Exclusive: iPod 4G Audio Problems? | iLounge News


Exclusive: iPod 4G Audio Problems?

picIn extended testing of Apple’s new fourth-generation iPods, iLounge has discovered and reported to Apple an apparent manufacturing defect affecting the headphone jacks of certain new iPod hardware. The defect manifests as audible static and noise interference in the earphones that is most prominent whenever a new iPod’s hard disk is accessed. Similar interference was not detectable through line out (Dock Connector) output.

Users of affected iPods will be able to hear a hard disk-like whirring sound in their earphones, coupled with several seconds of light static at the start of a song that has just been loaded. This should not be confused with the quiet hard disk loading sounds that an iPod makes, which sounds are not audible through earphones, or with normal static-like compression artifacts in your audio.

To test your iPod while eliminating the possibility that static from your music or headphones may be responsible, use iTunes to encode several three- to five-minute compact disc tracks using Apple’s Lossless Audio encoder, transfer them to your iPod, then connect the earbuds packaged with your new iPod. Find the directory or create a playlist with only the Lossless tracks, and skip back and forth between them. Hold your iPod at a distance or cover it up so that you can’t hear its normal internal hard disk sounds. If your iPod has a problem, at the start of each loaded song, you should hear a loading pause, then a whirring sound and light static in your ears at a normal volume level. If it does not have a problem, the song should load and play without audio interference.

iLounge has confirmed that this interference does not affect all new iPod hardware. Of the three units we purchased for evaluation, both of the 40GB iPods exhibit the same problem, but the 20GB iPod does not. Unfortunately, some new iPod users have reported that the problem exists in their new 20GB iPods, as well. The units we know to be affected were manufactured in China, shipped from Shanghai, and ordered directly from Apple.

An Apple representative is currently looking into the report, and the company has had no further comment. Please report your findings using the Comments link below.

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oh dear.

Posted by Jay UK on July 26, 2004 at 5:59 PM (CDT)


Just tested out my 40 GB 4th generation with the songs I currently have on it. I don’t seem to notice the sound at loading, but I have not had a chance yet to try it with the Apple Lossless Encoder. The songs I have on it right now are Itunes downloads.

I do however, hear a lot of static when I am changing the volume while a song is playing. Is this normal? I scroll either direction on the clickwheel and I hear static while I am scrolling. When I stop, it stops. However, this is distracting.

Posted by Doug Cure on July 26, 2004 at 6:11 PM (CDT)


I have experienced this problem with my new 40GB both in the earphones, and while using the docks line-out.

My 4G was ordered directly from Apple, and shipped from Shanghai.

Posted by Ketchup on July 26, 2004 at 6:23 PM (CDT)


If you’re a new iPod owner (20 or 40 gig) and are having no issues, please also feel free to report that as well so that we can get some additional sense of the scope of this. Thanks.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 26, 2004 at 6:35 PM (CDT)


Do you still hear the static, etc., when the remote is plugged in?

Posted by Ben Rosenthal on July 26, 2004 at 6:49 PM (CDT)


Knock on wood, no such problems with my 4G 20GB iPod. Purchased from a local Apple Store.

Posted by JM on July 26, 2004 at 6:55 PM (CDT)


I’m not intimately familiar with the iPod Mini static problems… but this seems quite similar.  Am I right?

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on July 26, 2004 at 7:02 PM (CDT)


You know i could always hear my harddrive reving up through my speakers when I used the iTrip with my 3g..

But never through the headfones…
Come on apple, get it together man..


Posted by Eric on July 26, 2004 at 7:11 PM (CDT)


20 Gig Purchased from Apple Store
No Ripping using Apple lossless all variable mp3’s

Posted by Greg Salisbury on July 26, 2004 at 7:13 PM (CDT)


Sorry no problems detected

Forgot to mention that tid bit

Posted by Greg Salisbury on July 26, 2004 at 7:17 PM (CDT)


Happily, my new 40GB is working perfectly.  No smudges, streaks or static.

Posted by Isis on July 26, 2004 at 7:35 PM (CDT)


With any file when the hard drive is loading files, I hear a very very faint high-pitched squeal - the kind you’d hear from electronic devices - for maybe 3 seconds until the hard disk shuts off.  No static though.  I can only hear it when the song playing is very quiet at the beginning and I’m in a very quiet room.  Otherwise, I can’t hear it at all if any music is playing.  If I put in headphones rather than earbuds, I don’t hear it. 

So, no problem here on my iPod.

Posted by Phil on July 26, 2004 at 8:09 PM (CDT)


new 40 gig 4G iPod here, purchased from local Apple Store.  no problems so far, will test with more lossless files until i am satisfied…

Posted by dan on July 26, 2004 at 8:15 PM (CDT)


I have a 40gb model and no problems so far.  I bought mine at Best Buy.

Posted by Benny on July 26, 2004 at 8:38 PM (CDT)


I’m gonna be really pissed if mine (which is currently being shipped from Shanghai, unfortunately) has problems after waiting a week for it to ship.  Is there anyone who received theirs from Shanghai who has NOT had any problems…....?

Please tell me there is someone….

Posted by Adam on July 26, 2004 at 8:40 PM (CDT)


I got a 20gb shipped from Shanghai.

I tested mine with just the files I already had on my player (regular mp3) after about 50 files I noticed that only once did I get this sort of thing, and that only when the volume was down so low I could barely hear the song.

I was using the apple earphones.

I never would’ve noticed it had it not been pointed out on this board, and I really don’t think it will bother me at all….hopefully.


Posted by Allison on July 26, 2004 at 8:50 PM (CDT)



i am in the same boat as you: waiting and hoping mine is also not affected. I too will be royally pissed!

Posted by Essdee on July 26, 2004 at 9:03 PM (CDT)


40Gb shipped from Shanghai, no problems thus far

Posted by dawntreader101 in VA on July 26, 2004 at 9:07 PM (CDT)


third person here waiting and hoping my 20 gig coming in from shanghai won’t be messed up (crossing fingers)

Posted by Gko on July 26, 2004 at 9:14 PM (CDT)


All early-run products from all companies have a chance of defects greater than the same units a month later. Scrutinize any product in detail and you’ll shy away from being an early-adopter. This, of course, is what warranties are for.

Now, my crystal ball reveals the following headline on C-Net tomorrow:

“Dark Clouds Over Cupertino: Much-Hyped New iPods Dead in the Water, Duped Customers Outraged”


Posted by Nagromme on July 26, 2004 at 9:38 PM (CDT)

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