Call quality and noise cancellation (regular calls, handsfree, Signal voice messages/Microsoft Teams video calls)

I noticed that the call quality of the other end of the connection is not great (using 4G and WiFi calling, all not great). The voice quality send by the Fairphone is a bit robotic and includes some digital noise and too much noise of the surrounding environment. It’s usable, but it’s noticeable of low quality.

This is in particular a problem with (video) calls when the loudspeaker is on. When the person on the other end talks, there is a clicking sound because of an echo feedback loop. Using Signal for video calls is not a great experience. Recording audio messages with Signal is also not great.

Fairphone could really improve in this part, especially by applying noise cancellation. This appears to be a problem with the FP3 as well.

This is a thread to collect some more user experience, either good or bad.

Update:
[-] Regular calls (depends on the provider, for me it’s not fixed, I use 2G quality while being on 4/5G, but it will be fixed soon)
[x] Handsfree
[x] Signal/WhatsApp voice messages
[-] Microsoft Teams video calls (still work in progress)

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This was an issue on the FP2 as well

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And to add some discussion for FP3 especially for VOIP

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I agree, the microphone quality is really bad. 4 out of 6 people today actively complained that they can barely understand me! :frowning:

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Please also report this to Fairphone support. They don’t seem to give this a priority, even when this was already a problem with the last few FP releases.

My father could barely recognize my voice over the phone… I know Fairphone has a unique focus when they develop their phones. But calling is no premium feature for a phone.

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I just sent in a support request about this and palm rejection.

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What do you mean exactly with palm rejection in this context? They refused to recognize the problem?

Look at this post : Palm rejection not working

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I did a test with Jitsi, the quality is much better in that app. I’ll need to do some more testing. But Jitsi seems to work as normal.

I noticed that Jitsi uses the microphone at the top of the phone, while Signal uses the microphone at the bottom.

The builtin voice recorder also uses the bottom microphone. Perhaps the bottom microphone is only for normal voice calls?

And the top microphone is used for loudspeaker calls, which also applies to video and voice messages (because you hold the phone from the same distance from your mouth in that case).

In that case the fix would be to use the top microphone for audio recordings and video calls.

Anyone else experience that people complain about poor audio quality when you make a call from home ? I am aware that this can come down to many things, but I often have people saying that the sound is pooor or choppy at their end. Putting aside the signal strength - which is fine - and how I hold the phone, are there any other things I should be aware of ?
Thanks in advance.

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Yes, I made a topic as well, see below. Please voice your concerns with Fairphone support. Maybe it’s something they can improve/fix.

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Got a reply from Fairphone support.


Main microphone

You’re correct that the bottom microphone is used for calls - regardless whether normal phone calls or via an app.

Top microphones

During a call, the top microphones capture ambient noise. That is then used for noise cancellation.
During loudspeaker and video calls, the top microphones should be used for the bulk of input.

I tested my device with a phone call and an app call (via Messenger) and at least in these cases, it works as intended. How and when the microphones are used is a setting that’s different for different apps. That explains why in some cases it works normally and in others you’re quiet.

I’ll bring this to the attention of our developers and they’ll adjust the calibration for Signal and Voice recorder in upcoming updates. Please keep in mind that there’s a lot of things they’re currently working on and I can’t say when the fix will be released, but you can keep an eye out on our community forum where we announce each update.

I hope this answer is satisfactory. Let me know if you have any other questions or need help with anything else!

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By the way that is the same on FP3s, so glad to know.

I updated the support ticket with some more information. For example video recordings with the native camera app but also YouTube record audio with the correct microphones, but still with low volume. I also pointed out that Jitsi seems to be the only app (as far as I can tell) that properly captures audio. Below is their response.


Thanks for bringing additional cases to my attention! I’ll forward these details to our developers which may help resolve the issues quicker.

As I said in my previous email, which microphone is used and how much can be configured on an app-by-app basis so this can definitely be fixed via a software update. Our end-goal is to make all recordings and calls as loud and clear as possible but it will take some time to fine-tune everything. If Jitsi works well, we can definitely use it as a reference point.

Thank you for your patience and continued support!

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Why not add an option for each app using the microphone to choose the microphone with a default to the best option, but allowing to change in case it’s needed? Would it be a valid proposal you could make them?

As far as I understand there are only 2 modes. Handsfree and regular calling. The handsfree mode should be used for video recording/calling, voice messages and other uses where you won’t have the phone close to your mouth. Both modes need some tuning, but mostly the handsfree mode (together with noise cancellation).

So the choices are not that broad and in general doesn’t need user interaction. Choosing the different setup would also not make sense, because then you cannot record audio properly. Making this “idiot proof” would be the best I think.

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Any news on this issue? This was one of the rather annoying bugs of my FP2. Kinda surprised to see this behaviour with the FP4.

I haven’t heard anything, probably it’s best to #contactsupport so that they might increase the priority if more people complain about it. They might also improve their QA, so that less bugs are introduced with updates. I’m fine to wait an extra few weeks for an update if that doesn’t add more bugs.

Also bought a FP4 just 2 weeks ago.

When calling in hands-free mode, the other person has a really hard time understanding me and complains about hearing an echo of their own voice.

When I switch from hands-free to a normal phone call.

Stock Android, stock Dialer App. No root, no Custom ROM.

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Welcome to the forum! To make sure Fairphone makes this a priority it will help to #contactsupport and notify you also experience this issue.

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