Why do drive-through speakers have such abysmal sound quality?

I’ve noticed this at every fast food place I’ve ever been to in my life. Often it’s bad enough that I’ll have to repeat my order. That’s wasted time, something fast food places aren’t too big on.

I can buy a $3 microphone and a $5 speaker and have them sound worlds better than any drive through. Or I can pick up a cell phone and call someone across the world and have it sound like they’re in the next room. Why is it so hard for companies with ridiculous amounts of money to set up a drive-through system that doesn’t sound like the kind of $10 walkie-talkies I would get as a kid, then throw in the trash after ten minutes of use?

I’m sorry, I didn’t get that, could you repeat that question?

Sure, I… hey! :stuck_out_tongue:

And then?

Maybe the technology has changed, but at one time, it wasn’t one mic and one speaker but just one speaker that doubled as a mic. After all, they are similar designs – one converts electrical energy into sound (speaker), the other converts sound into electrical energy (microphone). While one can be used as both, the quality is piss-poor due to the compromise.

Otherwise, it’s just cheap shit for components. Why do you think cellphones sound so bad?

Garbage in, garbage out.

I think it is the quality of the employees. At the bank drive through, I don’t have the problems traditionally associated with fast food joints.

Ever hear Paul Stookey’s (of Peter, Paul & Mary) parody of a drive-in order window? After taking the order, the clerk repeats it for confirmation to the teen-agers…

“Woworo and playga…two biigs slackerschho…three hafbgres with mwwenattard and mayosnnlak…one skadlek…one super frsuysio, extra fredwicks…and four six packs.”

“We’ll take it!”

I think there must be a factory somewhere that churns out speakers for both drive-thrus and railway station platform announcements. They make them out of cardboard and burger cheese.

I know what you are saying although I had to listen to it several times while jotting down notes. The distortion is so high that it is nearly impossible to make out. I asked for a small order of fries and I got a Big Mac with cheese.

I used to work for Bose headquarters as several other Dopers did. They produce very good environmental speakers as do several other companies.

Your question is a good one. It can cost well over several million dollars to establish a McDonald’s restaurant yet they only seem to afford $100 speakers in the drive-through lane.

I sense a consulting opportunity here (and I am actually not kidding in the least). They should do much better than that. I am an IT consultant and someone that can figure out a better way would have a nice business and most likely be a millionaire.

I’m wondering if it has to do with theft. If they had a great sound system out there, it wouldn’t remain very long.

And yeah, the quality of the employees’ voices isn’t much better inside.

Maybe it’s the “good enough” phenomenon. You order a cheeseburger, fries and a a small coke, and you hear by way of confirmation: “One eeseburger, fri, and a co–thing else?”

“Good enough,” you think to yourself, and say, “No.”

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