"Echo" When Calling with Aux Cable

Discussion in 'Samsung Galaxy S3' started by 3DrinksAhead, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. 3DrinksAhead
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    3DrinksAhead New Member

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    I don't usually like to go through the hassle of connecting to a bluetooth headset when I get into my car, so I usually just plug an Aux cable into my phone's headphone jack and use that to play the audio of a phone call through my car speakers. This worked totally fine with my Droid X, but when I try to do the same with my new Galaxy S3, the person on the other end of the phone line complains that they can hear the echo of their own voice when talking to me. Does anyone have any ideas as to what could be causing this, or how to fix it?
  2. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Well, in the world of sound echo and feedback, timing is everything. A delay of only microseconds can be the difference between an echo or feedback and completely uninhibited pure sound. Also a noise canceling algorithm can accomplish the same thing by "listening" to the environment and through either filtering or reverse sound waves (a mirror of the background noise, meant to cancel or sum-zero the noise) imparted into the audio the offending sound is diminished, minimized or completely removed. Whether either of these features were engineered into the X and yet not into the S3 remains to be discovered.

    I would suggest you keep the volume down on the car stereo and by reducing the volume you may place it under the threshold of sensitivity of the phone's microphone. Otherwise, incorporating a Bluetooth Car Speaker should effectively resolve this issue.

    For what it's worth, I know that my Droid RAZR has a car Navigation Dock that provides not only power connectivity but also sound through the same MicroUSB connector, so when I place my phone in the cradle and press down the slider to secure the phone, both power and audio are diverted via the combined Power and Audio USB cable that is provided with the dock, alleviating the need to also plug in a 3.5mm headphone plug into the phone and reducing the number of wires running up from the dashboard to my phone from 2 to 1. This way, the phone "knows" it's now sending audio through the car stereo as a result of identifying the Navigation Dock, and perhaps it then triggers this noise canceling technology as I haven't had any complaints of echo.

    Finally, I also have Bluetooth built-into the car sound system, so if I choose to, I can have the music audio go through the sound system via the USB cable, and yet also have the phone sound go via the Bluetooth connection, for the best of both worlds. I would be interested to hear some additional owners' opinions of the issue you bring up to get a broad-based assessment of the situation and determine if it's a known flaw or unique to your particular situation. I am sure others will chime in shortly.

    Good luck! :biggrin:
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  3. 3DrinksAhead
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    3DrinksAhead New Member

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    That Navigation Dock sounds like it's just what I'm looking for. I've been looking for a good car dock anyway, and this would eliminate both the need for an extra wire as well as fix that annoying 'echo' issue. Do you have a link to the one that you have, and know if it'll work with the S3?
  4. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Sorry, it's a Motorola exclusive...but I would check with your manufacturer to see if they also have USB audio feature and to see if it's incorporated into their dock.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  5. bsweetness
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    bsweetness Moderator

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    There isn't a car dock made specifically for the S3 like the one FoxKat is talking about for the RAZR. The only widely available OEM car dock specifically advertised for the S3 right now is a basic, multi-device holder that doesn't offer anything in the way of connections or features.

    That said, there have been several reports that the car dock for the Infuse works with the S3 (but only without a case). It's not a perfect fit, but from everything I've seen and read, it holds it securely. It does send audio over USB, but not quite in the same way the Motorola dock does. The Motorola dock has a single cable that splits into a USB charger and an auxiliary jack. The Infuse dock requires you to plug in a USB cable and an auxiliary cable into the dock. But once plugged in, they should function in much the same fashion. Some have mentioned that with phone calls made outside of the car app (which comes up when docked) put the audio out through the speaker on the phone rather than through your car's speakers. This happened with my RAZR MAXX as well. It can be annoying, but it's something that can be addressed if you're used to it and adjust things accordingly. Right now, this is as close as you can get to the car dock setup that the RAZR/MAXX have. It's not perfect, but it can get the job done.

    Personally, I'm using a generic mount along with this cable from Scosche. I was very skeptical of it at first since it was only $10 at Wal-Mart, but so far, it has worked exceptionally well. You plug one end into your headphone jack, and then you plug the other end (which has a built-in microphone) into your auxiliary jack. The phone reads this as a headset, so it properly sends the audio over the cable to your car's stereo (instead of to the speakerphone on the phone itself). The microphone picks up far better than I thought it would, and no one has had any trouble hearing me while using it. Different versions of the cable also come with a holder and extension for the microphone so that you can mount it wherever you want it in the car.

    While OEM docks specifically made for certain phones are nice, I change phones so much that it's really pointless for me to get one (especially when many of them won't work with many cases, if any at all). Using a generic holder, along with this cable, has been fantastic, and works with any device I happen to be using. One of these days I'll get Bluetooth in the car and just go with that, but until then, this is a great setup.
  6. bsweetness
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    bsweetness Moderator

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    And the echo the person on the other end is hearing is probably caused by improper noise cancellation as FoxKat discussed. The microphone on your phone is picking up the sound of the person's voice coming through your vehicle's speakers, so they're hearing themselves talk on a slight delay. Chances are, this is because the phone isn't entirely sure what you're doing. Normally, when you plug in headphones for a call (which is how the phone reads the auxiliary cable), you'll have a dedicated microphone with the headphones. In a situation like this, the phone doesn't need to worry about noise cancellation for the audio from the person you're talking to because the microphone on the headphones won't pick up on their voice since it's going straight into your ears. This would still be the case even if the headphones don't have a dedicated microphone since the person's voice that you're talking to is being routed through headphones with no chance of the phone's microphone detecting what they say. But in your case, you want to use the phone's microphone along with external speakers, two things that the phone doesn't think should go together. Because of this, it's not handling the noise cancellation properly.
  7. 3DrinksAhead
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    3DrinksAhead New Member

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    Thanks bsweetness, that's very helpful. So it sounds like I have a few options, and a couple more questions:

    1) This seems pretty reasonable for $30. The only confusion I have is when you mention that when making a call regularly, that I'd need to use the speakerphone on the phone itself. Is my understanding correct in that, this is a better option than just using the Aux cable because it is a USB-audio connection, and the phone recognizes that I will be talking into the handset, so it will provide better noise cancellation? But, this is only true when making a call through the car app? What happens if I receive an incoming call, will the phone know to switch to the car app mode and enable the proper noise cancellation?

    2) Your generic mount/cable combo is the way I'm leaning right now. Could you recommend a good generic mount for the S3? It's kind of awkward how the USB for charging and the Aux for audio are on opposite sides of the phone, so if you know of a mount that cleans up those cables a bit that would be cool. Also, have you heard anything positive or negative about this Scosche motorMOUTH II Plug and Play? If it works well it's a pretty sweet, albeit more expensive option, in that it plugs right into the Aux port and receives music and calls over Bluetooth. It also has a mic which would fix my noise cancellation issue, presumably.

    The only other question I had was around the possibility of a software fix for this via some app or widget that would manually enable the proper noise cancellation when headphones are plugged in. If this were the case I could keep my existing set up and the problem would be solved.
  8. bsweetness
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    bsweetness Moderator

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    I haven't used the Infuse dock myself. I'm just going based off what others have said. According to reviews on Amazon and on other websites, by using the Infuse dock, if you're not running the car app and make a call, the phone will automatically put the sound out through the speakerphone rather than the auxiliary cable. I'm not saying you need to do that, but rather it will automatically do that. It automatically does this because the sound is going out from the phone over USB instead of the headphone jack, so the the phone isn't properly setting things up automatically since it doesn't know that the sound can go over USB (I guess the car app must be running for it to know that). The phone will only leave the car app mode if you purposefully exit it (or if it crashes). If neither of those things happen, it should remain in the car mode while docked. But, based upon what others have said, running it properly through the dock should avoid the echo that people are hearing because it's designed to be used with a car speaker system.

    I use this iOttie mainly because the suction is much better than on any other mount I've seen. I have a disc on my dash from an old GPS where I place mounts, and this holds on better than anything else I've had.

    I have the aux cable wrapped around the mount so that it's not dangling around. It keeps things in place quite well.

    I haven't heard anything about that Scosche beyond the reviews there on Amazon. Based off my experience with other Scosche products, I'd venture to say that it probably works quite well. It's basically the exact same thing I have except it works over Bluetooth rather than with a wired connection. With mine, calls and music work great, so that one would probably provide the same features, just without a wire.

    No one knows what kind of fixes and updates we'll see on the phone, so I can't say for sure. The noise cancellation works properly with headphones, it's just that the settings aren't the same for headphones and for external speakers. You're using it with external speakers rather than headphones, and the phone has no way of knowing that when using an aux cable. To the phone, you're using headphones, so it uses headphone settings. But you're actually using external speakers with no external microphone, which requires different settings. I guess the only way for them to "fix" that would be to run a form of noise cancellation all the time, even though it wouldn't be needed in most situations. I haven't seen any apps or widgets, but there might be some in Play store. It's possible that using one of the car home apps in the Play store would turn on the correct settings since it would be doing things with the assumption that you're in a car. It might be worth it to try out some of those.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  9. bsweetness
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    bsweetness Moderator

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    Make sure to check out the new dock from iBolt made specifically for the S3. It operates in pretty much the same way that the Motorola docks do, outputting audio through the USB connection and splitting it off through an auxiliary cable. Talon8Ya mentioned it, and I posted some details in this thread.
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