Outgoing audio on cell phone call bad

No surprise. The forum is full of people having problems with this.

I could hear the caller fine. They could not hear me. I checked the microphone in settings and the setting was low, but max to anything less still made no difference. I could not be heard.

I tried the Bluetooth headset I use with my other phone. I decided to not use it for a call test because trying to play audio from Lollypop did not work properly. ( There’s this notice you get on the settings screen for Bluetooth about data transfer. Is that the only thing the Bluetooth is good for really? )

I pulled out my headset with the 3.5mm jack. This worked just fine. So, something wrong with the microphone on my “phone” then?

Not really. Not like that at least.

This may seem as a stupid question, but it’s really necessary: what about the killswitch?

BTW. When you figure this out, don’t forget to reset the mic volume. Setting it all the way to 100% will sure be unusably loud.

One comment would be: forget about making calls for the moment. Just try to record an audio clip using the microphone. If you can’t record and play back an audio clip then it may be premature to make a call - and if you can record and play back an audio clip then, no, there’s nothing wrong with the microphone.

PS Obviously this is with no headsets, Bluetooth peripherals, USB peripherals, … just the built-in microphone and speakers.

1 Like

Well, I’ve seen many “I can’t make calls at all now” and “The sound quality is really bad” so I’m not sure how you missed them.

The kill switch is obvious yes. Not the case here. I was barely audible after I set the volume way up and thinking of distortion from pegging the meter I tried it at a setting that just lit up the meter at the loudest point only. That must made me less than barely audible.

The hard connect headset worked fine as I mentioned so this is related to the built in microphone in some way/

Well, I used the microphone test meter. That should indicate microphone performance. A change in the setting changed the meter reading as expected.

I didn’t miss them, I’m just aware of how many of them were made before several significant updates that addressed them.

You should check which audio device is being used for audio loopback during calls. pulsemixer is a handy tool for that.


As you have pointed out, there has been updates recently to improve the experience with phone calls on the Librem 5, including audio quality. Unfortunately I, and as I have read on this forum, some other people still have intermittent issues with calls. For me those issues include:

  • Phone continues to ring after a calling party hangs up or after answering an incoming phone call, something that seemed to not be the case on my 2nd L5 (L5-2)until I upgraded to the latest gnome-calls. I have now downgraded, as I haven’t had these issues with 43.0. However, the reason I switched over to my spare L5 was that I had this problem with 43.0 on my 1st L5 (L5-1).
  • If I use my USB headset (which worked fine on my L5-1) on my L5-2, the other party can’t hear anything through the headset mic even though input is registered in the L5 sound settings.
  • Muffled or distorted audio, which make it difficult for the other party to hear what I say
  • With my latest phone call on L5-2, handset audio suddenly broke after a screeching sound and the other party could no longer hear me. Also, the phone became very unresponsive, so I had to reboot to continue using it.

I appreciate the difficulties in tracing these issues as there are so many different settings that could play a part here, but is there a possibility to somehow “package” L5 default settings that you devs have found working? I mean, when you ship new phones now, there must be a factory setting that would supposedly make phone calls work “out of the box” so to speak. Those settings would be a good starting point when trying to pinpoint some of the issues that me and other users may experience.

1 Like

That’s what’s already done. Users can still override these settings, either on purpose or accidentally.

I already asked you a question meant to figure out the issue you’re seeing on your device:

Is there an easy way to revert to these default settings if they have been changed?

I believed this was in response to someone else. Will try to do that when I get the chance.

Ah, sorry - yes, it was. However, this is worth checking anyway when it comes to non-working mic inputs you mentioned.

@dos What about the question below? Thanks

Define “they”. Yes, there are ways to revert settings to defaults, but unless you nuke your whole homedir and /etc you have to identify which ones need to be reverted first.

Ok, I see, that’s kind of difficult. I thought “they” would be some obvious settings that could be a basis to work from. So really, what you are saying is that freshly configured phones coming off the assembly line or phones being reflashed will take advantage of the newly released settings. Us having had our phones for a while now will have a hard time telling which settings we may have altered that will override these “default” settings that make calls work out-of-the-box.

As calls is such an important feature to have working in a phone, how do you suggest I go about this? Is “nuking” the mentioned folders necessary or can we find ways to troubleshoot issues in a reasonable manner? Especially considering that some issues seem to be intermittent.

We are trying our best to deploy any updates in a way that will handle as many cases as possible, but since this is an open system where the user can reconfigure anything they want it simply can’t be perfect - at some point the user is just considered responsible for their changes.

Some issues are known and still investigated - such as phone continuing to ring when it should already stop, which seems to be some kind of rare race condition.

Others, such as reports of “muffled or distorted audio” are mostly outdated - it used to be the case, but has been significantly improved since. It’s also important to note that we’re relying on echo cancellation in software, which at times can make one sound a bit “muffled”, but it shouldn’t be a significant issue. GSM codecs can also degrade in this way with poor signal strength, so it’s pretty much expected for such things to happen intermittently, and there’s nothing to fix in those cases.

However, stuff like external mic not working or sudden screeching sounds are completely unexpected and need some investigation. For the record, I have never experienced these on my phones.

Ok, I understand. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

One option is regular imaging of your phone’s root drive (which you would do anyway, right?). That way, if something appears to go bad all of a sudden, you can verify whether relevant config files have changed - and potentially revert changes selectively.

Another option is to image your phone’s root drive and then reflash it - to see whether the reported problem is easily reproduced in a vanilla phone or basically not reproducible in a vanilla phone or somewhere in between. (After that testing, you would restore the image.)

Getting updated config from a software update is a fraught area of Linux generally. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

If you are a more advanced user, you can probably download the vanilla reflash image and extract config files directly from it and then apply them to your phone to see whether it makes a difference.

I guess it would help you if you could extract from someone information about which are the relevant config files.

How do you suggest I install pulsemixer. Looks like I need to install snap support. Don’t even know if this OS supports that.

Never mind, I believe I’ve got it now. Terminal didn’t like “apt get install” but accepted “apt install”

I’m afraid the display is not meaningful to me.

Given that I went back to the settings | sound section I was looking at. I see that it lists Handset Microphone - Built-in Audio, which shows action on the meter when I test it, and Stereo Microphones - Built-in Audio which also shows activity on the meter when selected.

What is the difference? Which should I be using for phone calls?