iPod mini sound distortion issue | iLounge News


iPod mini sound distortion issue

Many forum members have been reporting that their iPod mini is creating audio distortion when used. One such member claims to have discovered a major ‘design flaw’ in the iPod mini, which results in sound distortion when placing pressure anywhere on its surface or headphone port. The source of the noise may be a weak connection between the headphone port and the main circuit board.

“My iPod mini after two weeks of gentle use started to make horrible static noises; sometimes sound will disappear completely. Then the sound will return to normal, but any pressure as small as thumb pressure anywhere on iPod mini will make sounds to come back. Resetting iPod did not help. Guided by the detailed ‘iPod mini Autopsy’ posted here on iPodLounge, I disassembled by iPod rather easily. To check the reason of these noises, I started to play the iPod and disconnected the wheel, then the hard drive, but iPod was still playing (out of 25 min flash memory) and still making noises. Eventually, I narrowed the problem to a small little part that contains headphone and remote jack and metallic part in the shape of the white plastic top.”

“This small part attaches to main iPod board ONLY via small black connector that sits on on the main board. WHAT AN OVERSIGHT on Apple’s ENGINEER"S PART!!!
Their mistake is OBVIOUS. The small part with the headphone jack attaches via screews to the aluminium case, but does NOT screw to the MAIN board. Because of this any pressure on iPod case, dock connector, or simply plugging in and out headphones, creates TENSION between the small part and the MAIN board.

Since only the black connector sits between these two parts, it quickly wears out.
What is even worse is that the black connector is attached to the main board via ten very fragile copper pins that stick out of the main board (sorry for not using proper electronics terminology). With regular use, contacts get loose and slightest pressure on iPod creates nasty squeaky static type noises killing all the joy iPod brings.

I am sure this problem will surge in time. Future iPod minis need to have the part with headphone jack screwed to the main board (not just to the case like it is on current MINIs) OR to use FLEXIBLE cable. To rely on ten tiny fragile pins is just plain irresponsible.

If you have the same problem, I do NOT advise you to take apart iPod. The copper needles that stick out of the main board are very very brittle and once broken will require replacing the entire board.

Irakli Loladze”

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same problem here…..it’s very obvious that apple did NOT extensively wear test the mini before shipping….i called my nearest apple store and they are out of stock….so i’m stuck with crap….oh well, i guess that’s the life of an early adopter….:(

Posted by ufgatorinla on April 11, 2004 at 9:20 AM (PDT)


has anyone expirienced this on a normal ipod (not the mini)

Posted by jim on April 11, 2004 at 5:25 PM (PDT)


I’m not so sure this problem has to do with this connector alone. I’ve read some posts where people claim that simply touching the metal on their Mini (not even squeezing it) will cause static and distortion. This would lead me to beleive this is a problem with grounding (as one of the earlier posters mentioned).

If at any point part the circuitry was to come in contact with the case, that could lead to serious trouble. If there is anything that could be done for the Mini it would be to provide better insulation between the electronics and the case.

Posted by aj on April 12, 2004 at 12:15 AM (PDT)


I’ve had my mini for about a month and a half now…no noticable problems so far…

Posted by Asian_N02 on April 12, 2004 at 4:57 AM (PDT)


just wait aj…..it’s coming…it’s quite sudden as opposed to a gradual sound quaility downgrade….the only way it doesn’t crackle like mad on mine now is if put it to the side and ensure that i don’t move it at all

Posted by ufgatorinla on April 12, 2004 at 7:42 AM (PDT)


Stupid Fool.  You’re not stuck.  Go to the Apple site and fill out the form telling the problem.  Apple will send you a box to return it for repair or replacement.  I’ve requested this since my mini started to experience these problems all of a sudden yesterday.

Posted by pkradd on April 12, 2004 at 11:28 AM (PDT)


Thank god Apple has an outstanding support department willing to fix almost anything! Just be glad that your iPod Mini isn’t made by AOL!!!

Posted by Andrew Logan on April 12, 2004 at 12:15 PM (PDT)


Are you sure it’s not your output devices themselves? 1/8” headphone/line connections could get jacked up quite easily. I would make sure it crackles with several output devices before coming to a conclusion. Just a thought.

Posted by Wolf on April 12, 2004 at 2:23 PM (PDT)


Wolf, hate to break it to you but it’ not.

Four pairs of headphones. iTrip.  Connection to stereo.

The dang thing is still screwed up.  Glad to see we still have optimists though.  (Not being sarcastic.)  it’s a rotten shame though.  Yet, things like this can happen with any company.

Ok, my theory.

The connector is loose and is touching the case.  The case is a soft metal, so there is contact.  Then, the static electricity is sent up and through the headphone jack.  There we go!  A sure-fire recipe for audio distortion!!!

Posted by Thomas S. on April 12, 2004 at 6:23 PM (PDT)


“I’ve had my iPod mini for over a month now and it works perfectly. I have never had a problem “

Why must someone ALWAYS post something like this when a complaint arises and they own the product?  I don’t see what it adds to the discussion except flamebait.  It’s like calling your car mechanic and saying “I just want you to know my car works fine” after receiving a part recall notice in the mail.

Posted by joe on April 13, 2004 at 5:18 AM (PDT)


I was skeptical about this issue at first but after playing around with several mini-iPods at Apple’s flagship store in downtown SF yesterday - its a serious problem folks.  Almost every single demonstration mini-iPod on display at the store exhibited some type of static noise thru the headphones.  I verified that the headphone plug was secure in all cases.  The noise got worse when I pressed the aluminum casing near the headphone jack.  The sound quality was so bad on one unit it reminded me of a weak radio station with plenty of static.  I mentioned the problem to one of the Apple sales reps and he just shrugged his shoulders.  No thanks folks - I’m gonna stick with my 15 gig white iPod.


Posted by A.C. on April 13, 2004 at 5:20 AM (PDT)


Oh dear!! I have recently taken receipt of my iPod mini here in the UK after purchase in the US.

From what your posts are saying, I’ve probably got a maximum of 38 days before my mini’s sound goes crapola. Should i not use it until Apple introduce it in Europe? (scheduled for Autumn this year see [url=http://www.silicon.com]http://www.silicon.com[/url]).

Or will the use of the iPod mini ‘skin’ reduce the problems people are mentioning?

Here’s hoping…


Posted by sirwayne on April 13, 2004 at 8:21 AM (PDT)


To reply on some questions and comments:
1) “will the use of the iPod mini ‘skin’ reduce the problem?”

I do not think so. Soft skins will still transfer pressure to iPod mini case.

“I would place my money the fact that it is a grounding issue”

Although I agree that grounding can cause static, this was not the case with my Mini. When I took it completely out of the case (while still turned on), the gadget still was making those “mini hates mini” noises. When I was touching the small part with the headphone jack, the noise was particularly strong.

You can see the main circuit board and the small part pulled out of the case here:


Irakli Loladze

Posted by Irakli Loladze on April 13, 2004 at 1:09 PM (PDT)


I have had my gold ipod mini since the first day it came out.  The only problem I have had with it is that it occaisonally frezzes but then you just have to rest it.

Posted by Topher on April 13, 2004 at 2:14 PM (PDT)


I have nothing to complain about… yet. I don’t own any mp3 players and haven’t bought a mini but am thinking about it. Is it still worth buying one despite this mini-hates-me business? Is apple helpful when you send it back or is it a pain in the bizinkus to have to deal with repairs/returns? Do you recommend another player specifically instead? Help!

Posted by interested on April 13, 2004 at 2:46 PM (PDT)


Apple is great!

If you really want to be on the safe side, purchase a 15gig iPod.  That will solve it as it does not affect it.  Apple is a quality company, and this is just a simple flaw.  Sadly, of course.  Oh well, they will fix it.  Just got to send mine in…

Posted by Thomas S. on April 13, 2004 at 3:19 PM (PDT)


Same problem here. Craking noise and statics. I am in Toronto, Canada and purchased my IPod Mini a month ago. The problem happened since yesterday.

Posted by Daniel on April 14, 2004 at 6:07 AM (PDT)


My silver mini started exhibiting the sound distortion issue a few weeks ago.  It finally got so bad that it became unusable.  I took it to the San Francisco Apple Store today, and they replaced it with another silver iPod mini (service part).

They don’t have any more silver ones in their service parts inventory, but may have other colors.  Great service.  Thanks, Apple!

Posted by Steve Klingsporn on April 14, 2004 at 10:12 AM (PDT)


Is there any chance that Apple may issue a recall for all minis? Or possibly offer to substitute a 15GB iPod if they don’t have enough minis to replace in the recall?

Posted by Bora on April 14, 2004 at 10:20 AM (PDT)


Looks like CNN jumped on board as well with this issue.  I hope that it gets fixed!

Posted by Asian_N02 on April 14, 2004 at 10:46 AM (PDT)

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