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Old 08-30-2009, 04:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default muted sound - my little test

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Just trying to prove this out - I get the muffled sound when calling (not using BT). My little experiment:

1. Phone pre-wipe (every possible setting tested) = muted sound
2. Phone w/ an iPhone headset (mic inline) = sounds GREAT!!
3. Phone only, post-wipe, not synched yet = muted sound

I am bummed. The rest of the phone is great. It's a week old, no green dot. I am debating to swap now or wait a few weeks for an OS update to see if that fixes things.
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I did another test. I called myself from my Tour to a landline. I then put the Tour up to some computer speakers. Seemingly the smallest angle of difference really affected the ability of the handset to pick up the music. A difference of less than half an inch from the speaker source was able to have the music come through clearly, or not at all. It appears that RIM tried to make the Tour have some noise canceling (especially because the 8830 picked up SO much background noise) and they may have gone overboard.

I have had good results with my device in the last few days by pushing the handset directly against my cheek and having the center of my handset aligned directly to my mouth. When I lift the Tour just a 1/8 of an inch off of my cheek, or up or down (below my chin or above my nose) people say they can't hear me. I've had to modify my behavior on the phone (as I usually hold the phone straight up and down, rather than against my cheek) but people seem to be able to hear me better.
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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One further test. I called an answering machine and recorded myself screwing around with the phone. I held the phone at different angles, using clock notation.

12 means straight up and down, the top of the device was pointing directly to the sky.
3 means the top of the device was pointing directly behind me (out the back of my ear) - mouthpiece lined up with my nose
6 means the device was upside down - top pointing down
9 means the device top was pointing straight forwards (mouthpiece at the back of my head)

I rotated the phone in a circle and did my best to approximate the clock positions between 1-12. I used a loudish voice, a bit above what I would use when on a cell phone. I called out the position I was at - 1-12, multiple times. The results were astonishing.

12 always sounded "muffled". I knew I was saying "twelve" but I could barely understand myself. I could make out the "tw" sound, but not the "elve" sound at all.

1-3 came in at increasing levels of clarity, with 3 being the clearest I heard.

4 was almost inaudible. It was clear what I was saying, but it was very dim.

I never heard myself say 5-10. 11 barely came through, similar to 4.

Of course, 5-10 are pretty ridiculous positions for a phone, but it was shocking to hear the voice go completely silent. From now on, I'm going to make a conscious effort to use my phone in position 2-3 when talking and see if that makes a difference for my callers.
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just tried this again with a slightly more scientific approach - I used a computer speaker to emulate my voice, and again, it was inaudible for positions 5-10. 4 had mixed results. When you yell with the phone at position 4, you get some good results. Generally speaking 2-3 is the best spot for the phone with the clearest results.

Edit: The advantage to using the computer speaker was that the voice quality and sound level was consistent. The only thing that changed was the position of the handset.

Last edited by ffejie : 08-30-2009 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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well you're right - I did a 12 o'clock test and another one holding it at around 2. The sound does improve. It also sounded better on the right side of my head vs. the left - not a huge improvement but still better. I'd say like one notch better sound.

The best and most clear voice quality was still with a wired iPhone headset that has a mic inline. It was like night and day difference.

So I still don't know what to think. Using a phone where I have to think about how I place it on my head is garbage. Some people say they don't get this at all. It seems like it is the mic pickup on the Tour but that may be able to get fixed via a software push where they fix the sensitivity of the mic?
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I just ran the same test, calling my office voicemail to record results. You are ABSOLUTELY right! 3pm worked wonderfully. i have to remember that if using the handset, I need to hold the phone in that horizontal position. I think the mic hole lines up well with your mouth that way - which makes sense!
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This is problem. This is a major problem. Because sans all the bells and whistles we love our smartphones for...it's supposed to be a phone at its core. If they can't get that basic function down perfect then we have a "major problem".

Standing in the northwest corner of my office at 3pm wearing a tinfoil hat and using a protractor for the accurate measuring of the mic angle is not a solution.

My bluetooth Jawbone Prime gets worse audio reception with every use. (It started out OK) Sure, pressing the phone into my face seems to improve mic audio somewhat but walking into a meeting with the QWERTY keyboard pattern branded into my cheek SUCKS!
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Old 09-01-2009, 03:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $tockmarket View Post
This is problem. This is a major problem. Because sans all the bells and whistles we love our smartphones for...it's supposed to be a phone at its core. If they can't get that basic function down perfect then we have a "major problem".

Standing in the northwest corner of my office at 3pm wearing a tinfoil hat and using a protractor for the accurate measuring of the mic angle is not a solution.

My bluetooth Jawbone Prime gets worse audio reception with every use. (It started out OK) Sure, pressing the phone into my face seems to improve mic audio somewhat but walking into a meeting with the QWERTY keyboard pattern branded into my cheek SUCKS!
What about the tin foil hat thing? Is there any way that could be used to enhance signal quality in fringe areas? Maybe you could line the inside of your favorite hat with tin foil, that way you would not look so strange to other people! I wonder........??
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graplazorn View Post
What about the tin foil hat thing? Is there any way that could be used to enhance signal quality in fringe areas? Maybe you could line the inside of your favorite hat with tin foil, that way you would not look so strange to other people! I wonder........??
LOL! It's possible... Tinfoil under the hat instead of a tinfoil hat.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I noticed my Bluetooth (Jawbone 1) is very soft as well. I'm going to try the standard headset then I may go with some other accessories.

Let's see, I love my Tour, but I get about 8 hours of battery life (seriously) with no talk, no one can hear me anyway, the left right scroll ball is a bit shoddy and because of my BES security settings, it takes about 5 seconds to unlock.... so I got that going for me, which is nice.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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ffejie - I see you've been given a host of goodies as well. Hmmm let me think...
Your bluetooth setting may be resolved by communicating only in the AM on top of your roof while strapped to a copper antenna. (Aluminum as a conductor can be a tad fickle)

As for battery life, simply reroute your natural body heat into the device itself and convert it to energy. (Radio Shack has a kit)
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Another Outbound Call Quality Test

I did a test similar to the original poster. In searching for a new phone, I conducted a test of outbound call quality for various devices in two Verizon Wireless stores. I made calls on the live store phones to my home answering machine. Then I went home and listened to the messages played back. I graded them on a scale from 0 to 5, with 0 being unusable and 5 being almost as clear as my land line. I list below the results. As others have noted, the Blackberry Tour was barely usable (two different phones were tested from two separate stores). The best result was from my 4 year old legacy monochrome screen Samsung SCH-a310!

I just tested the available phones in the store; did not get into questions of when or where they were made, ‘green dots’, etc. I also did not try to ‘enhance’ a phone’s audio settings, just took it as it was on display. Also, I just used the device’s normal microphone, no Bluetooth, etc.

I had been hoping to invest in the functionality of a BlackBerry, but these calling quality results are disappointing. I have not had the opportunity to test an iPhone, but plan to do so before making my decision. Posting for any comments, thanks.

PHONE DEVICE/SCORE/ANSWERING MACHINE RESULT
BLACKBERRY TOUR/1/Distortion, noisy (two units tested)
BLACKBERRY STORM/3/Better than Tour; some breath ‘puffs’
B.B. 8830 World Edition/3/ Background noise & breath puffs
BLACKBERRY BOLD/not tested/device not in this store
BLACKBERRY CURVE/not tested/Phone in store “not activated”
LG VERSA/4/Quite good (two units tested)
LG ENV TOUCH/4-/Good (two units tested)
SAMSUNG OMNIA /4+/Very good, but some background noise pickup
SAMSUNG SCH-a310/5/Best; very clear (4 year old legacy phone)
MOTOROLA KRAVE ZN4/4+/Very good

p.s. the grade for LG ENV touch is 4- (=minus); for Omnia and Krave it is 4+ (=plus).
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The only problem with your test is that there is a lot of human responsibility. You could have spoke slightly louder with one phone, or held it at a slightly different angle and that could have caused a lot of variance in the test. I would love to see Consumer Reports or someone similar do a voice quality test. (Actually, I'd be surprised if they didn't do that - looking now.)
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I always talk at 3 o'clock even with my flip phone lol
Force of habit.

Me and this phone are soul mates
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Well after proving to myself the audio was greatly improved with an external mic (iPhone headset) and reading these boards saying to swap the phone, I went for an exchange. I got a green dot (Mexico 5) phone and the sound is about the same. I think it's the design of the phone / software / me being too sensitive. On the me part, I do get clearer sound when using an iPhone and my Bold which is what I am coming from so I am not expecting the world, just expect it to be AS GOOD as what I had before.

Oh and on the green dot replacement, the battery door is a bit tighter and the trackball sits lower on the phone. Keyboard is way tighter. So there definitely seems to be a difference in build quality, not sure if that is between the Canada and Mexico builds or if it's a factor of the green dot Tours.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:48 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm on Day2 of my green dot Mexico phone. Sound quality is much improved! Out of the box I didn't notice much difference but then I turned off enhanced audio, set the default volume to 100% (from auto) and put all sound settings to 'normal' (from 'previous'). The last 5 calls I had with people were clear and as good as my Blackberry Bold. Battery door, trackball, keypad & lcd are all much tighter. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am done with this.
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks for all of this testing. We will give it a shot on Monday. We just got a test model for our I.T. department and were extremely disjointed with the muffled audio. Just terrible. how do they release these things with such crappy audio?
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:35 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I used it all weekend so 5 days and no issues. The poor audio on my last model was apparent out of the box so I am pretty happy with the swap. I would just make sure you have a newer build phone.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:12 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default New Tour Update to fix voice quality

Verizon just told me there's an expect software upgrade coming on 9/15 to address the poor voice quality.
Anyone also hear that?

I'll wait to test it in the store due to the overwhelming comments about voice quality in the Tour.

I just assumed as we head towards 2010 that cell phone voice quality would improve beyond the phones we had in 2001.
Instead we seem to be heading south.

Yeah I know texting and email is important, but voice quality continues to be of great importance.

Regards,
KE
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