Telephones for Audiophiles?

This may be slightly off topic, but I was thinking of Audiogon today when looking at Blue Tooth devices.

I discovered yesterday that I have over 10,000 rollover minutes on my cell phone.


Because I absolutely can't stand the way it sounds. On reflection,I dont know how any self respecting audiophile could stand the static, the drop outs, and the general fidelity that makes a Bose wave radio sound like a cost no object, state of the art, high resolution device.

If I am dying of a heart attack and need an ambulance, I might reach for my cell phone.

But otherwise, I go out of my way to wait for a land line and feel like I am insulting anyone if I put them on speakerphone. How people talk on cell phones for hours, or try to conduct any serious business on them is beynd me.

Is anyone else here sensitive to this? Are there any telephones, whether wired or wireless that have met your audiophile standards for clarity or quality?

And if I have to use a mobile phone, is there a wired or wireless headset or earpiece that sounds better than others?

Thank you.
As for house phones my V-Tech was the biggest piece of s*%# I have ever used.I tossed it in the trash. My cell phone is actually much better than my home phone. I use the glide by verizon.
I don't know if you use 2G or 3G. I find 3G to be fine (as long as the person on the other end of the phone is also 3G). I was similarly unhappy with cell phones when I had a 2G. I now use a 'smartphone' by HTC which allows me to deal with multiple email accounts (just not my work account). It even has a memory card slot and music player. It has gotten now so that I use my landline at home quite rarely.
My Motorola E815 on Verizon isn't too bad. But I still prefer to use the landline for important calls.

A little OT: My pet peeve is answering machines. I've been through many, selecting them based on user comments I've seen, and looking for the best sound quality regardless of price. But I just can't find one that sounds decent, either playing back incoming messages or recording the answering message. That includes the very expensive Bang & Olufsen. There have been times when it's taken me several seconds to even recognize my own wife's voice on some of these machines.

-- Al
Tough to beat the iPhone. The user interface and resolution is much better experience from my Palm Treo.
Agree with all the above comments. As for audiophile cell phones, actually there was one but it was a long time ago.

In 1985, for about $2000.00 you could get a Motorola analog cell phone that required an antenna in the center of your cars roof and required a 12 gauge copper wire run directly to the car battery because it drew so much current.

On more occasions than I can recall, if I stopped the car in a parking lot to return a call viewed on my pager (answering service) the person on the other end assumed I was in my office.

Several times I gave my cell number in case we had to get off, explaining it was my car. Then the questions, when will you be in your car? Will I be able to reach you?

When I told them i WAS in my car laughter rolled as they thought it was joke I was playing on them. This is absolute truth, those old Motorola phones that were the size of a suitcase that trunk mounted and analog only operation were incredible.

Funny thing was, they were so powerful i could drive for miles before it clicked to another tower. Those damn things would broadcast forever before they would die.
When I could no longer get service for my analog mobile phone, similar to the one Albert describes, I simply gave up mobile service altogether. They are all terrible. Home service is now digital and I think my blood pressure goes up when the phone rings. "What?" is the most frequent word I use when on the telephone. I pray for an analog resurgence, I will pay any price.
Provided you EyeSight is holding up OK, you could always learn to TEXT.
The iphone has terrible audio quality. I don't know what apple was thinking when it release this product! I am so tired of asking my callers to repeat what they said over and over and over again. Clarity is not a strong feature of this phone. You must use a head set when using this product.

Yes, I generally now prefer email to speaking on telephones.

But sometimes of course you need to make a call, and I am starting to get a little farsighted.

Zieman, yes I get upset with home service too, and couldn't believe it when the early adopters went with VOIP and/or Skype.

At least in the early days, those services made cell phones sound like audiophile devices.

By the way, part of my irritation is having used mobile phones quite successfully in the UK and otherwise traveling around the world.

But in midtown Manhattan?!?!? the self described capital of the world, its just awful.

....and at home not too far away....its nothing but lost connections and can you hear me? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?

How people seem to think nothing of this and jabber away for hours on these things through a speaker phone is totally beyond me - and thats before we even discuss how they are hot, plastic, radiation emitting mass produced nasty cheap devices.

I noticed the new boutique for Vertu phones the other day in the Plaza Hotel, but couldnt bother to go in.

I would guess its a few thousand bucks for a sapphire crystalled, cheesily marketed thing that performs just as badly as the rest of them?

I have discoverd that upgrading to a 5.8 mghz (?) Panasonice wireless land line improved the range at home and also did not interfere with my wireless router.

But otherwise, please add me to the list that would pay lots of money for a nice phone that sounded good.

Bang & Olufsen makes really, really nice telephones . . . I have several versions, including wired & cordless home phones, and the cell phone. They are a bit pricey, especially compared to all of the discount-store stuff.

For the home, I have the BeoCom 1 cordless, and the sound quality is excellent . . . especially with the companion headset. User-interface is a bit strange, but good once you get used to it. And durability is outstanding . . . I can't tell you how many times I've dropped it on a hardwood floor, and it hasn't missed a beat.

As far as the B&O cell phone goes (called the Serene) . . . it's more of a mixed bag. Sound quality is still very good, but of course, cell phones in general don't sound as good as home phones. Reception performance definately isn't as good as some others . . . but it kinda depends on which service (i.e. Cingular, T-Mobile, etc.) you use it on. I get the impression that it's really designed for European GSM standards and probably works great over there, but in the American hodge-podge of networks it's not as good. I put up with it anyway . . . simply because the phone itself is so cool.

Finally . . . while I have no experience with them myself, I have seen devices that connect to a cell phone via bluetooth, and then emulate landline . . . so you can use your home telephones over your cellphone service. Might be just the thing to help you use up some of those rollover minutes . . .
Mag, How do you think I submitted my response? I doubt my abilities will ever evolve much beyond hunt-and-peck, so talking is far more productive.
What would you expect? 20->20,000 and sn of 100db?

Sorry, CelPhones are supposed to sound like junk. Bandwidth limits, physical speaker/microphone limits and the other artifacts introduced by CDMA / TDMA technology all conspire to limit sound quality. All aspects of cell phone design serve PROFITS. cheaper/better

In the interests of fairness, I'll check out the G3 stuff, but hold no hope of ever having good telephone audio.

Back in the 60's my dad MADE me take typing. I still type around 40 words/minute. For you 'Hunt/Peckers' out there, get yourself a typing program. You'll not look back, not that knowing how to type helps my texting!
The human voice inhabits a fairly narrow range of freqs. The technology exists to reproduce it with some semblance of accuracy. You are right about the profit thing. No matter how fast I type I still have to wait for transmission, the recipient to read, and finally to respond. Talking is more productive. And requires fewer carpal tunnel releases.
Text? What for? Never texted anyone. Can't figure out why anyone would want to waste the time to text when you can just push a couple buttons and talk to the other end. My hands are average in size, and when I try to use those damn small buttons, I hit more than one over 50% of the time.

I guess I'm old fashioned. I use the cell for long distance, the land line to get online. Nothing faster than dial-up in my neck of the woods. Tried a satellite for the internet, and it worked about 5% of the time.
Your kidding right? That's all my kid does is text me. Sometimes she will call but mostly...text.
I have a TMC 4 line phone/anwering machine that has good recording fidelity and 30 min recording time. Audio is good but I ended up using the handset from an old AT&T phone- it sounded better.
Emailists -- Thanks! I'll check it out.

-- Al
These lighweight low-powered portable devices are clearly not the same quality as much larger land line telephones but I have never had trouble using one.

And I thought I must have "tin ears" judging by many of the testimonials on these forums, which prove audiophiles have incredible hearing acuity.

I am even ashamed to admit that I definitely cannot hear the sound of a power cord, new interconnect or different speaker how is it some audiophiles can't even use a cellphone???
The old 3 watt analog phones of the 80's sounded better for sure. They dropped out as much or more because there were far less cell repeater towers then. Phones now are only 600mw. The digital sampling rate is so low thus the crappy sound. No phone can change that. Sure some sound "better" than others.

I only use hard wired land lines at home too. We do have one wireless for convenience. We also have one cell phone for for my wife to take when she goes out.

The digital sampling rate is so low thus the crappy sound

I believe traditional analog landline phones have a bandwidth of 300Hz to 3.4kHz. Pretty narrow, but still quite capable of pleasing sound with a good mic and earpiece. I don't know what the audio sample rate is in cellphones, but I suspect it is capable of capturing something approximating that bandwidth or better. I suspect the most major culprits are the cheap tiny microphones, which on a flip-phone or bluetooth headset are alongside the face instead of in front of the mouth, and the cheap tiny earpiece speakers.

-- Al
I suspect the most major culprits are the cheap tiny microphones, which on a flip-phone or bluetooth headset are alongside the face instead of in front of the mouth, and the cheap tiny earpiece speakers.

My cellphone is audiophile quality;

- it includes a battery (just like the Merlin BAM)
- I can feel the vibrations in my waist when someone calls (amazing LF response)
- it produces a beautifully lifelike image (at the push of button)
- it glows a really cool blue color in the dark (great at concerts)
- it has a volume control (and it is always either to loud or to low)
- it has a forward and rear radiating tweeter (for better ambience hit the "speaker" button)
- it came with an extremely expensive power cable (costs nearly as much as a completely new phone to replace this! yikes!)
- it does the most amazing audiophile disappearing act (everytime I have left it somewhere it is gone by the time I go back to look for it)
- the surcharges on my monthly bill look just like the multiple options on most audio equipment
- like any high quality audiophile system you must leave it ON at ALL times ready for use (in case she who must be obeyed calls!)
- my provider is always trying to sell me an upgrade!

-- Al
Landline is 0 to 4 KHz. (sampling rate 8 KHz and 8 bits for 64 kbs. Nyquist rate must be twice highest frequency). This is why a T1 is 1.544 MB/sec. 24 trunks times 64 kbs plus some overhead bits.)
What people don't know about cellphones is they're not sampling in the normal sense as we think of it as audiophiles but actually all the sounds are *synthesized* by vocoder. Your phone takes pitch, inflection, tone, etc. information and sends that information over the air and the vocoder merely re-synthesizes that information into sounds. That's why digital phones sound that way. They normally transmit 13 kbs at most. Average is much lower. It's done that way for capacity reasons. Much less information per user needs to be transmitted that way. The vocoders used to be, probably still are, set up for particular languages as well and that has an effect, if you're speaking another language than the country you're in speaks and has the phones set up for.
They normally transmit 13 kbs at most. Average is much lower. It's done that way for capacity reasons. Much less information per user needs to be transmitted that way.
Wonderful information Wireless200, sounds like you know what you're talking about.

That reads like the perfect system for the carrier to maximize tower use and get the largest number of users on at one time. With cell phones, time (minutes used) is money.

As I wrote in an earlier post here, it was amazing what those old, powerful analog Motorola's could do voice quality wise, mine was indistinguishable from a land line.

Several years ago when digital was being pushed hard, Southwest Bell refused to move my big Motorola from old to new car. When I pressed him as to why, he admitted the analog Motorola used enough bandwidth to displace 50 or 75 digital phones on the same tower.

No wonder they sounded so good, and no wonder Bell wanted them replaced with digital. I'm sure it's expensive to put up a tower, I've heard some scary stories about how much they cost, especially when there's no space available on the ground and space on top of a building must be leased.
Wireless, what happens in Europe where many countries have several languages in common use? The Swiss, for example are a real linguistic crossroads.
As for the rest, no wonder it sounds like your talking underwater thru a can and string.
Magfan, I believe the origin or family of languages has enough in common that it is less of an issue. European comes from common origins more or less. On the other hand an Asian language with all the tones and inflections spoken on a European language optimized vocoder would have a challenge being sythesized correctly. Vocoders have probably become pretty sophisticated since the early days. Even in the US, a lot of languages are spoken so the motivation for multi-language use is compelling.
Communication problems are not unique to cellphones.

Interesting to read about Vocoders, frequency response and other excuses for phones that sound worse than a tin can on a string in a parking gargage underwater.

This still does not explain why performance is so much worse in the US and in particular New York City where God forbid we don't spend at least 5 hours a day, jabbering away on a speaker phone, while driving our SUVs with cupholders.

Oops I forgot - in the US, it really is all about the Benjamins.
Poor performance is almost always related to high usage as you would imagine in NY City. Show me a system with few users and I'll show you a system where you almost always have good call quality. That provider will either be more expensive or about to be bought by someone else.

Normally the only way the small providers make money is through roaming agreements.

The big 2 are going all out with data now. Even the voice calls will be treated as purely as packet data calls. Voice calls won't even be hitting a traditional "switch" but will be going through routers as packet data. All this is very expensive to the service providers of course. But data and data apps is where the growth and profit is now.
Are you sure the tracking force, azimuth and vta of the phone as it's applied to your ear, are set up correctly? Subtle changes in these areas make huge differences.
Also your arm's geometry, especially the forearm-wrist angle, is very important.
LOL, Thanks Rubber, for bringing us back to reality...

A small breakthrough for this question, I have moved to a new office where union labor is required to do anything.

So in the end, the otherwise insanely expensive Beocom 5 telephone at $7 or 800 bucks or so was a bargain compared to hiring the union guys to run the wires.

It is nicely made, sounds pretty good, has good range, and a beautiful speaker phone charger base.

I am still learning my way around this device, but recently discovered that the speaker phone base draws its power from the handset, not the AC (or USB).

So in addition to the portabilitiy of the the handset, the speaker can also be moved around, cordlessly.

Dont know if any of you have tried the B&O phones recently, but for these or any other high quality cordless phones, can anyone suggest tricks / tips / tweaks / hacks to increase the range?

Thank you,
A team in England has developed vacuum tubes the size of transistors called the nanotriode.
The carrier you choose for service has a great deal to do with call quality.

I hate smart phones.

"Bat-wing" Mobility
Audiophile Telephones is an oxymoron since telephones are inherently bad for the sound. Cell phones, land line phones, voice over internet, you name it.
06-28-11: Geoffkait
Audiophile Telephones is an oxymoron since telephones are inherently bad for the sound. Cell phones, land line phones, voice over internet, you name it.
But wait...
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Very interesting...
Dont know if any of you have tried the B&O phones recently, but for these or any other high quality cordless phones, can anyone suggest tricks / tips / tweaks / hacks to increase the range?
To actually answer your question . . . The BeoCom 5 uses a DECT system for communications, and it is possible to use a third-party DECT "repeater" to increase the range.
Motorola Vxxx series cellphones have nice reception. But i still like smartphones. :P


Thank you.

There is a magazine called Make which has various DIY mechanical and electrical projects.. that or a similar magazine I read something about increasing the range of cordless devices by attaching a metal mixing bowl or something that mimic the dish effect that is used for satellite televisions.

However, it may have decreased the dispersion of the signal so in the end, it sounded both tedious and unattractive.

So a DECT repeater could be the perfect solution.
Tin can and some string.


That would sound better than my Verizon service in midtown New York most of the time!

It seems NuForce now makes a Bluetooth headset in the spirit of an audiophile telephone accessory.