eli5 why does everything you play sound worse when in a call?



eli5 why does everything you play sound worse when in a call?

In: Technology

I assume you’re talking about playing music from your phone over Bluetooth headphones or speakers, and how it sounds worse when you’re in a phone call as well, in which case the answer is pretty mundane: Bluetooth has a notion of “profiles” (basically, device types) for different purposes. There’s a profile for “headphones” intended for listening to music, and a different protocol for “headsets” intended for talking on the phone (with a microphone as well as audio playback). Most devices will switch from the former to the latter when you are in a phone call, and the latter has (for historical reasons) a much lower bit-rate–basically, it’s sending your headphones less data.

Do you mean if you play music to someone through the phone and they hear it as a garbled mess?

Phone lines use compression to be able to send more data and handle more calls at once. Speech has a certain range of pitches of sound that are used. You can strip some of them away and it still sounds fairly normal. On the other hand, music tends to use a much wider range of frequencies. When you hear a note, you’re also hearing a bunch of higher notes that give it a certain colour. When the same compression gets applied to music as to speech on the phone, it sounds terrible.