Phonak introduces Marvel platform and Audéo M hearing aids
Evaluation of classic bluetooth for hearing aids (by the competition)
This is a bombshell finding and potentially a deal breaker for me as I evaluate whether or not to give up my Quattro’s to trial the Marvels. People’s experiences here are very helpful!
Spoke to some contacts at Phonak who don’t believe this is actually affecting anyone, but still eager to hear from users.
Defintely interesting. A couple of things that I found odd (in the detailed write up) was that all study participants had normal hearing (and were “experienced in sound quality judegements”) and that the aids were programmed with manufacturer’s fitting profile for a 40dB loss. Also, the streaming material was music. I’m wondering if “sound quality” impacted the participants opinions even though it was supposedly regarding strength of signal, not sound quality. I’m guessing Phonak would be at a notable disadvantage if being judged (intentionally or not) on sound quality by normal hearing folk.
Not to mention that the article is by a competitor. That doesn’t make it wrong, but it does raise an eyebrow.
@abram_bailey_aud, This article is interesting, as I have been trialing the Phonak Marvel M90-R, and I have found that the connection to my Android phone during phone calls is spotty at best, both during indoor use and in the car. The HAs get static and/or don’t stay connected and one drops off completely–so it actually becomes mono reception when it’s supposed to be binaural–and it’s aggravating!
When i compare sound quality and connectivity strength of the Marvel to Oticon OPN 1 and the ConnectClip, Oticon wins hands down. The ConnectClip seems to hold a much more stable Bluetooth connection–through walls and at further distances from the phone. So far, I’m not super impressed with Marvel because of the connectivity issues I’ve experienced with Android, even after I bought a new Android phone that Phonak’s Web page said was compatible with Marvel. Go figure.
One point about the article though–Signia shouldn’t put their brand all over it! Discriminating readers will see right through that. Is this a true unbiased study/comparison or a marketing tactic by Signia? Or both?
Comparing Oticon’s connectclip with the Marvel is not exactly a fair comparison, as one is a direct connection and the other via the intermediary streamer.
Phonaks compilot II is excellent and I have no issues with it.
That said, I’m not nit picking, nor do I favour Phonak. Clearly there could be some issue here. This has made me wary, as I would be looking to upgrade some time at the end of this year.
If it does turn out that MFI or MFA with the use or not of a streamer is superior then that is what I would go for.
Then again, this may be just scaremongering by Signia to protect their interests. Guess time will tell.
I’m staying with the Costco Phonak Brio 3 (Phonak Audeo B90) for the same reason. I don’t mind a separate device and the Phonak Compilot 2 device is solid, with connections to two/three devices at one time.
I’ve had no problem at all in a variety of locations and conditions with the M-R’s. I used the Signia Nx7’s and Charge And Go’s for 3-4 months before trying the M-R’s and my experience is exactly the opposite of what is argued by Signia.
The M-R’s last far longer than the Charge And Go’s with a similar amount of streaming (either from TV connector or phone). Most days, I got a battery warning with the Signias after about 14-15 hours; after 3 weeks with the M-Rs, I have YET to get a battery warning - what’s more, the Phonak Remote app shows 50% charge after 14-15 hours, far better than advertised.
My Signia HA’s cut out all the time doing streaming from my iPhone while in a front pocket; I’ve never had this issue with the M-R’s.
The M-R compensates for bass loss (through vented domes) during streaming AUTOMATICALLY, so a lot of tweaking in Connexx isn’t necessary to get streaming music to sound “right” (as right as possible); out of the box, the M-Rs sounded pretty great streaming music, with modifications made only to the equalizer in the iPhone Music app (a bit of bass boost, which I also used on the Signias).
The only thing I think is better with the Signias is the Streamline TV device, which, unlike the Phonak TV Connector, handles Dolby Digital and other higher-end encodings. With the Phonak device, you need stream straight PCM from the TV (or receiver) unless you purchase a third-party splitter that can take care of that (cost around $25).
Overall, I find the M-R to be far superior to the Charge And Go in terms of battery life and streaming, and this was quite a surprise, as I really enjoyed the streaming of the Charge And Go’s!
Of course, YMMV.
Another thing puzzled me. It stated that only Signia and Brand X (Phonak) offered direct binaural streaming (there were more words and I didn’t catch the significance of details). I thought Resound, Oticon, Starkey and Widex all offered direct binaural streaming? Can anybody offer an explanation?
The link offered in the article was actually to the Resound marketing doc for the spring arrival of direct connect to Android for the Quattro. Slick work by Signia. They’re all the same when it comes to this kind of stuff though.
It provides the study results in more detail.
Yeah I read the article. Interesting. And yes Widex does direct binaural streaming and it’s flawless–at least to the iPhone.
Hi richnfamus1, may I ask what exact phone model you are using?
Hi @tooley78, I’m using a Moto G6 Android phone. Not the most expensive phone out there, but very decent for the price–and it’s said to be totally compatible with Marvel per the Phonak Web site.
Read the Signia study and WOW is it useless. First, I can’t find any indication of how many people were used (could be as low as 2-3, I suspect); there were 48 test points cumulatively between the aids. Second, they use an old iPhone and VERY old version of the OS. Third, we have no idea which Brand X aids were used and in what configuration. Fourth, we don’t know how many trials were done before the one that was published. With a test as underpowered as this one (in the statistical sense), the differences may or may not be significant. I consider it marketing tripe, nothing more.
That statement is widely applicable to most manufacturer white papers.
Weird to see signia throwing shade so directly at phonak. I’m used to them being a little bit more round-about.
I was out in the snow walking to and from the farmer’s market for an hour on Saturday streaming podcasts to the marvels and the connection to my iphone 7 was rock solid. I’ll have to move the phone to my left pocket instead of my right. I do recall one incident where I was getting drop-outs in the past month, but I cannot recall where. Somewhere where I thought I might be getting some interference. I’d be surprised if left pocket made much of a difference since I can also listen a few rooms away from my phone.
Well, I’m certainly no engineer, so I can’t comment on the 2.4gHz issues of streaming binaurally … but I DO find the survey results pretty lame in that we don’t even have the demographics or numbers on the survey respondents: HOW many, age, sex, um where they WORKED, and BTW, big MISSED opportunity not testing this theory on those of us who actually wear aids! (and here, I administer a slap to my forehead)
Are we not articulate enough? Would we have recognized the brand we’re being fit with just by looking at it? Was this a blind study where the participants had NO idea which brand they were being fit with? The fact that Signia paid for the study would tend to skew results their way. Oh yeah, I’ve done market research and know how one can take data an make a winning story out of it.
But WHY would the results only be considered “valid” when the aids are tested on folks with perfectly normal hearing? Would I test a medical product - like a crutch, a wheelchair, a heart monitor etc., on a person who has NO NEED to even judge the performance of such a device?
I can’t comment on my OWN experience with Phonak Marvel streaming cuz I use an Android phone, and it appears that the iPhone was the device used in this study. Also, I never stream music on my phone. The sound quality would drive me nuts. I sit at home and crank up the Vivid speakers or even put my Sennheiser headphones on and listen to music on our home server. IMHO (and it is only mine!) speech in noise is KEY. Streaming is a wonderful convenience, but if I had to choose between the two, speech in NOISE would be my #1 priority. So again, I wonder about the respondents: hearing normal, they likely have NO IDEA how challenging it is to understand speech in noise. Lucky dogs. Go listen to some more music …
I can say that I’ve never noticed a problem with streaming on a regular basis, but YES, there are occasions where the signal drops off, things sound squeaky/static, but I always attributed that to my lame T-Mobile signal. Perhaps it’s been due to the Phonaks? No idea.
I DO find that the Marvels are a bit flakier in streaming with the TV streamer than my Audeo B-Direct. The Marvels I’m on trial with are size 312 battery - vs the size 13 Audeo B-Direct aids. I have also experienced more flaky streaming as I get near the end of the battery life (say the day before I change them).
Ack. Whatever! I’m still VERY satisfied with the Marvel performance, and intend to buy the size 13 battery version when it’s released next month.
I’ve been able to stream phone calls with my B-Direct aids with the phone in my purse about 4 feet away - no prob! Interesting that the findings show better streaming in closed locations, where the signal can reflect off hard surfaces. I’ll definitely keep that in mind if I run into phone streaming issues.
My very first HA fitted on Dec 26th is Phonak Audeo Marvel M-R 90.
My Phone is an Android Google Pixel 3 XL 128.
I have a significant high frequency loss.
I stream music from my Google Play Music subscription for several hours every day. I have the rechargeable Marvel and I average about 40% of battery remaining at day’s end. Fidelity rivals my best headphones and so far I’ve not experienced any streaming problems in any environment.
The sound quality of music with the Marvels is terrific (assuming you’re not using Sound Recover or something else that transposes frequencies). Have you tried it?