Question Can only get brutal quality mono audio with any Bluetooth earphones/headset

threepeak

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Dec 31, 2015
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Running Windows 10 on latest update. My PC is running great, except I tried to start using some bluetooth headsets/headphones recently, and having a weird issue. For starters, this is occurring on multiple different bluetooth audio devices and brands, so it's not just a bad unit, installation/driver or brand. I've tried wireless bt (bluetooth ) earbud style and over the ear headset. They both are headphones, but as is typical, have a microphone built in with the assumption that people would need to answer or make calls when connected to a phone. So regardless of the device, it connects without issue to the pc, shows up in audio devices and Mic (input devices) etc.... However, it's listed twice each time. One will be "Headphones (insert brand/model name) Stereo", and the other listing is "Headset (insert brand/model) Hands Free AG" in the audio settings. If I select the "headphones ___ stereo" as the output on any type of bluetooth , I will see the audio meter responding as if it's playing audio (albeit, a little lower intensity than expected), it's set as default, Every single level slider on any interface or settings page is turned up and active. And yet, not a sound, not a peep through any of the headphones. Doesn't matter what I do seemingly, re-install/discover, driver update, disabling individual related devices one at a time for process of elimination etc). But I'll be seeing output on the audio gauge. The testing feature does not sound a tone, and the troubleshooting finds no problems. I've also tried reinstalling the bluetooth driver and audio drivers. If I start something that uses audio like a game, it will even report that the game is using the device. No enhancements or anything active.

Now, if I switch to the "handset __ handsfree AG" device and set as default, every single issue is gone! Every piece of audio content and test tone playback without issue on the bluetooth device, and the mic input also works fine. This is without any config needed except for selecting it. One major problem though....the audio quality on the handsfree device....it sounds like someone playing back a phone call recorded from speakerphone at low bit rate through AM radio!!! It's so incredibly horrible to the point of being unusable.

It's not the devices themselves, because they sound outstanding anywhere else they are used. I noticed that when I go to the properties for this however, the ONLY option in the dropdown is basically low quality mono. There is no stereo or 16+ bit, 44.1 k + settings for this "hands free device". There is for the stereo listing of the same device, but no matter what I switch it to, still not a peep, not a beep. I'm out of ideas. I've tried this now with 4 completely different bluetooth devices with different makes, models and form factors. Also to note, it's NOT bad quality from the bluetooth signal or transfer. The poor audio seems to be because it's like phone hands free quality combined with only low quality options for that "device" (even though they are the same device). I'm all ears for any suggestions
 
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Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Spacing would likely help, people don't like reading more than about 5 lines in a paragraph, not 15 like your 1st one. If you break it up it might get more attention. Most would take one look and close it. I only looked as I know what to expect with "walls of text" and how people are.



The "Stereo" device is technically known in Bluetooth jargon as "Advanced Audio Distribution Profile", or with an acronym A2DP. It is optimized for transferring 2-channel stereo sound with good quality in one direction only.

The "Hands-free" device corresponds, respectively, to either the "Hands-Free Profile" (HFP) or "Headset Profile" (HSP). Both of them are older than A2DP, and were initially designed to pass telephone-quality sound (2-directional mono sound, limited frequency response, optimized for speech only). Both of them, and in particular the HSP profile, are designed to minimize the processing power requirements. This was important for wireless Bluetooth hands-free devices, which usually had, and still have, an extremely limited amount of battery power available because of limitations of physical size.

Since then, HFP has been expanded with optional better-quality sound codecs, as newer high-efficiency processors have made it easier to implement more complicated protocols and sound codecs in low-power devices. HSP has remained the minimalist implementation, to be used when every milliwatt-second of battery capacity needs to be used efficiently, and as a fallback to be used if the more advanced protocols aren't compatible.

https://superuser.com/questions/1088942/whats-the-difference-between-stereo-and-hands-free

Do they show in Bluetooth & other devices (In settings/devices), under the audio section, when connected?

I haven't used the control panel sound choices in ages, windows is sort of scaling them out. I more likely to look in settings/system/sound and in there my BT headset only shows up once. If I connect my headset, both input & output swap to it in here.

If I go to control panel/Sound panel and connect to my Headset, both stereo & handsfree are marked as green. It uses Handsfree for default communication device and Stereo for sound.



Is this what yours looks like? I do get sound as expected.

Do you have newest BT drivers?
 
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Narynbek

Commendable
Feb 1, 2017
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I am having the same problem as Threepeak. I get muffled sounds through the "handsfree" option of my bluetooth headphones (and speakers). I get no sound when switching to the "stereo" option of my bluetooth devices.

I have reinstalled BT drivers and then audio drivers.
I forget how to open the picture that Colif posted, but mine did look like that. One of the suggestions online was to go into that window and disable the "Hands-free" headset (with the green phone icon), but that did not work.
I have also disabled/enabled the Audio Enhancements for my BT device.

Nothing has worked.
It is very frustrating and I am also asking for any suggestions (even if it means trying the same thing again).

Thank you,
Narynbek
 
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Narynbek

Commendable
Feb 1, 2017
4
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1,510
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I read somewhere MIcrosoft doesn't really support A2DP as I tried to help another person who was having problems connecting his Samsung Galaxy S8 to windows, and A2DP was the problem there as well.

Intel aren't amused - https://www.intel.com.au/content/www/au/en/support/articles/000030412/network-and-i-o/wireless-networking.html
Colif, forgive my ignorance, but I am not sure how this response is helpful. I am only using my BT devices as output. For example, watching Netflix with Bluetooth headphones, or a Bluetooth JBL Clip to increase the volume.

My computer (HP Omen) is about 14 months old, but I have been having these problems for about 2 months. Up until now, I have just lived with it.
NB
 

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