1. Android Central Question's Avatar
    When I am connected to bluetooth headphones, my phone (Samsung Galaxy S7 edge) will sometimes initiate the signal to the headphones that call audio is connected (with Plantronics, it's a three-tone sequence which indicates the call is starting, and it plays both when sending out a call and when I accept a call--this is not a ringtone I'm referring to). Immediately after that, the audio quality goes "bad", as if it's playing behind a call.

    I've occasionally played a quick video over headphones while actually on a call, and this sounds exactly the same as the current problem, but in these new cases, I'm not actually on any call.

    I've tried both my over-ear Plantronics headphones and a Plantronics earpiece, and both are having the same issue, so it's likely not the headphones themselves. Additional evidence is that when I restart the headphones, they immediately re-connect to the ongoing "call".

    Closing all apps solves the issue. It's as if an app is indicating a call is happening but no call actually happens; the audio quality just goes into "behind-call" mode.

    Potentially relevant apps which I think were open in the background at the time:
    - Spotify
    - Yahoo Fantasy
    - Covenant Eyes
    - YouTube
    - Neutralizer
    - Twitter
    - FantasyPros My Playbook
    - Dark Sky
    - Messages (internal texting app)
    - Google Maps
    - Citrix Secure Hub

    Any thoughts on what could be causing this?

    P.S. It's probably a long shot, I have received a couple spam/fraud calls from people who have spoofed my number so it looks like I'm getting a call from myself. I doubt it's related, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
    10-14-2019 04:18 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! Is it possible that Google Assistant is being triggered somehow through the Bluetooth headphones, and that's affecting the audio quality?

    Please register on this forum, which will allow you to engage in discussion more easily, as well as post images. https://forums.androidcentral.com/as...community.html
    10-14-2019 06:57 PM
  3. VidJunky's Avatar
    This is the first time I'm seeing this related to a portable device, like a headset or earpiece, but I've seen reports of this happening with cars and trucks a few times. In those cases it actually makes a call to the device, if I remember correctly. Honestly I don't think the issue was ever resolved.

    Here are the links I could find...


    After looking them over, there wasn't much help there. I guess worst case, you tell us this is similar to your issue and we offer some advice. Best case, you tell us this is nothing like your issue and we offer some advice.
    10-15-2019 12:48 AM
  4. rpasports's Avatar
    I've got an account now, so I can converse a little better on here!

    Hmm, yeah, there isn't actually a call going on. I have no call to hang up, and pushing the end call button on my headphones doesn't work.

    Also, now closing the apps doesn't fix the issue. It's still doing the same thing even if I close all apps.

    The other common denominator besides the phone is that both bluetooth devices are Plantronics, but I have a Motorola headset at home, so perhaps I'll try that out and see if it also produces the same problem. On second thought, I have an Mpow bluetooth receiver in my vehicle, and it has had this same issue a couple times as well. So it's almost certainly not an issue with any of the connected bluetooth devices; it is an issue with the phone.
    10-16-2019 04:46 PM
  5. rpasports's Avatar
    I don't see evidence Google Assistant or the Samsung assistant is running. I can do everything normally on my phone, but the headphones just act like they're on a call. Even my noise-canceling headphones turn off the noise-canceling function, just like they would if a call were happening.
    10-16-2019 04:57 PM
  6. rpasports's Avatar
    If I plug the headphones into the phone, which disconnects the bluetooth, music directly coming from the phone sounds very clear, but audio responses from the headphones such as "volume maximum" are muffled. Again, that's the behind-the-call behavior, though perhaps that's because they're playing behind music instead of a call.

    So my thoughts are this has something to do with how the phone connects to audio devices over bluetooth, and the fault lies in the phone somewhere...
    10-16-2019 05:06 PM
  7. rpasports's Avatar
    And now that I listen to more music over the headphones attached via a wire AND I have bluetooth on the phone turned off, the music just sounds dull and muddy, so I think this issue is persisting even when bluetooth isn't related.

    So it's definitely not a headphone issue, and it's definitely not a bluetooth issue.
    10-16-2019 05:15 PM
  8. VidJunky's Avatar
    If it doesn't sound good over Bluetooth or via headphone jack, what does it sound like through the speakers?

    First thing to come to mind is the phone is a Samsung, who usually puts out a pretty good product, so I'm less inclined to think it is the phone. I looked up some Plantronics headsets and the price on them is all over the place, but even the low end models have around 4 stars so looking at the headphones they seem pretty solid too. I did pick one and read the 1 star reviews and most complained of the fit. Some complained of skipping during calls and issues with calls but not sound... This lead me to thinking about the apps themselves. There is no permission needed for Bluetooth or headphones but since you say the issue is, it sounds like you're on a call or a call is taking place, there is a permission for that. I would probably try two things. Go into Settings>Apps>Permissions and disable all of the permissions for Phone. Don't worry about apps that need that permission, when they need it they will ask again and you can grant or deny them just like the first time. If disabling the Phone permission for all of your apps brings the sound back, then you will need to be vigilant and note which apps you grant phone permission and note the sound quality after each permission granted. Then you will have to decide which you want more that app to have permission or quality sound??

    If taking away Phone permission doesn't yield anything positive the next step would be to try the device in Safe Mode. This takes all of the other apps out of the equation in every way. The thing you are going to run into here though is, if this works you know you have an app issue but will then have to find the problem app. If it doesn't work then you may be looking at a connection issue. At least one of the complaints about the device I read reviews on was range. If the product already has a poor range it may likely also have issues with connection or interference. Would you say that you are in an electrically noisy environment?

    Based everything you've told us, these are the two that seem most likely to me, an app, either with too many permissions or that just interferes, or a connection issue. I'd say try connecting to another device, different brand of headphones to the phone or the headphones to a different phone. You could probably do both at your local Best Buy using their displays. This just rules out the connection between, or the combination of, the two.
    10-19-2019 05:22 AM
  9. rpasports's Avatar
    I discovered it was the Voxer app (an audio chat app).

    When connected to an external audio device, it will automatically take over the audio. If I disable the use of my bluetooth headphones on the Voxer app, the problem immediately stops.

    I discovered it was an app issue and not a phone issue after I had gotten a new phone (for reasons unrelated to this issue--don't worry!) and the issue appeared immediately after I had first used an external audio device to listen to the audio messages.
    B. Diddy and Laura Knotek like this.
    10-21-2019 02:27 PM
  10. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Good detective work! And thanks for giving us the followup.
    VidJunky likes this.
    10-21-2019 04:25 PM

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