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GSM sound, CDMA sound?

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by Jerro, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Jerro

    Jerro Bronze Senior Member
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    Here in the general Philadelphia Pa. area I noticed that Cingular GSM service
    seems to have a flatter aspect to voice,when listening to a GSM caller.
    Whereas CDMA Verizon and Sprint, has a sharper but more robotic tone. Yes we are aware of vocorder rates and diferences. BUT, What do you prefer for sound quality.
     
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  2. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    I personaly prefer CDMA sound because of the noise cancelation. I get to hear the person and not all that is going on around them.

    By the way, AGC (Automatic Gain Control) on the Vx10 is AMAZING. Talking on the back of a noisy bus by whispering I was able to cancel out the background noise for the person I was talking to.
     
  3. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    I like CDMA more as well, even though under great conditions GSM sounds awesome, but this doesn't seem to be the case, at least in my area.
     
  4. M in LA

    M in LA Mobile 28 Years Plus
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    I cannot tell the difference between the two. I find signal strength can have an effect on the quality of a call, but I hear noise during the ringing on both networks. As long as the phones work, that's all I care about.
     
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  5. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    Same here. I aso find that the call quality depends on the signal strength if I am calling a landline and ofcourse also on the other persons cell otherwise.

    I have also found different phones from the same provider to have different call quality. The Samy A670 had the best call quality of all the VZW phones I have used todate (T720, Vx-7000 (blue), VX-6000, and VX-7000 (black).

    The V66 and the 6230 are both my first GSM phones, so I have nothing to compare them with from the same providers.
     
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  6. Jerro

    Jerro Bronze Senior Member
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    Now with both GSM and CDMA it would be interesting to see how they sounded in an area of equal signal.
     
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  7. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    From experience.

    GSM: Generaly the worse the signal, the worse the sound quality.

    CDMA: Depends on the manufaturer to an extent but more often than not call quality stays the same right up until some preditermined cutof point for the phone. Usualy >-100db Rx.

    As for me, I hate having to talk to my parents when they are on there nokia's because there is so much background noise. With my CDMA family and friends the only background noise's I hear are the REALLY loud ones. Other than that it is dead air or there voice.
     
  8. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    I am not sure I agree with that. I've had very clear sound at -106dBm. It depends on many factors like network conditions, interference, etc. which also affect CDMA. You can only claim this for analog, but for any digital technology it is about the same. As you said, the cut-off point is about -100dB and this goes for TDMA as well.

    GSM also has noise cancellation when using the AMR codec. The problem is in the phones. Nokia has improved in this aspect in the last year or two. If you are using an old GSM phone that doesn't support AMR, or a cheap phone, then of course it will have background noise. But anyone that talks to me can't tell if I am driving or in my office or at home. They can't hear the road noise if I am driving. That's because I use a good phone.

    The same applies if you use a poorly designed headset. A friend of mine that has Sprint sometimes uses a cheap 99-cent headset and I can hear all the noise around him. Yes, he is on CDMA! However, when he unplugs the headset and uses the phone directly, the noise is gone and he sounds great.

    One day I did some test calling my friend. He had an LG 4050 phone from Cingular and a Samsung MM-A700 from Sprint. In a regular household environment with the TV on, the windows open, etc. no matter how much effort I put to hear any significant differences in voice quality, I couldn't. If anything, the Cingular phone sounded a tiny bit louder and a bit more pure, but the difference was so subtle it is really insignificant. However, the TV in the background and the noise from the street sounded just about the same from both the Sprint and the Cingular phones. I also had my friend test an old Nokia 3390 from T-Mobile under the same conditions. This phone uses EFR codec. Not surprisingly, the TV in the background was so annoying I asked him if he had raised the volume and he said no. I could not have a normal conversation unless he put the TV down. The street noise coming from the window made him sound like he was on a busy street. So you see, those are the phones that gave GSM the reputation for having no noise cancellation. But if we look at the facts, we see the problem goes beyond that.

    Back to the original two phones (LG 4050 and Samsung MM-A700), I also tested having the phones sitting on a desk a few feet away from two people having a conversation. When he put the Sprint phone on the desk, I could not make out what they were saying. It was clipping out and too muffled. However, when he put the Cingular phone on the desk, the same people talking sounded significantly clearer. There was some clipping but at least I could make out most of the words. This test proves there is noise cancellation in both cases. This is the only circumstance in which you'll see a noticeable difference between CDMA and GSM, and it is most likely due to the difference in the phone's microphones, the sensitivity adjustment in the phones, or the way the different network codecs work, the noise threshold set by the network operator, etc.

    For reference, these tests were performed in NYC at a time where there should be a lot of network traffic. One thing I have noticed is that both CDMA and GSM sound noticeably worse when they are moving in a car. However, the degradation effect is somewhat different. In CDMA, the quality simply degrades. The sound gets more coarse or robotic. It's as if the sound is even more compressed than normal. However, if they stop at a traffic light, the sound goes back to normal. On GSM, the problem is with the handoffs. Since you move from tower to tower as you drive, I can hear the brief cutouts when the phone switches channels. This can clip some words sometimes. However, the purity of the sound stays the same whether you are moving or standing. I was surprised that even if my friend was driving fast on Rt 87, I could barely hear any background noise when he was using the Cingular phone. When he fell on a pot hole or rough road spot, I could tell what it was even though it was faint. I could also hear the directional lights clicking. With the Sprint phone, background noise was even lower and when he fell on pot holes or rough road it sounded weird and I couldn't tell what it was. However, the clicking of the directional lights was clear.

    Finally, I did the music test! This is my favorite because it pushes the audio codec to its limits. Placing the phones (one at a time) by a computer speaker and playing music from the computer, the sound from the Sprint phone was clearly more robotic or compressed than the Cingular phone. However, I did notice that when the Cingular phone switched to Half Rate mode, it would sound the same if not worse than the Sprint phone. This makes perfect sense since the Half Rate mode on GSM uses about the same bitrate as the CDMA codec. However, when on Full Rate, GSM uses more bandwidth. This helps explain why GSM sounds a bit clearer for music.

    Hope my little test helps. :D

    Just to emphasize the importance of the phones in analyzing sound quality, my cousin has an old LG VX-10 from Verizon and I have to tell you every time he calls me I think he is using a landline. That is probably the best cell phone I've ever heard. However, another friend that uses a V120, also on Verizon, I have a hard time catching up with what she says. I constantly have to ask her to repeat what she says and I am lucky if I get 50% of her words. The same thing happens to another friend that uses a Moto V60 on Cingular. They just sound so horribly muffled, almost as if they were inside a cuffin. However, to end a sad story happy, I have another friend on Verizon that was using an old Startac. He always sounded terribly muffled as well and the only way I could understand what he was saying was if I was using my landline. I asked him to replace that phone and he now has a V265. The improvement has been remarkable. I can now understand everything he says from any phone.
     
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    #8 bobolito, Jul 27, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2005
  9. Jerro

    Jerro Bronze Senior Member
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    another reason that I keep my VX 10's. Also some people put the microphone below their chin or away from their mouth and this causes sound problems.

    I agree with the signal issue too; CDMA will just cut off rather that substantially degrade when in a low signal condition. although when the system is over capacity the sound quality often degrades for the reasons you mentioned.
     
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  10. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Cingular voice quality in my areas goes way down when network traffic increases. My girlfriend uses cingular and it gets bad during rush hour where cutouts are not as bad in the middle of the night.
     
  11. I prefer CDMA, obviously, because that's what i'm used to. nothing against GSM, but we don't have that up here yet. The GSM phones that I've used (Nokia, Sony Ericsson[sp], and Samsung) were very good though, even though I've heard that Nokia phones have bad problems with background noise. My 6100 is good with sound quality, as was my 4400. Either way, though, CDMA and GSM are both a GREAT improvement from TDMA.
     
  12. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    A couple years back, the old AT&T TDMA network in my area had much better voice quality than their GSM network has today. Sad, but true, AT&T, in their day, was awesome!!! GSM still cannot top that today.
     
  13. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Hehe....that reminds me of my area. TDMA was superb here. GSM is just catching up now to what TDMA used to be. I am just talking about call quality.

    As stated above, congestion affects sound quality on EVERY network whether it is GSM, IDEN, TDMA or CDMA. The reason is very simple: Congestion is caused by too many phones being used in a small area. This as a result causes network noise that creates all around interference in everyone's links. This causes two other things: it forces the network to reduce bandwidth consumption per user (less bitrate = less sound quality), and it reduces the ability of the audio codec to decode those bits of audio reliably, resulting in dropped bits of data which causes overall audio quality degradation. This is where having more spectrum helps because the carrier can use better frequency allocation to prevent or minimize these problems. Particularly in GSM, these conditions cause your phone to begin switching incessantly between the channels it can see and sometimes it causes dropped calls as you may be handed off to a site too far away for the phone to be able to decode its signal due to the noisy conditions.
     
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  14. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Sorry for the stupid question, but I thought that GSM is not supposed to loose voice quality when the signal traffic increases, compared to CDMA which tries to squese in as many callers as possible before it gives a 'network busy' message...?
     
  15. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    That's from the theoretical standpoint. However, in real life, the reason for the quality loss in GSM when there is congestion is because the noise floor is raised as more mobiles are active in the same immediate area causing interference (same reason as in CDMA). Another quality loss contributor is Half Rate mode. Some operators configure the network to instruct mobiles to switch to HR mode when there's significant level of congestion. HR uses half the number of time slots which reduces overall network noise, but also reduces voice quality because the bitrate is reduced by half. Lower bitrate means less sound quality.
     
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  16. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Interesting, thanks bobolito. You would, however, think that Cingular would be able to have a stellar GSM network in our area with all the spectrum they have here. Too bad, because they could be a real thread to Verizon.
     
  17. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    that's a good explanation Bobo
     
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  18. Really?? That's very strange. Here, in and around Knoxville/(All of E TN) Eloqui and US Cellular's TDMA are/were horrible!..even in an area of full service. Call quality was so bad, using either network that I had to re type my voicemail password because it didnt understand due to the im guessing bad quality, and people were constantly.. "what" i cant hear u! " speak up!! ". But, when I upgraded to Eloqui's CDMA, all of that got better, even when using USCC and Verizon, when Eloqui didnt have good service in a given place. Now, I've found that Verizon's CDMA is the best around here, after using USCC, Eloqui, and SPCS.
     
  19. WiggyFife

    WiggyFife still knows nothing!!!
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    This could be the same situation in AZ...
     
  20. Jerro

    Jerro Bronze Senior Member
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    we are getting some good info here; it seems that most prefer CDMA on Verizon and don't hear the FLAT sound that I hear on Cingular GSM.
    Interesting.
     
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  21. wafrenkel

    wafrenkel Junior Member
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    humm.. i have never really dropped a call... ever.. except when im out of town.. i have gsm, i either on like T-Mobile my carrier or roaming on some other carrier that i get a full signal with. All of my phones now have a built in/no antenna so its great. ... but i live in a metropolitan area.

    ... my mom has a cholar inplant if anyone knows what one is... im looking for the best phone for her does anyone know a LOUD phone... she use to have a sprint, Motorola P6189??? ill get the model later.... but it was like that... it wansnt a startac it was the series aftewards.... hummm
     
  22. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    Which carrier are you thinkiong for her? Something with a speaker phone might be a good Idea.
     
  23. MOTOhooligan

    MOTOhooligan Former Mobile Data Addict
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    I prefer CDMA over GSM but I honestly haven't used enough different models of handsets to know if this is just because the sound quality of the Nokia 6015i is so much better than the SGH-E315 of if it is indeed CDMA vs GSM.
     
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  24. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    GSM voice can sound as good as any landline; superior to TDMA. Can't say anything about comparing it CDMA. Landline is a good reference though.

    Sure, I've had crappy voice on some occasions with both. Noise cancellation on my Nokia GSM works very well, IMO. Moto too.
     
  25. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Under perfect circumstances, I think that both GSM and CDMA come close to sounding like landlines, but there's other factors. While driving I like talking to people on CDMA phones, compared to GSM, but maybe that's just an area thing.
     
  26. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    the gsm sound in t-mobile is the best:
    it is better than the gsm sound in cingular
    and the cdma sound.
    Some say Sprint CDMA sounds better
    than VZW CDMA, but i haven't use Sprint
    so i can't say.
    So even with the same technology their sound
    are not the same.
     
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    #26 jones, Jul 29, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2005
  27. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    I'd still like to see CDMA change their slot cycle system so that our phones will actually ring right away during an incoming call rather than take 2-3 rings on the callers end before the phone starts ringing. There is reason to believe that a future CDMA software platform will allow this to happen.
     
  28. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    I am hoping for this some day soon too. I know ive posted my slot cycle woes before.
     
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  29. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    You'd be surprised. It's more a "phone thing" than an "area thing."
     
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  30. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Verizon doesn't seem to have that problem, at least as far as I know. Verizon phones, at least in my area, start ringing as soon as the first ring is complete on the callers end.
     

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