AirPods Siri Quality

ScottButler

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 16, 2016
105
177
Sunderland, UK
Is anyone else experiencing a low quality Siri voice when using AirPods? It sort of sounds like when a new iOS device hasn't yet downloaded the high quality voice files.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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34,559
Is anyone else experiencing a low quality Siri voice when using AirPods? It sort of sounds like when a new iOS device hasn't yet downloaded the high quality voice files.
No. Siri is loud and clear for me. And this goes for using either one or both Airpods.
 

techiebug

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2013
729
258
Summon Siri on your phone and press the volume up button. It could be because Siri volume is low
 

danbalsh

macrumors regular
May 7, 2003
191
113
Yeah I get this, sounds very low quality like a badly encoded MP3 from years ago :(
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Mar 11, 2013
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I've noticed something really annoying:

  • On iPhone or iPad: "Siri, play something" = shuffling my songs instantly.
  • On AirPods: "Siri, play something" = "What would you like to hear?"

Ugh, I don't know. That's why I just told you to play something. -____-
 
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Ralfi

macrumors 68040
Dec 22, 2016
3,432
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Australia
Is anyone else experiencing a low quality Siri voice when using AirPods? It sort of sounds like when a new iOS device hasn't yet downloaded the high quality voice files.
Yeah, you're not the only one.

Mentioned this elsewhere. Here are a couple of links of others noticing the poorer sound quality.

Forum thread...
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7794112?start=0&tstart=0

Article...
http://appletoolbox.com/2016/12/airpods-disconnecting-calls-sound-issues/

I thought it may've improved at one stage, but then I plugged in the Earpods & the difference is pretty obvious.

Best way I can describe it is a 'scratchy', low fidelity audio quality. Whereas via the Earpods it sounds much fuller (ala' when you play music through the Airpods).

I've an appointment with Apple next week to check it out.

Glad a thread was started. I'll report back here.
 
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danbalsh

macrumors regular
May 7, 2003
191
113
For what it's worth just had an awful experience with AppleCare trying to get to the bottom of this issue, the three guys I spoke to on the phone had no clue - only 'solution' was for me to take them back into a Retail Store and 'hope' (there words, no mine) that the Store has replacement units... shocking service, was only hold for nearly an hour on and off.

When I asked to complain, the only method they could offer was for me to write a letter....!!!! WTF?
 

ScottButler

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 16, 2016
105
177
Sunderland, UK
Just wanted to add that all other sounds apart from Siri are fantastic and much better than EarPods, which makes me think this is a bug/glitch. As others don't have this issue it can't be something that Apple didn't pickup in testing, I guess we'll have to watch this space
 
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Phil A.

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Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
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Shropshire, UK
It's due to the different Bluetooth profile used when the microphone is active. When it isn't, the AirPods use A2DP (advanced audio distribution profile) and when it is, they use HFP (hands free profile) or HSP (headset profile). HSP/HFP is geared towards voice and only supports 8khz mono audio, Hence the reduction in quality

This isn't something that is specific to AirPods - it happens with every single Bluetooth headphone / earphone I've tried and I'm not sure anything can be done about it because a2dp doesn't support microphones
 

ScottButler

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 16, 2016
105
177
Sunderland, UK
It's due to the different Bluetooth profile used when the microphone is active. When it isn't, the AirPods use A2DP (advanced audio distribution profile) and when it is, they use HFP (hands free profile) or HSP (headset profile). HSP/HFP is geared towards voice and only supports 8khz mono audio, Hence the reduction in quality

This isn't something that is specific to AirPods - it happens with every single Bluetooth headphone / earphone I've tried and I'm not sure anything can be done about it because a2dp doesn't support microphones
This is very interesting and would likely explain it all. But it's also something I would have hoped Apple would have found a work around for. Maybe their own profile or even 2 different profiles for mic and speakers that work simultaneously, rather than just accepting the current limitations
 

danbalsh

macrumors regular
May 7, 2003
191
113
Just wanted to add that all other sounds apart from Siri are fantastic and much better than EarPods, which makes me think this is a bug/glitch. As others don't have this issue it can't be something that Apple didn't pickup in testing, I guess we'll have to watch this space
Hope they can fix it!

I don't know anyone else with a pair so it's hard to tell if mine are "broken", I'm being overly fussy, or if they are perfectly normal.
 

Phil A.

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
5,549
2,419
Shropshire, UK
This is very interesting and would likely explain it all. But it's also something I would have hoped Apple would have found a work around for. Maybe their own profile or even 2 different profiles for mic and speakers that work simultaneously, rather than just accepting the current limitations
I agree - it would be better if Apple implemented a better option for this (even if it only worked on their own ecosystem).

Maybe it's something they could do at a later stage via a firmware update, but maybe they don't think it's high priority because the profile is "good enough" for the speech based Siri interface?

The situation is even worse on macOS because if the mic is ever active, all music, etc, comes over in the same poor quality.

I've used Bluetooth headphones for a while so it wasn't unexpected but that doesn't mean it can't be improved
 
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The Doctor11

macrumors 603
Dec 15, 2013
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New York
It's due to the different Bluetooth profile used when the microphone is active. When it isn't, the AirPods use A2DP (advanced audio distribution profile) and when it is, they use HFP (hands free profile) or HSP (headset profile). HSP/HFP is geared towards voice and only supports 8khz mono audio, Hence the reduction in quality

This isn't something that is specific to AirPods - it happens with every single Bluetooth headphone / earphone I've tried and I'm not sure anything can be done about it because a2dp doesn't support microphones
I think this is probably the problem, it seems anytime I'm using the mic on my AirPods I have the low quality sound issue, unfortunately I don't see Apple fixing this any time soon.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Mar 11, 2013
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Siri is very staticy and sounds like she's talking through a tunnel, yet music and podcasts sound fine.
 

Ralfi

macrumors 68040
Dec 22, 2016
3,432
2,212
Australia
Went passed the Apple Store today.

They will pass on the Siri sound quality issues. It's all they could do, as they're not aware of it currently.

Or at least the genius serving me wasn't aware of it as he doesn't use Siri with his Airpods.

So I got him to compare Siri via Airpods to another method & he did so with just the speaker of his phone & he said he could even tell the difference there. I mentioned it's even more obvious between Airpods & Earpods + phone call quality may also be slightly worse.

I also mentioned the theory of Bluetooth decreasing quality when the microphone is in use & that that may be the cause, but he wasn't aware of that.

So they'll pass it up the chain & email me any updates.
 
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soanis

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2013
115
138
Europe
I don't have the airpods, but from time to time I'm experiencing low quality, less natural Siri voice responses through the speaker ever since the last iOS update.

Whenever I get that I rush to the Siri voice options and see the loading circle instead of the tick next to my selection. As if it's reloading it or redownloading it, so it may be a low space problem (which I currently deal with)...

can anyone relate?
 
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