Bluetooth microphone sound quality

Discussion in 'Subaru Levorg General Discussion' started by Nicks GTS, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. Nicks GTS

    Nicks GTS New Member

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    So I have had my Grey Subaru Levorg GTS since Nov 2016 and the honeymoon is over with a few issues (suspension, engine smell coming through the ventilation system), but the biggest issue I have is the quality of the hands free phone for the recipient. I can hear them perfectly but I get repeatedly told people can't hear me, or if they can it sounds like I am talking from the boot!! Have played with the mic volume, reconnected phone, even have tried with a newer phone recently and it's still terrible. Under 60km/h I can lean in to the mic and people can atleast understand and hear me, albeit poorly. Over 60km/h it is pretty much useless. I am now avoiding work calls and my bosses (who pay my car allowance) when I do speak with them hate it and get frustrated. My wife hates it too.
    Subaru just today (with my second lube service) have again reported there is no issue and can't fault it when tested. Have asked for the matter to escalated.

    Has anyone or does anyone have a similar issue and is it resolved?? I previously had a Liberty Wagon which I had no issue at all in, and have driven four different hire cars recently all of which I had no issue in (Mitsubishi, Golf, Laser and Kia Cerato), so surely a $50k car should have quality hands free.

    Suggestions, help appreciated.
     
  2. Nicks GTS

    Nicks GTS New Member

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    UPDATE:
    Had to chase them up but got on to the Service Manager at Subaru Docklands. He spoke to some people at Subaru Australia and there head technician. I took the car in, they replaced the microphone and added sound insulation that Subaru has created (due to obviously having numerous complaints).
    The sounds quality (according to the two people speak to most frequently form my car) has improved dramatically.
    Short version- if you have this problem there is a fix and it's free.
     
    dizrr likes this.
  3. Agentm

    Agentm New Member

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    Great news, mine is also tinny in sound quality, What sound insulation was added and where?
     
  4. Steven

    Steven New Member

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    Bought my 2016 2.0 GTS new last October. Love the car. With one infuriating exception.

    I suffer exactly the same onboard microphone quality issues as reported by 'Nicks GTS' with exactly the same frustrations..... I use the car for lots of business driving.... some days my car is my office. And just like Nicks GTS, I too find myself avoiding work calls so as not to irritate the person on the remote end who simply cannot hear what I'm saying. My boss hates it and wont persist with any call I make to him.... (so that's a great look) and everybody else I attempt to call complains about the awful sound quality... Everybody except the sales person at the Subaru dealership where I bought the bloody thing.... he claimed to be able to hear me .....'alright'.... Although he did offer the rather helpful tip that 'there are some pretty good bluetooth headsets available these days'...... Well no shit, thanks so much for that.

    Just not good enough in an over $50k car manufactured by a reputable manufacturer in 2016!!

    My last three company vehicles spanning nine year period (all lesser dollar Fords) had faultless hands-free microphones... They just worked. My mistake for assuming Subaru would be at least equal.... My oversight in not making a hands-free call when I road tested the Levorg prior to buying. Just something you expect to work. Adequately.

    Whereas, what Subaru offer is frankly, sub-standard crap.

    The dealer has tried to be accommodating.. indicating they know Subaru is aware of the issue and also quietly indicating they think Subaru has no definitive fix...

    Under warranty the microphone has been replaced.

    Still crap.

    Two days ago the secondary sound insulation 'fix' was also fitted by another Subaru dealer.

    Today.... making calls at highway speeds - unlike Nicks GTS experience - those I called still complain about not being able to hear me..... comments about two tin cans and a piece of sting etc... etc...

    So.... it's still crap.

    I'll probably part with the car - which is a pity coz it's a fun and practical drive. But it also has to serve as my workplace.
     
  5. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    Same Same - it is crap and two attempts to have it addressed by my dealer still haven't worked... Might have to go the additional microphone option unfortunately (goes hand in hand with the terrible sound system in the post $50K GTS cars - another annoyance)...
     
  6. Steven

    Steven New Member

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    Additional microphone Leigh? It's a Subaru option?
     
  7. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    Hi Steven,

    Sorry for confusion, not a Subaru option... A guy on a Facebook forum had a separate microphone installed near the driver's sun-visor to overcome the issues of not being able to be heard. That's the option I'm considering as I'll have this car for another 4 years (5 year lease), and for the price the AV/Bluetooth is crap...

    Leigh
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  8. Nicks GTS

    Nicks GTS New Member

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    Yep. I am still having issues. Sometimes it's fine and other times it's not. I am uncertain if an additional microphone will fix the issue as I think the noise cancelling built into the system has at least some roll in it (and may explain the variability).
    I wonder if some additional sound insulation from road noise would do the trick. Someone on this forum mentioned getting it done.
     
  9. Parian

    Parian Active Member

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    I've recently mentioned elsewhere on this forum, i have found the bluetooth connectivity thru my iphone 6S as being substantial with the other person hearing me adequately.

    The actual placement of the phone has been an issue... Phone in pocket whilst driving has experienced 'drop outs' as it accessed from one mobile phone tower to another.
    Solved the issue by having phone mounted in cradle attached to windscreen.

    Hope this may help ;)
     
  10. leighaus

    leighaus New Member

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    I sit my phone where the cup holders are on my MY18 STi sport. Have never had anyone have difficulty hearing me.. maybe this has been fixed by Subaru and they can apply the same to your car (if you push the matter)
     
  11. Greg C

    Greg C New Member

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    Hi All, I called Subaru early December about the same issue and although the dealer confirmed it was a known issue, Subaru claimed they had not heard of the issue. Will chase them up for the sound proofing and new mike. I’m based in Sydney, love the car but also use for business calls and hate the phone.
     
  12. Peter Calligeros

    Peter Calligeros New Member

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    I found a fix! I pulled the entire cover where the mic is kept and disassembled the mic itself to find the mic was facing towards the roof, not towards the cabin. I spun it around and put all back together and now everyone can hear me.
     
  13. nicodache

    nicodache Member

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    That's interesting !

    Any chance you took some pic of the procedure ?
     
  14. SkyBeam

    SkyBeam Member

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    First of all please notice that not all microphones are mounted upside down and you might have other issues too. But if you want to verify, here's how to do so:

    Step 1: Release the control unit from the roof.
    First of all remove the transparent cover from the roof lights by lifting it off from the back (facing towards the buttons). Best is to use your fingernails from the sides or a flat pry tool from the back. See here:
    [​IMG]

    Then release the two screws on the left and right hand side within the light "bulb" compartment as shown here (make sure to unscrew both sides of course):
    [​IMG]

    Then take down the control unit by releasing it on the front first. The easiest way is to push it backwards as far as possible and pulling the clips on front over the ceiling in order to release the latches on the front:
    [​IMG]


    Step 2: Release the microphone unit.
    On the inside of the control unit you will see a black box right above the microphone openings. It's screwed in using two Philips screws as shown here:
    [​IMG]

    Release the screws and take out the module.

    Now have a look at the module from the side which is pointing downwards when mounted. It should be covered with acoustic foam but it's slightly transparent. If you use a light source and move it around you might be able to see a metallic stripe right in the middle of the module like in this picture:
    [​IMG]

    If you can see the metallic stripe through the foam you ar all set. No need to disassemble anything any further since your microphone is already pointing downwards like it should.

    If you can't spot the microphone "metallic bar" or if you still insist to continue. Just read on.

    Step 3: Open up the microphone compartment

    CAUTION: You might want to disconnect all the connectors from the control unit at this point to avoid risk of any short. The best option is to disconnect all wires from the car releasing the roof window control and microphone connectors from the control unit and perform the following tasks outside the car.

    The microphone compartment has two latches at the top which holds the top cover in place. You can gently give them a push with a screwdriver and slide the cover off horizontally. But be careful, the latches easily break:
    [​IMG]

    The PCB is mounted with 2 more small Philips screws. You can release them to take off the board including the microphone:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The microphone should look like this when mounted the right way around:
    [​IMG]

    Note, the microphone itself is the metal can inside the rubber housing. It's mounted in a 90° angle with the opening pointing towards the back of the car. I did some test and also turning it so the opening points towards the driver seat does not make any noticeable difference. I think Subaru did that to reduce the noise compared to a flat mounting position pointing downwards. I think it's mainly important that the rubber housing is not mounted upside down with the openings towards the PCB. Unfortunately the hardware design does not prevent anyone to assemble it this way as the rubber housing is symmetrical on the outside. So it's well-possible that some assembling in the factory might have went wrong.

    On the other side the microphone can is basically closed so you can't see inside to spot the metallic microphone housing.

    I didn't take of the plastic cover from the microphone but I suspect that the whole plastic "can" could be mounted upside down.


    Sorry for the bad pictures, I just used my mobile quickly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  15. nicodache

    nicodache Member

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    Well, these pictures aren't so bad, and your how-to is top-notch :D

    I'll go get my cellphone connected and answer the first phone call that comes in, see what they say about the sound quality. If they hear me like I'm in a box, I'll follow the steps you just explained ;)

    Many thanks SkyBean :)
     

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