Noise coming from Phonak TV Connector

It took me a while to start using my Phonak TV Connector, as I needed a toslink (fibre optic) splitter to ensure audio goes to both the streamer and to our existing home theatre audio system. Other HA brands have a pass-through optical port to provide this feature built-in but Phonak appears to have prioritized making the smallest possible device. Oh well.

Now that the splitter has arrived, I’m pleased with the results. Actually, that’s a huge understatement… I’m amazed by how great it is and will always want this type of accessory in the future. However, I am noticing some annoying digital compression (or some other kind of noise, perhaps related to the wireless protocol) that seems to me coming from the streamer when the TV sound is quiet or silent.

This isn’t present with my other Phonak accessories, with Bluetooth, or at other times using my HAs. I can’t eliminate it by taking the splitter out of the signal path or by trying another optical cable. It might be electrical noise (I need to try powering the TV connector from a USB power bank to eliminate this possibility). Also, no such noise is evident in the audio output from the 5.1 speakers so I don’t think it’s an issue with the TV.

Has anyone else had this problem?

I am on the verge of seeking a replacement under warranty via my audiologist but wanted to check/report this here both to potentially benefit from others’ experience as well as to share my experience with others.

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I have not heard of this issue.
Here’s a few things to try

  1. Check all cables are firmly connected, especially the optical cable entering the TV connector . The dual input on the tv connector is nifty but can be temperamental.

  2. Take the splitter out of the equation, does this improve the noise? If so I think you have your answer. It could also be the quality of signal splitter, ive had dramas with passive splitters so make sure you are using a powered optical splitter.

  3. It could be power supply related, make sure you are powering it off a 110v/220v wall socket and not from the tv. Your power bank idea is also good.

  4. It could be some sort of D/A conversion issue where the signal dithering process is poorly encoding the lower level signal from the television? It’s unlikely, but if your TV has a digital output control in its settings, see if you can increase the level of output and to compensate turn the volume down on the tv connector itself.

Let us know if you figure it out!


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If it is like static and everything silent is loud, ask your fitter to reduce soft noises (I have max reduction). They drove me crazy, I could hear people breathing on youtube :joy:

I have tried taking the splitter out of the signal path, to no avail. Moving the USB power adapter to a different outlet and powering the TV connector from a power bank last night also did not resolve the issue. Re-seating the cables had no apparent effect.

I will check to see if there are any relevant settings on the TV, and will also try consenting it to another optical device (I have a USB sound card with toslink out that I rarely use).

I’ve tried two different optical cables as well, with no difference. Unfortunately I don’t have a third with the less-common connector.

Local RF interference is also a possibility and hard to eliminate except that my other Phonak accessories - presumably the same protocol? - don’t have the same issue.

It’s hard to tell with my hearing, but I think the anomalous audio (which isn’t quite static or distortion, more like continuous codec compression artifacts?) is always present but just harder to hear when the source audio is louder.

Change the source component. If your phone or whatever has a 3.5mm headphone jack use that to feed L/R analog audio to the TV connector. Most BR players or similar have SPDIF out and you could use that. If you still get ‘noise’ replace the TV connector.

So far, alternative optical audio sources haven’t resolved the problem - I’m going to try a few analog sources to see if it’s just optical. I wonder if it’s possible that the HA settings are the sources of the audio artists that are bothering me rather than the TV Connector… either way, I’ll need the audiologist to fiddle and find out.

@greg.smith any update on your noise issue?

I have tried two things recently.

First, I switched to analog input instead of optical (feeding from the headphone out of my reciever). This did not resolve the issue, so I switched back.

Second, I considered the power situation again looking for potential sources of noise. The power bar for my home theatre was connected to a wifi IoT switch (used to track power consumption). I removed the IoT switch from the power path. In theory this could contribute to interference as the wireless protocol Phonak’s TV connector uses might not be entirely immune to nearby wifi devices (or conversely, the IoT switch might be poorly designed from an interference perspective). The results from this change were mixed: if there was a change, it’s likely close to the threshold of audible perception. In other words, I think it might have helped, but the problem is not resolved… maybe I could tell on an oscilloscope or waveform display.

When the audio source is turned off but the TV Connector is on, the distinctive noise is still quietly audible.

This result, combined with my subjective perception of the character of the “distortion” (that it is not actually distortion per se, but actually sounds like digital noise) leads me to believe I am hearing interference from another wireless signal.

I have confirmed again that my PartnerMic is immune to whatever local RF (?) noise source is causing this, if indeed this is the issue. So I have come to the tentative conclusion that my TV Connector seems to be less immune to local 2.4ghz RF interference than it should be.

I think I will have to take it back under warranty. COVID is really wild here in Ontario right now, which has kept me away from the audiologist but I will call them and figure this out soon.

In the meantime, it’s still somewhat usable but the interference is unpleasant enough that if it cannot be resolved I won’t want to continue to use it. I think it must be a flaw in my unit or others would have noticed the problem.

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Isn’t the ConnectClip from Oticon and not Phonak? I use a ConnectClip and I have Oticon’s.

Yes, brain fart (I used to have Oticons, and had just written “TV Connector”…). I meant PartnerMic.

Were you able to ever resolve this?