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Sound problems with no response from Fxtec support for 45 days (Pre-Christmas Device)


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Greetings,

I have one of the fancy Pre-Christmas devices (Lineage).  I had horrible problems with ticks and poor sound quality upon recording (mainly uneven recording levels, distortion to the point of being unintelligible).  Fxtec asked that I return the device (at my cost) and was told the sound card was replaced. The recording issues remain. 

There is no answer for 45 days despite repeatedly responding to the last message from Fxtec support on 21JUL21 of:  "Dear Gene, We're sorry to hear about this. Different microphones are used to record different things. When you use the voice recorder, it might be using the microphone near the camera. Which would be blocked up if the device is laying flat on it's back. Could you try re-doing the test without the device laying flat, perhaps hold it still in your hands and re-do the test?"

What tests were performed when this was in Fxtec's possession and why wasn't this discovered when in the possession of Fxtec when this was the reason I paid to send it back for repair? Yes, the recording issues continue despite the position and app being used.  A post repair sample recording is attached. 

I see a thread from over a year ago which requires rooting (https://community.fxtec.com/topic/2737-solution-poor-sound-quality-noise-on-headphones-clicks-in-games-etc/).

Any suggestions?  Is this what to expect from Fxtec support?

Thanks,

Gene

P.S.  Support request #9577 if anyone from Fxtec is reading this.  

SoundRecord-2021-07-13-01-22-19.wav

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I never tried do any audio recording and very few video recording TBH.
However my understanding is that people have had some issues with that as you discovered from searching the forums. Be happy FxTec support tried to help you. At least they took your harware and tried to fix it somehow. Unfortunately it didn't work so well in the end and I understand your frustration. You may have to live with this issue I'm afraid.

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13 minutes ago, Slion said:

I never tried do any audio recording and very few video recording TBH.
However my understanding is that people have had some issues with that as you discovered from searching the forums. Be happy FxTec support tried to help you. At least they took your harware and tried to fix it somehow. Unfortunately it didn't work so well in the end and I understand your frustration. You may have to live with this issue I'm afraid.

Still looking for a solution to my application even though others use their device differently.

Also looking for a response from FxTec support. 

Thank you!

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Sounds like there may be something blocking the microphone opening, like adhesive tape to hold the microphone or loudspeaker in place?

I am afraid we have to live with a smartphone that fails in ... being a phone. Anything sound related is "not satisfactory". I am also afraid nothing, like audio circuit configuration files, will be fixed by fxtec themselves :-(

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The clipping seems like a firmware/software issue, so most likely not much point in sending it in.

Is it related to the two sources? Someone are talking in the background and the music is playing.

Could it be some attempted noise reduction that are teasing?

It sounds a bit like when e.g. Skyping with someone in a meeting room, and the equipment struggles with recording what is noise and what is signal.

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Thank you for your responses and attention to this.

 

Still no response from FxTec Support.

 

Attached please find two recordings:  One on a Samsung S7 and the other on the FxTec Pro1X. Both were recorded at the same time, no background noise (so noise cancelling not an issue), held in my hand with no microphone covered. Hopefully this answers the obvious questions and brings us closer to a solution 😀 Samsung is able to record properly, the FXTEC Pro1X can't.

How is sound recording fixed in this case?

Thank you in advance for your help!

FXTEC PRO1X recording 8SEP21.wav Recorded on Samsung S7 8SEP21.m4a

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1 hour ago, GeneK said:

How is sound recording fixed in this case?

Sound recording quality is a shame.

It was the same for me under stock and also under LineageOS.

I thought I have found a sound recorder application which is much better and it is for speech recording but now I have turned on a radio and it has also produced the very same, crappy sound as in your message.

Edit: It sounds like an aggressive noise filter which should not be applied on standard recordings.

Edited by VaZso
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31 minutes ago, VaZso said:

It sounds like an aggressive noise filter which should not be applied on standard recordings.

Indeed, and it sounds similar to what you get using it for calls hands free.

If you talk loud and clear as you would at a (physical) meeting, it works fine.
But if you talk in a normal voice, the other end complains that they can not hear what you are saying....

It has -unfortunatly- been a known issue since 'day 1' on stock, and I have long given up hoping for a fix and use it with a headset, as I seldom do voice calls.

I fear this 'filter' is deep down, either hardware or software in the driver, as I assume they would have fixed it quickly if it was in software they could access, as one of the most severe bugs.

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6 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

It has -unfortunatly- been a known issue since 'day 1' on stock, and I have long given up hoping for a fix and use it with a headset, as I seldom do voice calls.

Also a similar 'day 1' bug which also exists under stock ad LineageOS is the wrong speaker is selected in hands free mode, so the speaker close to the microphone (only a few centimetres away) produces sound which makes the whole thing (hands free mode) even worse.

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There's one workaround: Record video and then extract the sound. The sound in video is probably as good as it gets with the built-in microphone, and no obvious noise filtering, compression or any such thing is going on there. (Just tried it with the FiLMiC Pro app that also gives you a a bit of control over audio quality and the recording level.)

EDIT: No, it doesn't really work, see below... 🙁

Edited by Rob. S.
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4 hours ago, Rob. S. said:

There's one workaround: Record video and then extract the sound. The sound in video is probably as good as it gets with the built-in microphone, and no obvious noise filtering, compression or any such thing is going on there. (Just tried it with the FiLMiC Pro app that also gives you a a bit of control over audio quality and the recording level.)

Well apart from a good idea, that IS also good news, as this means it is not too deep down the sound is filtered, so that increase the chance of a fix - though I certainly will not hold my breath for it.

I would suggest using a dedicated app you do not normally use for video and set it to the lowest possible video-resolution, e.g. 320x200 if offered, as this would mean a less huge intermediate file for long recordings.

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2 hours ago, Rob. S. said:

There's one workaround: Record video and then extract the sound. The sound in video is probably as good as it gets with the built-in microphone, and no obvious noise filtering, compression or any such thing is going on there. (Just tried it with the FiLMiC Pro app that also gives you a a bit of control over audio quality and the recording level.)

Yesterday I have checked it before I wrote here using the same software (FiLMiC Pro) and it has the very same problem.
You may not notice it when you simply try to record your speech, but yesterday I have turned on a pocket radio (which has decent sound quality) and it has produced the very same ugly sound filtering.

So, unfortunately it does not help.

I have also tried to record the same radio station (music) using a sound recorder which I thought it can record well and it had the very same problem.
I hate Android translates also application names (not speaking about the hidden reviews), so it was not easy to find its name but it is this one.
Anyway, it's English name "voice" tells much more than its Hungarian alternative of "hang" which could also be translated to "sound" with no difference but I don't think it is the reason of applying additional noise filtering...

Anyway, a few weeks ago my colleague asked me to record a video which I did, then he told me video quality is decent but the sound is very bad... and he was right although I don't know how could I solve this problem.

Now I have tried monitoring feature of FiLMiC Pro to see if I can also hear the ugly sound using a wired headset... at first, it seemed sound quality is good but I could not find if front or back microphone is listening... then I have realized it used my handset's microphone, so switched it over in software and the very same ugly sound was coming in instantly.
Anyway, I think it has a bit longer delay than using the external microphone in order to produce this ugly sound. 😞

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34 minutes ago, VaZso said:

Yesterday I have checked it before I wrote here using the same software (FiLMiC Pro) and it has the very same problem.
You may not notice it when you simply try to record your speech, but yesterday I have turned on a pocket radio (which has decent sound quality) and it has produced the very same ugly sound filtering

 

Bummer, you're right. I was actually recording music coming from my living room stereo, but I must have been playing it louder when I recorded with FiLMiC. Tried again now with lower volume and it indeed becomes just as bad as with the recorder app. 🙁

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The Pro1 seems to do quite aggressive background suppression when recording from the built-in ADCs, no matter what specific audio source is selected.

For normal voice recording, this actually works quite well for me. But I do believe this is what prevents you guys from recording music with the built-in mics: Depending on the tone and loudness of a particular part of the track, the filter takes the music for background noise and suppresses it. In fact, I think I can produce these artifacts even when I try to record myself singing (though normal speech works well). And, no, I will not upload that test sample. 😉

Now, one would expect one could bypass that problem by using the "unprocessed" audio input rather than "default" or "microphone". Sadly that does not seem to make much of a difference for me. If you want to experiment yourself: note that not all apps allow you to choose that input interface. One that does is the "Audio Recorder" from F-Droid (https://gitlab.com/axet/android-audio-recorder). Also OpenCamera has that option (but of course records videos, not audio-only).

From a USB microphone, I can record undistorted audio (also music) by grabbing directly from the ALSA interface. So I think nothing is broken on the kernel/ALSA level. Probably more a "feature" of the built-in audio hardware (or drivers), I guess.

Edited by claude0001
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45 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

For normal voice recording, this actually works quite well for me. But I do believe this is what prevents you guys from recording music with the built-in mics: Depending on the tone and loudness of a particular part of the track, the filter takes the music for background noise and suppresses it. In fact, I think I can produce these artifacts even when I try to record myself singing (though normal speech works well).

Right, recording music has a result of really bad sound and also I have experienced the same using basically any casual video recordings - sound is practically unusable, the worst I have ever heard on any phones for sound recording.

47 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

And, no, I will not upload that test sample. 😉

😄

47 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

Now, one would expect one could bypass that problem by using the "unprocessed" audio input rather than "default" or "microphone". Sadly that does not seem to make much of a difference for me.

I have also tried it and although selecting "unprocessed input" worked for me using my Moto G6 phone, it seemed worth nothing on my Pro1.

Anyway, currently OpenCamera can't even record any videos even on SDCard or local storage, always an empty video file is created.
I don't know if it has something to do with Android 11 or I have something wrong in my setup.

50 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

From a USB microphone, I can record undistorted audio (also music)

...and it also works well using a microphone connected to 3.5" Jack connector.

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My recording 11 hours ago which is badly distorted and is 672kb in size was recorded with an external microphone connected to the 3.5mm jack...so what do I do (and I would prefer to not have to carry around a microphone)?

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22 minutes ago, VaZso said:

...and it also works well using a microphone connected to 3.5" Jack connector.

Had not tried that.

I confirm that recording from my 3.5-mm-jack headset does not have the background-filtering problem. However, recordings done that way have a low-volume (but clearly audible) "klicking" background (~2 Hz). Attached is a sample of that. Does not happen with the built-in mic (where it is probably suppressed by the filter). So, indeed it is better, but (for me) no ideal solution either.

2021-09-09 23.27.25.wav

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12 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

I confirm that recording from my 3.5-mm-jack headset does not have the background-filtering problem. However, recordings done that way have a low-volume (but clearly audible) "klicking" background (~2 Hz)

I have also connected a 3.5mm headset which has both speakers and microphone.

Anyway, I also have this clicking noise, so that is also not perfect.

I don't know where this problem comes from and what does noise filtering under Android.
I would think it should not be placed in low-level driver but it may happen it is a 3rd-party thing... however, it is very annoying.

Practically the inability to record a video as one would expect from any phones is a really big fault from day 1.

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