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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Well, it seems from the comments thus far, that the problem is isolated.  I wouldn’t have thought Apple would let the 4Gen slip out the door without doing a ton of research on the Mini problem with static.

I, however, am still concerned with this click-wheel design, and the problem with the Menu button failing…maybe it’s just a small percentage that are failing, but there are numerous threads, both here and on Apples discussion boards…I’ll just send it straight back to Apple if I get one like that…

Posted by bikepodmini on July 26, 2004 at 9:52 PM (CDT)


(That is, the Mini’s Click-Wheel, not the 4th Gen., just to clarify.)  Didn’t want to stir anyone up…

Posted by bikepodmini on July 26, 2004 at 9:59 PM (CDT)


Oh man. I ordered mine this morning (40 GB) and should have checked this site beforehand. I hadn’t heard about the sticky good, scratches, or static, and I was still under the impression that my iPod would come with a case and remote.

I should have mine by the end of this weekend, at which point I’ll test it out and post back here.

Posted by rhythmicmoose on July 26, 2004 at 10:15 PM (CDT)


My 20GB 4G shipped from California has no static problem.

Posted by choatie88 on July 26, 2004 at 10:15 PM (CDT)


I also had the high pitched squealing noises with my 3G while using an iTrip. I just deal with it. It only lasts like 3 seconds.

Posted by John on July 26, 2004 at 10:19 PM (CDT)


I just ordered my ipod 4g 20g today sadfully before reading this headline.  I have a problem though ... due to internet problems I was not able to finish the sale, and recieve my shipping tracking number cuz i want to see if its from Shanghai .... I checked with my Credit card company and they say the order went through.  Does anyone know how I can contact to find my shipping tracking number ?

Posted by Andrew on July 26, 2004 at 10:24 PM (CDT)


yea min is fine

Posted by my 5GB 4g has no static problems... on July 26, 2004 at 10:29 PM (CDT)


Do you think it’s a problem with the new feature that is,. You Can know here the clicker through the iPod Ear Phones” They might have internet sounds comming through there for some odd reason, and it might be fixed in a future software update, I hope. I’m just wondering if this might be the problem.

Posted by Kayle on July 26, 2004 at 10:38 PM (CDT)


Where did you come up with that info?  You say Apple discussions.  This cannot be true unless the “numerous threads” you refer to is a little exagerated.  I am watching the Apple disucussion boards on iPod usage and frequently posting, under a different name.  I have seen no thread on a bad click wheel.  Are you sure about your facts?

Also, There is a small handful of commplaints about this noise issue.  For everyone who has an iPod on the way, don’t let it concern you.  It really seems to be a small amount with this problem.  As I stated earlier mine is from Shanghai and is fine.  No sticky stuff, no bad menu button, no static.  I am very happy.  Everyone, relax and cross the bridge when you get there.

Posted by dawntreader101 in VA on July 26, 2004 at 10:39 PM (CDT)


i just ordered my 20G model today. approximately how long did it take to arrive?

Posted by Richard on July 26, 2004 at 10:40 PM (CDT)


i gots a 20 gig new one and i have had no probles with it ....its great

Posted by ronin on July 26, 2004 at 10:44 PM (CDT)


checked my 4g 20gb BatPod today using the technique described with apple lossless encoding; no problems detected. 

...I also couldn’t tell a difference between the lossless tracks and the 192kbps AAC encoded versions of the same songs.

...Brasso works! (Alfred insisted I put that bit in)

Posted by Batman on July 26, 2004 at 10:48 PM (CDT)


I used the replacement plan at Best Buy to exchange my 4 month old 3G 15gb for a 4G 20gb and I have had no sound problems with it. However, it did have a couple gooey smudges on it that I quickly did away with. Overall… very pleased with my upgrade (uptrade!).

Posted by Curtis on July 27, 2004 at 12:03 AM (CDT)


Found no problem with my 20GB 4G iPod which I bought at the local Apple Store in San Francisco.

I really hope the problem won’t show up later… Like after the one year warranty term…

Posted by coelacanth in San Francisco on July 27, 2004 at 12:43 AM (CDT)


No problem with my 4G 40GB here. Made in china; assumingly from Shanghai.

Posted by oplex on July 27, 2004 at 1:44 AM (CDT)


Yep…I’ve had (2) 40GB in a row with the problem.  Purchased from an Apple Store.

Posted by Jay Valentino on July 27, 2004 at 2:54 AM (CDT)


Just a comment for those testing for static, iPodlounge recommend using Apple Lossless files partly because it forces the iPod to access the hard drive when switching between songs. If you do these tests while using mp3 or AAC you may not get an accurate test result.

Posted by shelton on July 27, 2004 at 3:45 AM (CDT)


Geez.  More audio problems?

What is Apple doing?

First the Ipod Minis, now these.


Posted by Z on July 27, 2004 at 3:48 AM (CDT)


this is really starting to annoy me. i didnt get the ipod cause of the batery problems and i waited for the mini. now the minis in trouble toooooooo. come on apple stop milking our money

Posted by crispin rhe cool on July 27, 2004 at 4:29 AM (CDT)


Jeremy, how loud is the static?  Does it happen every time you load a new song, or occasionally? 
  My 20Gig. iPod does make a whirring noise followed by some crackling sounds everytime I select a new song, but I’ve yet to hear anything strange out of the earbuds.

Posted by LakerDodger on July 27, 2004 at 5:23 AM (CDT)

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