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Sound quality issue with AudioLink and Sonnet 2


Michael Goldberg
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Just getting started with the AudioLink - having issues with poor sound quality coming through the AudioLink/Bluetooth connection.
When I have my computer speaker on listening to youtube video, I can hear and understand OK using the CI and plugging my good ear with earplug.
When I use AudioLink to stream same video directly to my CI, sound quality is very poor, sounds muffled.  I've increased volume everwhere I can and it is still not as good as listening in air.
Is this expected or is there possibly an issue with the AudioLink?

I was expecting direct streaming to be clearer than in air but it's much much worse.
 

I work from home and have lots of video calls daily, was hoping to stream to CI so I wouldn't disturb my wife by listening over the PC speakers.

Thanks all.

Michael 

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@Michael Goldberg

I much prefer the audio quality of the AudioStream direct BTLE from phone/tablet.  If using your phone/tablet is an option, I’d recommend doing that.

Another option with a computer and Sonnet 2 is to use an around the ear BT headphone with a built in return mic.  Many of us like BOSE QC35.

I also experience sound quality issues with AudioLink.  I do find it delivers better sound if it is directly cabled to the computer and set vertically in its dock and then positioned close to the CI side.

Another option is to put the Sonnet2 in MT setting through its remote and use the Artone 3 MAX BT neckloop.

Some Sonnet2 users prefer to use Roger equipment.

It takes a bit of trial and error to find what works best for each person.

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Have you tried it with the docking station? I use the docking station (without Bluetooth) with my laptop.  I just use the cable to plug it into a set of external speakers or directly into the laptop.  Works great for me.

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Ah, thanks all. I only had time to quickly read docs, I missed using docking station and cable. WIll try that!  Also will explore other suggestions. THANKS!

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My problem with the "Docking Station" solution is twofold. Firstly, I do not use the docking station because I cannot connect it to my TV becasue it is analog (antiquated) only and my TV box does not allow an analog connection, only optical or Toslink. Secondly my audible distortion may also be present when I receive telephone calls on my iPhone and, as I have a Rondo 3 only , these have to pass through Audiolink, (also an antiquated technology).

I've just been given an brand new Audiolink and have yet to know if that has either solved or reduced the problem.

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@Andrew42I love the AudioLink for TV.  I also have old technology TVs.  I bought digital to analog converters which quickly, easily and inexpensively solved the problem.  The ones I have are "Techole HS202 Converter-192khz Digital to Analog Converter".  When I bought Model HS202 it was on Amazon for about $13.  (I think they now have newer ones that also have a volume control button, but I control volume with my Fine Tuner Echo.  There seem to also now be some "knockoffs" with a similar brand name on Amazon).

The converter acts as an intermediary device.  You use the optical/toslink cable to connect the TV to one side of the converter, and then the RCA cable to connect the other side of the converter to the AudioLink docking station (don't use Bluetooth).

At first I was moving the digital to anlog converter back and forth between TVs. Then I bought another one so that I could leave the optical/toslink cable and converter attached to the TV and just move the RCA cable and docking station.  Now I have another AudioLink so I don't need to move anything.

The model I have (HS202) is about 2 inches by 2 inches (and 1 inch thick) - takes up no room at all.

I don't know if this will work for you because I have two Sonnet 2s (not Rondo), but I hope it helps.

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Thank you for that suggestion. I will certainly look into it and see what is available here in Switzerland. My comment about antiquated technology referred to Audiolink not my TV but your suggestion is just as valid anway as I need to convert an optical/digital signal from my TV box to an analog signal for audiolink. It is just one more bit to electronic clutter that Med-El could so easily avoid by bringing their peripheral accessories into the modern era; (excuse my rant).  

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To all - 

Thanks for suggestions.  I found the AudioStream cover I thought was missing and tried it out. Still having volume issues no matter what I use - AudioStream and AudioLink both result in very low volume for me.  I use the remote to increase volume as much as it will go but still very soft compared to listening in air. When I was first activated they set volume for each electrode so I could hear it very loud but comfortable. When listening in air (i.e., just normal listening), volume is great - louder than my hearing aid. But when I stream, volume very low.
Any suggestions?  Is it possible that there is an issue with my Sonnet 2?  Normal listening volume is great, just streaming volume is low

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@Michael Goldberg

Audiostream tends to have too quiet volume on android phones.  If you are using an android phone, @Kyliefound an easy work around using a free volume booster app running in the background set at 130%.
 

With my iPhone I can reach comfortable volume with AudioStream by using my phone’s volume control.

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/2/2022 at 2:13 PM, Michael Goldberg said:

Just getting started with the AudioLink - having issues with poor sound quality coming through the AudioLink/Bluetooth connection.
When I have my computer speaker on listening to youtube video, I can hear and understand OK using the CI and plugging my good ear with earplug.
When I use AudioLink to stream same video directly to my CI, sound quality is very poor, sounds muffled.  I've increased volume everwhere I can and it is still not as good as listening in air.
Is this expected or is there possibly an issue with the AudioLink?

I was expecting direct streaming to be clearer than in air but it's much much worse.
 

I work from home and have lots of video calls daily, was hoping to stream to CI so I wouldn't disturb my wife by listening over the PC speakers.

Thanks all.

Michael 

I have the same issue of poor quality with Audiolink.   In fact, I can hear phone calls better without the audiolink  feature.  I  also noticed that phone messages ( playing my own) and listening to other also are of poor quality. By the way,  I use the Audiokey app with Audiolink.  So far, I have used the audiolink for about 10 hours to listen to read along books, youtube videos, an a few phone calls. Still, the sound quality of audiolink is a big disappointment.  Like Michael, I was expecting direct streaming to be clearer but is not.

Any suggestions ???

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@Juan P

I agree that the audio quality from AudioLink does not meet my expectations.  It is not direct streaming since the AudioLink acts as the intermediary device.

The direct streaming from phones and tablets to Sonnet/Sonnet2 by using the AudioStream battery cover has terrific audio quality.

I prefer the audio quality and ease of use of the Artone 3 MAX BT neckloop over the AudioLink.  
 

Here is a link to a captioned review of the Artone if you are interested.  I have been using it for 5.5 years- almost daily.  

 

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I may be an outlier here, but I find that I have good quality sound from Audiolink when I directly plug my Audiolink cable into the headphone jack of my devices instead of streaming, secure the cable (if moving around), and keeping the Audiolink nearby. After reading all of the negative reviews, I tried hard-wiring the Audiolink to my devices and then keeping the Audiolink within 3 feet or 1 meter from my Rondo 3 (I use AudioStream with Sonnet 2). I have an elastic band that I re-sized to hold the connection between the Audiolink and the cable firm (sound gets bad if it is bumped just a little, but the elastic seems to fix that). This also makes it so that I don't have to use the Audio2Ear app, which I suspect might degrade sound quality. This setup may not be great for everyone, but I find it worthwhile as I love the sound quality and don't want to deal with the telecoil adapter. I've also found that device portability between these options is pretty simple (compared even to the Audiostream where I seem to always have to open/close it and go into hearing settings to get it to work on my other device and because only mobile devices are supported by Audiostream)

EDIT: I just borrowed a QC35 cable at @Mary Beth's suggestion--using it instead of the 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter and the 3.5mm cable. It made a big difference in sound quality as it fit firmly in the Audiolink port and removed an adapter from the chain described below!

Computer (or Android or any device with a standard headphone jack) : I connect a cable to the Audiolink and to the headphone jack by using the supplied cables/adapters. One cable fits into my computer's 3.5mm headphones jack directly and the other side fits into the 2.5mm adapter, which then fits into to the Audiolink jack. So it goes Computer 3.5mm jack  <-> 3.5mm connector <-> 3.5mm connector <-> 2.5mm adapter <-> AudioLink 2.5mm jack. Sometimes I use the dock by simply removing the 2.5mm and connecting to the 3.5mm jack in the dock, but this is less convenient since I need to keep the Audiolink close by for optimal sound (I wear the Audiolink on the supplied lanyard when moving around the house).

iPhone: I use the same setup except I add another adapter to connect to the iPhone lightning jack that is used for charging and Apple headphones (just the standard Apple headphones adapter). So it goes iPhone lightning port <-> lightning adapter <-> 3.5mm connector <-> 3.5mm connector <-> 2.5mm adapter <-> AudioLink 255mm jack.

iPad: I can use the same setup as for the computer or the iPhone, since my version of iPad has both a lightning port and a headphones jack. The headphone jack setup is better for me since then I can charge while also using the Audiolink. Newer iPads that use USB-C might require another kind of adapter--I haven't tested this.

 

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@AnnetteT

Those details will help a lot of people. I agree that AudioLink sounds much better when directly connected to the sound device.  It is just cumbersome with adapters and cables and securing connections when we are moving around and listening.  I often multitask while listening to music and audiobooks and find the AudioLink inconvenient since it really must stay close to both of my processors for a good signal.  
 

I have Rondo 1 which has a built in telecoil and no telecoil ticking issues.  So the Artone BT neckloop is a better fit for me.  Tiny, light, worn under my shirt, no need for the phone to be nearby, easy to choose a mix MT or just streaming T.

 

If I had Rondo 3, I would probably choose to use CozyBand BT headband speakers when active.  AudioLink when sitting still and can plug the sound source directly into the AudioLink.

I have a 3.5 to 2.5 cable which is light and comfortable and came with my BOSE QC35 headphones.  That allows me to use the AudioLink with just that light cable instead of the supplied cables and adapter.  It also eliminates any problems with how the cables and adapter stay connected.

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@Mary Beth, I agree that my Audiolink cabled solution isn't convenient when moving about. Thank you for the tips to try the QC35 cable and the CosyBand headphones. Currently, I switch to my Sonnet 2 and Audiostream whenever I need to move around a lot. These options sound great for using the Rondo and I'll look into them :). It would be great to be able to remove the adapter and have a better-fitting cable (since that does seem to cause some static occasionally).

EDIT: I just borrowed a QC35 cable and it made a big difference in sound quality!  Thanks for the tip @Mary Beth!!

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Good info, i do same. However when watching tv in my room the audlink and stand are further away perhaps i should be closer. Ive used both regular battery cover and audstream cover, still have sound and volume changes during same episode of tv. Thank you annette, our usage is similar

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Hi @Dianna, Thanks! It does appear that we do have very similar usage, which is great! :)  One thing that I didn't mention is that I sometimes use an Avantree setup (that I described here) for watching TV and PC videos with my Sonnet 2s whenever the sound source is more than a few feet away from me. While it's not as convenient to use headphones as it is to stream with Audiolink, the sound quality is really fantastic and the distance from the TV is no issue at all :). These headphones also convert back and forth between SSD (mono to both ears) and normal stereo modes, which is great since I'm not yet bilateral. They may not be quite as good in sound as the QC35s (I can't tell, though), but they support the special low-latency technology that gives you near real-time audio to prevent the lag that is so distracting when people are speaking on TV or PC videos.

 

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