Firefox microphone woes

Hi! I’ve been using Chrome/Chromium for meet.jit.si, but it’s been crashing with Jitsi too often, so I’ve switched to Firefox. Unfortunately, Firefox doesn’t seem to work very well with microphones. I’m using Debian GNU/Linux, but my friends with Microsoft Windows 10 and Apple MacOS are having similar troubles.

  1. Microphones options (the chevron to the upper right of the Mic button) are greyed out and inaccessible.
  2. Builtin array microphones sound terrible.
    a. On Windows (with an Dell XPS-13 9310 with latest OS updates) there are loud whooshing noises.
    b. On MacOS (with an M1 iMac, again latest OS) the volume of the person’s voice goes down, unpredictably, but perhaps having to do with if they are facing the wrong direction or are off camera.

These bugs do not occur when the microphone is accessed using Chromium/Chrome, however other video conference programs seem to work okay with Firefox, so I’m thinking there must be something Jitsi Meet could do differently.

Are these known bugs?

BTW, the WebRTC crashes are fixed in the latest versions of Chrome/ium.

I haven’t seen the issues described in (2) with Firefox, neither on my M1 Macbook Air nor my Linux desktop, but they are out of the control of Jitsi Meet. The browser accesses the audio devices, streams the audio, applies audio processing etc. Jitsi Meet (in common with all other WebRTC apps) just gets a list of devices and tells the browser which to use based on your selection. The audio quality issues described should be reported as bugs to Firefox if they don’t occur in Chrome/ium on the same computer.

(1) is because Firefox doesn’t support audio input selection for WebRTC. You can find the (9 year old) bug report here: 880312 - [meta] Let the user switch between input devices during a WebRTC call

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Thank you for the helpful info.

Even though it is not technically a bug in Jitsi Meet, it would be helpful if, instead of greying it out, the microphone chevron was clickable and showed a little message reading,

“We’re sorry, but your browser (Firefox 99) does not provide audio input controls. Please use your operating system settings to select the microphone or try a different browser.”

I’m surprised that your M1 Macbook Air does not have any issue using Firefox and Jitsi Meet. Perhaps the M1 iMac has a different version of the phase array microphone. However, are you positive there is not a problem? The person I spoke to who has an iMac did not know her audio was going in and out because she’d never had a problem using Facebook’s video calls with Firefox. Nobody on the Jitsi Meet call told her until I got curious about it and asked if others were having trouble hearing her. It seemed her volume was fine if she was looking into the camera and speaking at a moderately loud volume. But, when she was turned away, speaking somewhat softly, her voice was severely attenuated. I was not able to find out more as she switched to her Linux laptop and that worked fine with Jitsi Meet.

This could be filed as a feature request at Issues · jitsi/jitsi-meet · GitHub

I’m surprised that your M1 Macbook Air does not have any issue using Firefox and Jitsi Meet. Perhaps the M1 iMac has a different version of the phase array microphone. However, are you positive there is not a problem? The person I spoke to who has an iMac did not know her audio was going in and out because she’d never had a problem using Facebook’s video calls with Firefox. Nobody on the Jitsi Meet call told her until I got curious about it and asked if others were having trouble hearing her. It seemed her volume was fine if she was looking into the camera and speaking at a moderately loud volume. But, when she was turned away, speaking somewhat softly, her voice was severely attenuated. I was not able to find out more as she switched to her Linux laptop and that worked fine with Jitsi Meet.

It sounds like it’s at least partially a subjective experience, but I have just tried again and I can’t reproduce anything like the issue you describe on my M1 MacBook Air. The audio is the same whether I use Firefox stable, Firefox nightly, Chrome 95 or Safari 15, and the attenuation as I turn side to side is also the same across browsers, and not particularly severe. It sounds like a fascinating issue to debug if you’re able to find out any more, though!