batch or is this normal and nothing can be done.

You should see if your provider offers wifi calling. I'm in the same situation: network is not very strong and most people were complaining about audio quality on calls. Lots of static and generally poor quality they said. It was so bad that I got a second SIM card and a second phone just to make phone calls. Same places as before, which also does not speak for the reception qualities of the Pro1, which constantly dropped calls.

By now I activated wifi calling and the situation is nearly perfect. At least if you have a stable wifi connection.

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17 minutes ago, dicer said:

You should see if your provider offers wifi calling. I'm in the same situation: network is not very strong and most people were complaining about audio quality on calls. Lots of static and generally poor quality they said. It was so bad that I got a second SIM card and a second phone just to make phone calls. Same places as before, which also does not speak for the reception qualities of the Pro1, which constantly dropped calls.

By now I activated wifi calling and the situation is nearly perfect. At least if you have a stable wifi connection.

Wifi calling. I guess you are not using the stock android. As far as I know they have not fixed the issue in the stock android software (which is one reason why some users have been selling their pro one on this forum). So it might be an idea to fix it?

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  • 1 month later...
9 hours ago, Asanti898 said:

Excuse me if I'm not following you all correctly, so is the main conflict caused by interference between tx and mic? If so could disabling certain radio bands improve this issue?

I think the main problem is the closest speaker relative to the microphone is in use instead of the farthest speaker in handsfree mode...
...and also the volume of earpiece speaker in normal mode is too loud.

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  • 1 month later...

Some colleagues also told me on Sunday and yesterday that they cannot hear me well on whatsapp over wifi (slider open or closed). They could hear me fine when I plugged my headphones. On the other hand today the phone is working normal again (slider closed and open). I did a phone shutdown in between... Maybe that helped?!

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/2/2021 at 3:15 PM, OKSun said:

did a phone shutdown in between... Maybe that helped?!

That's my experience too. Sometimes it works just fine and sometimes it's hardly usable.

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Posted (edited)

Also recently I got a few other telephony issues:

  • Impossible to answer or reject a phone call: the dialog with green and red buttons comes up but you can't push the buttons.
  • Once you answer a phone call the screen goes black and you can't do anything until the call has ended. Most annoying if you are online with a bot that expects you to push buttons.

Both issues were fixed after a couple of reboots. Yes one on them was still there after the first reboot.

Edited by Slion
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  • 2 weeks later...

The sound quality during a call is bad. The speaker at the upper-front part of the phone near the front camera is of bad quality. I don't think it's a software issue. Just the speaker is scratchy. I am forced to turn on speakerphone mode which redirects the audio to the bottom loudspeaker of the phone to understand the other party.
EDIT: on the second thoughts it may be a software issue as well, because the bottom loudspeaker's call quality is bad too.

Edited by fashion_m
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Bit of an update - I changed the Preferred network type to GSM/WCDMA preferred and I have had 4 phone calls in that time without the severe distortion.

4G call and WiFi calls are currently disabled. With just these disabled I still had muffled calls. I'm tempted to turn WiFi calling back on to see how that goes. I've a feeling that it may be related to the preferred network setting only.

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Posted (edited)

I've now had about 8 calls in the setup above. I've not enabled WiFi calls again yet.
Only one of those has had some "buzzing" - so it seems to made an overall improvement to call quality. In the call that was buzzing moving around a little improved the quality. (I suspect - signal strength may be related too)

Obvious downsides to this is you lose 4G - which is not really a problem for me for what I use mobile data for usually - plus currently I'm still housebound with WiFi. Also this is only my experience, obviously. I'd be very interested if others have tried this and get similar results.

It occurs to me that if someone could force calls to use GSM only without changing the global setting in android, then that could be a potential win/win.

Edited by PokeParadox
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Another update. I've got the setting to GSM/WCDMA preferred as mentioned before, but I've also re-enabled the WiFi-calling.
I have unfortunately only had 1 call so far in this setup, but it was clear without interference in sound.

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