iPod Photo manifests audio defect | iLounge News


iPod Photo manifests audio defect

After preliminary testing of our new 60GB iPod Photo hardware, iLounge has confirmed the presence of the same audio defect widely reported in the fourth-generation iPod shortly after its release. The defect can be heard in headphones when the iPod Photo’s hard drive reloads its music memory buffer, and sounds like static accompanied by hard drive accessing noises, overlapping for several seconds the beginning of a music track.

As a reader noted in iLounge Backstage earlier this month, an almost identical problem has been reported, acknowledged, and addressed by Rio, the manufacturer of Carbon music players. Though iLounge provided two affected fourth-generation iPods to Apple in late July, the company has to date has had no official comment on or public solution for the defect.

Though we realize that few of our readers will have purchased the $599 60GB unit, we ask that those with iPod Photos read the prior reports and testing procedure, and add comments to this story’s thread so that we can determine the scope of these issues. We note that the sounds appear to be more faint and intermittent in our iPod Photo hardware than in our 4G iPods, however, they can still be heard.

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Enough about this audio DEFECT, HOW about APPLE starting to REWARDING the CUSTOMERS who have PURCHASED THE 6 MILLION IPODS AND GIVEN THEM THE 92% market share by giving us some king of software upgrades that actually work and upgrade the UNITS we have instead of us having to buy new units to get new features or offering a trade in option - its called CUSTOMER APPRECIATION and LOYALTY -APPLE is popping these things out like candy, the next mini will be out by Valentines day and they haven’t fixed the 1st one yet! Lets get with it folks!

Posted by Iown24ipods in SF on October 31, 2004 at 4:50 PM (CST)


My iPod does not make any noises—at least that I can hear. My PowerMac does, but that’s only because I’ve chosen not to take advantage of AppleCare on it. Let me just put this out frankly: I use a lot of electronic devices and I’ve yet to find one—just one—that is truly “perfect”—Apple, Dell, HP, Nokia, Sony, you name it. They all have flaws.

You just have to learn to work around them. When I bought my PowerBook, I checked its screen to make sure it was OK before I walked out of the store because I know that any LCD (not just Apple’s) often have problems so I deal with it properly. Same on sound problems with iPods. It is just the nature of the beast that mass produced electronics have some problems—I betcha if you go find a site dedicated to other music players you will find similar complaints.

Posted by Timothy R. Butler on October 31, 2004 at 5:04 PM (CST)


I bought my first ipod a week ago.  It was a 20 Gig 4G HP model.  It had the audio defect big time.  I exchanged it after 5 days and my new unit is perfect so far.

I must say, I have never bought an Apple product before, but this has been a less than favorable experience.  The fact that they won’t address the issue means it is so big that they couldn’t even begin to satifsy the many customers who took delivery of defetive mechandise.  If it wasn’t a big issue, they would issue a statement saying so.

If your ipod has the audio defect, exchange it at your local retailer as soon as possible.  The only way to make Apple fix this prolem is to hurt them where it counts.  In the wallet.  If we all get 2 or 3 ipods for our 300 bucks, insted of one, we will force them to take action.

If anything bothers me about this unit I will exchange it in a heartbeat.  Circuit City will get pretty sick of seeing me if that becomes the case.

I love my ipod.  I think it is the best digital audio player available.  But only when it works error free.  If worst comes to worst, I will return my 4G all together and wait for the 5G.  Hopefully it will be designed better.

Posted by CJ on October 31, 2004 at 5:30 PM (CST)


I bought a monitor at circuit city one time.  They wouldent give me a refund without a restocking fee but said I could exchange the monitor as many times as possible.  I said ok over the time of 14 days I went threw the time of 14 days 22 monitors.  I kindly went up to the manager and said, listen Give me a refund you have lost over $5000 already over and $32 restocking fee.  I got the full refund, Stupid woman

Posted by vinny77 on October 31, 2004 at 7:10 PM (CST)


I’ve have 3 iPods, 2G 20GB, iPod mini and now a 40GB iPod Poto. None of them have shown any of the issues mention. They are, as far as MP3 players go, quite nice. The quality of the sound is quite good, even when using them for critical listening. Sorrry to hear so many issues.

Posted by wmac on October 31, 2004 at 8:09 PM (CST)


Please people, simmer just a tad…

I have purchased an iPod from each generation, and just received my iPhoto 60GB.  It’s wonderful and sounds fantastic.

I am a music afficianado in the fact that i love my music and listen to it via my iPod everywhere… my car, my office, my home, doing yardwork, etc.

All of my iPods have been virtually flawless, including my 40 GB 4G and my new iPod Photo 60GB.

Have I gone to extremes to try to uncover the audio-defect like some of the readers here?  No. Why?  Because it’s not a real world situation for me, and I would guess it’s not for MOST other iPod users.

Most people ARE NOT going to the time and expense that some of the readers are to expose what is a very limited issue.  Most of us don’t have $300 or more to spend on headphones either.

In the real world, very few people will experience the so-called “static” or “audio defect” and that most of these complaints don’t come from mainstream iPod owners.

Posted by Mark "Skid" Anderson on October 31, 2004 at 9:06 PM (CST)


I didnt know the iPod photo was out where can i get it

Posted by Devon on October 31, 2004 at 10:05 PM (CST)


Apple doesn’t refurbish iPods.

Posted by FAce on November 1, 2004 at 1:09 AM (CST)


Ok I think that out of the 3 pages of comments here (if i can remember correctly) there was only ONE person with the ipod photo who had problems with the “audio defect.”  I have NOT had any issues with my 40 gb ipod photo, nor have i had any problems with my 4 previous ipods.  APPLE ROCKS, iPods ROCK!

Posted by MrNiggz42004 on November 1, 2004 at 1:43 AM (CST)


Skid is right on the money. No one is saying this doesn’t exist at all, but it is a minor defect affecting a small number of units well within the typical number of defects one can expect from a typical consumer electronics product.
And what proves that to me more than anything else is iPodLounge’s own “Audio Defect Update” page which describes a good deal of vague information, where nothing seems to be repeatable or consistent regarding S/N, location of manufacture, location of purchase, etc. With such a hit or miss problem, just what do you think Apple, or any technology/electronics company would do? Sure, if they find a defective unit they will replace it, but some of the comments here that go as far as accusing Apple of scandalous behavior, lack of QA, etc., are just plain wrong and show a clear misunderstanding on the part of a misinformed writer.
In the end, unfortunately, it is an otherwise great site like iPodLounge which is promoting so much misguided effort expended on a minor glitch. That is the biggest shame of all.

Posted by LarryB in NYC on November 1, 2004 at 8:37 AM (CST)


I have something I would like someone who is affected by this problem to try.  Can you get a clear plastic address label and cut it to match the holes in the top and place it over the port.  If it is something being caused by contact to the back (perhaps poor grounding or improper grounding) this may be a quick and dirty fix.

Posted by Méwyn in Chicago, IL on November 1, 2004 at 8:39 AM (CST)


Ive owned 2 ipods since they first came out, theres no doubt that they look absolutely beautiful, but for the price they should be better if not perfect. About 6 months ago i went the i river route and bought an ihp and I have to say it is a much better product. the fact that apple continually ignores quality control issues and/or feature requests that actual users will make use of is simply how they operate. I agree that apples domination of the portable mp3 market is probably up. there are so many products coming out now that perform much better than the ipod.

Posted by juju on November 1, 2004 at 3:31 PM (CST)


It is a strange day when people start bagging out iPods on a site forum dedicated to iPods! The people making these comments must own iPods so why did u buy it in the first place then? Apple have not only revolutionised the way people listen to music but have done it with a proven 4,000,000 iPod sales… So much for Creative Labs Zen range which BTW are cheap to the feel and sound discracefull if using the stock headphones. I was the proud owner of a 40GB 3G ages before anyone else i knew and that unit never missed a trick. Now i have bought a 20GB 4G for personal use and Use use the 3G for my buisness. I am a sound technician/DJ and have very sensitive ears. I will not let a show start untill the EQ and compresors have a totally clear reading. To the point. I have NEVER heard any type of static or HDD whirl though my headphones on either of my iPods (using different types of headphones on each… including a $600 pair of A&H open air Phones). Creative, Sony, iRiver, They dont have crap on Apple. i want high quality sound i bought it… Twice proven… People stop whinging. Case closed


Posted by Comander in Australia on November 1, 2004 at 10:11 PM (CST)


I think it’s a strange day when people sign on to a site dedicated to iPods simply to make themselves feel good about their purchase.
I own a 20 2G iPod and love it. I also use a G4 and G5 desktop and a G4 laptop and love them. However, all this Apple tech has demonstrated to me that Apple, like any other company, can have problems with it’s product. Eg. I cannot update my G4 Quicksilver with OS 10.3.5 because (on G4 Quicksilvers only) it conflicts with Final Cut HD. How did I find out about this problem? By checking out sites like this one where people share information, good or bad, about the products they’ve purchased.
Since switching to Apple 5 or 6 years ago, my only dissapointment is the thin skin of many Apple users. Apple makes a superior product but they are not infalible. Stop thinking you have to defend them even when they fail and you’ll help them build an even better product (and help improve the value of comments on sites like these)
In short… grow up and REALLY think different.


Posted by Randy Holder on November 2, 2004 at 9:01 PM (CST)


I wanted to post my results here. I have been an iPod owner since very early on with 1G. I just picked up the 60GB iPod Photo. I also have a nice assortment of ear and head phones. My tests were conducted with MP3 and AAC files and will volume set at different levels including lowest. Note: you do not need to have lossless or even the volume turned up to replicate the problem.

First off, I can report that I do not pick up any static or HD buffering from my original 1G. With the iPod Photo, however, I am able to hear the HD buffering whirl when it needs to swap music in/out of the buffer. This is easily detectable with my Ultimate Ear 5Cs. I also have a pair of Bang & Olufsen earphones and can report that the buffering sound is barely perceptible with these (in fact, I had to find a very quiet room to hear it – normal room ambient noise will mask the sound). And with the stock Sony ones that came with the iPod, I cannot hear any HD buffering at all. Additionally, I do not hear any static or other feedback under any conditions even with my UE5Cs.

As some folks have indicated already, this issue is likely more widespread than reported. However, you do need a high-end pair of earphones (or extremely sensitive ears) to notice the problem. I would bet that if I went to an Apple Store with my UE5Cs that I could hear the buffering sound on 90-100% of the units. Of course, if everyone went out and bought a pair of high-end ear phones, Apple would probably take notice.

Posted by deadhead on November 5, 2004 at 3:46 AM (CST)


I’ve also been an iPod owner since 1G, and ordered a 60 GB iPod photo to replace my 3G iPod the first day, I got it the Friday before last from Shanghai. The first thing I did was run the lossless test and I couldn’t detect any noise, but it did have a black spot on the display. I took it into the Apple Store and got a replacement (he said it wasn’t a dead pixel, but debris), and when I took the replacement home and ran the test I heard static. Its scrollwheel also stuck up on one side a little, so I took that one in the next day, and got another replacement.

This third iPod photo also has static when I skip around tracks, that I can hear easily on my sony md-ex71 as well as a pair of denon studio monitors, and that i can hear faintly with the Apple stock earbuds.

The behavior is almost identical in both replacement iPods, the static only occurs in the right ear, and only when I am switching between tracks and the hard drive has to spin up.

Posted by metrocon on November 10, 2004 at 11:55 AM (CST)


My new U2 iPod pauses frequently and randomly. Other people have commented on this in the Apple Discussions as well. Based on my tests with earphones that have a metal base and those that don’t (like the earbuds packaged with the iPod), the pausing is almost certainly also caused by the metal earphone base contacting the iPod case. That’s a design flaw indeed. Has anyone sent their iPod in to repair this problem? Was the repair successful?

Posted by dreamachine on December 28, 2004 at 5:54 PM (CST)


I just got an 4G 20G IPOD and someone I know mentioned the hard drive spin up noise problem so I checked it out on my unit.

It seems there are 2 distinct problems being discussed in this thread. First, a static type noise. Second, a faint whirring noise that occurs when the hard drive spins up.

I can detect the second on my unit. Its fairly easy to do: turn the volume all the way off, go to a large track that is not in the buffer, and you’ll hear it for several seconds.

Loudness seems to depend on headphones - I tried with several I own, and the faintness varied.

I have to wonder when reading this thread if everyone is listening for the same thing?

I also have to agree with some previous posts that this must be a hugely widespread problem. If it was so random, I would have been suprised that both my friend and I (and the numerous others reporting) hear it.

That said, if you don’t listen for it chances are you may not hear it.


Posted by BrianIPOD101 on January 1, 2005 at 12:02 PM (CST)


i tried slipping a piece of plastic in the headphone jack. my ipod doesn’t pause anymore when it is in my pocket. but if it happens again, i’ll post again here. anyway, thnx to the guy who have thought of this idea. *thumbs up*

Posted by renz on July 25, 2005 at 10:36 AM (CDT)

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