The Phonak Audeo Marvel is MFA (Made For All) and can stream to Android directly without any third-party device. The Oticon OPN S1 is MFI (Made for iPhone) only and needs the Oticon ConnectClip to stream audio to an Android or a laptop.
How is the speech clarity and reliability (e.g. disconnections) of the Phonak Audeo Marvel compared to the Oticon ConnectClip?
I can’t comment on the Marvel - I currently have OPN S 1 mini-RITE hearing aids along with a ConnectClip for various non-MFI devices. I use an Oticon TV Adapter 3 at home - it does not need the ConnectClip. Previous hearing aids were the original Oticon OPN (later labeled as 1) that used the same ConnectClip and TV adapter. For 3 years before that I used Siemens Pure with a Mini-Tek streamer.
The connection with the ConnectClip is fine with my work MacBook Pro with the built-in Bluetooth - same for the Cisco VOIP phone (8851 if I remember correctly) at work. With my iMac Pro at home I seem to need the Sennheiser BTD 800 USB Bluetooth dongle (provided with my ConnectClip) to connect to the ConnectClip for a reliable connection and streaming rather than the built-in Bluetooth in the computer. I find the speech clarity to be quite good with the ConnectClip and I don’t experience dropouts with the ConnectClip as long as I stay in range. However, on conference calls with the VOIP phone at work, the ConnectClip seems overly sensitive and transmits HVAC fan and other noise in my office that others on the conference call find objectionable. So I no longer use it for that. Otherwise, the ConnectClip is very useful, especially for one way streaming from a connected device to the hearing aids.
Over the period of time I’ve had the OPN/OPN S aids and the ConnectClip and TV adapter, I’ve had the firmware of the hearing aids updated a number of times and the firmware of both the ConnectClip and TV adapter updated. The updates improved the reliability of streaming and various other things for me so, I would recommend that updates be installed if available. I have no idea if that recommendation would be applicable to Phonak devices.
I am basically an Apple user (phone and computers). I do have experience with Windows (work machines) and Unix on servers but none with connecting a Window (or Unix) machine to hearing aids. I have no experience with Android phones or devices.
First you pair the ConnectClip to the hearing aids. Then I plugged the BTD 800 into the iMac. It was recognized and no drivers needed to be added. Then you put the ConnectClip in pairing mode and press a button on the BTD to get them to pair.
In my case, the hearing aids are paired with my ConnectClip, my TV Adapter 3, my iPhone 6+ (quite old), and my iPad Pro. There is some contention between the iPhone (iOS 12.4.4 is the latest for my old phone) and iPad (iPadOS 13.3) since the 13.X update to iOS/iPadOS so at times I have deleted the pairing to the iPad. My ConnectClip is paired with my hearing aids, BTD 800, my work Cisco VOIP phone and my MacBook Pro work notebook. On my Macs and on my work phone it is easy to either disconnect from or connect to the ConnectClip once it has been paired. It is not necessary to delete the pairing to disconnect. According to a Technical Data Sheet I found on the Professional side of the Oticon web site, the ConnectClip can pair with up to 8 Bluetooth devices. It attempts to connect to the first device available/in range.
The same data sheet has this on the first page:
It can at times be difficult to pair/connect directly to a computer’s built-in
Bluetooth. To overcome any issues, ConnectClip can be used with the
BTD800 USB dongle for easy/hassle-free connectivity.
Phonak Audeo Marvel M90-R - Firmware Version 2.0
Android Google Pixel 3 XL - Android Version 10
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo i9 - Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
Microsoft Surface Pro - Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
Microsoft Surface Go - Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
My Marvels stream directly with any of the above without requiring any intermediate device.
I stream my music from Primephonic.com in lossless CD quality. My streaming audio quality is good enough that I can hear the difference between streaming ordinary compressed MP3 audio and Primephonic lossless CD quality audio.
@TraderGary Good to know the Audeo Marvel can do lossless even without any 3rd-party device. Thanks for sharing your experience!
@cvkemp / @biggar Thanks for clarification on how the ConnectClip pairing works. I don’t see any feedback on random / frequent disconnections. So, I assume it’s pretty much stable, unless the ConnectClip or the aids are low on power.
I don’t know much about the “Connect Clip”, and can’t comment on the sound quality. But, I would think it would be superior to the Marvels in one respect, and that is usable range. The Connect Clip is worn, as I understand, and therefore the aids do not need much power to communicate with it. With the Marvels and their direct connection, the low power of the aids will limit usable range. I have encountered this with both Bluetooth and the Phonak TV Connector.
My wife has the KS9 aids which are basically the M90 Phonaks. She tends to mis place her phone now and then. We have a big spread out house and she will hear her phone ring in her aids through the walls of the house. That’s actually better than my Compilot2 streamer with B90 aids will do.
The Oticon and Phonak aids are really nice aids. The Phonak Marvel aids are a step into the future of what most aid manufacturers are trying to do with streaming. They are not perfect but work very well for most.
@John_Green, I agree with you and can verify through my own experience that the ConnectClip holds a better connection through walls, etc than the Marvels do. I currently wear Oticon OPN S1R, but I did try the Marvel 90s for comparison. In my experience, the ConnectClip holds connections better between walls and rooms of my house, although others may not have the same experience. I can set my phone down and walk away from it while wearing the ConnectClip and I will not lose the connection between rooms. The same is true if I walk away from my PC connection. I could not do that with the Marvels. They got a lot of static and made conversations and streaming hard to stay connected to when I moved around the house. I think the difference is the type of Bluetooth connection, and the Marvels require that the phone be fairly close to the hearing aids in order for the connection to stay established. But I’m sure others will post that they’ve had no problems at all with the Marvels.
In summary for performance/reliability, the Oticon ConnectClip will provide stronger / better connection than Phonak Marvel’s. For convenience and cost, the Marvel may be easier to use, since there is no additional device needed.
I’ll look forward to your comparison results. What devices will you want to connect with? That certainly will have a bearing on your choice.
For Kate and me, with Google Pixel 3 XL Android 10 phones and Microsoft Windows 10 computers, there was only one choice that would directly connect with all of our devices. Fortunately it’s been an excellent choice.
A year ago we were totally new to HA’s and had no idea what we were doing. This forum has been a very valuable resource.
It may be a while (several months) before a unit/tester becomes available here, but I’ll try to update when that time comes.
For work, I currently use developer-level Dell laptop (though that will be replaced with a MacBook soon). For daily calls (audio only, no video), I’ll need to have the hearing aids working with Microsoft Teams or Zoom on rare cases. At home, I just use desktop with my speakers in high volume. In most cases, even with a hearing aid, I will struggle with speech understanding. So if I’m watching YouTube, Udemy, or a movie, I’ll have the subtitles/CC turned on. I’ll usually skip the video if it doesn’t have any subtitles.
I use a Samsung Galaxy S10 for mobile. I rarely have calls using mobile, but there are times when I wish I could hear better. Finding the right spot on where to put the mobile against my hearing aid can be a challenge sometimes.
Yeah, this forum has very helpful people. I appreciate your (and everybody else’s feedback). So, thanks a lot! I had no idea I already had an account here from years ago. I just revisited this forum, because I feel like my 3-year-old hearing aid feels lacking lately. Maybe it’s time to upgrade.
From what I can find on the Phonak site, your Marvels use Bluetooth 4.2 for streaming. Finding real details is challenging as it is for other hearing aids and bluetooth devices in general. Classic bluetooth usually uses the A2DP profile to stream audio using a codec that both devices (source and sink) must support. SBC is a required codec - there are a number of others (optional, not required by A2DP) that are used for nominally higher quality transmission, usually with an increased bit rate. Bluetooth, including EDR, has a relatively low bitrate for reliable streaming, especially if the devices more than a few meters apart. So all the normally used codecs compress the signal to reduce the bitrate from what it is for uncompressed data.
Uncompressed CD (16-bit, 48 KHz) - 1,536,000 bits/sec
24-bit, 96 KHz stereo - 4,608,000 bits/sec
24-bit, 192 KHz stereo = 9,216,000 bits/sec (the highest bitrate from an uncompressed Primephonic file).
By comparison, the approximate stereo bit rates for the typical codecs, all of which are compressed by a lossy algorithm):
SBC : 328,000 (44.1 KHz sample rate) or 345,000 (48 KHz)
AAC (used by Apple): 256,000 to 320,000 typically
aptX: 352,000 (44.1 KHz) or 384,000 (48 KHz)
aptX HD: 576,000 for 48 KHz at 24-bit
LDAC (Sony): up to 990,000 (96 KHz sample rate for 24-bit)
Recent Android versions probably implement some version of many of the above codecs depending on the phone software and hardware. However, the sink device (hearing aids in your case) must also implement the codec so it would be nice to know what Phonak actually uses in the Marvels. It may be an uncompressed codec but that would be uncommon.
Of course, once the codec in the hearing aids decodes the stereo audio stream, the hearing aids process it via their proprietary algorithms to present a signal to each ear that hopefully mitigates your hearing loss. This may include compression unless a music specific program turns it off.
Very interesting indeed, Stuart! As are your qualifications for making your post!
I have Target software for programming my Marvels and for my Music Program I have turned Compression OFF and WhistleStop OFF. This makes a huge difference when playing my piano.
Phonak says nothing about what they do for streaming. It is absolutely certain that they compensate for my high frequency hearing loss as I can now hear the shimmering beauty of a symphony orchestra string section, something I haven’t heard for years, and when first heard brought actual tears to my eyes!
I get drop outs from 6 to 8 feet away when using Marvels paired with the TV Connector. I base my comment on that, but the real reason is that the Marvels can’t possibly put out enough RF power to communicate very far. Phonak lists the battery drain at 2.5 milliamps, total, for both the processor, audio amplifier, and Bluetooth radio. It can’t possibly be putting out much in the way of RF power. I know that the TV connector puts out 12 milliwatts, but it also has to receive data from the aids. Bluetooth, and whatever variant the TV Connector uses are two way protocols. If one is wearing the streaming device, then it is never more than about 2 feet away from the aids. I have gotten as much as 20 feet from the TV Connector and still heard audio, but it was not reliable at all. If Trader Gary can maintain a solid connection all over his house, he should bow down to the RF gods in appreciation for the exceptional propagation characteristics in his home.