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159 posts

Master Geek


#153624 3-Oct-2014 09:45
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Hi there, 
Curious if it's just me. Having spent probably 8-10 hours of my life on hold in the last year, I'm a bit of an expert of being on hold at spark.  I'm not here to criticise the choice of music, but when I'm calling from a mobile phone (iPhone 5S) at full bars, I consistently get loud bursts of what sounds like radio station that isn't quite dialled to the right frequency.   I've noticed this for years. Am I the only one?  :-)

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  #1146341 3-Oct-2014 10:01
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Probably because of transcoding required between fixed line and mobiles.




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Master Geek


  #1146355 3-Oct-2014 10:15
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If that's it, they might want to use a different codec because man, it's maddening. After a few prolonged bursts of loud static, I turn into a complete jerk on the phone.  It's laughable how bad it is.  It's strange though because if a song has turned into obnoxious, loud, static, the next song is fine, at least for a while.

 
 
 
 


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  #1146415 3-Oct-2014 10:41
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Some music just doesn't transcode well into compressed audio as used on mobile networks.  You can't just "Change the codec" - it's part of the standard.



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Master Geek


  #1146454 3-Oct-2014 11:28
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I won't pretend to know how many codecs are involved and what settings can be changed.  I guess one could easily test if it's possible by playing music from a stereo speaker into a cellphone and see how long it takes to turn into static on the other end. 

I doubt the intent of Spark is to provide music that regularly degrades into loud static, thereby elevating stress and irritability. That's exactly what it's been doing for me for the past years though.  A simple loop of "your call is important to us" would be a much calmer experience.

If any Spark employees want to know what it's like, I'd be happy to provide a recording of what the present day experience is like.  ( or you could call *123 from your cellphone, get put on hold, and see what happens over the next 10 mins )

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  #1147128 4-Oct-2014 12:12
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You can hit the # key to change/skip songs

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  #1147163 4-Oct-2014 12:37
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newbellies: I won't pretend to know how many codecs are involved and what settings can be changed.  I guess one could easily test if it's possible by playing music from a stereo speaker into a cellphone and see how long it takes to turn into static on the other end. 


This will not replicate the issue as no transcoding would occur from a mobile to a mobile.





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Ultimate Geek


  #1147165 4-Oct-2014 12:48
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I would like to know why you have been on hold for 10 hours this year lol




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  #1147166 4-Oct-2014 12:50
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Just wondering if anyone has a decoder ring for the thread title?

You're on hold music?

Your own hold music?




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Master Geek


  #1147981 6-Oct-2014 08:30
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dcole13: I would like to know why you have been on hold for 10 hours this year lol


Me too!  :-) Was painful process of convincing them that there was a problem a problem with my VDSL. Then the trick was getting them to leave ticket open long enough for it to be resolved.  Seems to have been caused by a bunk splitter install.

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  #1148513 6-Oct-2014 19:19
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newbellies: Hi there, 
Curious if it's just me. Having spent probably 8-10 hours of my life on hold in the last year, I'm a bit of an expert of being on hold at spark.  I'm not here to criticise the choice of music, but when I'm calling from a mobile phone (iPhone 5S) at full bars, I consistently get loud bursts of what sounds like radio station that isn't quite dialled to the right frequency.   I've noticed this for years. Am I the only one?  :-)


I just put it on speaker, turn it down so i can still hear when they pick up, and go on youtube and look up that "Come together, right now, over me" song and giggle at the lyrics.
Lol to whoever approved that in the marketing dept




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Master Geek


  #1148845 7-Oct-2014 07:46
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raytaylor:
newbellies: Hi there, 
Curious if it's just me. Having spent probably 8-10 hours of my life on hold in the last year, I'm a bit of an expert of being on hold at spark.  I'm not here to criticise the choice of music, but when I'm calling from a mobile phone (iPhone 5S) at full bars, I consistently get loud bursts of what sounds like radio station that isn't quite dialled to the right frequency.   I've noticed this for years. Am I the only one?  :-)


I just put it on speaker, turn it down so i can still hear when they pick up, and go on youtube and look up that "Come together, right now, over me" song and giggle at the lyrics.
Lol to whoever approved that in the marketing dept


If I want to get on with my day while on hold, I'd have to turn it up pretty loud if I put it on speaker phone. But again, per original 'music degrades to loud static' issue, pretty sure that would do damage to my iPhone speaker.  And if I put it headset, I know it would do damage to my eardrums.

I suspect there's still more to this than 'the transcoder which can't be changed', as it always fixes itself when it goes to the next song (for a random number of seconds)

Or maybe it's the censoring system saving me from bad music?

On a related note, my VDSL connection always dropped during rain and wind. It held up last night so maybe this most recent change really did fix the problem. Hoping I never have to be on hold again!

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  #1148850 7-Oct-2014 07:56
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newbellies:
I suspect there's still more to this than 'the transcoder which can't be changed', as it always fixes itself when it goes to the next song (for a random number of seconds)



Incorrect. You really need to read up on the AMR codec and how transcoding works, particularly from G.711a to AMR. What you've described is exactly what occurs when material such as music (that often can exceed 3400khz anyway) is trancoded. All mobile codecs are lossy vs G.711a or G.711u which are not.









159 posts

Master Geek


  #1148860 7-Oct-2014 08:16
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sbiddle:
newbellies:
I suspect there's still more to this than 'the transcoder which can't be changed', as it always fixes itself when it goes to the next song (for a random number of seconds)



Incorrect. You really need to read up on the AMR codec and how transcoding works, particularly from G.711a to AMR. What you've described is exactly what occurs when material such as music (that often can exceed 3400khz anyway) is trancoded. All mobile codecs are lossy vs G.711a or G.711u which are not.




You're probably right as you seem extremely knowledgable.  I do actually have lots of experience with codecs + transcoding, having written code to edit them at compressed levels, as well as video and audio transcoders. Most codecs are obviously lossy.  However, I've never heard a codec that breaks down to loud static noises with frequencies outside of its tuned range. It should instead just drop them. At worst, would think that should make things sound 'wushhie'. Maybe instead it's a bitrate issue (or both). But from my experience, it really seemed more random, except for when switching songs which seems to cause temporary reset.

However, again, you're probably right.  Then someone at Spark might want to spend the extra few minutes when picking songs, to make sure it doesn't turn into loud static. For the sake of others, I hope someone from Spark reads these things.

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