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Why has no one fixed the Android Auto playing audio through USB issue yet? 0 Recommended Answers 72 Replies 110 Upvotes
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Last edited 3 days ago
I have disabled audio through USB, but it seems AA is overriding this.

I'm driving a Mercedes Benz GLE Coupe with Bang & Olufsen speakers and it kills me that the sound is so flat...

I am using a galaxy s10+.
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Hey Marcus,
Thanks for your feedback. Could you explain in more detail on the issue you are experiencing? Is there an issue with sound quality? Please provide the following information below. Thanks! 
  • Error message: if available  
  • Are you using Android Auto on your phone screen or car’s display?
  • Does the issue occur outside of Android Auto app?
  • Car / head unit make & model: if you use Android Auto on your car display
  • Phone make & model:
  • Android OS version:
  • Android Auto app version:
  • Google Play services version: (Settings > Apps (or Apps & notifications > App info) > Google Play services)
  • Media app name & version:
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Hi Paul!

There are no error messages, but it's the audio quality that is the issue here.

The audio is very flat compared to when playing over Bluetooth. (I know this is a big issue with Android Auto) I cannot access the EQ settings on my head unit while using Android Auto and I believe this to be the main issue (the settings are set to 0 for every individual media on this car so that you can alter each to preferred setting)

I am using AA on the car's display.
This issue does not occur outside the AA app.
Car model: Mercedes Benz GLE 43 Coupe AMG with B&O Sound system.
Phone model: Samsung Galaxy s10+
Android version: 9
AA app version: 4.0590434 (this issue has been here with all previous versions as well)
Google Play Services version: 16.0.89
Media app name: Spotify v. (but this also occurs while playing media from SD card with samsung player and google play music)

I have tried (as stated) to disable audio through USB in the developer settings, but it seems AA is overriding this.

Please advice! 

marked this as an answer
Hi Marcus.
When you connect the phone to the car USB is used to transport the audio. The format used to send the audio to the car is a PCM, 44.1Khz, 16bit, Stereo format, n other words CD quality, with no compression at all.
Bluetooth will use specific sound codes for audio output and usually it will compress the sound as well, simply because BT bandwidth won't be able to handle above uncompressed data.
So technically USB there is no way for BT to produce better quality then USB, BUT I know in some cases the sound does sound worst over USB for some reasons.
I found that on some devices/cars the EQ/Mixer is not mixing the sources properly, putting Android Auto sound somehow on lower mode.  If you have an incorporated media player in the car, try to play an audio file from it, then connect the phone, it's a very very long shot, but it might help.
Also please do make sure your firmware on the car is up to date.  
marked this as an answer
Hey Emil.

Yeah I am aware that the BT audio is compressed compared to USB, but the weird thing is that I just cannot use my car EQ when using AA, while I am fully able to do this while playing normal media when AA is not activated.

I actually tried to play media with the normal player and then plug in and start AA yesterday, but all it does is stop my media until I press play again inside AA and then the sound automatically switches over to the USB audio mode. (Meaning it plays from the AA app on the car display).

Is there no way for AA to get a "Play media from Bluetooth" function? I mean I am seeing tons and tons of various people complaining about this issue for a very long time now and no one seems to know how to solve this.

Mercedes is completely useless when it comes to this, cuz they are just blaming AA so this community is my only hope atm.

marked this as an answer
Hi Marcus.

Sadly no there is no way to achieve this. If you cannot access the EQ while Android Auto is working, that more or less underpins what I've sad with poor implementation. I saw exact same behaviour on cheap Chinese Android powered headunits, (I do have an app which allows you to run Android Auto on those units same way like you run it on your Mercedes) and there it's caused by the way they implement the "mix" of sound sources. I suspect it's a similar issue on the Mercedes as well.

To answer your question more in detail, no you cannot simply disable the audio output over USB, I did try to achieve this and hacked into the connection fooling the phone to think that the car does not support audio output, but in this case Android Auto won't launch at all on the phone, because it expects the car to have at least one media channel available. Android Auto does use 3 media channels, one for all the media, one for TTS/Notifications and one for System alerts. If I trick the phone to say car only supports system alerts, then the sound will stay on the phone, it won't be sent over USB, so if you are connected to a BT speaker it will work as you expect, BUT when Android Auto is running A2DP on the receiver units will be disabled, so you won't here anything.
marked this as an answer
So the ball is back in the hands of Mercedes again...

Well it's easy to say that this problem will never be solved then.

I don't understand how such a big company as Mercedes Benz cannot achieve this easily. Their tech department cannot be that many years behind, and my car was literally produced 6 months ago...

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Really sorry :(
Indeed sometimes it makes you wonder, and they have a similar approach to the WideScreen as well... :(
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Well they did just spend tons of money on their own MBUX so on one hand I understand it, but my car is juuuust too old to not get the face lift version.

And then it seems like they kinda just forget about you.

Really makes you feel like a valued customer...

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Audio over usb in AA is terrible. It is flat and the level output is very low. Bluetooth sounds much much better in my car. This is something they need to fix OR simply add the functionality to push AA audio over bluetooth. 2017 Audi S3
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3 days
Yeah I can confirm this exact problem with an Volkswagen Arteon 2018 with their premium sound system, sounds fantastic with bluetooth but terrible with Android Auto. All firmware is up2date.
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