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Old 9th Mar 2020, 9:10 am   #1
Test Desk
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Default Music On Hold

Having maintained a variety of PABX's in the past, I'm aware that many of them used a tape loop to provide MOH. My question is: in this digital age, why does a lot of MOH still sound like it's coming from a worn out tape machine with massive wow and flutter and scratchy reproduction?
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Old 9th Mar 2020, 9:33 am   #2
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Default Re: Music On Hold

When I worked for BT we had MOH units that we loaded from a tape ( the kit was digital but the tape was not ) I still have the Philips tape deck . Much later we used wav files for MOH with adverts in the middle

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Old 9th Mar 2020, 10:54 am   #3
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Default Re: Music On Hold

I used to maintain a MOH system as part of the small PABX at my old work, 6 years ago. This was all digital and ran from a Windows server in conjunction with dedicated PABX hardware.

This suffered from the same problem even though everything was up to spec and I was told it was due to the compression / bandwidth used over the lines. It was understandably even worse when listening to it on a mobile.

Remember, phone lines were designed to transmit voice with a limited range of frequencies, not music. But still, I wonder why they don't 'optimise' MOH tracks to be low-bandwidth friendly. The ones we used were paid for royalty-free tracks specially for telephone use (I still have a copy somewhere!!) so I am surprised they did not make them more fit for purpose.
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Old 9th Mar 2020, 4:27 pm   #4
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Test Desk View Post
Having maintained a variety of PABX's in the past, I'm aware that many of them used a tape loop to provide MOH. My question is: in this digital age, why does a lot of MOH still sound like it's coming from a worn out tape machine with massive wow and flutter and scratchy reproduction?
I never encountered a tape loop for MOH, but it was common to find a Diskman style portable CD player set to auto-repeat connected to the MOH port of a system. They worked very well, as long as the level was adjusted intelligently.
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Old 9th Mar 2020, 4:48 pm   #5
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Quote:
Originally Posted by donutty View Post
I used to maintain a MOH system as part of the small PABX at my old work, 6 years ago. This was all digital and ran from a Windows server in conjunction with dedicated PABX hardware.

This suffered from the same problem even though everything was up to spec and I was told it was due to the compression / bandwidth used over the lines. It was understandably even worse when listening to it on a mobile.

<snip>

I wonder why they don't 'optimise' MOH tracks to be low-bandwidth friendly.
I did some experiments using Audacity to compress music to make it sound subjectively better when transcoded, particularly when GSM was in the mix.

As Vivaldi is so commonly used for MOH, my test track was "Largo e pianissimo sempre (in C♯ minor)" I particularly trying to reduce the annoying "VOX" effect you get with quiet passages, as you hit the lowest bit defining the dynamic range.
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Old 9th Mar 2020, 7:59 pm   #6
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Even the first-generation Cisco Call Manager software I deployed 20 years ago had smart-support that differentiated between analog legacy-landline and digital/mobile callers, so we could deliver MOH audibly optimised to their individual listening-experience.

Back then my clients were mainly financial-institutions, and my licensed MOH was in lter years "Intro" by The XX - https://youtu.be/NHMAx7AmK70

or earlier, "The Sun always Shines (on TV)" by A-Ha - https://youtu.be/a3ir9HC9vYg

with the inevitable every-couple-of-minutes "We are a company licensed by the Financial Services Authority" interjection.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 1:39 am   #7
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Most of the Panasonic variants I installed came with a music port. I had one subsidiary of a German company look at WW2 CD's for on hold. The KXTD series came with a built in music chip. Most oft job was to take it out and fit a CD player.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 9:35 am   #8
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Ah, Vivaldi's four seasons..... now there was MOH perfect for implying to captive listeners that they could he holding the phone to their ear for a significant part of a year

The amazing thing about music is that no matter what you play, it's sure to offend someone.

There are worse things than MOH.

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Old 10th Mar 2020, 9:40 am   #9
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Default Re: Music On Hold

The trouble with having decent music when on hold is that it is ruined by frequent interruptions to reassure that the call is important and will be dealt with as soon as an operative becomes available.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 10:48 am   #10
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Also, any music is "ruined" in that when you hear it again, it immediately reminds you of a frustrating wait to speak to a call centre.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 9:06 pm   #11
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Default Re: Music On Hold

I remember spending ages on the phone to a small firm of solicitors with a stylophone version of Thine Be The Glory (first two lines only).

I added MOS to a phone with one of the Maplin three-wire music generator chips (I'd like to teach the world to sing) wired into the microphone connections.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 9:43 pm   #12
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Default Re: Music On Hold

The accounting firm I used to be with had a Denon 5 disc CD player with Mantovani CDs as MOH, until it was damaged in a break-in (apparently accountants have lots of money on-premises - not - all they got was the social club booze and less than $100 of petty cash, but caused a lot of other damage). I sourced a Teac replacement, but told them the discs might be damaged too so substituted some of my own, swapping them out regularly. Almost got caught out when a rather colourful one-liner on a live Crowded House CD was picked up by a caller!

Most systems I see at client sites now either have stock royalty-free music built in, or a cheap MP3 player or radio plugged in. The royalty-free option is good, fees from APRA are per line and can get up there, although I can virtually guarantee the phone guys never bother to advise customers of that.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 11:00 pm   #13
60 oldjohn
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Default Re: Music On Hold

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Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
Also, any music is "ruined" in that when you hear it again, it immediately reminds you of a frustrating wait to speak to a call centre.

Not with this.

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Old 10th Mar 2020, 11:02 pm   #14
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Ah
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 11:14 pm   #15
60 oldjohn
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Default Re: Music On Hold

It's a music box, I doubt you would hear this anywhere else.

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Old 11th Mar 2020, 7:15 am   #16
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Amazing! I saw one on Dukenukem's site, I think.

http://www.thevalvepage.com/oddsod/oddsod.htm
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Old 11th Mar 2020, 7:36 pm   #17
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Default Re: Music On Hold

Plusnet did (DO, Probably) use MOH but only from local bands, they tell me. Sheffield. Unfortunately, it is very loud and compressed in my opinion and it repeats fairly often. After a while it becomes very annoying. No doubt to the lack of "decent music" available? I think "ABC" were a local band, "The look of love", but I have never heard it played.
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Old 11th Mar 2020, 10:22 pm   #18
60 oldjohn
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Default Re: Music On Hold

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Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
Amazing! I saw one on Dukenukem's site, I think.

http://www.thevalvepage.com/oddsod/oddsod.htm

That's the one, well spotted / remembered. Just wind it up and placing the handpiece on the rest presses the on button and there is music, if you can call it that. I had not seen another until you pointed it out. (I had music taking the last picture)

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Old 11th Mar 2020, 10:52 pm   #19
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Default Re: Music On Hold

I want one - just the job for those annoying people who 'phone up trying to sell you something or scam you.

"Please hold the line..."
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Old 11th Mar 2020, 11:10 pm   #20
60 oldjohn
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I want one - just the job for those annoying people who 'phone up trying to sell you something or scam you.

"Please hold the line..."
I have actually done this, years ago Freeview had a channel with music one tune and the Freeview logo, they got that.

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