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Galaxy Note 3 echo problem solved
I bought my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N900W8 from Mobilicity (not a T-Mobile) and have had it for a couple of weeks. I wanted to put a hard case on it before I left the mall but couldn't find anything like an Otter or other armored case. So, at Pacific Mall I bought an inexpensive ($15) UAGIDS case which has a soft plastic liner and hard plastic outer band. I added a clip-on leather belt pouch (another $15) which holds the phone in its UAGIDS case. Altogether this gives pretty good protection with easy access to the phone and a convenient means to carry it.
The phone worked fine until I put the case on it. After installing the phone in the case the caller at the other end was hearing a very major echo. It did not matter which side initiated the call.
After a lot of fruitless research on the Internet (many others complaining of the same or similar problem) I found nothing that would help me. So I decided to go back to basics and examine the phone and case carefully. I found two instances where the case was deficient.
1st, there was no aperture (opening) in the case by the speaker to let sound out. A dremel tool fixed that. Cutting through the soft inner liner was much more difficult than carving the hard outer band.
2nd, there was no aperture in the case for the tiny anti-echo mic located on the bottom edge of the phone, just to the left of the big multipurpose jack (where you plug in the funky USB cord). Drilling a 1/8" hole in the hard outer band and using a leather hole punch on the soft inner liner fixed that.
Putting the phone back into the case and testing showed that the echo problem was completely gone. Problem solved!
I suggest you check any case you buy for a phone and be sure it was engineered for that phone and has all the necessary ports the phone needs to function properly. Glad I didn't pay a lot for the case. Hope that when a good quality hard case becomes available I won't have to worry about engineering problems ;-)
One other mod I did to the case was to enlarge the port in the case from which one retrieves the pen. I need more room for my large fingers.
Incidentally, contrary to advice on the WEB disabling or enabling the Noise reduction had no effect on the original problem, thats as it should be because that is intended to deal with background noise in the location where you are using the phone.
An afterthought is that there are two microphones, one on the top edge and one on the bottom edge of the phone. The apertures in the phone for these microphones is extremely small, not more than 1/32 of an inch or about .75mm. It would not take much of a particle of dirt or something similar to block a microphone and cause no end of havoc. Cleaning these apertures would be difficult and poking them with something would be very risky at best.