I uploaded a music file to our new phone system, why does the custom hold music sound distorted?

I uploaded a music file to our new phone system, why does the custom hold music sound distorted?


So, you’re like many businesses who have decided to make the move towards a new voip system like Cisco, or maybe a hosted solution like Ring Central.  Well, Congratulations! You’ll discover these technology packed phone systems offer many options for your telecommunications to run more effectively, and cost-efficiently. You instructed your IT dept to upload something for your waiting callers on hold to listen to, but you soon discover that when it comes to your music on hold sounds horrible!

Many telephone providers fail to inform “you” the customer, that when it comes to custom music on hold, not just any audio file will do! Onsite or Offsite server or cloud based phone systems require specific audio file formats, recording specs, size requirements, etc.  Audio files come in many different schemes, so it’s  not just a simple upload of any old mp3 you’ve decided to get from itunes.   Some of you may be familiar with .mp3 or .wav, but there’s also .vox, u-law, mu-law, Citt,  PCM and a number of other specific formats that must be defined in order for audio to work on certain phone systems. The bottom line, if your phone system uses an audio file upload as the music on hold source, the correct file format must be used. These files are highly compressed, as the phone system is designed to conserve memory. The file compression further reduces sound quality in many cases, unless it’s recorded and digitized properly. This is another reason why it’s always best to consult with a professional message on hold provider who can typically produce in any of the necessary formats.

Another item you need to concern yourself with is that unlike when an external music on hold player is installed allowing for audio to loop, with these system, your hold music file will start at the beginning each time a call is placed on hold. We received a call right before the holidays of a customer who was receiving numerous complaints from callers, because their music file always started in the same spot. Most songs and music files are lengthy, and take what seems like forever to change beat or tempo, so callers feel like they’re hearing the same thing, no matter how long they may be will to hold.

Don’t worry! We keep this in mind when designing your custom on hold recording for clients with VOIP systems. We know that if you have a long on-hold production, callers may not hear content placed in the fourth, fifth or sixth paragraph. For this reason, we keep each paragraph brief; about 10-15 seconds, and reduce the amount of time of music in between paragraphs. This allows for more information to be heard, with less repetition for frequent callers. Many clients have found this to be a great solution due to their phone system’s music on hold limitations.

Give us a call. We can help anyone with the proper audio file formats for their VOIP system’s custom music on hold.

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