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Turn off anything with voice activation. At least on apple stuff is audio in and out is enabled, it'll drop/split the bandwidth. Waze, siri, cortana etc, anything that supports automatic speech recognition ( ASR ).
 
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The tech at the dealership couldn’t do anything about it. All software was up to date. He said the notes from the work order would be forwarded to GM, but to not expect a fix and to use an aux cable as a permanent workaround.

The tech was a guitarist, and could clearly hear the distortion. We tried it out on his Android phone on a few Foo Fighters songs, and he described the effect: “that chord is shifting between A and A flat”.

Is there any way to contact GM directly about this?


@Fulgerite: Bluetooth and USB both have the issue. A 3.5mm aux cable does not.
Hi RawwrBag,

We always appreciate both the positive and constructive feedback, and can assure you that we do take this feedback quite seriously. With your permission, I'd like to feed this back to our engineers and design team, but prior to doing that, we'd appreciate any additional info you'd be willing to share. If you're comfortable, please private message us with your VIN, your name, the make/model of your Volt and any additional thoughts related to your vehicle's audio playback concerns. Thank you for taking the time to share some additional thoughts with us.

Best,
Vivian K.
Chevrolet Customer Care
 

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Hi RawwrBag,

We always appreciate both the positive and constructive feedback, and can assure you that we do take this feedback quite seriously. With your permission, I'd like to feed this back to our engineers and design team, but prior to doing that, we'd appreciate any additional info you'd be willing to share. If you're comfortable, please private message us with your VIN, your name, the make/model of your Volt and any additional thoughts related to your vehicle's audio playback concerns. Thank you for taking the time to share some additional thoughts with us.

Best,
Vivian K.
Chevrolet Customer Care
Thanks for the response on behalf of Chevrolet. Would you like all of us to send a PM with our data and experiences or do you want to work with one person as a representative of the group? I just happen to be traveling this week and received a Malibu as my rental car. I am experiencing the exact same issue described here in that car as well to this definitely appears to be Mylink related rather than volt-specific.
 

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...this definitely appears to be Mylink related rather than volt-specific
Just thought I would add my 2 cents in case anyone was interested. I can confirm that this is DEFINITELY NOT limited to volts. I just bought a brand new 2015 Camaro (with Boston audio package), and am experiencing this exact issue when using Bluetooth to stream music. Radio and XM seem to be unaffected, and I have not had a chance to try out a 3.5mm yet. I am currently running an iPhone 6 Plus with iOS 8.4.

...GM have now confirmed (the pitch oscillation) is a "characteristic" and not something that Panasonic considers to be a problem.
I am a big fan of GM, but this is clearly not a desired "characteristic" of ANY audio infotainment system, guys. As far as MyLink is concerned, this is a critical bug that renders most of the system pretty worthless. I am sincerely hoping that there is a dev team SOMEWHERE with this on their board. When we were sold these vehicles, we were eagerly pitched a system that could integrate with our phones/devices via a wireless connection. At the very least I think we deserve an explanation on what is going wrong with our cars, and why exactly the decision was made to not fix this glaring problem (if this is indeed the case).


UPDATE:
I finally had a little time to play around a bit with my wave generator. Checked all frequencies between 400Hz and 1200Hz (with a step size of about 50Hz). As stated above, this was a 2015 Camaro using an iPhone 6 Plus running 8.4. I realize that this is a Volt forum, but I thought I would post my findings here as well in case anyone is curious.

Bluetooth: Pitch is clearly oscillating up and down about 10-15Hz each second. This is especially apparent at or above 1000Hz. Oscillations are less noticeable but definitely still present all the way down to 400Hz. Turning the phone's WIFI off does not seem to have any effect. There seems to be an inconsistent delay (about 10-30 seconds) between when the tone begins playing and when the pitch actually begins to vary. Turning the system on and off does not seem to have any effect.

USB: Unable to create any noticeable oscillation. I could have sworn I was hearing it when playing music earlier today, however I will concede that I must have imagined this. In my specific case, using the USB connection seems to be a viable work-around until the defect is identified and corrected.
 

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I have a 2014 Volt, and I also have the audio playback issue. I just took my car in to be serviced, and I tried to describe the issue to the technician. He didn't quite understand, and I didn't really have the ability to explain it well. They did a software update, but I'm still having the problem. Thankfully, I just found this forum, so I know I'm not the only one having this issue. I'm also a musician-it seems like we are the ones that notice the problem. Surprising that this isn't noticed by everyone, since I can't even listen to music in the car through my phone because the sound is so bad.
 

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I submitted my info to Vivian K. from Chevrolet about this issue and haven't heard anything back. Has anyone else?

Edit: I did hear back. Seems like my notification settings went south.
 

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2014 chevy malibu Bluetooth audio quality.

I have the 2014 chevy Malibu, and I have the same problem with the pitch shift! I am not even a musician and I don't have a trained ear. it sounds especially obvious when a piano is featured in the song. It is the most frustrating thing in the world. I just took it to the dealer and they claim "they can't hear any problems" Has anyone been able to solve this problem? because it seems like GM is boldface denying it's existence?
It's not my phone, because my phone streams beautifully over other Bluetooth devices. (Galaxy s5)
 

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I have rented a 2014 Camaro and 204ish Malibu. Both had the problem. It's not noticeable really for most songs, but if you are very familiar with the song or it has a piano or something that's not supposed to have a vibrato on it, it's extremely noticeable and I no longer rent Chevrolet because of this problem. I'm a musician, but I don't think you have to be a musician to be annoyed through the roof by this. It's like the sample rate clocks are speeding up and slowing down in the system. Not Good!! - Anyone know if they know about this?
 

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I wanted to jump in as well, even though I'm not a Volt owner. Took delivery today of a 2015 Malibu 2LT. As I brought it into the garage for the first time, I decided to just play with the audio system a bit. Immediately, I realized the audio sounded very "warbled" , like listening to a record that wasn't playing at a constant speed. I was using my Galaxy Note 4 via Bluetooth. I reset the connection, deleted the phone from the MyLink connection, and re setup everything. Same issue, about 1 minute after the music started. I tried different apps and all did the same thing. Pandora on the MyLink did it was well.

I found this thread and am thankful I'm not losing it. However, I'm pretty discouraged given it doesn't appear any "fix" has been found, other than using the aux port. While that is doable, it sure removes a lot of functionality that I was excited to have via bluetooth, and is just not as efficient. Not to mention, bluetooth isn't a new technology, and I have many devices (speakers, headphones, etc...) that work great with my phone.

I am going to my dealer on Monday and honestly, this is such a big deal for me, that I may just push to return the vehicle and go after a different vehicle. I don't know why more people aren't seeing this happen, but I don't want to be one of the lucky ones with a brand new, $25,000 vehicle, especially if no fix is being sought by GM.

So GM, if you're watching this still, add another owner to the list of those who have this issue.
 

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A couple more details to add after running some tests this morning.

I can confirm that only the Bluetooth function is affected by the issue. And I can also confirm it's not an iOS OR Android issue. I connected both my phone (Galaxy Note 4) and my iPad (iOS 8) and both had the issue.

I tried the USB port playing both mp3 and m4a files, and all sounded fine. I also tried the AUX port from my phone and it was also fine.

So apparently, something in the path from the Bluetooth signal to the conversion from digital to analog within the MyLink system has an issue. It is something I can replicate every time, and I've been easily able to show others via a tone generator app I downloaded. The audio is fine for about 20-30 seconds, then it begins to oscillate with a clear and defined pattern.

Heading back to the dealer tomorrow for sure. If they can't offer me a fix, then I'm pushing to return the car and I'll go with a different manufacturer. They deal with Honda's too, so maybe I'll go that route. Very disappointing. As a born and raised, Michigan native, I was switching from a Honda to a GM product in an effort to support so many friends and family I have that work for GM. And I love the styling of many of the GM products and this new 2015 Malibu! But this "small" thing is not acceptable and really diminishes the ability to just love my new vehicle. I'm too much a music fan, which is why I bought the 2LT with the Pioneer 10 speaker system.

Glad I'm not alone! Thanks for posting all of your experiences everyone.
 

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I assume nothing ever came of this? I had an older iPhone 4S when I first got my Volt, so I thought that was to blame for the pitch shifting badly and sounding horrible over bluetooth. Now with a new iPhone the problem continues. It doesn't matter what app I use (Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music) if it's over Bluetooth, the pitch is shifting. Those people that only listen to pop/R&B may not notice, as many notes in that style of music are under a second in length, but when you listen to something slower, classical, piano, ballads, you can hear the notes "bend" as the pitch fluctuates and it sounds exactly like listening to an old cassette that's worn out and warbling. It's terrible. It sounds worse than a good tape deck did in 1983.

Same phones with our 2016 Equinox do NOT have this problem.

I will try to plug in from now on, but it's sad if GM hasn't developed the fix. These aren't unusually highly encoded MP3s that I am trying to play.
 

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UPDATE:
I finally had a little time to play around a bit with my wave generator. Checked all frequencies between 400Hz and 1200Hz (with a step size of about 50Hz). As stated above, this was a 2015 Camaro using an iPhone 6 Plus running 8.4. I realize that this is a Volt forum, but I thought I would post my findings here as well in case anyone is curious.

Bluetooth: Pitch is clearly oscillating up and down about 10-15Hz each second. This is especially apparent at or above 1000Hz. Oscillations are less noticeable but definitely still present all the way down to 400Hz. Turning the phone's WIFI off does not seem to have any effect. There seems to be an inconsistent delay (about 10-30 seconds) between when the tone begins playing and when the pitch actually begins to vary. Turning the system on and off does not seem to have any effect.

USB: Unable to create any noticeable oscillation. I could have sworn I was hearing it when playing music earlier today, however I will concede that I must have imagined this. In my specific case, using the USB connection seems to be a viable work-around until the defect is identified and corrected.
For Gen 1 readers new to this thread, you may have wondered why music streamed via Bluetooth from a mobile device sounds "out-of-tune" or distorted in terms of pitch. The problem is that Bluetooth streams don't playback accurately, but are subject to pitch "bending", i.e., they constantly oscillate slightly sharp and flat. The problem is also present to some degree using a USB cable to connect the mobile device. The problem is NOT present when the device is connected to the Aux input (3.5mm plug). It's also not present in music stored on a USB thumb drive. Note: the problem is not limited to the Volt, but has been reported in MyLink installations across the product line.

I was able to graphically demonstrate the problem by playing an MP3 of a steady tone at 440Hz (i.e., the A below Middle C) and a using frequency analyzer app. The results can be seen in the 10 second video clips below:

The Bluetooth stream is distorted plus-or-minus 3 cents of pitch:
https://youtu.be/OiRpDVK6hVo

The Aux input delivers the tone without distortion:
https://youtu.be/DGlx99Gusek

Some questions for the group:
= Does this problem persist in Gen 2 Volts?
= Does this problem persist with newer Android or iPhone models (e.g., iPhone 8 or X)?
= Has anyone figured out a fix?
 

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Thanks for the very thorough analysis. Having moved from a Gen 1 (2015) to Gen 2 (2017) Volt, and having experienced this in my Gen 1, I can confirm:
1. The problem does not exist in the Gen 2
2. The problem was with all iPhones through the iPhone 8. Have not tested/used Android.
3. The only fix I've discovered is to move to another car. I have seen this issue on all Chevy cars with MyLink 2015 and earlier. This includes Malibu and Cruze models. Chevy appears to have significantly updated the infotainment systems begining with the 2016 MY.
 

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Thanks for the updates! This has driven me nuts ever since getting my Volt!

I'm glad to know this isn't an issue on newer vehicles. Something to look forward to, though my 2014 (which ticked over 69000 last night) is showing no signs of needing to be replaced yet. These cars are solid!
 

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Thanks for the very thorough analysis. Having moved from a Gen 1 (2015) to Gen 2 (2017) Volt, and having experienced this in my Gen 1, I can confirm:
1. The problem does not exist in the Gen 2
2. The problem was with all iPhones through the iPhone 8. Have not tested/used Android.
3. The only fix I've discovered is to move to another car. I have seen this issue on all Chevy cars with MyLink 2015 and earlier. This includes Malibu and Cruze models. Chevy appears to have significantly updated the infotainment systems begining with the 2016 MY.
Thanks for the report! It's good to know the problem was fixed in Gen 2. For Gen 1 owners, the work-around is to either use an aux cable or load the music onto a USB thumb drive.
 

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Following this thread made me curious, so I decided to check out my 2013 with the premium audio package. I am not a musician, but have done much vocal work during my life and have been involved with design and operation of both residential and commercial audio. Even though I much prefer using a USB stick over Bluetooth, I wanted to see what this problem was like.

I first spent about 45 minutes in the car, making back to back comparisons of the same tracks via BT and USB. Tracks varied from fast to slow, country to classical. EQ on iPhone 6 was flat, same tone settings on both inputs on car system. I could not hear the pitch deviation as outlined in the thread, and finally quit the comparison test.

The next day I downloaded a signal generator app and spent another 1/2 hr playing tones from 300 - 1200 cps with the same result - as best as I could determine I heard no pitch deviation. I would like to have put a scope on the output, but had sold my equipment when we moved the last time.

So - although the Gen 1 audio leaves much to be desired as compared to some previous cars, I could not hear this fault. I enjoy good audio, and I don't believe I have a "tin ear" - but - my son-in-law is a serious audiophile, and the next time I am with him I'll run the same tests and see what he can or cannot hear. Meanwhile I still like USB sticks for convenience, and they seem to work flawlessly in the car.
 

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...I first spent about 45 minutes in the car, making back to back comparisons of the same tracks via BT and USB. Tracks varied from fast to slow, country to classical. EQ on iPhone 6 was flat, same tone settings on both inputs on car system. I could not hear the pitch deviation as outlined in the thread, and finally quit the comparison test.

The next day I downloaded a signal generator app and spent another 1/2 hr playing tones from 300 - 1200 cps with the same result - as best as I could determine I heard no pitch deviation. I would like to have put a scope on the output, but had sold my equipment when we moved the last time....
Thanks for the report. Perhaps the 2013MY wasn’t affected?

Here’s what a test tone played via Bluetooth sounds like in my 2015 Volt. It was streamed from my iPhone 6s and analyzed on my iPad using an app called Cleartune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiRpDVK6hVo.
 

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Thanks for the report. Perhaps the 2013MY wasn’t affected?

Here’s what a test tone played via Bluetooth sounds like in my 2015 Volt. It was streamed from my iPhone 6s and analyzed on my iPad using an app called Cleartune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiRpDVK6hVo.
Wow! That is far more than just annoying - it would be impossible to listen to any music with that kind of deviation. I experienced nothing remotely like that while I was playing with the system. I think I will download Cleartune and play with this some more.
 

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Wow! That is far more than just annoying - it would be impossible to listen to any music with that kind of deviation. I experienced nothing remotely like that while I was playing with the system. I think I will download Cleartune and play with this some more.
I’ll be interested in your test results. One suggestion: play a given tone for about a minute before switching. It seems that the error is induced after about 30 seconds of ‘normal’ streaming. A pretty good description can be found in this thread’s post #18, from July '14:
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?97946-Bluetooth-music-playback-flat&p=2506818#post2506818
 

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I’ll be interested in your test results. One suggestion: play a given tone for about a minute before switching. It seems that the error is induced after about 30 seconds of ‘normal’ streaming. A pretty good description can be found in this thread’s post #18, from July '14:
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?97946-Bluetooth-music-playback-flat&p=2506818#post2506818
Don:

Finally had time to pursue this. I found that my 2013 system faithfully reproduced the output of the signal generator. In fact, when I tested playing the signal generator on the iPhone directly into the freg measuring app on the iPad, I found a slight variation of 1cps, and the Bluetooth playback duplicated it exactly. But there was no other overall wavering or deviation of the signal. Maybe this was not an issue until 2014?

I did a little search on the web and it appears that this is a problem with many other car brands and Bluetooth devices, and nobody seems to have an answer or fix. Ain't technology grand? Looks like usb sticks are the best work-around.
 
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