I think you and I are of very similar minds on this.
Part of why you liked your Nokia phone was analog cellular transmission. Digital cellular telephony
has opened the world of "smart" devices, but it's definitely been terrible for voice communications.
The cell companies are constantly trying to use as little bandwidth for voice as possible, so the
quality of the voice communication gets worse and worse. Combine in what I said about "smart" phones
not being the right form-factor to capture words being spoken out of a human mouth, and you get what
Skype is definitely of low audio quality, but keep in mind that all telephone calls today, including
those that originate with my POTS (plain old telephone service, copper wires and 1960s era WECO
phones) setup get to a point where they are digitized, lossy-compressed and sent over internet
bandwidth purchased in bulk for the lowest possible price. Such thing as direct-connection circuits
with copper wire the whole way are a thing of the past. The general quality of voice telephony in
this country is worse than any other time in my life, with the exception of some overseas calls,
where there is less delay with internet connections than with the old satellites.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2013 10:09 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Cell phone sound - Re: [ARSCLIST] Very low price today on Zoom H4n flash
> Part of my audio work is making good recordings of teleconferences. I will not allow our
> participants to use a cell phone, for the bad sound as much as for the latency. People will talk
> over each other when there is a second or two delay!
> MY first Nokia analog cell sounded great - 2x2x8 inches and about four pounds, it was - but as
> soon as they made digital transmission the audio quality went to hell. I do not see them getting
> much better for a while... it is technically possible for them to sound better than a landline but
> that is not the focus of the few corporations that are profiting on the tech.
> My wife does transcription, and new clients send her skype and cell phone calls and they have so
> much interferenece in the form of blowing on the mic (LF) and digital distortion including
> ear-piercing ultra-sonic hash, that as her personal live-in audio engineer I pass it through a
> filter to make it sound like a real telephone (300 - 2500 bandpass) and suddenly it can be
> actually listened to for 45 minutes to an hour.
> Cellular and some VoIP can be far beyond mediocre into awful and execrable... Like TSA, it is
> amazing what people will put up with... physical assaults they are, in my books.
> Lou Judson
> Intuitive Audio
> On Dec 14, 2013, at 6:08 AM, Louis Hone wrote:
>> Tom, someone should invent a cell phone that sounds good, that doesn't
>> sound like the voice is going through a couple of guitar chorus units. Cell
>> phones have improved tremendously with all the gadgets that come attached
>> to them, but they still sound horrible. Those who think that cell phones
>> sound good have gotten used to their mediocre sound quality in the same way
>> that most people thought that early cassette machines sounded good. Once
>> they have improved the sound quality of cell phones, then they can
>> concentrate on making the gadget that you are suggesting. Now I wonder if I
>> can convert my ZOOM into a decent sounding cell phone... :-)