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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I’ve had the new 20GB iPod for about 2 weeks and thankfully I can report that I’ve had none of the problems that others are having.

Posted by Victor Morgan on August 19, 2004 at 10:26 AM (CDT)


I had my 4G 20GB shipped from Shanghai, and haven’t really had any problems with it until recently.

I charged it fully about 48 hrs. ago, then I go to use it this morning on the way to work and it’s totally dead? I called their support line and they said that the battery indicator is only “approximate” and to charge it fully for 4 hrs., use it some, and then see if it’s holding a charge. The standby is a freakin’ month, and mine runs out in 48 hrs. with NO use?
Also, I don’t get the static when I skip tracks, but a get a very quick jab of a song right before the song I requested starts playing. It’s like a 1/2 second name that tune. Is this what you all are referring to as static?

Posted by Darin on August 19, 2004 at 10:49 AM (CDT)


perhaps ipodlounge should post some of those sample lossless tracks so it would be easier to test and maybe a bit more standardized as well

Posted by brad on August 19, 2004 at 11:00 AM (CDT)


I’ve had two 4G 20Gb - one was problem free but the battery died. The replacement one I have now has the problem

Posted by oakmad on August 19, 2004 at 11:04 AM (CDT)


I just tested my 4G 40Gig iPod I got one week ago in Australia, and I don’t have the problem. I am very ahhpy to report that mine is Problem free!

Posted by SubElement in Australia on August 19, 2004 at 11:11 AM (CDT)


I just got a 4g 40 gig that was held over in Shanghai for over a week.  I tried the test exactly as it was written and had absolutely no static or problems of any kind.  If anything, all I noticed was how great the earphones sound right out of the box.  Hopefully this is a rare occurence and is not the catastrophe everyone is making it out to be.  That still doesn’t justify the fact that the problem DOES exist in many new iPods, but there is still hope for those of us who blindly throw our money at Apple with complete confidence in the quality of the product. On a side note, is it possible that the static is a headphone flaw, rather than an internal problem?  I’m completely ignorant when it comes to this sort of thing, so forgive me if I sound stupid.

Posted by ScreamingBackwards on August 19, 2004 at 1:55 PM (CDT)


4G/40GB bought in Virginia, ‘assembled in China’.
No problems with Apple Lossless (or mp3, aac) using ffw/skip.

Posted by T. on August 19, 2004 at 3:14 PM (CDT)


all clear on my 4g 20gig from compusa in louisville… nary a problem on any of my mp3s (most 192vbr); no sticky glue residue; no surface scratches or fingerptints.

however, i did have it lock up on me real bad after a week of using the new shuffle function exclusively. it ‘woke up’ after 5 minutes or so and no data was lost. kinda scary.

Posted by cycle60 on August 19, 2004 at 4:38 PM (CDT)


4th gen 40gb no problem, however I’m only using MP3, not AL

Posted by Austin Vaughan on August 19, 2004 at 5:18 PM (CDT)


I have the 4G 40GB iPod and I just tried the method above and I don’t seem to have the problem thank god. I have noticed two other things however, first my MAC doesn’t always reflect the fact that I have inserted the iPod into the dock even though the iPod says “Do Not Disconnect’, the only way around it is to put my MAC to sleep and close iTunes and then put my iPod back into the dock!! The second issue just happened whilst I was doing above test, it seems to freeze for a moment when playing some larger tracks, it is like the buffer is too full but I think it maybe just the lossless format and it’s not that big a deal but a little annoying as my last one didn’t do it (although we didn’t have lossless then). So far so good, I just love my 4G iPod and the click wheel is fantastic. FYI - bought it from Apple retail store

Posted by Mark on August 19, 2004 at 5:55 PM (CDT)


I got a new 40G 4th gen two weeks ago. Didn’t notice any problems until listening to some tracks downloaded from Real’s music store today. . . .  (coincidence? Hmmmmmm ... ) Anyway, I’ll keep my ears out - and test those questionable tracks with some different headphones and with the method suggested above

Posted by mogroith in FL on August 19, 2004 at 7:04 PM (CDT)


I got a new 40G 4th gen two weeks ago. Didn’t notice any problems until listening to some tracks downloaded from Real’s music store today. . . .  (coincidence? Hmmmmmm ... ) Anyway, I’ll keep my ears out - and test those questionable tracks with some different headphones and with the method suggested above

Posted by mogroith in FL on August 19, 2004 at 7:05 PM (CDT)


I have a 40GB 4G iPod that was purchased at the Apple store in Riichmond VA.  I have the the sound in the earphones when the harddrive is being accessed

Posted by Mueller on August 19, 2004 at 9:14 PM (CDT)


I had the audio problem with my 40GB 4G iPod, I called tech support and they replaced my unit.  The second one did not have the audio problem.  I would recommend you call and describe the problem to them, they will/should take care of it immediatly.

Posted by Nathan on August 19, 2004 at 10:53 PM (CDT)


pRoBlEm FiXeD!!!!!!!
apple told me on the fone thursday the 19th thaat the problem has been identified and fixed!!!!
When I asked what it was she said that she is not priveleged to give out that information, but it is fixed!!
btw I got a 20 gig 4th gen and it had it, they did a capture (went to engineers for testing) and are sending me a brand hew one.

Posted by SCooTER on August 20, 2004 at 12:39 AM (CDT)


Have 20gb bought in Utrecht, The Netherlands. No problems no scratch or audio probs.

Excellent device

Posted by Stevil on August 20, 2004 at 3:02 AM (CDT)


iPod 4G 40gb bought @ apple store ginza in japan.. no problems here with apple lossless =) guess i’m lucky!

Posted by PhReaK on August 20, 2004 at 5:32 AM (CDT)


I had that same problem with my 1st generation, it didn’t bother me that much, even when it was noisy around, I could tell that it hadn’t locked up (which it did quite a lot) because I could hear it working.

Posted by jsil on August 20, 2004 at 7:10 AM (CDT)


I have heard cracking on my ipod, but only in the left earbud after I turn it up loud. Think I just busted my headphone?

Posted by James C. on August 20, 2004 at 10:40 AM (CDT)


40 GB 4G shipped from Shanghai. No problems whatsoever. No static, no scratches, no gooey stuff.

I didn’t notice until after I ordered it that I wasn’t going to get a remote and case though.

Posted by rhythmicmoose on August 20, 2004 at 11:30 AM (CDT)

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