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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Forgot to mention, mine is a 20 GB ordered through the apple store online.  Just to clear things up, the new click wheel design is just as sexy, if not more.

Posted by Taavi Taijala on August 2, 2004 at 1:00 PM (CDT)


Purchased 4g 40 gig through Apple Store.  Hard drive noise and high pitch sound at start of each song.  Called Apple over the weekend, and they will replace unit although they were reluctant to do so.  The technical rep at Apple claimed to know nothing of these problems on 4th generation units, and I directed him to the discussion on ipodlounge.

Posted by dls on August 2, 2004 at 1:26 PM (CDT)


Does iPodlounge have any updates to this update of 4 days ago?

Apple appears to be very silent on this?

I am eager to buy a 40GB but won’t until iPodlounge which I trust posts a resolution

Posted by Peter Park on August 2, 2004 at 1:47 PM (CDT)


I received a G4 40GB iPod from China last week and it has no audio problems nor blemishes.
Works perfectly.

Posted by Sven on August 2, 2004 at 1:56 PM (CDT)


20 gig 4th gen ipod no problems, harddrive only audible when held to ear against unit about every five minutes buffering? surely completely normal, ut the dent in the chrome, is that the engraving? i wouldnt buy a new chevy with a dent in teh chrome so why is my new ipod dented?

Posted by Scooter on August 2, 2004 at 4:58 PM (CDT)


Just got my 4G 40 GB today. Found out about this defect after I purchased it, fourtunatley I can say mine doesn’t have the problem. I ordred it on the 29th of July so maybe the ones comin off the line are ok now…...hope this restores some faith in fellow ipoders

Posted by Jeff B. on August 2, 2004 at 7:11 PM (CDT)


I am having this problem but only on my Bose Triport headphones.
But just today I notice as long as the metal rim on the plug dose not touch the case there is no noise. Push it down, noise… Lift it up, No noise.
I have also noticed that my jack on my ipod (4G 40Gb) is set below flush. I dont know about everyones problems but I have found the cause of mine.

Posted by David Hanna on August 2, 2004 at 7:41 PM (CDT)


Got a 40gb 4g iPod today, shipped from China, which I ordered last Wednesday. Model no. ended in A (I think pretty much all of the 4g 40gb iPods model nos. end in A). Thankfully there was no audio or cosmetic defects. I tested it with my Sennheiser 497’s (over the ear) and the supplied buds. 

When you test yours make sure to distinguish between the audio defect and normal HD noises coming from the unit itself, i.e., not through the speakers/headphones.  When I was testing mine, in a quiet room using Sennheizer’s, I could actually hear the harddrive spin, which worried me until I realized the difference.

I just wanted to share my experience to counterbalance negative posts, because when people get a lemon they are much more likely to post/complain, I know I have :).

Posted by Vadim on August 2, 2004 at 7:56 PM (CDT)


What’s apple got to say about recalls or exchanges?

Posted by Jesse on August 2, 2004 at 8:38 PM (CDT)


I just tested the grounding theory regarding the headphones.  I was able to reproduce the hard disk whirring and statis noise using a pair of after-market headphones (headphone connector made metal-to-metal contact with the ipod case).  However, if I pulled the plug out slightly (such that the metal portion of the plug did not touch the case), the static disappeared.  In fact, if I moved the plug slightly out of the socket while it was making the static noise, the noise would disappear as soon as the connector was no longer in contact with the case.  My (not so elegant) solution was to stuff a very small piece of plastic wrap into the headphone jack, such that the plug of the after market headphones would not go all the way into the plug, but would rather stick out half a millimeter or so (preventing contact with the ipod case).  Note that the headphones that come with the ipod do not encounter this problem (at least mine dont) because they do not have enough metal at the base of the plug to make contact with the ipod metal case.

Posted by Southy on August 2, 2004 at 8:47 PM (CDT)


I bought a G3 40gb from Amazon the week before the new G4 was announce.  Fortunately, Amazon honored their 30 day return policy, and I ordered a G4 40gb the next day. 

The new pod came Friday and I immediately ran the test described on this website.  No problem that I can discern, and I’ve tested with both the Apple earphones and my Sony plugs.

Posted by Ricardo on August 2, 2004 at 9:12 PM (CDT)


My unit is affected by this audio defect.  I can VERY CLEARLY see the white plastic around my headphone jack with my earbuds plugged in so the jack is NOT touching any metal on the casing..


Posted by BRanger on August 2, 2004 at 10:01 PM (CDT)


My 20GM model has the defect regardless of how far the headhone jack is plugged in the hole.

Posted by Paul on August 2, 2004 at 10:51 PM (CDT)


Just tried the test with ten Apple Lossless files and found out I have the problem. I have a 40GB w/Apple In-Ear phones.  The noise/static is only noticeable on the left channel. My first Apple product, what a bummer :(

Posted by richard on August 3, 2004 at 12:10 AM (CDT)


I am going to receive my 4G ipod (my first) in the next few days. Has it got a seperate mains lead so that i can charge it up on holiday?     

Posted by DAVE on August 3, 2004 at 4:39 AM (CDT)


I received my 4G 20GB iPod in the mail yesterday (Mon. Aug. 2). I’d ordered it from Amazon.com the previous Wednesday. It replaces a 3G 10GB model that I sold on eBay last week.

I put a few Apple Lossless files on it and tested it with my Grado headphones, and I didn’t notice any noise problems. In fact, it sounded just great. All was well as I played it in the car this morning, too.

The only problem I had was that, unlike the 3G iPod, this one didn’t like being connected to my iMac via FireWire while my Iomega external hard drive was also connected via FireWire. My iMac would freeze when I hooked up the iPod. I had to hook up the hard drive via USB to get the iPod to work for me ... but after I did that, all was well.

Posted by j_par on August 3, 2004 at 7:01 AM (CDT)


No problems here with a 4g from China ordered right away the evening after it came out.  I don’t think I’m missing anything either.  I turned the volume way up and Way down and can’t hear any sort of static or issues when I switch songs.  Am I doing anything wrong?  I didn’t check on Lossless encoder - but it doesn’t make any sense would that would make a difference.

Posted by Alex - MN on August 3, 2004 at 8:17 AM (CDT)


Note - I haven’t checked with aftermarket headphones - although I did get a static noise with a cassette adapter - which used the headphones jack also.  Probably will have to use the tape solution.

Note - this isn’t the end of the world, people.  Electronic equipment will always have some unique features, etc., that you either have to live with or not live with.  Don’t forget how much better the ipod is than the other 40gb mp3s. . .in design, etc.  If you don’t like it - don’t buy it. 

I mean, realize that this item is being put together in China, by workers who probably don’t speak a word of english, shipped across the world, and you receive it in less than one week - this is incredible if you truly think about it.

Enjoy your ipod!

Posted by Alex - MN on August 3, 2004 at 8:43 AM (CDT)


4g 40 didn’t have this problem.  I do, however, hear clicking in my left earphone when I adjust the volume.

Posted by chumplick on August 3, 2004 at 9:00 AM (CDT)


ordered my 4g 20gb ipod from apple uk online store last week (assembled in china according to the back of the ipod, shipped from eindhoven), been using stock headphones until today when i got a pair of shure e2c headphones. with the shures i started hearing the static and hard drive noises. read sam’s post about covering up the plug so that it doesn’t touch the case and hey presto, no more static!

i think if you have the problem, it might be worth checking the plug’s contact with the case. it’s not a perfect solution i agree, but imo better than hearing static.


Posted by yet_another_chris on August 3, 2004 at 10:28 AM (CDT)

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