When you talk through the internet by using some programs like Skype or Hangout, the quality of the sound may not be good. What is the name of that quality? There are some idea in my mind, but I don't really satiate with:

  • Bad quality: It's not wrong, but it may not describe that quality exactly.
  • Noised, lagged and not cleared: more specific, but it's too long.

I have tried to search on the Skype's Speakers/Headphones Troubleshooter page, but they don't contain the word I'm looking.

  • It could be bad because of delay or because it's noisy. But if you're looking for a word meaning that it's noisy and has delay, I don't think there is one. Mar 2, 2015 at 15:59
  • Are lag and delay the same?
    – Ooker
    Mar 2, 2015 at 16:00
  • According to my correspondents, I'm sounding "like your shitting thru your mic, man". This might not be worth an answer.
    – npst
    Mar 2, 2015 at 20:18
  • More serious, the word "brassen" as in brass- or metal-like comes to mind, but i'm not a native speaker so i can't judge it.
    – npst
    Mar 2, 2015 at 20:19
  • 1
    @npst Brassen is not a word. The -en adjective derived from brass is brazen, whose meaning has evolved quite far from having anything to do with brass. The normal adjective for ‘resembling brass’ is brassy. But when you're describing sound that's distorted in a metallic kind of way, you'd normally call it canny or tinny. Mar 3, 2015 at 1:28

3 Answers 3


There are several networking terms that can apply here.

  • Poor quality indicates that there is an issue with the recording or playback of the audio. It can refer to the quality of the microphone, the ambient noise in the microphone's location, the processing capability of the computer to which the microphone is connected, the microphone's attempt to alleviate feedback, the quality of the speakers at the receiving end, or the processing capability of the computer receiving the audio.
  • Lag generally refers to the delay between transmission of the sound and reception of it. If the other person is listening to you through a set of speakers, you will sometimes hear an "echo" when your voice is played through the other's speakers.
  • Latency refers to the ability of the network to continuously stream the audio. This sounds like the other person is "breaking up" because the network is losing pieces of the audio stream.
  • I think latency is the one I'm looking for
    – Ooker
    Mar 3, 2015 at 9:54

Network issues aside, what you're generally hearing are audio compression artifacts:

Lossy audio compression typically works with a psychoacoustic model—a model of human hearing perception. When the psychoacoustic model is inaccurate, when the transform block size is restrained, or when aggressive compression is used, this may result in compression artifacts.

Compression artifacts in compressed audio typically show up as ringing, pre-echo, "birdie artifacts," drop-outs, rattling, warbling, metallic ringing, an underwater feeling, hissing, or "graininess."


I've experienced the same, where it pops and clicks sounding almost robotic.

Two options, one technical, one common:

Edit: somehow I missed the answer from @Gnawme; apologies for the duplicate of the audio compression.

  1. Audio compression artifacts Compression artifacts in compressed audio typically show up as ringing, pre-echo, "birdie artifacts", drop-outs, rattling, warbling, metallic ringing, an underwater feeling, hissing, or "graininess".

Source: Wikipedia

  1. Garbled

To cause (a word, name, message, etc.) to be unclear or confusing

To introduce textual error into (a message) by inaccurate encipherment, transmission, or decipherment

Source: Merriam-Webster

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