We were promised jet packs....or at least, car phones...
April 13, 2015 8:42 PM   Subscribe

My subaru impreza 2012 Bluetooth system + iPhone 6 do a great job together to provide me with seamless music and GPS, but I want more. Please explain my best options for being able to make calls with normal amounts of background noise.

I loooooooove how I just get in the car everyday and the phone and car talk to each other by Bluetooth -- my music starts playing, waze comes in through the speakers, and I can also take calls if necessary. Some days I really feel like I'm living in the 'future' à la the Jetsons. However, everyone reports that the microphone in my car sucks in terms of background noise, so I only make the shortest, most urgent phone calls and there is a lot of shouting and repetition. What kind of setup do I need to be able to have decent call quality in the car? I gather there are car microphones out there. If I start using one of those, can I still take advantage of cordless and seamless switching between calls and Pandora and waze?

Already considered: cell signal is good quality througout my commute - I have at&t LTE with all the bars most of the way. The sound quality isn't a coverage issue.

Also already considered: I have considered the safety issue of talking while driving and will continue to make smart choices there. I think that better quality calls would be safer than the shenanigans that happen in my calls now.
posted by Tandem Affinity to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My solution has been to use a Bluetooth headset. I know that's not exactly what you're asking about since you're using the car's Bluetooth system, but a nice headset would likely reduce background noise since it's right next to your mouth - since your voice will be louder relative to the background noise, the mic doesn't have to be as sensitive as the one in your car.

Most phones that I have owned - and I bet the iPhone 6 can do this - can jump seamlessly between different Bluetooth devices. Turn the headset on for a call, it links to the phone automatically, take your call. When the call is done you can turn it off and your phone should still be linked to the car's Bluetooth for music. I use this inexpensive headset because it works well and the price is right. I have one in my office and another that lives in the car so I don't have to remember to bring a headset in my car. Back when I was willing to drop more money on a better headset I used this nicer-but-more-expensive one.
posted by Tehhund at 3:58 AM on April 14, 2015

Do you have "Phone noise cancellation" turned on in the Accessibility section (Settings -> General -> Accessibility)? Maybe that will help a little? Or are there any settings in the car's system you can tweak?

Generally speaking though when you are using your phone in the car it's going to sound like you are using your phone in your car unless you have a super luxury vehicle with loads of insulation in the panels.

You can do the usual things like closing windows to reduce wind noise etc...but in your car you may not have much room for improvement.
posted by eatcake at 9:54 AM on April 14, 2015

My bluetooth enabled car stereo came with an optional wired microphone that can either clip to the dashboard just in front of the wheel or be run behind panels and so forth to clip to the sun visor. I have it on the dashboard.

I know that there is some quality difference from a regular handheld phone call, but I have no difficulty understanding or being understood.
posted by cmoj at 11:28 AM on April 14, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks all - I went with Tehhund's suggestion and am now making tolerably understandable calls from the car....(I did have the noise cancellation setting on but didn't know if it's existence so thanks for pointing that out eatcake)
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:15 PM on May 3, 2015

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