: Horrble sound quality using phone/bluetooth



stevebaker
11-12-10, 02:22 AM
Newbie here... Own a 2010 SRX luxury AWD. I've had this for almost exactly one year. Fun car, great in the snow etc.... Sure like any car there are a few things that I wish were different but they are minor and not worth complaining about.

However there is one major annoyance I have and that's the sound quality when using my phone. I have tried three phones; Blackberry Curve, Blackberry Storm, Apple iPhone4. With all three the sound quality is horrible. I have to constantly raise and lower the volume to get any sort of constant volume of the talker's voice. I think the sound comes from just the front speaker versus surround sound. The sound is so muffled it sounds like there's a pillow over the speaker. Most of the time I can hardly have a relaxed conversation while driving, which to me is a bit of a danger since I should be concentrated on driving versus fiddling with the volume, straining to hear, etc...

I dabbled with OnStar phone and that sounds beautiful. I came out of a Lexus gs350 and the sound through Blackberry/BlueTooth was a clear as digital music. The OnStar call quality is just like the gs350/BlueTooth. Very very nice.

I looked around in the manual to see if there was maybe an audio control section that I need to adjust. It feels like there is all bass and no midrange or treble. Alas I didn't find anything like that.

Is anyone else having this problem? Am I being unrealistic to expect that with today's technolgoy I should have reasonable sound quality?

I'm about to hit the dealer for the second oil change at 9,000 miles and am thinking about seeing what they can do if anything. I know... I don't put many miles on but I really enjoy driving this car! :)

GMJim
11-12-10, 06:47 AM
Have service look at it. Mine paired with an IPhone3, is very clear.

TheCaptain
11-12-10, 07:25 AM
Yea, mine paired with my old Razr 2 was nice and clear, i haven't tried my new Torch though.

Ponyman
11-12-10, 09:06 AM
Ours is clear with my wife's Motorola QA2 also.

sube5186
11-12-10, 10:32 AM
If you'd said the sound quality was poor with only one phone, I'd have told you the audio quality is very system dependent. That is, your particular phone mating with the SRX's Bluetooth. Since it sounds just as bad with all three phones, it has to be your car. There should be no difference between the OnStar audio quality and your cell phone's.


Sube

tom2011srx
11-12-10, 01:31 PM
I have a question. anyone using Bluetooth audio streaming with apps such as slacker radio,
pandora, or sirius via their phones... if so; is the quality good, can yup use the Bluetooth
functions to select the next radio session in a stream?
thanks

stevebaker
11-13-10, 02:13 AM
Thanks everyone for your input. I played around with the "tone" button on the nav/audio control panel. Interesting behavior within the EQ Settings area. There are two buttons on the bottom called "Manual" and "Talk". I adjust the bass, midrange, and treble when on manual and that controls my music quality.

When I make a call the audio system flips over to the "Talk" setting. That is the setting that creates the awful sound quality. The settings for "Talk" are hardly any bass, flat midrange, and no treble. No wonder the phone sounds horrible.

I played around with the system and also looked in the manual without much help that I could find. I'm looking to see how I can adjust the "Talk" settings to be like the "Manual" settings. I also don't see a way to keep the "Manual" settings when I make a call versus moving to "Talk" settings...


Thanks in advance if anyone has any ideas! :)

stevebaker
11-16-10, 12:44 AM
I paid my friendly service department a visit today and they confirmed the sound is not that great. After a few "downloads" and "updates" they told me that all is fixed. Not!

I've confirmed that when I play the audio (am/fm/xm/ipod) the EQ settings in the "Tone" menu remain on "Manual". This is the setting that I am able to set the bass, midrange, and treble. When I hit the HandsFree button, the EQ settings also stay on Manual. Hit the "Tone" button while listening to audio and "Manual" is highlighted.

However when I make a cell phone call, the settings automatically change to "Talk". On this setting the bass, midrange, and treble settings are all set to the mid point. This results in a very flat a muffled sound quality. As soon as I end the call, the settings switch back to the manual setting. This is easy to see on my car by just displaying the Tone screen and then initiate a call from the Blackberry.

The service guy "yeah that's the way it works". Easy answer? Cop out? Or truth? I would really appreciate it if any SRX owners out there can tell me how their car works? For the life of me, I can't figure out how to get any sort of reasonable sound quality when using a cell phone...


Argh.

stevec5375
11-16-10, 08:52 AM
Are you not able to change the settings for the "Talk" tone controls like you can for the manual ones?

stevebaker
11-16-10, 10:58 AM
Correct! Its very odd to me. When i select the talk EQ setting and then hit any of the up or down arrows for bass, mid, or treble, the screen automatically and instantly switches to "manual". The talk settings are unchanged and remain at a flat position, and any changes i make apply to the manual setting. I dont see how to change the talk settings...

There must be some magic I'm missing...

stevec5375
11-17-10, 09:07 AM
Pressed buttons Tone > EQ Settings > Talk. Then the Bass, Mid, and Treble are adjustable.

jcarlilesiu
11-17-10, 06:12 PM
One other thing that should be mentioned. The car remembers how you set the tone configuration for each different input.

If you go into the manual settings for the radio and adjust the "manual" setting, it remembers. So if you turn on a CD, and change the tone settings, it will automatically revert back to your radio settings when you select that input.

By default, the car is shipped with Bluetooth phone pairing to use the "talk" preset EQ. While in a call, hit tone and then change it to "manual". Adjust as required. From that point forward, everytime you answer a bluetooth call, it should be in the saved manual settings.

sube5186
11-18-10, 12:16 PM
Pressed buttons Tone > EQ Settings > Talk. Then the Bass, Mid, and Treble are adjustable.

Not on mine. You mean you can actually adjust the tone settings in the "Talk" mood on yours? On mine the "Talk" setting provides flat response. It isn't adjustable. It never bothered me, since the audio quality was just fine with my cell phone.


Sube

stevebaker
11-18-10, 06:15 PM
Well this grows more interesting by the moment. Thanks for your replies... But still no change in my audio quality. Like Sube i cannot change the talk EQ settings. It just flips over to manual EQ. The talk setting stays fixed at a flat response level. Also I tried to change the settings while on a call. No can do. With the car running and in park the tone screen grays out any option to change the eq settings or talk-to-manual as soon as i make a call. Ending the call lights up the manual and talk buttons but of course no change in behavior..

So i am still stuck. I need to go back to the dealer to get a replacement part (chrome trim piece under the side view mirror that fell off) so I guess I wilk work with service manager some more. Its really frustrating and it takes away from the drive experience...

Anyone else have any ideas?

sube5186
11-18-10, 07:06 PM
So i am still stuck. I need to go back to the dealer to get a replacement part (chrome trim piece under the side view mirror that fell off) so I guess I will work with service manager some more. Its really frustrating and it takes away from the drive experience...

Anyone else have any ideas?

Please keep me posted. If there's a software update that allows the EQ to be adjusted for phone calls, I'd like to know.


Sube

stevebaker
11-18-10, 09:26 PM
Will do!

PJ1520
11-19-10, 10:58 AM
Steve.....one suggestion with the service people telling you what is "normal." Put the knucklehead in a comparable SRX from his lot (from service, used, or new) parked right next to yours and repeat the demo for him in both vehicles. Then ask him which SRX's is "normal." Then ask him to adjust yours just like the one on the lot that sounds like it should.

PJ

stevec5375
11-19-10, 12:33 PM
Not on mine. You mean you can actually adjust the tone settings in the "Talk" mood on yours? On mine the "Talk" setting provides flat response. It isn't adjustable. It never bothered me, since the audio quality was just fine with my cell phone.


Sube

I hit "Tone > EQ Settings > Talk" and I see Bass, Mid, and Treble bars. I have the Bass and Treble set slightly below the midline and the Mid on the midline. This accentuates the midrange of the voice making it easier to discern.

Recall that I had to have my Nav/Radio unit replaced with a new one because it wasn't remembering my last used channel and my Nav was defaulting back to Washington DC instead of remember the last city entered. Perhaps I got the latest software update at that time?

sube5186
11-19-10, 01:11 PM
Recall that I had to have my Nav/Radio unit replaced with a new one because it wasn't remembering my last used channel and my Nav was defaulting back to Washington DC instead of remember the last city entered. Perhaps I got the latest software update at that time.

That's exactly what I'm thinking. Oh well, no biggy for my particular situation. However, I can see how people with poor cellphone audio quality would need this adjustment. It's there for a reason. Therefore, it should be functional. I'll check to see if there are any updates the next time I'm in for service.

If they updated this feature, maybe someone with a 2011 can chime in. I'd be interested in knowing if the EQ is adjustable on theirs during a phone call.


Sube

stevec5375
11-19-10, 03:13 PM
I'm afraid I have some bad news. I just discovered that when I press the Bass, Mid, or Treble buttons in the Talk section, it immediately jumps to the Manual section. So it looks like I was wrong n my last post. Sorry! I've got the same problem as the rest in this discussion. It's funny, though. I have the Bass and Treble bars in the Talk section set to slightly less than midline and Middle is set to midline. So at some point, it was adjusted, I would assume. As to how I did it, I'm still in the dark.

sube5186
11-19-10, 04:31 PM
Appreciate your honesty Steve. Thanks for saving me the embarrassment of sounding like an idiot at the dealer. :cool:


Sube

stevebaker
12-15-10, 01:18 AM
Finally made it to the dealer for a return visit. I was waiting until the two chrome strips that live under the side view mirrors came in. One of the strips fell off, which the dealer said is a common problem. They ordered two new strips and installed them in a manner that is not supposed to come off easily. Maybe they used super glue. :)

Anyway... so after much research and discussion with the head mechanic and service manager... I have no resolution to the problem with the phone quality. The manager confirmed that the SRX has two EQ settings, one which we can change (titled "Manual") and one which is present to flat tones (titled "Talk"). For reasons unknown to him, the SRX automatically switches to the Talk setting during a phone call and it can't be changed. We also tried it on a 2011 and it works the same way. Sure it seems to make sense on the surface... The EQ switches to Talk when the driver is trying to talk... I get it... but for Cadillac to assume that I want the bass, midrange, and treble settings to be flat doesn't make much sense.

I explained to him my frustration with not being able to control the tone quality. He confirmed when listening to my phone that it doesn't sound all that great. We connected his phone and placed a call. He said yeah that doesn't sound so great but hey that's how it's supposed to work. When comparing sound quality between my phone and to the voice that's heard when the hands-free button on the steering wheel is depressed... well there really is no comparison. The EQ settings when using the hands-free voice command feature stays on the "manual" setting and sounds beautiful. But using the phone or OnStar, the EQ setting switches to the flat-line "Talk" setting and there goes the sound quality.

I came out of a Lexus and the phone sound quality was crystal clear. Although I enjoy my SRX, honestly the phone sounds like a POS. And this is something that really annoys me as I spend a lot of time on my car phone with business calls. The service manager said that maybe it was done this way by the Cadillac engineers to prevent drivers from messing with the controls while driving. Well that makes no sense. I told him that I'm in more keopardy know because I am constantly raising and lowering the volume so I can understand the caller. He thought about it for a nanosecond and then agreed it makes no sense.

The service manager said he would call the Cadillac support center and confirm that this is correct operation, try to get an explanation, and then also log a customer complaint. He said that if there are enough complaints they might make a software change.

So until then I am out of luck. I've tried several phones from multiple manufacturers and they all sound just ok... Which really sucks when the purchase price included a hefty penny for a slick sound system.

Am I expecting to much for a nearly $50,000 car to be able to have nice sound quality? My Blackberry sounds better if I jsut hold it to my ear...


Signed,
Audio-challenged in California

TheCaptain
12-15-10, 11:12 AM
I got to chat through my Torch the other day in the SRX. Sounds clear to me. Or at least the same as my Razr 2 did.

sube5186
12-15-10, 11:36 AM
Steve, what you're experiencing is NOT normal. I don't care what they're trying to tell you. I've paired my SRX with four different phones and they all sound great. I can honestly say, with my car there is no need to change the EQ from flat. You said you checked how the equalizer worked on the 2011 model on the lot. Did you get a chance to actually compare audio quality?


Sube

stevebaker
12-17-10, 12:48 AM
Thanks Sube. We hitched up my phone to a 2011 and it sounded a bit better but not where I think it should be. Of course the sales mgr said that it sounded the same to him. I plan to go back in to the dealership probably after the holidays. Too much to do now... but will go in there and do the fight-and-tussle with the service manager. I'm careful to manage my expectations and I know that the phone won't have the exact same clarity as digital surround sound stereo, but it shouldn't sound like there's a pillow over the speaker. I had a hearing test once and I know that I can't hear the low-cycle (bass) sounds all that well, which is why I tend to drive the treble up and midrange down when listening to music. But hey everyone's ears are different which is why they have friggin' equalizers in the first place! I just wished that Cadillac didn't try to get so fancy with having a presetEQ setting that the cell automatically changes to without any chance to change it...

I'll let everyone know how it goes after the holidays... Until then Merry Christmas everyone!

~Steve

sube5186
12-17-10, 01:46 AM
I just wished that Cadillac didn't try to get so fancy with having a preset EQ setting that the cell automatically changes to without any chance to change it.

I agree. One should be able to customize the EQ for the cell just like for the stereo.

Keep us posted.


Sube

RAB
12-17-10, 11:25 AM
Perhaps GM purposely 'downgrades' the audio quality of calls when using a phone/bluetooth, and optimizes audio quality when using the OnStar phone. A higher quality OnStar phone experience (versus a lower quality cell phone/bluetooth experience) would help influence customers in making a decision to go with / stay with the OnStar phone. Many here will recall there was a lot of resistance from OnStar 4 years ago when GM was contemplating putting bluetooth integration in select GM vehicles.
As info.. the audio quality of OnStar phone calls made in my '09 CTS is significantly better than the audio quality of calls made via my cell phone/bluetooth in the car.
Bluetooth circuitry / bluetooth essential functionality in GM cars is contained within the OnStar module.
Lexus and most other automobile brands don't have an OnStar in the way trying to influence how personal communication devices will integrate with the vehicle.

sube5186
12-17-10, 11:55 AM
I would hope GM wouldn't engage in such a surreptitious act, but you never know.


Sube