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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seems like the price decline in the 4G’s price is going to lead in decrease in ipods previous stellar performance?
Apple’s gotta be cutting back on more than just pack-ins. I’m gonna stick with my 3g for a a little longer,

Posted by stefan on July 27, 2004 at 5:58 AM (CDT)



I ordered mine last Wed. at about 8am and it arrived from Shanghai that Friday at around 11am.  Standard Shipping.


Posted by Allison on July 27, 2004 at 6:06 AM (CDT)


My 40GB ipod from Bestbuy sounds fine.

Posted by croooow on July 27, 2004 at 6:13 AM (CDT)


20gb 4g ipod in the uk, no problems, no static using apple lossless encoder, variable mp3 files or aac.
But baned by the lack of bass

Posted by Will on July 27, 2004 at 6:25 AM (CDT)


Well with this news out today I think I may just wait a bit and see what happens before I get a new 4g

Posted by ipod cases in New Zealand on July 27, 2004 at 6:35 AM (CDT)


ive got a 40 gig direct from apple, i put some apple lossless flies on my ipod, but i cannot seem to produce this static.

Posted by ma on July 27, 2004 at 6:58 AM (CDT)


I have a new 40 gig.  I hear the disc spinning and about one second of static.  I have ety er4p headphones and the noise is very slight.  By the way I am listening to lossless and my ipod came from China and was purchased at the Apple Store.

Posted by Tim Oualline on July 27, 2004 at 7:21 AM (CDT)


How do you know if your iPod is being shipped from Shanghai? I just ordered my (4g) 40GB last night and it’s still not here yet.

Posted by Asli on July 27, 2004 at 7:24 AM (CDT)



Umm…these are within the last two weeks (sorry, they have posts within the last two weeks).  Are you sure you are following the Apple discussion boards I talk about?  I bet there are at least 5-10 more threads, since no one searches for a problem first before posting the same thing again…

http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?[email protected]@.689205f6
http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?[email protected]@.68976ff6
http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?[email protected]@.68976c62
http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?[email protected]@.6896f59c

Posted by bikepodmini on July 27, 2004 at 7:28 AM (CDT)


I bought one 4G 40GB from the Apple Store in Indianapolis, which promptly died a couple hours after I bought it. I got a replacement that night, and it has static when changing songs, but I wouldn’t describe it as “light”. I play through a cassette adapter in the car, and the burst of noise sounds like I’ve blown a tire. All tracks are 128K AAC, and it happens about once out of every two to three skips. It doesn’t do it if I “scrub” through the song to the end, but it does frequently if I use the fast-forward/forward-skip button.

If/when Apple determines the problem, I’ll be exchanging it for a replacement.

Posted by Jason on July 27, 2004 at 7:38 AM (CDT)


So, I’m still not done yet.  Anyway, if you notice in my earlier post (not the one just above this) that I said I thought it might be a small percentage.  If this is the case, then it’s probably just a yield thing, and they can’t help it.  But if you look at the dates of people posting on those threads, they are just getting them, from ordering them this month from Apple, so that means some are still getting out with the problem, even as long as they have been available.

Maybe I overexagerated my statement.  However, have you seen any other problems posted more about, besides this static thing or the click-wheel?  Most everyone else is asking how to delete songs on the Mini, how to steal music, how should I remove the plastic protective cover off the click-wheel (heck, maybe that is what is causing the menu button to fail, is people not being careful about taking off the protective plastic), etc., not that they are actually having that many problems…

Posted by bikepodmini on July 27, 2004 at 7:39 AM (CDT)


My 20gb shipped from holland seems to be fine.

Posted by kash on July 27, 2004 at 8:16 AM (CDT)


If you ordered online from Apple’s Store, you can find out where it’s being shipped from once they actually ship your iPod.  Just use the tracking option to track your order and it will say where it was picked up from.

When it is shipped, you will get an e-mail notification that contains your tracking number (or you can check your order online).

I’m supposed to get mine by Thursday at the latest.  I ordered mine last Thursday, so it’s taking about a week just to let you know how long it may take.

Posted by michael kuroda on July 27, 2004 at 8:20 AM (CDT)


Mine got deliverd today, but im still at work so havent had the chance to get home and play with it yet. (1hr 30min till i go home!)

I also didnt realise that they no longer ship with a case and remote. The remote i can life without…but the case? :(

And they dont appear to have the case on the accessories page anymore either :(

Posted by Chris on July 27, 2004 at 8:26 AM (CDT)


I received my 4G 40GB iPod from China.  Ordered it the second day after press release.  No problems to report, works great!  I hear the hard drive spin up for the song, but no sound through the headphones.

Posted by Steve on July 27, 2004 at 8:27 AM (CDT)


Yup, I get this problem with my 40GB.  The static is extremely slight, and only lasts about a second, but it does bug me.  Fortunately I bought it in person from an Apple Store, so I’m just going to return it.  By the way, I am using Shure e2c earphones which have great detail, and I don’t hear it with my friend’s junky headphones, so it may be below the threshhold of audibility for most people.  And yes, I tested my earphones with other mp3 players, computer, etc.

Posted by tonicboy on July 27, 2004 at 8:32 AM (CDT)


Could someone at iPodLounge (or somebody else) record the audible static and noise interference that you are talking about. That could maybe help some people determine if they have the problem.


Posted by KBB on July 27, 2004 at 8:38 AM (CDT)


I have the same problem with the line out of my 3g.

Posted by pigpen65 on July 27, 2004 at 8:40 AM (CDT)


I have a 3G 10GB thats a year old and still holds an 8 hour charge, I’ll wait for the 5G.  It seems Apple is getting into the pattern of a major redesign every 2 generations.  I tried out all of the 20Gigs and 40Gigs at the Apple Store in Austin and I found them easier to operate because your thumb never had to leave the click wheel.  However, evry new design brings with it a few teething pains.  If I were in the position of buying a 4G I would wait until everything evens out before taking a chance on an early-production model.

Posted by Derek on July 27, 2004 at 8:52 AM (CDT)


i didnt get the ipod cause of the batery problems

What battery problems?

Posted by Adam Rice on July 27, 2004 at 9:05 AM (CDT)

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