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Feb 23, 2021

Zoom calls messing up audio playback on Windows 10 (QC 35 II)

Bose product name - QC 35 II

 

Country - India

 

Firmware Version - 4.8.1

 

App Version - 15.0

 

What devices were you using that were affected and what version are they on - HP Envy 13 on Windows 10 Build 19042

Detailed description of the issue and steps to reproduce

I connected my Bose QC35IIs to my Windows 10 laptop and iPhone X. I can switch between them easily, and everything is good. That is until I start a Zoom meeting on my Windows 10 laptop. As long as the meeting is active, I cannot hear anything on my laptop browser, even if I 'Leave Audio' on the Zoom meeting. And Leaving Audio on Zoom does not allow me to listen to audio on my phone either. After the Zoom meeting has ended, there is a few seconds of static before the headphones return to normal where I can switch between my laptop browser and iPhone audio. 

 

However, if I go to Sound Settings on Windows 10 and change the default device from Bose QC35 Stereo to Hands Free AG, I can play audio from both the Zoom meeting and my browser. However, this makes the audio quality noticeably worse, and there is a constant static until I switch back to Stereo. 

 

I am suspicious that this is a bug with Zoom itself. I want to confirm that it's not a problem with the QC35s not able to play audio from 2 applications on the same laptop. Has anyone experienced such an issue, and is there a workaround?

 

Any troubleshooting steps you took - I switched the default from Stereo to Hands Free in Sound Settings. It then allows me to listen to sounds from both Zoom and browser at once, but the audio quality gets bad, and there is a static in the background.

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joelirwin
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Jun 15, 2018

Re: Zoom calls messing up audio playback on Windows 10 (QC 35 II)

Author Accepted Answer selected by DeepVoice

@DeepVoice(I do not work for Bose)

What you are seeing is 'expected/designed behavior', is NOT a bug and Bose has implemented the Bluetooth 4.x standard the same way on it's other BT headphones and speakers.

Here is a simple description of the scoop (read more about BT on wikipedia).  BT is a communication protocol and is based on 'profiles'.  Bose uses these profiles to establish the communication path and these files are 'mututally' exclusive meaning for the basic 'two' profiles it uses: A2DS (for stereo streaming) and HFP ("hands free profile", for phone calls and Voice Over IP / VOIP applications such as Zoom, Whatsapp, Skype, etc.).

Your music plays through A2DS.  However, when you start a VOIP application, A2DS will be released and you will hear audio only from HFP.  It appears from your description, HFP stays active until you exit the application and it releases HFP and the device goes back to A2DS.  Putting Zoom in the background keeps it active and HFP is not released.

As the QC35 can communicate with two devices at a time (and I am not one of the Bose BT programmers), I am guessing that it can't work with A2DS for one device and HFP for the other - again - one at a time.  HFP will stop A2DS on both devices.  Again - this is expected/by design behavior.  Bose does not as far as I know call this a bug.

Now as you mentioned in the final paragraph, you made a device designed only for HFP as your active device.  HFP audio is low quality MONO audio that is designed to sound the same as the sound you hear on your phone devices and the historical phones with receivers (old enough to remember before 1990 phones? :))   So using that does not require switch obviously between high quality stereo A2DS audio and HFP.  Again - this is expected quality and behavior.

Hope this helps a bit.  I tried to keep it simple. But again I am a user like you.

 

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joelirwin
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Jun 15, 2018

Re: Zoom calls messing up audio playback on Windows 10 (QC 35 II)

Author Accepted Answer selected by DeepVoice

@DeepVoice(I do not work for Bose)

What you are seeing is 'expected/designed behavior', is NOT a bug and Bose has implemented the Bluetooth 4.x standard the same way on it's other BT headphones and speakers.

Here is a simple description of the scoop (read more about BT on wikipedia).  BT is a communication protocol and is based on 'profiles'.  Bose uses these profiles to establish the communication path and these files are 'mututally' exclusive meaning for the basic 'two' profiles it uses: A2DS (for stereo streaming) and HFP ("hands free profile", for phone calls and Voice Over IP / VOIP applications such as Zoom, Whatsapp, Skype, etc.).

Your music plays through A2DS.  However, when you start a VOIP application, A2DS will be released and you will hear audio only from HFP.  It appears from your description, HFP stays active until you exit the application and it releases HFP and the device goes back to A2DS.  Putting Zoom in the background keeps it active and HFP is not released.

As the QC35 can communicate with two devices at a time (and I am not one of the Bose BT programmers), I am guessing that it can't work with A2DS for one device and HFP for the other - again - one at a time.  HFP will stop A2DS on both devices.  Again - this is expected/by design behavior.  Bose does not as far as I know call this a bug.

Now as you mentioned in the final paragraph, you made a device designed only for HFP as your active device.  HFP audio is low quality MONO audio that is designed to sound the same as the sound you hear on your phone devices and the historical phones with receivers (old enough to remember before 1990 phones? :))   So using that does not require switch obviously between high quality stereo A2DS audio and HFP.  Again - this is expected quality and behavior.

Hope this helps a bit.  I tried to keep it simple. But again I am a user like you.

 

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DeepVoice
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Feb 23, 2021

Re: Zoom calls messing up audio playback on Windows 10 (QC 35 II)

@joelirwin Thanks for the detailed and intuitive response.

 

I take it that this is feature of Hands Free taking over Stereo is a feature of Bluetooth connections only. Is that correct? Previously I used a pair of Sennheisers (3.5mm wired) that were able to play audio from both the Zoom call and the browser simultaneously. When I switched over to the Bose (bluetooth) I didn't understand why it couldn't play both. 

 

Once again, thanks for the explanation, now I get why that happens.

joelirwin
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Jun 15, 2018

Re: Zoom calls messing up audio playback on Windows 10 (QC 35 II)

see for general discussion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth

see for profile discussion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Bluetooth_profiles

Some profiles can be used together - even in Bose implementations.  As I am not versed in the technicalities of these profiles, I can not tell you if A2DS and HFP can co-exist and how.  Bose has made an implementation decision imho across all its BT 4.x products to keep A2DS and HFP separate.  Apparently, the other vendor you mentioned decided to implement a co-existence.