Produced by Young Jeohn
Watch the video above or continue with synopsis below:
A lot of people ask why nobody reviews the mic aspects of Bluetooth wireless earbuds. The answer is, you can't test it if you can't access it.
For the most part, mics on Bluetooth only connect when a phone call is in progress (and in more modern phones, to digital assistants). No app is allowed access to it otherwise, which means you can't record with it.
We've found a way (sort of) to compare the sound quality of the following Bluetooth earbud mics:
- Jlab Audio Epic 2
- Jabra Elite Sport
- Treblab X11
- ERL (Electronic Research Lab)
Having worked for many years in the telecoms industry, we're aware that too many things can happen between you and the caller on the other end. So we thought it would better represent the ability of the products if we recorded both 1. locally (controlled) and 2. end-to-end (uncontrolled real-world conditions.)
Recording #1: what it might sound like on your end.
We tap into the bluetooth function of the Moto G5S Plus with the BTmono app and record the audio stream with All That Recorder Lite. This attempts to directly compare the sound qualities of the microphone (though we are at the mercy of how BTmono does this and how it affects the actual audio coming in.) We record in CD quality WAV, but of course thats overkill.
Recording #2: what it might sound like to the caller on the other end.
We make an actual phone call to a Google Hangouts/Voice number and let the voicemail system record the resulting audio. This is more "real world"-like since the call is routed from our phone, through our carrier, handed off to the receiving carrier, and then to the device of the person we're calling.
The thing is, we don't know what filters or how much compression Hangout's voicemail system uses to save space, so the results wouldn't be a good indication of the earbud's mic qualities. Having said that though, Hangouts is a very popular system used by many people around the world so it's a useful result to hear at the end of the day.
The BT earbuds are compared to the built-in mic of the Moto G5S Plus and a pair of $8 after-market Samsung wired earbuds for reference.