Temporary fix for iPods affected by noise issue | iLounge News

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Temporary fix for iPods affected by noise issue

As first noted in the comments of an iLounge news item, the audio defect found in Apple’s fourth-generation iPod and iPod Photo is apparently caused mostly by third-party headphones/earbuds that have a metal base around the headphone plug. When the metal base comes in contact with the metal case of the iPod, the static and hard drive accessing noises can be heard.

Several readers have provided temporary fixes for the issue. One reader suggests using a small piece of plastic wrap between the headphone plug and iPod, while another has had luck with a tiny teflon washer. Others have simply used scotch tape. Basically, any insulating material that can fit between (and around) the plug and the top of the iPod will work as long as it does not conduct electricity.

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Comments

1

So all this time it wasn’t the iPod, rather people using poorly designed headphones not made for flush-metal contact.

Posted by M3wThr33 in Redmond, WA on November 2, 2004 at 1:00 PM (CST)

2

Well, I don’t know that I’d consider Shure or Etymotics to be “poorly designed”

The problem is almost certainly (IMHO) in the addition apple made to detect when you remove the earphones so it can pause the ipod.

Posted by JCO on November 2, 2004 at 2:58 PM (CST)

3

How about a dab of durable paint or nail polish? Or a tiny drop of hard-drying glue, even on just one side?

Posted by Nagromme on November 2, 2004 at 3:42 PM (CST)

4

Here’s what DAPReview, possibly the most comprehensive online compendium for digital audio players, has to say on the issue, with pictures.

I think/hope the first poster was being highly sarcastic. My Sennheiser HD600, Grados SR125, and Etymotics ER-4S all extend their ground to a metal ring at the base of their plugs. It’s the cheapies that are all plastic down there.

Finally, here are a bunch of possible fixes attempted by an energetic Rio Carbon owner. Incidentally, I’m not a owner of a Rio player (actually, I sold my 3G recently and plan to pick up the 60GB PhotoPod). Just trying to further our cause via cross-pollination.

Posted by Albireo on November 2, 2004 at 5:03 PM (CST)

5

Yeah. It was laced with sarcasm. I guess it’s the audiophiles with nice headphones that get jacked. :-/ Speaking of which, anyone want to recommend some good BUDS that lack this elusive metal base?

Posted by M3wThr33 in Redmond, WA on November 2, 2004 at 8:07 PM (CST)

6

Interesting…no one is commenting on the concept of having to put SCOTCH TAPE on a $400-$600 piece of equipment in order for it to work properly. ;p

Posted by jimlat on November 3, 2004 at 5:37 AM (CST)

7

“So all this time it wasn’t the iPod, rather people using poorly designed headphones not made for flush-metal contact.”

So I guess the iPod can have a design flaw, but your expensive headphones can’t.  Gimme a break.

Posted by Quoth_the_Raven in Herndon, VA on November 3, 2004 at 6:16 AM (CST)

8

“Hey, thanks for that $499.  Oh, BTW, if you want to use anything but our craptastic earbuds, you might want to slap a little tape on your iPod.  Yes, it’s completely ghetto.  Yes, it’s caused by an electrical flaw in the design of the iPod.  Yes, we should have caught it tears ago.  So what?  We’re Apple.  If you don’t like it, buy an iRiver, jerks.  We already have your money.”

Posted by stark23x on November 3, 2004 at 7:25 AM (CST)

9

If it’s a problem with the ear/head phones, then why doesn’t it affeck all 4G iPods? Didn’t the 3G’s have the same jack?

Posted by croooow in Fairfax, VA on November 3, 2004 at 8:54 AM (CST)

10

It is nearly impossible for Apple to coordinate with every OEM vendor of accessories to ensure they will work with the iPod, especially with today’s short product development cycles.  Since the solution involves hardware as opposed to software, Apple is in a difficult situation.  It’s not easy for them to use your $499 to recall the product, fix it, ship it back, and still have enough profit to develop the next generation, incorporating the changes consumers so desire.

Posted by aultered on November 3, 2004 at 10:46 AM (CST)

11

“It is nearly impossible for Apple to coordinate with every OEM vendor of accessories to ensure they will work with the iPod”

But this issue can affect people who use the earbuds packaged with the 4G iPod. Those earphones are not accessories, they come with the player and are nessessary to use it.

Posted by croooow in Fairfax, VA on November 3, 2004 at 10:58 AM (CST)

12

“the audio defect found in Apple’s fourth-generation iPod and iPod Photo is apparently caused mostly by third-party eadphones/earbuds that have a metal base around the headphone plug”

After reading this I assumed the problem exists when using headphones with a metal base.  Is it confirmed that the issue also occurs with Apple headphones?  If so, croooow, I agree that Apple should have found this problem earlier.

Posted by aultered on November 3, 2004 at 11:12 AM (CST)

13

I read some posts in the audio defect thread that seemed to say people have the issue with the apple ear buds.

Posted by croooow in Fairfax, VA on November 3, 2004 at 5:12 PM (CST)

14

rather than put tape or nailpolish on the ipod - why not treat the headphones?

thank god this isn’t an internal ipod issue, alas, it’s mac’s wonderful tradition of puting design above function - yet again (and i say this as a mac user)...

puck

Posted by Puck in washington dc on November 17, 2004 at 8:48 AM (CST)

15

Brilliant!!!!!!!! You are brilliant!!!! I was going to buy another, reluctantkly…. but it was becoming very annoying… you know what its like…. when you hav perfection from the start then there is a fualt….. you DONT miss it.

I took a thick rubber band, cut our a circle, and a hole in the middle and slipped on to my earphones…. they are SennHeiser PX100’s pretty good ones…. and now NOTHING…. no crackling at all!!!! I was going to send it to Apple fo service… would have cost me etc and time too…..

Thankyou again.
Cheers

Posted by Alece in Australia on December 8, 2004 at 8:39 PM (CST)

16

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 5:53 PM (CST)

17

dreamachine -

That’s a good question. I, too, am wondering if Apple is repairing or replacing these defective iPods.

I’m getting the hard drive noise, not thru the earphone connection, but thru the audio output dock connection when connected to my home hi-fi. Anyone else have this same problem?

Posted by Bru01 on January 4, 2005 at 12:35 PM (CST)

18

I think personally , ipods are too loud sometimes , this can annoy people on buses for example and this needs to be changed it the next models .

Mark

Posted by Mark on October 20, 2008 at 8:06 AM (CDT)

19

I recently purchased a high pair of Shure headphones and I encountered the same problem as mentioned above - good to know it’s not a problem with my ipod or Shure headphones.

I’ll try some of the solutions mentioned over the next few days.

Thanks for sharing guys!

Posted by Rob on December 29, 2008 at 10:06 AM (CST)

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