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    1. #1
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      Holy cow - source audio quality!

      So I've had my V90CC for just over a year.
      I don't have a data plan for the vehicle, so I had been using Pandora
      on my phone and playing it via Bluetooth.

      I finally decided to download the Pandora app for the V90
      and then tether the WIFI conncection from my phone.

      Holy crap, what a difference in audio quality!
      It is night and day, especially in high quality mode. While this isn't a
      long term solution (due to Verizon tethered data limits), it is making me
      rethink a data plan for the V90CC.

      Only strange thing is I have a Pandora subscription with unlimited skips
      on my phone. When I use the V90 App it limits my skips. Thoughts?

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    3. #2
      Junior Member pocholin's Avatar
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      You might have to adjust the equalizer/sound options on your cellphone to come close to quality when direct listening through your vehicle's on-board app but I can hear the improvement in the audio quality with Spotify vs Bluetooth.

      Have you signed in with your account in your car? Unless it is a bug, your account should operate the same regardless of device.
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    4. #3
      Junior Member choochjb's Avatar
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      wait...so you can't use the native app on the V90 with the V90's data plan? That seems odd.

      Sorry...not a current owner....just a perspective buyer, so I can't check myself.

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    6. #4
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      I'll ask (repeat) the question asked above. Are you not able to use Volvo's internal Internet connection for Pandora? I do not use Pandora. I use Spotify almost always for Music and Podcasts. If you have a Spotify Premium account you have to initially pair your account to the Volvo Spotify app and once done, you can use Spotify Sensus app as a standalone app and the music quality/clarity/volume is much better than streaming it via carplay from my phone. I hope you can do similar stuff with pandora as well.
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    7. #5
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by urbaita View Post
      So I've had my V90CC for just over a year.
      I don't have a data plan for the vehicle, so I had been using Pandora
      on my phone and playing it via Bluetooth.

      I finally decided to download the Pandora app for the V90
      and then tether the WIFI conncection from my phone.

      Holy crap, what a difference in audio quality!
      It is night and day, especially in high quality mode. While this isn't a
      long term solution (due to Verizon tethered data limits), it is making me
      rethink a data plan for the V90CC.

      Only strange thing is I have a Pandora subscription with unlimited skips
      on my phone. When I use the V90 App it limits my skips. Thoughts?
      I experienced something similar today.

      Thus far most of my listening has been via Android Auto from my phone, mostly Spotify and I was rather disappointed with the sound quality.

      Today I accidentally tested the free SiriusXM trial. I have no interest in satellite radio, but boy was I impressed with the sound quality improvement.

      I am going to have to try with the Volvo Spotify app and see if it sounds better than via my phone.

      Quote Originally Posted by choochjb View Post
      wait...so you can't use the native app on the V90 with the V90's data plan? That seems odd.

      Sorry...not a current owner....just a perspective buyer, so I can't check myself.
      Quote Originally Posted by Volvolic View Post
      I'll ask (repeat) the question asked above. Are you not able to use Volvo's internal Internet connection for Pandora? I do not use Pandora. I use Spotify almost always for Music and Podcasts. If you have a Spotify Premium account you have to initially pair your account to the Volvo Spotify app and once done, you can use Spotify Sensus app as a standalone app and the music quality/clarity/volume is much better than streaming it via carplay from my phone. I hope you can do similar stuff with pandora as well.

      I haven't used Pandora in almost 10 years, but all combinations should work. You should be able to play the Volvo Sensus apps via the car modem, or via your phone tethering its internet signal via either bluetooth or wifi.

      likewise you should be able to play your Phone apps via either your phone internet, or the car modem shared via Wifi.

    8. #6
      Junior Member pocholin's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by choochjb View Post
      wait...so you can't use the native app on the V90 with the V90's data plan? That seems odd.

      Sorry...not a current owner....just a perspective buyer, so I can't check myself.
      You CAN use the native app on the V90, he doesn't have a data plan in his car, that's why he was using Bluetooth...and now he's tethering from his phone.
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    9. #7
      Junior Member pocholin's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
      Today I accidentally tested the free SiriusXM trial. I have no interest in satellite radio, but boy was I impressed with the sound quality improvement.

      I am going to have to try with the Volvo Spotify app and see if it sounds better than via my phone.
      Once you try Spotify from your in-car app you will realize how crappy SiriusXM sounds, everything sounds highly metallic...I did not renew because I cannot stand the downgraded sound quality.
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    10. #8
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by pocholin View Post
      Once you try Spotify from your in-car app you will realize how crappy SiriusXM sounds, everything sounds highly metallic...I did not renew because I cannot stand the downgraded sound quality.

      Good to know. I wonder why it sounds like ass via Android Auto...

    11. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by pocholin View Post
      You CAN use the native app on the V90, he doesn't have a data plan in his car, that's why he was using Bluetooth...and now he's tethering from his phone.

      Pocholin is correct. Tethering via phone and using the native app yields far superior sound quality vs running the app on your phone and connecting via Bluetooth. I totally agree on the SXM sound quality too, it’s compressed and awful.

      Can you get a Verizon data plan for the car or is it only ATT? And like $15 per month?? Thanks.

      Anthony

    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by urbaita View Post
      Pocholin is correct. Tethering via phone and using the native app yields far superior sound quality vs running the app on your phone and connecting via Bluetooth. I totally agree on the SXM sound quality too, it’s compressed and awful.

      Can you get a Verizon data plan for the car or is it only ATT? And like $15 per month?? Thanks.

      Anthony
      Anthony, AT&T and Verizon use 2 different technologies. Can’t put Verizon in the car. I wish we could. I’m not a big fan of AT&T.

      If you you want high quality audio tether your phone. Check out Tidal. It is not cheap but works great for me. I have unlimited data with Verizon and the Tidal app works in CarPlay.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    13. #11
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      I'll add my $0.02 as a tech geek. It is well known that BT audio sucks @$$ versus, ok, just about anything else, ok, an FM transmitter is worse. Thats why AptX and other BT protocols are coming, to up the bandwidth for BT audio. Early BT earbuds were just that, buds for making calls, and people would stream to them, but never judged them for quality. Now that we have quality BT headphones and cars, you can see the effects of the BT compression and low bandwidth, and yeah, it sucks. even with AA, only the track information goes over the USB cable, the audio is still BT. So the onboard apps will beat it every time. Just the way it is in BT land for now. That's why I loaded up a 256gb USB stick with my high bitrate mp3's and put it in the usb port in the car, for decent music capability. It's not random streaming, so that sucks, but at least it sounds nice.

    14. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post
      I'll add my $0.02 as a tech geek. It is well known that BT audio sucks @$$ versus, ok, just about anything else, ok, an FM transmitter is worse. Thats why AptX and other BT protocols are coming, to up the bandwidth for BT audio. Early BT earbuds were just that, buds for making calls, and people would stream to them, but never judged them for quality. Now that we have quality BT headphones and cars, you can see the effects of the BT compression and low bandwidth, and yeah, it sucks. even with AA, only the track information goes over the USB cable, the audio is still BT. So the onboard apps will beat it every time. Just the way it is in BT land for now. That's why I loaded up a 256gb USB stick with my high bitrate mp3's and put it in the usb port in the car, for decent music capability. It's not random streaming, so that sucks, but at least it sounds nice.
      wow i had no idea that was the case. I SWEAR the audio quality is better via my PowerAmp player through android auto vs bluetooth, but you're saying they both use bluetooth and are of similar audio quality? I feel bamboozled. If it matters, I have a '17 XC90 - same situation? I'm just lurking over here because I'm in the market for a S90.

    15. #13
      Member Bmo Pete's Avatar
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      just a tip - when streaming from your phone via bluetooth, make sure your phone's volume is cranked.
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    16. #14
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      First, Pandora usually doesn't provide great audio quality. They provide varying audio quality through the mobile apps, but unless you have Pandora Premium (not Plus) you can't stream at more than 64kbps. The app in the Volvo provides a 128kbps stream instead. If you have Pandora Premium, you can manually increase the bitrate to 192kbps through the app settings, but the default is 64kbps.

      Second, there's your phone. Different phones support different Bluetooth technologies which can greatly affect the quality.

      If you have Pandora Premium, turn up the quality in settings and connect it to a Line Level source (CarPlay, Android Auto, or the AUX port if you have one) for the best quality, otherwise the Volvo/Sensus app is your best option.
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    17. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post
      I'll add my $0.02 as a tech geek. It is well known that BT audio sucks @$$ versus, ok, just about anything else, ok, an FM transmitter is worse. Thats why AptX and other BT protocols are coming, to up the bandwidth for BT audio. Early BT earbuds were just that, buds for making calls, and people would stream to them, but never judged them for quality. Now that we have quality BT headphones and cars, you can see the effects of the BT compression and low bandwidth, and yeah, it sucks. even with AA, only the track information goes over the USB cable, the audio is still BT. So the onboard apps will beat it every time. Just the way it is in BT land for now. That's why I loaded up a 256gb USB stick with my high bitrate mp3's and put it in the usb port in the car, for decent music capability. It's not random streaming, so that sucks, but at least it sounds nice.
      Are you saying that while using Android Auto and listening to my music it streams my music over BT? Or is that just the case when using Pandora or iHeart Radio for example?

      btw, I use Carplay - is that happening for me as well?

      (2018 S90)

    18. #16
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post
      I'll add my $0.02 as a tech geek. It is well known that BT audio sucks @$$ versus, ok, just about anything else, ok, an FM transmitter is worse. Thats why AptX and other BT protocols are coming, to up the bandwidth for BT audio. Early BT earbuds were just that, buds for making calls, and people would stream to them, but never judged them for quality. Now that we have quality BT headphones and cars, you can see the effects of the BT compression and low bandwidth, and yeah, it sucks. even with AA, only the track information goes over the USB cable, the audio is still BT. So the onboard apps will beat it every time. Just the way it is in BT land for now. That's why I loaded up a 256gb USB stick with my high bitrate mp3's and put it in the usb port in the car, for decent music capability. It's not random streaming, so that sucks, but at least it sounds nice.
      I was well aware that BT Audio uses a lossy real-time compression algorithm that runs on cheap ASIC's and has a large impact on sound quality.

      What I didn't know was that Android Audio still relied on bluetooth for the Audio portion. I figured they used some proprietary standard over the USB port. That's a bit disappointing.

      Thanks for the informative post.

    19. #17
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      streaming, whether on board or from your phone via BT is crap. 192 at best. If you don't care about compression and lossy top end stick to that.
      Otherwise, make your own USB with 320 or M4A or whatever. Much better sound.
      Fast and easy from iTunes.
      I have 22G of a 32G filled. 3100 cuts. Kept us groovin' from LI to Cape Breton Island with no repeats. ~ 30 hours of driving.

    20. #18
      Member skywolf's Avatar
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      Holy crap!!

      I have been using BT since I got the car and I decided to try this. NIGHT vs DAY!
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      I've always ripped my CD's using AAC (lossless) in iTunes. I have about 50gb of music on my iPhone 6s at any given time, and use Carplay in my 2018 S90.

      Are you guys saying I'd be better off using a separate thumb drive for my music? I hope not, because I only have one port in my console, and my phone is plugged into that so I can use Waze and listen to my music at the same time.

    22. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
      What I didn't know was that Android Audio still relied on bluetooth for the Audio portion. I figured they used some proprietary standard over the USB port.
      Can anyone provide documentation confirming this is the case? I've tried some Googling but didn't find a good answer. I did see something about a developer menu option for disabling audio over USB, implying that by default audio can/does travel over USB, but I don't think that was specific to Android Auto.

      I did try turning off BT and then connecting the USB cable. Oddly, it turned BT back on. So I don't know what to think about where the audio is actually travelling when playing via Android Auto.

      -Brett.

    23. #21
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by metropical View Post
      streaming, whether on board or from your phone via BT is crap. 192 at best. If you don't care about compression and lossy top end stick to that.
      Otherwise, make your own USB with 320 or M4A or whatever. Much better sound.
      Spoken like a true audiophile. I did that for a while. In my most humble opinion, the difference in quality is a complete waste of time in a moving car.
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      Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
      I was well aware that BT Audio uses a lossy real-time compression algorithm that runs on cheap ASIC's and has a large impact on sound quality.

      What I didn't know was that Android Audio still relied on bluetooth for the Audio portion. I figured they used some proprietary standard over the USB port. That's a bit disappointing.

      Thanks for the informative post.
      Very interesting. I have always thought that Tidal streams, hi-res or not, sounded better via CarPlay than AndroidAuto. Maybe this is why ...
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    25. #23
      Junior Member pocholin's Avatar
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      I played with my bluetooth connection last night, I have a Sony phone with APTX. the sound I get in the car is not bad at all, certainly not as bad as this thread leads you to think. I wonder if the V90 supports APTX and that's why it sounds better than phones that do not support that protocol.

      I normally get a couple of messages from the phone that says the phone is connected to my headphones and battery level, then a secon message that says it is connected to a device that supports APTX (my B&W headphones usually), but I don't get any type of messages when the car connects to the phone though.
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    26. #24
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      I don't think Volvo supports aptx.
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      Ok.. since I posted this I've been on a research binge. And found that I'm both wrong and right. By default, we are most likely to get our car, and BT pair the phone to it, and then get the cable for AA and test that out after. Likely we did the BT pairing at the dealer. By default, if we launch AA and play music, the phone will do it over the BT connection because we paired it with "For Calls and Audio". After web page after page, I found the answers. If you edit the car's BT connection and uncheck Audio, it will retain the connection for calls, but then magically send the audio over the audio cable. And with much greater sound quality. To test it, change the volume on the phone, if it changes, then it's still using BT, if it doesn't change, then it's using USB and the car's volume knob will adjust it. I just went out and proved this to myself over lunch. So now I'm not un-happy with AndroidAuto music. WOOT.
      There is also a mode of MPT, where your phone mounts as a data device and the car can play the MP3s from it. I know my Accord did this, but I have not done this with AA, AA always launches Google Play Music or PowerAMP and plays that way from the phone.

      Hope this helps.

    28. #26
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      This is great to hear. Thanks for posting this. I’m curious how USB sound quality compares to native app quality (i.e. Spotify or Pandora Volvo app) ? Any thoughts?



      Quote Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post
      Ok.. since I posted this I've been on a research binge. And found that I'm both wrong and right. By default, we are most likely to get our car, and BT pair the phone to it, and then get the cable for AA and test that out after. Likely we did the BT pairing at the dealer. By default, if we launch AA and play music, the phone will do it over the BT connection because we paired it with "For Calls and Audio". After web page after page, I found the answers. If you edit the car's BT connection and uncheck Audio, it will retain the connection for calls, but then magically send the audio over the audio cable. And with much greater sound quality. To test it, change the volume on the phone, if it changes, then it's still using BT, if it doesn't change, then it's using USB and the car's volume knob will adjust it. I just went out and proved this to myself over lunch. So now I'm not un-happy with AndroidAuto music. WOOT.
      There is also a mode of MPT, where your phone mounts as a data device and the car can play the MP3s from it. I know my Accord did this, but I have not done this with AA, AA always launches Google Play Music or PowerAMP and plays that way from the phone.

      Hope this helps.

    29. #27
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      With Pandora, unless things have changed, the Volvo app will offer better quality for most people. See my post above about limited quality in the mobile app.

      With Spotify, if you set the quality in the phone to maximum you will get the best possible quality and the phone app works considerably better (buffering, most browsing, etc.) in most cases. The Volvo Sensus app is nowhere near as well developed as the Android and iOS apps.
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      Quote Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post
      Ok.. since I posted this I've been on a research binge. And found that I'm both wrong and right. By default, we are most likely to get our car, and BT pair the phone to it, and then get the cable for AA and test that out after. Likely we did the BT pairing at the dealer. By default, if we launch AA and play music, the phone will do it over the BT connection because we paired it with "For Calls and Audio". After web page after page, I found the answers. If you edit the car's BT connection and uncheck Audio, it will retain the connection for calls, but then magically send the audio over the audio cable. And with much greater sound quality. To test it, change the volume on the phone, if it changes, then it's still using BT, if it doesn't change, then it's using USB and the car's volume knob will adjust it. I just went out and proved this to myself over lunch. So now I'm not un-happy with AndroidAuto music. WOOT.
      There is also a mode of MPT, where your phone mounts as a data device and the car can play the MP3s from it. I know my Accord did this, but I have not done this with AA, AA always launches Google Play Music or PowerAMP and plays that way from the phone.

      Hope this helps.
      Great find. Such a noticable difference.

    31. #29
      Member Bmo Pete's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post
      Ok.. since I posted this I've been on a research binge. And found that I'm both wrong and right. By default, we are most likely to get our car, and BT pair the phone to it, and then get the cable for AA and test that out after. Likely we did the BT pairing at the dealer. By default, if we launch AA and play music, the phone will do it over the BT connection because we paired it with "For Calls and Audio". After web page after page, I found the answers. If you edit the car's BT connection and uncheck Audio, it will retain the connection for calls, but then magically send the audio over the audio cable. And with much greater sound quality. To test it, change the volume on the phone, if it changes, then it's still using BT, if it doesn't change, then it's using USB and the car's volume knob will adjust it. I just went out and proved this to myself over lunch. So now I'm not un-happy with AndroidAuto music. WOOT.
      There is also a mode of MPT, where your phone mounts as a data device and the car can play the MP3s from it. I know my Accord did this, but I have not done this with AA, AA always launches Google Play Music or PowerAMP and plays that way from the phone.

      Hope this helps.
      Thank you for this!
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    32. #30
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      I figured this out the hard way. I have a 2018 V90cc paired with iPhone 7 & 10. I noticed the sound through the USB connection while using Spotify was terrible. After much trial and error, I turned off the “equalizer” inside of Spotify. Problem solved.

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