Low quality audio with bluetooth headset during phonecalls (+whatsapp calls)

While listening to podcasts or watching videos, my bluetooth headset has good quality audio. However when I receive a phone call, the phone call audio crackles and breaks up. It is audible, but the same way a very bad quality phone call from across the globe is still audible. The audio of the call is in actuality just fine and the crackling etc. appears somewhere between the phone and the headset, since if i drop the bluetooth connection and continue on speaker or normally, phone-on-ear, there are no issues at all.

The issue happens during ordinary phone calls and whatsapp phone calls, but not during discord chats.

My headphones are sony WI-C400. I’ve used these on a number of different phones and the issue is only on my fairphone 3. I also have a 2nd pair of said headphones and the issue repeats identically with them.


Is your phone up to date? Did you upgrade it to android 10?

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Yeah. I have a habit of keeping my phone up-to-date.
It’s been an issue since day 1, and still is after the android 10 update(s).


Just another simple test to rule out some cause.
You’ve done some decent troubleshooting already. Have a try with Wifi active and without Wifi using the mobile connection.


Did you open a case with Fairphone support?

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I noticed the same thing when making calls from my car.

No not yet. I asked here first incase it was a setting or something i just needed to tweak.


I’ve opened a case now and am waiting for a reply.


I have exactly the same issue, when I’m connected to my car or Bluetooth headset.
My fairphone is up-to-date.
I really appreciate to find a solution.

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Same problem here with a Jabra Evolve 65 bluetooth headset. Quality while listening music is fine.

I have the same problem only during phone call with bluetooth headset (Bose SoundSport). Whats app call, video, music is good audio.
Maybe it’s a network problem? of the operator? app?
are there any solutions?

For me its the opposite.

All the “media” audio is pristine, only call audio is bad quality. No matter if it is the phone app, whats app or even discord.

As for network/operator/app? When I use any other audio device, like loud speaker or earpiece on the phone, the audio is once again just fine.

I have left a ticket to Fairphone, but the response was try with other audio devices and maybe its not compatible with the Fairphone, which is quite odd. Since that would make a lot of different incompatible bluetooth headphones looking at this thread. :smiley:

I’ll still go through their troubleshooting and let you guys know if any of it helped.

Step 1

Remove the paired device that is not working properly from your Fairphone 3/Fairphone 3+:
Go to Settings > Connected devices > Previously connected devices > tap on the cogwheel icon next to the device → tap on the button Forget. Try to connect again and then make a call to test it.

Step 2

Reboot your phone in Safe mode and try to pair the device again and make a call to test.

Step 3**If all else fails, please perform a Factory Reset. First, make a Back up of your personal data. After this, do NOT install your appr nor restore your data, pair the headphones and make a call to check first if the issue is gone.


Same problem here, since day 1 with a Plantronics M25 Bluetooth headset, sound is severely distorded (heavily clipped, even when reducing volume) when calling over GSM network (but the other party seem to get my voice clearly); other audio with the same headset is just fine (VLC, WhatsApp calls, Internet radio etc. etc.)
Also BT audio playback with an external Hi-Fi amp is perfect.
I just updated to the march 5 security update, removed & recreated the BT connection to my BT headset, no change.
I would really prefer not to have to dump my fully functional BT headset, which has worked just fine with my previous phone (Samsung)…

All your problems are “normal”. The thing is, bluetooth devices use 2 types of communicating protocols: A2DP and HFP.
A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) is used when listening to music, playing videos, etc…
HFP (Hands free Profile) or HSP (Headset Profile) is used for communication.

There’s no real way to change that unless using your headset manufacturer app. And even doing that doesn’t prevent your phone to use HFP instead of A2DP…
I installed Bose app for my Bose Soundwear Companion and Beats app for my Beats Powerbeats Pro but it still sometimes use HFP.

I didn’t make any research so I don’t know if there’s a way to force A2DP. But I hope my findings will help you all solve your problems.


And what is the matter when HFP/HSP is used instead of A2DP?

When your phone and bluetooth device choose to use HFP/HSP, audio quality is reduced to enable the microphone and prevent latency (if I understood correctly).
I found out about those protocols because I have the same problem on my PC (running Windows or Ubuntu 20.04) and it’s much easier to switch between A2DP and HFP on a computer. When I enable A2DP audio is great, as soon as I use Slack or Discord, my device switches to HFP and quality becomes awful. You can see the change being made in the Sound Settings of your operating system.


But we are talking about phone calls here, not music, right?

Yes. @SillyWombat says that it only happens when doing a phone call or when using Whatsapp.
It must be because as soon as the phone asks the headset to use its microphone, the bluetooth protocol switches from A2DP to HFP. That’s why audio quality becomes bad during phone calls, whatsapp calls, Discord or Slack calls, etc… As soon as the microphone is enabled, HFP kicks in and audio quality is reduced.


Well, that is to be expected. Phone calls usually do not offer high audio quality for good reason: low network bandwidth…

It seems impossible to use A2DP for phone calls:

So we’re stuck with bad audio through bluetooth devices when calling someone.