Streaming Phonak Audeo B-Direct to MacBook Pro

phonak

#1

OK, so far I am pretty thrilled with the Phonak Audeo B-Direct aids I’m in trial with. While it’s TRUE that the aids only stream to ONE ear when using my Samsung Galaxy 6S, after a loooooong call with Anthem, my mom, other quick calls made, I now realize: I can live with this!

Now on Cloud 9 and feeling invincible, I promptly turned to my Macbook Pro, opened the Bluetooth app, and placed my aids near the laptop. In about a minute, the laptop displayed “L-Phonak connected”. So I tried playing audio: music from our home server, CNN news clips. And … no surprise, the aids do not stream in any way, shape or form with my Macbook Pro! I tried rebooting my Mac, rebooting the aids, unpairing and re-connecting the aids multiple times. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I return to my aud-guy on Tuesday, and will see if this is a question for Phonak Tec Support, but wondered if anyone out here has grappled with and resolved the same issue? How is it that my Macbook Pro clearly displays “L-Phonak connected” but refuses to stream audio?


First trip to Costco need hearing aid Advice
#2

According to this link https://www.hearingtracker.com/hearing-aids/phonak-audeo-b-direct-b90, there’s no A2DP support on the Phonak Audeo B-Direct. That means that aside from just using it for phone calls, you cannot use it for CD quality stereo audio streaming from Bluetooth compatible source devices, unless you buy a TV Connect streamer and plug your source device to the TV streamer first.

Have you been able to even play music or stream YouTube video sounds from your Android phone to the HAs? If not, then that’s your answer right there -> no A2DP, no audio sound other than phone calls. This means that the Bluetooth support on the Audeo-B Direct is very old and limited because just about any BT devices on the planet currently has A2DP support and this HA doesn’t. But that’s probably how it gets away with managing to keep it working for regular BT for Android phones and still manage to keep the low power consumption, by giving up A2DP support from the regular BT.

Does it have a neck streamer option as an accessory you can buy to connect to BT source devices? This may be an option to connect to your MacBook Pro. Or else you’ll need to buy their TV Connector to their MacBook Pro.

Now we’re beginning to understand better the trade-off of how it’s able to stream direct to Android phones when no other mfg wants to go this route, because of this kind of limitation.


#3

I’ve pondered this “limitation” for a while. On one hand, for all my life, unless on speaker phone, the receiver has always gone to one ear. On the other hand, the HA marketing guys started putting phone calls to both ears to improve comprehension. That I’ve never tried.

You say it works. Does it work well enough not to consider wanting the telephone streaming to both ears?

@abram_bailey_aud says the TV connector can be connected to other devices via USB
So maybe it will work like a necklace without being a necklace. I’m thinking that calling it a TV connector is a marketing blunder when in reality it is a “multi” connector or a “direct” connector.

The video on this page, gives an idea of size, it looks smaller than an Apple TV box.

OTOH 55 seconds into this Phonak video says it is compatible with Bluetooth devices. Perhaps there are some firmware updates in the works.


#4

He didn’t really say this. He only said that the TV Connector is USB powered, which means it gets power from a 5V USB port. It doesn’t mean that it will accept audio from a laptop as a USB dongle. It may accept data from a laptop that has an app installed on it to deliver a firmware update to the device, but it probably won’t accept audio data, unless it’s specifically designed to do so.

I think his whole point was that being powered by the 5V USB helps make the TV Connector more portable because you can plug it into a portable USB power source anywhere and not be dependent on a 120V outlet.


#5

You are right, he didn’t. After reading the manual I pictured the connection in my head with 2 cords, 1 USB and 1 audio connecting to a laptop. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I posted.

I don’t understand why they wouldn’t use the USB connection for audio as well. I guess we will have to wait for @1Bluejay to give us the hands on report next week.


#6

It’s because they already have a universal connection which is the audio port, which is available from most source devices like PC, TV, tablets, hifi systems, etc. If they want to support audio from the USB connection as well, they’d need more circuitry in their TV Connector to handshake and accept digital audio data from the source device via USB, then convert that digital data to whatever format they use for transmission to the hearing aids. I mean it’s doable for sure but it’d add to the design and manufacturing cost of the TV Connector and the only use for it would be from a PC which should already have an analog audio out port (headphones port) in the first place.


#7

All that makes sense. Two standard cords and connections keeps everything simple. I get it now.


#8

The one thing I’d add about using a 5V USB source to power your TV Connector, based on my experience with doing that on my own Oticon TV Connector 3.0, is that this USB power source can’t come from the source device that delivers the audio to your TV Connector. That’s because if you do this, you’ll hear a hum from the TV Connector, because a ground loop has been established, causing the hum to be heard.

I want to make this point because Abram was saying that you can take the TV Connector on the plane with you if you want because its USB power source is portable. Well, if you’re planning to the USB power from the same laptop that you plan to use to watch your video on the plane (which is the most obvious thing to do), you’ll get a hum from the ground loop. You’ll need to bring a separate portable USB battery to power your TV Connector instead to avoid creating that ground loop. So while it’s portable, it’s not as simple and convenient as you think.


#9

Lots of food for thought here! I have not tried playing a Youtube video on my Samsung - but will later today. I’m taking a break from my Phonaks cuz the TIP of the pointy, flexible domes (or maybe the curved receiver even) has made a little sore spot in my ear. I think I can just “break these in” like a pair of shoes, but don’t want to aggravate the area too much.

I’m eager to get my hands on the TV unit. Typically, these connect by cable to the back of the TV - and in our place, it is such a spaghetti junction of cables & wires that it would hardly be portable or easy to sort through all that, unscrew the cable and move the unit to my laptop on a daily basis.

I don’t mind using my Sennheiser headphones for laptop audio - they work beautifully. Ack always a cludge in the HA world. Like we and our solutions are an afterthought, products sent to market without adequate USER testing by us in the trenches.

I do have to reiterate that single-ear streaming is working OK for me on the phone! It defies common sense to go this route, but I’m grateful to have ANY phone streaming at all.

Funny how back in the “necklace” era we got stereophonic streaming for TV, phone, other bluetooth devices, but NOW, some 10 years later, we’ve somehow gone backwards in terms of total solution. The price of aids should therefore be HALF what they are now, but I can’t imagine that kind of logic applying to HA sales.

Irks me. > : - /


#10

I think this is a very poor strategy decision by Phonak to choose this trade off of having no A2DP support in order to make direct phone streaming for Android possible, all at the big expense of not having true stereo streaming from the phone or any other Bluetooth enabled devices. Phonak is hailing this as an advancement (direct streaming to Android phones) but no other HA mfgs want to go this route because it’s exactly what you said it is, “going backwards in terms of total solution”.

The correct total solution is already there, adopted by all other HA mfgs long ago already. That is to make a neck streamer available with A2DP support to enable FULL compatibility to ALL BT-enabled devices, Android phones included for CD quality stereo audio streaming of music and videos without reliance on a TV Connector for it. And when Android phones and other BT-enabled devices finally support BLE like Apple iOS devices do, then the necklace streamer will go away.

The lack of A2DP support by Phonak for the Audeo-B Direct is a very serious omission because a necklace streamer is MUCH MORE convenient to use than the reliance on a WIRED TV Connector. Phonak is trying to hide this flaw but I think most consumers will realize this as soon as they test out the Audeo-B Direct and find out that all they can do with their Android phones is mono phone calls with no music or video sound streaming unless they use a wired TV Connector.


#11

I think you are right for a majority of the market. I think there is a small market segment that might appreciate what the Audeo B offers. If you only have a cell phone and you have a home theater setup and that is all you want connected then the Audeo B works. If you want or need anything else then it does not.

I appreciate that @1Bluejay is testing the waters for us. The various discussions are actually helping me define in what I want with new HAs and the various accessories.


#12

Related:


#13

YUP - I agree. It’s just an extra layer of frustration for me - NOT being a techie - to try to muddle through all these features and standards.

I tried the experiment of running a Youtube video on my Samsung and … any guesses as to the outcome? Yup. NO streaming at all. Instead, the audio comes right out of my phone for all the world to hear! LOL.

So. Here’s where we are with the Phonak Audeo-B Direct. It ONLY - repeat ONLY - streams to ONE ear when used with my Android cell phone on PHONE calls. I will report back with the TV unit - which I hope is stereophonic.

I’m not a typical “millenial” type of person. I’m very happy using my laptop to surf message boards like this, read the news, and occasionally listen to CNN news clips. Our home theatre is A-OK for watching any other movie or program - hence my need for the TV streamer unit for the perfect listening experience.

Even my cell phone use is minimal. I have basically no apps on it, and do rare searches thru Mozilla Firefox (yelp, google map is about it).

All that said, I do feel I’ve been fed a bit of “hoo-hah” about these aids. I should’ve tuned in to the launch event to see what’s new with Audeo B. I still prefer the sound quality and ease of streaming with my Samsung of these aids vs the Oticon Opn. It seems that despite a few rounds of fine-tuning, I simply could never get the Opn aids to actually AID my listening! Instead, the experience was more like frustration mixed with fury at their not having any Android streamer. It bugs me blind when solutions are only for Apple platform or IoT (aka NSA!).

Most of all, I’m EVER so grateful for all you guys’ information, advice and probing to actually enlighten me about the choices and options out there. Very useful info!


#14

OK - I don’t do Facebook (or any other social media, being a cave-woman), but wonder if anyone tuned in to this and got any kernels of info about the technology behind the Audeo B-Direct? Cuz if it’s as simple as: “This only streams to ONE ear on a cell phone PHONE CALL and thassal!” then the launch would be about 5-seconds, eh?


#15

I’ve searched all over Phonak’s website, and it does appear that there is NO actual technical spec sheet to list the various features of the new Audeo B-Direct line of aids (vs the Phonak Audeo B line). I guess my search would’ve been easier if Phonak had used an entirely new NAME for the B-Direct! Like how about Audeo Phone/TV Streaming aid? Cuz the more I search, the more apparent it is that the Audeo B-Direct will ONLY stream hands-free with my Android cell phone on PHONE calls, sending the audio to ONE EAR only. It appears to stream in stereo via the TV streaming unit, without the need for any necklace or clip-on device.

I’m OK with these two capabilities, but I think Phonak could’ve done a much better job communicating how LITTLE the B-Direct actually does!

Then again, I doubt they’d have much success with a campaign entitled, “Lame, half-baked solution for the same cost as more fully-functional models now released!”
{: - /


#16

I just received my trial b90 directs and love them. I can make bluetooth phone calls hand’s free via my android. Who hoo! I don’t care that it streams to one ear only. I’ve been using one ear Bluetooth devices for years so it’s something I used to. Now I don’t have to take one aid out to use a bluetooth device.

I am on the phone a lot so these new 90 directs are a huge advantage for me. I love them!!

As for music listening I can hear well enough with the B90s to listen via a regular old speaker. If I want to listen privately to phone apps I put my ear buds over my in-the-ear receivers. But I may buy the TV connect device to stream without earbuds. If I do I’ll post a review.

The 90 directs lack general bluetooth connectivity but they are extremely useful for me!


#17

Well there you are! I am in the exact same boat - altho I’m retired, so there is no work phone or even home office phone requirement. I also feel that the quality of the audio on the Audeo B-Direct is better than the Oticon Opn for SPEECH and even music. I go in today for some minor adjustments, but HEY! I am HAPPY-HAPPY with these so far. I have also gotten used to streaming calls to my LEFT ear, and find I do A-OK with it. What that will do my RIGHT ear’s word recognition is another matter, but it’s not like I’m on the phone hours a day. It’s just great that whenever and wherever I am, if I pick up a call, it’s going to stream hands-free into ONE of my ears. :slight_smile:


#18

@1bluejay I am wondering if you are still happy with your Phonak Audeo B-Directs–are they the 90s?I read some of your posts and it seems you did not like the Oticon OPNs. I am trying to decide on new hearing aids, probably one of those two. I would appreciate any insights!


#19

ibawaya, I am still SUPER happy with my Phonak Audeo B-Direct. I don’t know if these are the “90” series cuz my manuals are all at home … and alas, I’m over on the Big Island of HI having way WAY too much fun in the voggy sun. :slight_smile:

Every person is unique, and for me, my particular hearing loss curve, listening preferences and lifestyle, the Phonak hits all the right notes. I’m especially enjoying the edge of speech clarity these Phonaks have over my older Oticon Alta Pros. The TV streamer works SUPERB, and I am completely spoiled with single-ear streaming to my Android phone.

In stark contrast (for me!) the OPN miniRITE was a total disappointment. The so-called algorithm for speech clarity? Simply did not work EVER for me. It was incredibly frustrating to not be able to discriminate speech in any surrounding but a tomb. That means: doctor appointments (poor acoustics), travel (car, plane, airport, even outside with ambient noise), restaurants, large gatherings - completely unable to distinguish WHAT a person was saying even as I could see their lips move. I was also disappointed with the OPNs compared to my Oticon Alta Pro aids, which I’d worn for the previous 4 years - LOVING them! But they were ITE, not BTE, and somehow the speech in restaurants with my old aids was NEVER ever an issue!

To be fair, both the Oticon and Phonak BTE aids have an annoying habit of “hair rustle” and “eyeglasses clink”. Wearing a hat in winter is a prob, too, with rustling and feedback. But hey, I’ll just move to HI and throw my hats away! :wink:

The best thing a person can do for themselves is try out BOTH the Oticon and Phonak models and see which one is best for your own lifestyle and listening/connectivity preferences.

You’ll likely find good things and bad things with each one, so it’s a matter of priorities. For me, the SPEECH was a huge plus for Phonak; initially, stereo streaming on the phone was a real worry with the Phonak being only single ear. But I am happy with the decision I’ve made.


#21

@1Bluejay Aloha! Thank you for your response. I hope I can find a way to try both the Oticon OPN and the Phonak–trying them out seems challenging here. I am really tired of not hearing speech clearly now, so I appreciate your comments on that. Have fun, though I think that goes without saying in Hawaii.