Cell phone sound quality versus landline

The human voice has a frequency range of 300-3400hz.
The upper end of this is the “s” sound in our speech.
Modern cell phones have a compressed frequency response and cut off at the 2500-3000hz range.
I’ve noticed a lot of the sharp “s” sounds become hard to understand when conversing via cell phone.

What happens when you are the last hold out among the people you talk to on the phone? Won’t you still have all the same problems, just caused solely on their end?

Probably, though cell to cell tends to be a little worse than cell to landline, in my experience.

I find that cells are fine for pragmatic conversations conveying basic information but for actual social conversations a landline is necessarily to prevent frustrated insanity. What I find really amusing is back when everything was landlines, there used to be a big deal in advertising about phone service quality (“pin drop” - and you could barely discern the difference in quality except for international calls) but even the worst landline back then was better than cell phones now.

The science of speech compression is pretty complex and cell operators have a big incentive to compress as much as possible so there’s more bandwidth for other subscribers. With a POTS line the compression is light and everyone gets a dedicated 64k connection (including signaling).

So I doubt cell or VOIP will ever reach the quality levels of analog phone. I dont see this changing in the future. Future standards will simple be adding more users per tower, not increasing quality.

That said, the quality should be good enough for human speech. The problems Ive noticed have more to do with poor mics and speakers. A cell phone with a wired headset is pretty good.

FWIW, the voice quality on my iphone beats my old treo by quite a bit. Buying a better phone might help as the limitation may not be with the protocol but with the phone hardware itself.

Yes, nothing like a Western Electric G3 handset on some good twisted pair. It’s a bit astonishing that we’re using 50 year old technology as a benchmark for quality in today’s phones.

**Shadofyre **- I’ll bet dollars to donuts that your parent’s phone wiring is the old fashioned “quad” cable with non-twisted red, green, yellow and black wires. That stuff was OK in the 70’s, but as we find ourselves immersed in more and more RF “soup” it’s necessary to rip that stuff out and replace it with Cat3 or Cat5 twist.

“Can you hear me now” shouldn’t be an ad slogan, and it shouldn’t be a normal question while talking to someone.

I have noticed that while cell phones may be of generally acceptable quality, it’s cheap Bluetooth headsets that really muck things up. If my friend calls up and sounds like she’s down a well, it’s because her earpiece battery needs charging.

Certainly cell phone companies have all sorts of internal ways to validate drops, quality, etc. But comparing it to landline quality–in a way that’s useful to the average person–would have some pitfalls.

For one thing, if I mention my mom’s cordless phone that gets horrible static more than 10 feet from the base station, people would probably call that a phone problem, not a landline problem. But of course all cell phones aren’t alike either, but you almost never hear anyone split out handset performance from network performance for cell networks. There are good reasons for that, of course, but it means they’re on slightly different playing fields to begin with.

And since signal strength and quality are largely a matter of things like distance from the tower, and what material the building you’re in is made of and such, even if some measured “average” quality ends up matching landline quality, you’ll still have the guy sitting 20 yards from a tower noting that he never gets dropped, while the guy who lives a couple of miles from the nearest cell because all of the area subdivisions refuse to allow cell sites to be built is much more likely to have a lot of problems.

Guys, don’t drop your landlines just yet.
Try this simple test. Call a friend who plays an instrument and listen to her/him play using each a cell phone and then repeat using landlines only. Self explanatory.

In technical terms, what matters is bandwidth in Hertz (humans hear from ~20Hz to 20kHz), latency in miliseconds, and bit depth (how small the increments in volume transmitted are). There is a world of difference btw a landline phone and a cell phone. It’s easy to transmit voice (narro bandwidth), it’s a lot “harder” (more expensive) to transmit audio at a decent quality.

Well, this is a zombie thread, but - who cares about sound quality?
I’m using the phone to talk to people, not to enjoy music.
As long as it’s intelligible, I don’t really care what the frequency response is.