Question Bad Microphone quality speech intelligibility in messaging apps eg WhatsApp, Duo, Telegram

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l3s

Senior Member
Jan 27, 2011
305
169
Bülach
Google Pixel 6
Hello

Since I have my Pixel 6 all of my messaging partners (WhatsApp, Duo, Signal, Telegram etc) are telling me audio problems including bad quality, low volume, and not last poor speech intelligibility.

The problem happens in live call/video as well audio messages too. Since I own the phone I have received 3 updates, but non of them are fixed or changed anything on this issue.
I have started to investigate the problem and I discovered two major things. Signal loss, and hardly limited frequency range, which happens if the message gets recorded with any messaging application (including Google Duo too)

To test it I record the same audio source with the built-in recorder or WhatsApp.
The audio in the Whatsapp message gets -6dB less loud, and 6kHz above with a hard cut no Audio transmitted.
That has a significant impact on the end result of the audio and definitely doesn't help to improve the speech intelligibility.
The built-in recorder records the same source perfectly which confirms that the phone physically working well. The problem is related to the messaging applications...

It could be eg down sampling problem too.
It is obviously more difficult to understand the speech recorded with eg WhatsApp using Pixel 6 phone then any other phone.
By searching about sample rate related topics, I found an interesting statement which explains why the speech intelligibility bad on the device as in my recordings the frequency range is very narrow as higher than 5kHz starts to drop and above 6kHz no audio recorded.

"For audio, the minimum number of samples per second to unambiguously represent English speech is 8000 Hz. Using less than that would result in speech that might not be comprehensible due to a variety of reasons, one of which is how similar utterances will not be distinguishable from one another. Lower sampling rates confound phonemes, or sounds in a language, which have significant high-frequency energy; for example, with 5000 Hz, it is difficult to distinguish /s/ from /sh/ or /f/."

Listen the samples below:
 

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Last edited:

l3s

Senior Member
Jan 27, 2011
305
169
Bülach
Google Pixel 6
Wow, honestly I didn't think before that I'd be the only one here getting annoyed that there's a bug that degrades a theoretically higher-class phone in one of the main things: Communication and no one else is complaining about it.

The audio is for some reason converted to a quality that doesn't even reach the theoretical minimum of 8kHz that was very common in analogue telephony in the early 19xx years

And now....

Digital made it worse back then 😳

The issue also occurs on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro and I have not seen this issue on any other phone before.

Is there anyone here who can run the same test on any custom ROM to verify the phone is able to send audio in a voice message e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal etc. with more than 6 kHz?

Just play this audio on your home audio system and record it with the Messenger app, play back the message...
Do you hear audio above 6kHz?

 

birykvlad

New member
Oct 27, 2022
1
0
Russia
I have a second Pixel 6 (the first one was sent under warranty to Google), and both have a quiet voice recording. The interlocutors complain, but I can’t do anything about it. Google is not responding to these massive complaints.