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Exclusive: iPod 4G Audio Problems?

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Monday, July 26, 2004
News Categories: iPod

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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Comments

361

Bought my 40Gb 4G last week and it has the problem exactly as described.  Apple are collecting it this week.

Posted by Al Dawson on September 5, 2004 at 8:59 AM (PDT)

362

New 20g ipod 4G made in China. Bought in Australia.
Doesn’t seem to have a problem.

smile

Posted by bastian on September 6, 2004 at 3:27 AM (PDT)

363

try to insert the jack of the headphones not too inside. just .02 or 0.3 mm, as the thickness of a visiting card.
my ipod has the problem of audible static and noise interference in the earphones that is most prominent whenever a new iPod’s hard disk is accessed. if i pull outside just a little the jack of the headphones the problem disappear.
the problem is audible only with a sony 7506 professional headphones.

Posted by davide on September 9, 2004 at 11:32 AM (PDT)

364

bought my 4G 40g last week from apple website and it was shipped from Shanghai. I ripped all my songs with apple lossless and had the same problem.

Posted by david on September 16, 2004 at 11:03 AM (PDT)

365

20gb 4g- no problemo

Posted by ibbler on September 28, 2004 at 8:57 AM (PDT)

366

i’m experiencing the whirring/static problem on my ipod hp - any recommendations as to who to contact?

Posted by jeremy on October 1, 2004 at 7:46 AM (PDT)

367

I bought my 4 G 40 gig IPOD from Best Buys in Bensonhurst Brooklyn 2 weeks ago and noticed the problem immediately.
I thought it was a normal occurance because its the first hard drive based player I owned.
Everytime I switched tracks I would hear a load crack then a bleep then the high pitched whirring sound of the hard drive,at almost every sound change.
I use Etymotics er6i and the sound is very annoying.
I also hear in in my car via a cassette adapter.
I had tried to live with it and had gradually become increasingly frustrated and disappointed at the nuisance.
Then I stumbled across the audio problem here at ipodlounge and I am very grateful I did.
I went back to Best Buy and exchanged it for another one,praying that it didnt have the audio problem, two weeks after I bought the first.
smile  IT DIDNT HAVE THE ANNOYING PESKY PROBLEM!
People, my second ipod not only didnt have the problem but also sounded so much cleaner and crisper, probably due to the er6i and the properly grounded unit.
I would easily be able to tell the difference of the two.
I really dont know why some people bash us by saying we are anal and are complaining of a “minor little issue” and that “we have nothing else better to do”.
I paid 400 for the IPOD and 130 for the ear plugs plus tax.
Its not a mortgage payment but I expect a more than that for my money and refuse to “live with it”.
With that said ,the purpose of my post is to URGE ALL OF YOU WHO HAD BOUGHT AN 4G IPOD WITH THTE DEFECT AND STILL UNDER THE STORE WARRNETY FOR AN EXCHANGE TO DO SO!
Ofcourse theres no way to make sure you wont get one with a defect but its worth the try.Its a huge difference that you dont need to live with.You might even be able to ask if its a new batch of ipods.
Anyway good luck!

Posted by Kelvin Wong on October 10, 2004 at 9:25 PM (PDT)

368

mi ipodfuncionaba bien, pero de unos días para acá se oye un ruido extraño al cargar una canción… el ruido es del disco duro, no sé si esto le afecte, el ruido también lo escucho en los audífonos, a ver si alguien puede ayudarme…

Posted by Fer on October 11, 2004 at 9:01 AM (PDT)

369

I recived my 20gb iPod yesterday, I have yet to notice anything amiss.

Posted by Jessica on October 12, 2004 at 9:12 AM (PDT)

370

Oh, mine shipped from Shanghai as well.
And then it went to AK.  And then back to Shanghai, and back to AK.

Silly FedEx.

Posted by Jessica on October 12, 2004 at 9:14 AM (PDT)

371

Whenever I download iTunes it’s always in Chinese for some reason. What’s wrong? I keep selecting “English” before the install but it keeps on turning out to be in Chinese. What’s wrong? I need help.

Posted by Sean on September 17, 2005 at 10:41 PM (PDT)

372

i have had my ipod 20gb for like sence last crismass and i have had a multiple amount of problems fron having to smak it to work to havin to take it apart because of the disk but i think it is because of the alaskaen snow and heat it sucks

Posted by cj on September 22, 2005 at 5:39 PM (PDT)

373

ive had my 20 g ipod for a bout a year now and here lately when i plug it up to charge it makes a battery hazerd sighn and turns on and off for about 15 minutes and then works perfectly fine intill it gets low and it starts doing it agin!!!!! what the hell

Posted by jason brazell on January 22, 2006 at 12:39 AM (PDT)

374

I have a ipod nano (3rd generation) and my ipod is static like when i try to play songs or video. ive tried to update itunes and restore my ipod and it just doesnt work…please help me. ive tried to look up what to do and i cant find anything that would help me! thanks

Posted by Jane on May 7, 2008 at 6:25 PM (PDT)

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