Warning: Don’t buy an European iPod, its volume is too low | iLounge News

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Warning: Don’t buy an European iPod, its volume is too low

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Monday, June 16, 2003
News Categories: iPod

The NEW iPods do have the volume cap that was introduced in the iPod firmware back to version 1.2.x already built into them. But Apple seems to have overdone it: the European iPod’s max-volume is so low, that you can’t use your iPod in crowded places like a subway or bus. You simply can’t hear the music at an efficient level! According to user’s tests the volume is about 25-30% lower then with the US version.

But not only the headphone jack is capped, also the line out: That means, that if you connect your iPod to a stereo at home or in the car, you have to turn the volume of that stereo way up what in many cases is causing sound-distortions.

There are plenty of people complaining about that on the net. What is striking is that Apple simply deletes those threads from their discussion board after a day or two.

There are many other bugs in the 2.0 firmware, but I’m sure Apple will address them. I’m also sure they will NOT change the volume cap as they officially refuse to comment on that in a detailed juristic way.

  • Apple does NOT inform about this volume cap on the iPod webpages.
  • Apple technicians told us on the phone that this cap is irreversible.
  • Apple claims European law to force them to implement this cap. This is NOT true! In fact it is a French law that is not valid for the rest of Europe. Also, there are people (including myself) who studied law who strongly think that this French law is against EU-law due to a EU principle called mutual-allowance (if you are interested, I’ll explain it in more depth).
  • It’s not about a law: it is about Apple being to “lazy” to find a way to provide European users except French with a different firmware. And don’t tell me about costs. I studied economy (as well as law) so I know enough about costs. I can think about 20 different ways to provide us with a new firmware that don’t interfere with French law and don’t cost a billion.
  • Now other personal stereo / mp3 player or whatever found in Europe (or even France) has a max volume that is that low. So Apple hase overdone it.
  • Until now, no one has found a way to put an US firmware on the European iPod.
  • However, there is one way to get around that problem to a certain degree: Select all tracks in iTunes, hit apple-i and then increase the volume-adjustment slider to about 80-100%. Re-sync the songs to your iPod. This will increase the volume on the iPod substantially. BUT: many users suffered from sever sound-distortions after doing so.
  • If you discuss this matter on the Apple discussion board, you will get plenty replies within a short period. Be sure to have subscribed to your topic by e-mail, cause Apple will delete it within a day or two.
  • If you have just bought your iPod over the net and want to return it, you always can return it within 14 days of your purchase according to EU-law without the need of mentioning any reasons.
  • However, if that 2 week period is over, I suggest doing the following:
  • Call Apple and complain. Some users had success and Apple took back their iPods.
  • If you want to fight for your rights, here is how to argue: “You have bought the iPod to use it in everyday life like an average mp3 player. Because Apple does NOT state on their web-pages otherwise, you can assume the iPod to have average features of an average mp3 player. Regarding the output volume, this is clearly not the case as can easily be proven. Most of other mp3 players sold Europe or French (in fact: 100% of those I tested) play at a substantial higher volume. Thus, the iPod does not have the features you had the right (!) to assume and clearly works not 100% as it is advertised. This gives you the right to return the iPod to your dealer as soon as you find out about that problem within an reasonable period that is not limited to 2 weeks.” Good luck.

To conclude:

I do think the iPod is a great product and I’m not returning my iPod for sure! It is the best mp3 player out there, in terms of style, use, functionality and simple joy of having it.

But Apple did make a huge mistake with that volume cap. A mistake that bad, that it really does effect the use of a very expensive mp3 player in a intolerable way. Heck even my Eur 30 Siemens mobile phone mp3 player plays louder and that was even made in and for Europe!

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Comments

61

I’m a middle aged woman who loathes loud music and I only purchased my iPod to listen to spoken podcasts. However, I’m so disappointed in the volume. I cannot listen on a train or while I’m decorating.  I can only hear what is being said when surrounded by complete silence.  If nothing is done to enhance the volume on the next model, I shall NOT be investing in an iPod again.

Posted by Judy Baker on September 9, 2009 at 9:21 AM (PDT)

62

I used to have and american one and it worked great. I started to fail because it would crash and reboot. I exchanged it in UK because I was travelling there and got a european one. The sound is lower, less brilliant and less dynamic. I cannot use it on my old set of earphones and I cannot use it on my stereo for parties, on the car stereo, I have to pump up the volume and it does not sound as good. I might even get another brand because I resent the whole situation, unless Apple does something about it. If Apple does not exchange it, I will sell it at a loss. Too bad.

Posted by paul makinson on May 25, 2010 at 4:36 PM (PDT)

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