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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My bad then. Some of the previous posts discussed grounding issues with aftermarket headphones making contact with the rim of the headphone jack. I can speak from experience with numerous other audio devices where this was also an issue, which I attributed to user error on pushing the headphone plug too far into the device.

I guess if they make the jack deep enough to accept it to whatever depth, then it should without static.

Posted by Chris on July 29, 2004 at 10:27 AM (CDT)


i think if people who have the problem check to see if their headphone jacks are coming into contact with the metal casing of the problem, that would help identify the exact cause of the problem. to me it sounds like some units have audio input jacks that are sunken in a little too low allowing certain headphones to come into contact with the casing.

Posted by - on July 29, 2004 at 11:17 AM (CDT)


I called Apple about replacing my static prone 4G and the first person I could barely understand and wanted me to buy new headphones. So I hung up, called again and was talking with a new person, they wanted me to reformat the ipod and try it, which it still made the noise. Now I need to fill out some service request form so they can replace it.

Posted by Cal on July 29, 2004 at 11:18 AM (CDT)


How do you know where your ipod was shipped from berfore you buy it? Is it just mail ordered ones or can you check with the store before purchase.

Posted by STEVE on July 29, 2004 at 1:09 PM (CDT)


Re: the third-party theory: I notice the “whirring” sound when using iTrip, but not with the included ‘buds.

Posted by dv on July 29, 2004 at 3:37 PM (CDT)


New 20GB 4G, static whirring noise with stock earphones, even after putting a 1mm gap btwn the base or the earphones and the metal casing. The static, noise happens every 5 songs or so when the disk is accessed and it spins up to do the cache thing, there is then a delay before the song will start and you hear the quiet, but high-pitched squeel that lasts about a second or so, very annoying! I’m on my second iPod with the same issue (purchased at Apple store in Austin). I will just keep going back until I get a good one.

Posted by Johnny on July 29, 2004 at 3:39 PM (CDT)


Just received my new 40GB ipod.  Put some Apple lossless files on it.  No problem yet… cannot reproduce the static-like sound.. everything is great so far.  The volume seems to be much higher than my MINI.

Posted by Ringer in PA on July 29, 2004 at 5:01 PM (CDT)


I got my G4 20GB this morning too. I tested it out and no problems. It has the suffix A, was ordered on Sat and shipped on Mon, the battery came partially charged (full after 2 hours), and luckily no blemishes whatsoever.

Posted by Andy on July 29, 2004 at 6:38 PM (CDT)


I seem to get this static/whir sound when my iPod is playing a song and sometime throughout it, has to access the hdd.  Sometimes happens at the begining of a son, but not always, and sometimes when already playing a song.

Should I contact Apple, can they do anything?

Posted by Mejilan on July 29, 2004 at 7:37 PM (CDT)


  I just upgraded to the G4 40gb from a G2 20GB that has always worked great.

I received my new iPod on Tuesday after reading these posts about the headphone jack/hard drive interference really hoping mine didn’t have the probelm.

Understandably we all expect our iPods perfect out of the box.  Guess what…mine has the noise.  My usual instinct would be to return it.  But with others returning theirs and getting new G4’s with the same problem, I decided not to drive myself crazy.

Try this (recommended above): A small piece of clear tape over the headphone jack, followed by piercing a hole in the tape, solved the problem.

You can barely notice that the tape is there.  After a while I’ll forget about it.  I think I’ll live with it for a week or so.  If the noise stays away, I’m keeping it.  Otherwise it goes back.

Like I said, normally I would send it back…but what a hassle.  And what if the new one is the same?  I’m not going to stress it.  I just want to enjoy my new G$4 40 gigger. which is otherwise perfect.

BTW…the new gray click wheel rocks and the iPod is as elegant as ever!!


Posted by Randal - NY on July 29, 2004 at 8:55 PM (CDT)


40 gig bought in Apple store in Shanghi.  Ran the lossless test and absolutely no problem.  Whew!

Posted by paulu on July 29, 2004 at 9:05 PM (CDT)





Posted by STEVE on July 29, 2004 at 10:02 PM (CDT)


Best yet…

A friend of mine got it. I was green with envy. I wanted to buy one right away. It was either the new mini or the 4G. He on the other hand went with the 4G.

When we came home, he gave me the honor of opening the box etc. But when we got to the part where we took out his iPod, and removed the plastic, it opened up on the side of the pod.

Right, you heard…  While pealing off the protective plastic, while still on one of the sides, it simply opened up the iPod. I could see its guts and everything… Shock and anger hit my friend cause he was really looking forward to it.

To make matters worse, when we got home, it was already too late to call Apple. So he is going back with it today and I am confident that it will be replaced. The thing simply will not hold together. It is like something is missing or broke in it.

Does anyone know where they are making the new iPods? Perhaps it is a factory that is less experienced with the production of iPods.

Anyway, this has make me think twice before getting the new 4Gs… I have a 1.1G and it still works… Not as cool as the new ones but hey…. I have never had any problems with it…

Hey Tyson if you are reading this from work. Remember to ask them where they are assembling them… And good luck bro!

Posted by Nostromo on July 30, 2004 at 3:44 AM (CDT)


Good thing I bought my 3g iPod before this came out. But, I was thinking of getting an 4g iPod because of the extra battery life and all. But since this problem is going on… I don’t know if I am gonna.

Posted by FailureByDesign on July 30, 2004 at 7:46 AM (CDT)


Got my 20GB 4G today. No problems with it whatsoever. 100% satisfied…!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by thomas h on July 30, 2004 at 12:10 PM (CDT)


Got my 4G 40GB yesterday and got two issues with it.  First, the “menu” part of the clickwheel is slightly lifted, not too big an issue.  Second, I get that high-pitch sound for a couple of seconds everytime the ipod is caching music.  Called Apple and the ipod “specialist” told me to try a reset and/or a restore(!?), and if the problem persists, send it back to Apple.  The call was a total waste of time.

Posted by shypod on July 30, 2004 at 12:35 PM (CDT)


I returned my first 40g to the apple store with this problem, and my second 40g to BB with this problem (bigtime-headphone jack & lineout & with stock earbuds). My third is now charging, anyone want to make book on the outcome?

Posted by mike on July 30, 2004 at 3:41 PM (CDT)


seems to be much confusion over the entire IPOD sensation. I took my 4th generation 20 gig back before I experience the ultimate issues that so many others have had to endure.

Posted by Mass confusion on July 30, 2004 at 3:47 PM (CDT)


I logged into ipolounge.com the other day to post a comment on the improved fidelity with the new 4G iPod - which I have owned for several days now.  The improved audio quality was noticeable right away from the moment I began using the new unit.  My tracks have a sharpness and clarity on this unit that I have not experienced on any other version of the full-sized iPod.  That’s not to say that the fidelity on the previous units was bad in any way, but there is definitely a difference.  Apple has definitely reworked the playback of the unit, something that is born out in reading the Time magazine author’s comments concerning more than just superficial or exterior differences in the 4G iPod.

So imagine my surprise when I am greeted by an ipodlounge.com news blurb that talks about audio problems with many of these 4G units!!  Thank goodness I am not experiencing problems like that.  With what these cost, it would be pretty disheartening to find out that such a defect exists right out of the box.  I hope Apple acts speedily to correct this issue so that the iPod continues to be enjoyed by the popularity of the masses.

Posted by bjbear71 on July 30, 2004 at 5:13 PM (CDT)


I just got my 40GB 4G and was testing throughout the day and thought I had no issues, but I just realized I am not getting “static” per se, but a rather faint high pitched noise while the hd is caching the next group of songs. I do consider my ears a little more sensitive than the general population so I think this noise would not be noticeable to most people. Maybe if I had different earphones, I would hear the static noise others are getting, but for me it’s a faint high pitched noise coming through the earphones.

Posted by sc on July 30, 2004 at 5:40 PM (CDT)

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