Update: iPod 4G Audio Problems | iLounge News


Update: iPod 4G Audio Problems

Updating our earlier news story regarding headphone port static and hard drive noise problems in Apple’s new fourth-generation iPods, iLounge has remained in contact with Apple and our readers over the past several days in an attempt to help the company determine the nature and extent of the problems.

iLounge’s editors returned both of their affected 40GB iPods at Apple’s request for testing, and replaced them with two new 40GB iPods yesterday. One of the new iPods exhibits no problems. The other exhibits the exact same defect as before. This brings our internal total of tested iPods to five, two (one 20GB unit, one 40GB unit) without the static issues, and three (all 40GB units) with them.

Of the 158 responses we collected from our initial story on the defect, 85 readers posted the results of their own 4G iPod testing, and of that group, 54 readers (63.5%) reported no problems, while 31 readers (36.5%) reported the same problems we had found. While we emphasize that the results of our inquiry are comprised of strictly voluntary submissions from readers, and should not be taken as scientific or conclusive, they do suggest that the problem may be more widespread than we had originally hoped. For a full discussion of testing procedures, please click on the “More info” link below.

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I have noticed on ocassion that I get some port noise!

Posted by MJ - HI on August 13, 2004 at 4:02 PM (CDT)


As expected, the 3.0.1 updater did not fix the audio defect on my 4G iPod. I doubt firmware would be able to fix this problem since the defect is most likely a cause of faulty hardware. The high-pitched noise is the sound of the hard disk leaking through the head phones, and can only be heard when the hard drive spins up. It is an extremely faint sound, lasting only 3 seconds or so at the very start of a song or group of songs that require the hard drive to power up. Thus, it can only be heard if you’re in a very quiet room. Those of you who think you’re iPod is not affected, try listening for it again, especially those with the 40 gig iPods. Remember, you’ll only hear it when you feel the hard drive spin up.
I’m planning on returning my iPod as soon as there is confirmation that the defect has been eliminated. Judging from others’ experiences, exchanging the iPod today will more than likely result in you receiving another iPod with the exact same defect.

Posted by Andrew B on August 13, 2004 at 6:09 PM (CDT)


Got a 4g 40gig ipod along along with a remote. Haven’t had any major problems with the unit itself although the remote had a break in the wire at the base of the plug. There is noticible static in the headphones when a track is playing while the clickwheel is in use but that isn’t an issue when the ipod is used in condujction with the remote in my case.

Posted by val on August 13, 2004 at 11:19 PM (CDT)


Just got a 20gb…nothing wrong thank god…was really scared. Got freaked becuase I heard the normal hard disk sounds. I guess I kinda have a momma with new baby sort of nervousness with it. But its all good. Cheers

Posted by Joe on August 14, 2004 at 7:44 AM (CDT)


No static leaking sounds in my 60G 4th Gen. The 3.0.1 update does help battery life considerably somehow.

Posted by Lars in Denver on August 14, 2004 at 11:59 AM (CDT)


No static leaking sounds in my 60G 4th Gen. The 3.0.1 update does help battery life considerably somehow.

Posted by Lars in Denver on August 14, 2004 at 11:59 AM (CDT)


Well, for what it’s worth I got some new earphones for my 4G 40GB unit that DOES suffer from the problem.

With the Etymotic ER-4P’s I can NOT detect the problem.  I have 2 theories. 

1) They are very low impedance and that has something to do with it
2) They roll off the high frequencies a bit and that masks the problem.



Posted by BRanger on August 14, 2004 at 1:06 PM (CDT)



When I use my Sony 7506 headphones, the connector seems to touch the metal iPod backing and I can hear the hard disk spin up on occaision for about a second.

But when I use my Sony ex71 earbuds, the connector does not contact the iPod metal back and the problem goes away.

At any rate, even with the problem, I don’t consider it a big deal because I only hear it occaisionally and even then, only for about a second. At all other times, the iPod sounds fantastic.

Posted by mediahound on August 14, 2004 at 3:24 PM (CDT)


I’ve owned a Dell, a Sony, and a Rio. I’ve returned them all.

None of them come any where near my new iPod! I love my iPod. It is clean, beautiful, sleek and easier to use then any others I’ve owned. I nag Mac users all the time about their Macs but this iPod is hard to beat.

It is simply the best experience I’ve ever had.

Posted by Greg on August 15, 2004 at 2:01 AM (CDT)


the new 4g ipod is terrible..

Posted by Ed on August 15, 2004 at 4:51 PM (CDT)


Just got my 4G 40gb and I’m happy to report it’s fine ;)

Posted by dzign on August 16, 2004 at 9:30 PM (CDT)


Got my 20Gb from Shanghai today.  Gettin lots of static through the buds and the Apple in-ear things.

Also noticed static when turning the volume up and down quickly.  Seems to be only through the left ear.

Sucky deal!

Posted by Lance on August 18, 2004 at 12:55 AM (CDT)


As a non pod owner who is interested in buying I have this question. Does the 4G pod ship with any charge in the battery and any preinstalled tunes. I figured they might for factory testing. This would allow me to check a pod in the shop for this problem before I bought it (or at least immediatly after)

Posted by Darrell on August 18, 2004 at 8:06 AM (CDT)


you need to upload some songs to test it i think thats not gonna be possible in the store

Posted by Brayeta on August 18, 2004 at 10:02 AM (CDT)


:-( Bought a 20GB 4G about a week ago and unfortunately it had the static problem - very annoying once you know it’s there, so sent it back and waiting for a replacement. Pulling the headpones out slightly didn’t fix the problem for me. Wish I’d stuck with the 3G, coz that was perfect!

Posted by Alex on August 18, 2004 at 3:22 PM (CDT)


interesting comments Alex.
im not sure what not speaking english has got to do with producing quality products. nor do i consider the issues with the 4G as unique features!!

i have heard that the 4G has significant improvements in sound quality and eq settings… pity the build is clearly inferior.

i checked one out yesterday for myself, and find it hard to believe that people can say that the build is not a bit cheap and nasty.

Posted by vinnie on August 18, 2004 at 10:54 PM (CDT)


doh, for the record that last comment was relating to the comments by “Alex” on the previous page!!

Posted by vinnie on August 18, 2004 at 10:56 PM (CDT)


20 gig, from Shanghi ordered from apple.com, and no problems.

Posted by Lance on August 19, 2004 at 10:44 AM (CDT)


No problems with my 4G 20 GB model.

Posted by am28111 on August 19, 2004 at 2:56 PM (CDT)


Bought my first Ipod a few weeks ago.  40GB 4G.  Loving it so far.  I haven’t found the problem described to be an issue.  I had a Nomad Creative Jukebox 2 that had more hd spin noise while playing than my ipod does.  I bought mine at Best Buy BTW.

Posted by ejsjrnc in US on August 19, 2004 at 6:15 PM (CDT)

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