Send the Phonak Marvels back

After 30 years as a Phonak customer I just returned a pair of Marvel M90s for not just one (in my opinion) but THREE fatal flaws.

  1. They did not work reliably with my iPhone XS Max, an issue that Phonak acknowledges and blames solely on Apple with no fix in sight. After a 40 year career as a software engineer I have little patience for cross vendor finger pointing between two manufacturers of supposedly premium products.

  2. Marvels cannot be configured to be used interchangeably between iPhones and iPads by a simple Bluetooth disconnect/connect. They MUST be totally forgotten and re-paired EVERY TIME when changing devices. Phonak’s deprecation of this functionality that was found in their previous Audeo aids is (for me) a major design flaw by their engineers.

  3. Marvels are only compatible with Phonak’s latest TV Connector box, not the previous TV Link boxes. IMHO it’s a cheap way to grab an additional two hundred bucks on top of an already premium priced product. Corporate greed runs rampant.

I’ve had a pair of Oticon OPNs for a month now that rectify all of Phonaks shortcomings. Having to settle for using a ConnectClipis a small price to pay for having a RELIABLE product.

Oticon’s level of integration with the iPhone is far superior to Phonak. It makes the Phonak product look like it was designed by a bunch of summer interns. Sad but true. :man_shrugging:t3:

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Well, there IS a fix in sight (probably 1-2 weeks) for the XS, but I agree they messed up with this. And clearly, there are serious bugs with their BT implementation, which (to be fair) is uniquely featured; I assume this will also be fixed before long. I’ve always felt that these HA companies do poorly with user-facing software (I can’t comment on their audiology code), so I completely agree there (I’m also a 40 year software developer, by the way; good to meet you!).

Oh, and finally, I agree that the limited functionality of the TV Connector (compared to say Oticon and Signia) is frustrating, and the price is pretty crazy. Not sure why they are pricing it this way.

Overall, I’m thrilled with the M-R’s, but if I had an XS/XS Max, I’d probably do the same thing (pending whatever change is coming in a few weeks).

Sorry to hear about your fatal flaw with the iPhone XS Max. It would appear that the issue really is with the iPhone XS as the Marvel was developed and sent to manufacturing before the iPhone XS was introduced. The Marvel works just fine with all previous iPhone models up to the release of the iPhone XS. Phonak has made modifications to allow the iPhone XS to work and according to Phonak the update should be released soon.

I’m a newbie to HA’s and I’ve only had my Marvel M-R 90’s since Dec 26th. I’m fortunate to have an Android Google Pixel 3 XL with no connection problems. So far I absolutely love my Marvels.

Remember too that the Phonaks are not made for iphone or android…they’re made for bluetooth…anything. If the XS can’t do the bluetooth the right way how is that the fault of Phonak?

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The Phonak Audeo b90 with the Compilot 2 also solves all the connectivity problems and has advantages over the connect clip, in that the Compilot 2 can connect to multiple devices at one time. Swapping back and forth gets old. I connect to my office phone, cell phone, and a tablet for streaming. I answer whichever phone rings and the streaming pauses. It also works with the TV link 2. If you were interested in the Roger Pen you can plug an x receiver into the compilot 2 and connect to Roger pens.

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Thanks for your comments! :+1:t2:

Zero problems with BT connectivity between my iPhone XS Max and my ReSound Quattros. So I doubt there’s anything wrong with Apple’s implementation of BT.

This is because the Phonak Audeo Marvel uses Bluetooth Classic and can connect with any Bluetooth Classic device whether it’s Android, Apple, Microsoft, etc. ReSound Quattros uses Bluetooth MFi (Made For iPhone Bluetooth Low Energy) and connects only with Apple devices. The iPhone XS had connectivity problems with Bluetooth Classic but had no problem with Bluetooth MFi, thus there were problems with Phonak Marvel and no problem with ReSound. All iPhones previous to the XS could connect to both Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth MFi without problems.

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Yes there is. Phonak are releasing a firmware update in the next 2 weeks to allow the Marvels to work with the Phonak X iPhones.

That’s how Phonak replies on a question in their Frequently Asked Questions page (https://marvel-support.phonak.com/en/audeo-m/tv/already-phonak-tv-link-buy-new-tv-connector/):

I already own a Phonak TV Link, why do I have to buy a new TV Connector?

Phonak Marvel hearing aids use a new wireless streaming technology that is only compatible with the new Phonak TV Connector.

The Phonak TV Link II works together with Phonak streaming devices such as the ComPilot II or ComPilot Air II, which act as interfaces to those Phonak wireless hearing aids using 10.6 MHz digitally coded inductive link.

I think the problem of having to forget the device is a little crazy and would deter me from acquiring these aids too. I find having to turn Bluetooth on and off on my Resounds a real pain.

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mark.augustin, other than the connection issues, what did you think of the Marvel’s performance for understanding speech? Especially speech in speech noise? How do they compare in that way with the Opn’s. I have Opn’s and I’m thinking of trialing Marvels.

I really want to know the answer to your question too. I hope Mark answers your question.

Hm. I bought my TV streamers (2 of them!) almost 1.5 yrs ago, when I got my Audeo B-Direct aids. My new Marvels work perfectly fine with this TV streaming unit. Well. Maybe I should rephrase that: as soon as I hit the “pair” button on the unit, my aids go through the musical tone that indicates immediate pairing, and within seconds, I’m streaming. So these Marvels don’t seem to automatically pair up with the TV streamer 100% of the time. But unless/until they stop pairing completely, I’ll use these 2 TV streamer units.

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I understand there to be a setting in Target which allows you to choose whether it’ll connect automatically or manually.

Why two TV connectors?

^^^Oh gosh, that is funny! I never knew there was a choice of manual or automatic streaming. ONE MORE question to ask about when I see my aud-guy. Thanks for that heads-up!

So. I am spoiled! I sit at my laptop most of the day, streaming news services and whatnot; in the evening, I watch a program or two with hubs. Why move my streamer back and forth twice a day? I have one hooked up to the laptop, the other is connected to our TV.

Life is darn near PERFECT! :wink:

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During my test phase (as a hearing aid newbie since October) I’ve had an Oticon Opn1, which pleased me, but then I went to testing a M90-312, which on the one side impressed me with its good level of speech understandability automatisms and its ease of use (e.g. the 2-way-buttons), but which on the other side disappointed my to some degree by the burdens introcuced with its general bluetooth connectivity concept.

For me as an iPhone user (6S+ with IOS 12.2), the MFI-compatible Opn1 had a perfectly well working streaming concept. I didn’t need the general bluetooth connectivity, which Phonak entered for catching the much bigger Android market. But I have to admit that I liked the related possibilty of handsfree usage of my iPhone.

The problems you mentioned in your post seem valid to me, but they don’t bother/rely to my own personal way of using the M90s. However, from my own subjective experience I have to add 2 other major criticisms with the M90:

  1. the somewhat undeterministic switching of the M90 from its “AutoSense OS 3.0” mode into “AutoSense OS 3.0 (streaming)”. This happens always, when the iPhone only starts an app which later may stream audio, like keyboard sounds. IOS issues a BT-A2DP command, which makes the M90 switch into the streaming mode, which in turn makes the M90’s behavior significantly different (e.g. the mic is muted by -6db and the speech processing of the environment changes). Very irritating, especially as this happens also somewhat randomly, e.g. sometimes when no specific app ist started, but the iPhone awakes itself when giving notice of an email or appointment or such.

  2. the handsfree feature is very convenient when making or receiving phone calls, but there is a significant downside: my phone calls counterpart (the person to whom I’m speaking) gets my voice very significantly worse (and low level) than when I use the iPhone like a standard phone (i.e. at my face, mouth/ears, with my M90s taken off). Plus there is the problem, that once I have started the phone call in handsfree mode I cannot really fall back. Setting the iPhone back to receiving my voice from the iPhones mics (instead of from the M90s mics) does also stop me hearing my counterpart in my M90. A real mess…

I’ve reported both bugs (or are they “features”?) to the Phonak development team in Switzerland, but I’m not overly optimistic, that they can solve it, due to the implicit architectural choices Phonak had to make for supporting the Android market with a general bluetooth capability instead of the limited/dedicated one chosen by MFI-compatible hearing aides like the Oticon. This will not change with the coming firmware and configuration software (Target). There they can only partially remedy my problem 2 with the handsfree default settings (mic level significantly reduced and not much adjustable by the professional via the Target software).

On the one side I would like to keep my M90, because at the very moment, it appears to be at the cutting edge of technology on the market. On the other side, the Opn1 just worked for me.

Difficult, difficult…

Check the following link:

If you hear keyboard sounds in your hearing aids, turn off audible alerts:

  1. Settings – Sounds & Haptics (iPhone 6s and higher) or Sounds.
  2. Scroll down and turn off Keyboard Clicks and Lock Sounds.
  3. Select the ring or alert tone for each option (text, voicemail, email, ringtone, etc) and manually change each alert tone from the currently selected sound to “none” or “vibrate”.

I think that you’ll find a solution here: How to Change iPhone Bluetooth Audio While on a Phone Call, Without Losing the Call
It is not specific to Phonak Marvel.

Regarding the other issue, such as your voice being heard worse than usual, I am not sure. but others here were happy?

Thanks for caring, but unfortunately this doesn’t solve the problem. The “clicking” apps are set to muted, but the iPhone still issues A2DP commands in a somewhat undeterministic manner. Phonak has acknowledged the general behavior (i.e. even a muted app/system still toggling the M90 into a streaming mode in a somewhat “random” (from a users point of view) manner).

To make it clear: the problem is not a clicking sound or something like this. The problem is that the M90 switches between different modes and thus causes a significant change of ambient sound characteristics (and even of the user interface like button definition). Very annoying to me…

Thanks for pointing to this, but unfortunately it doesn’t help: You are right in that the iPhone at any time can be set back to normal telephone behavior (I had mentioned that). But then the voice of my counterpart comes through the iPhones speaker into my - M90-clogged - ears, and even simultaneously via the M90 mics, thus resulting in a quite bad quality and discomfort.

So I can chose: either I get the voice of my counterpart very good, but he gets mine very bad, oder just the other way around. Or as the big fallback: when doing or receiving an important phone call, I take my M90s off in advance.

Pick your poison…

I asked this question in a German forum, and lots of people confirmed this. The reason, why most people didn’t complain early is simply the fact, that as a Marvel user you don’t notice this by yourself! And a counterpart usually doesn’t complain, if simply for politeness, until it really gets bad…

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i have widex beyond and they perform fairly well with my iphone 6s but don’t have the range of something like my airpods (they use low power bluetooth which is a different spec i guess)

do the phonaks, which as you say are “regular” bluetooth have decent range and do they burn through batteries ?