I installed my new Ring Pro doorbell the other day, this is my first experience with Ring. The install went well, but in testing there is no way someone standing at the door can understand what is being said by the remote person, whether they are speaking in answer to the bell being pressed, or in a live view session. And it does not matter if the speaking person is on a phone or a PC with mic or from another device. If I download the live session from Ring, the audio sounds perfect – in both directions. But the audio heard at the door - at the Ring Pro – sounds like someone is speaking through a kazoo, or as if the Ring Pro speaker is blown. Occasionally you can discern a word or two if the person speaking has a higher pitched voice and speaks somewhat softly. But it’s rare to be able to understand more than a word or two. It does also seem as though the louder the source volume is (eg person speaking) , the worse the distortion. And I think at some point if I turn up the volume more from the source (eg person speaks still louder) at some point Ring seems to automatically reduce the volume coming out of the Ring Pro – and at that point I can’t hear the audio very well, let alone understand what is being said. Reading in this forum and other online technology forums, I tried all the remedies I could find, described as follows.
I started looking at network signal quality, even though my video quality is really good and solid and remains that way through all testing noted here. I started with the Ring health reporting RSSI in the range of -59 to -62 on a 2.4 Ghz SSID. I then tried a 5Ghz ssid that got me a bit more audio reliability, but not clarity. Then I placed an access point within 10 feet of the Ring Pro, on the other side of a wood and glass front door. The access point was set to enable a 5Ghz ssid on channel 161, dedicated only to the Ring Pro (wifi analysis tools inSSIDer & Win10 Wifi Analyzer showed that channel completely unoccupied). In that final set of tests my RSSI is in the range of -45 to -51, which is very strong and about as good as one can hope for, I think. This increased signal did not help at all. My audio is exactly the same at the Ring Pro, almost completely indecipherable. The audio is steady, you might even call it reliable since it does not cut in and out, it’s just tinny and garbled.
I also ran speed tests by hopping on the dedicated Ring Pro’s ssid and I get the following (on a tablet at the Ring Pro’s location outside): ping=11ms, jitter=0ms, download=21.5Mbps, uplink=17.7Mbps. The router has wifi built in, a ZTE ZXHN H198A and the access point I used to improve signal strength is a Dlink DAP-1522. The rest of my wired and wifi network has been extremely reliable for all sorts of devices, including crisp and clear VOIP phones via ooma.
While video quality remained (remains) superb, I next looked at the transformer being used for my mechanical chime. My transformer is only rated at 10VA and I measured 19 VAC on it (at rest, Ring Pro hooked up but no activity). So I killed power, disconnected the transformer and substituted my bench variac, set to 23 volts AC, and capable of 200VA. I turned on the variac, verified measured output voltage of 23 volts. The Ring Pro performed exactly the same as before – high quality video but totally garbled audio coming out of the Ring Pro speaker. I also looked at wiring. I do have low gauge (#22 I think) wiring, but the cable runs are short. Just two feet from the transformer to the chime on the other side of the wall, and about 15-20 feet from the Ring Pro to the chime. The chime only uses the Front door connection, and I am using the Ring Power adapter (V2 I think), which is installed across the “Trans” & “Front” terminals of the chime.
I read something about Samsung android phones causing audio issues with the timeline feature, and two of my tests were from such phones (Samsung S5). But I get the same garbled results in a live session run from my Windows 10 laptop microphone using the windows app. And I also tried speaking and generating audio (from an audio book) through an Amazon Echo (audio only via “Alexa, talk to front door”), with the same garbled result.
Still, given what was written about the Samsung android issues I tried disabling the timeline view in my account settings on all four android devices tested thus far. This too did not help, if anything the sound quality was slightly worse.
It seems to me I either have a defective speaker in my Ring Pro, or there is a firmware issue with Ring clipping the audio bandwidth or something like that. Ring Health reports my firmware is up to date. Another interesting data point is noteworthy: When setting up the Ring Pro, there is a female voice assistant that “speaks” from the Ring Pro, saying things like “This will take a minute, Rome wasn’t built in a day”. That voice sounds much better, much easier to understand. I think that points to Ring firmware and audio processing. We know that tiny speakers are generally capable of producing much better sound, for example the speakers in smart phones, cordless landline phones, etc. Given the number of people reporting issues like this on the web, I’m bummed about the sound quality, but still hopeful Ring can do something to fix it. Next call to Ring Support, after that I guess I’ll return it for refund.
I have attached a 90 second mp3 sound clip (zipped to allow posting here), recorded from a tablet sitting on a barstool 2 feet away from the ring pro outside the house. During the first half of the recording you can hear my voice talking in front of the ring pro, near the recording tablet. The rest of the recording is what the tablet hears (still 2 feet away from the ring pro) when the ring pro receives audio from a live session, wherein that audio is my voice followed by some audio from an audio book broadcast near my laptop microphone. Again, in all cases if I review/download the event from ring, all audio is crisp and clear.
Any help appreciated!