3 Replies Latest reply: May 3, 2012 3:49 PM by chuck kamas
Eric M Colvin Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

Apple appear to have archived the original discussion about background noise.


I find the noise to be prominent.


Through the (presumably low end) headphones that came with the iPod, I can't hear that much hiss, nor any whine - just as with my old 2nd Generation Shuffle.


But I still play the Shuffle in my car.  I use a tape adaptor. With my 2nd Generation Shuffle, there was never any noise problem. However, the same songs - and, especially, the podcasts - played over my 4th Gen Shuffle, through the same tape adaptor, now have a loud background noise.


Many people have described this noise as a "hiss." For me, it is not simply the white noise that you might get from an old cassette recording.  I am in agreement with the user who said: "Honestly this sounds more like Tinnitus than any fault on the end of the buds."


In my case, in addition to the white noise, there is a high-pitched singing from the moment you turn on the iPod - akin to the sound given off by a dog whistle, or the traditional cathode ray tube television set when it's turned on. The traditional TV whine was never that audible to many older people, people with damaged hearing, etc. But, to those with good high-end hearing, it can be noticeable - and quite annoying.


Check out this page: http://journal.plasticmind.com/ears/mosquito-tone-or-how-to-tell-youre-a-youngun / 

Applying the above test, I would say that my iPod delivers a steady squeak/whistle at around 15Khz.


Additionally, when I hold the forward and backward buttons to move quickly through tracks, there is a high click akin to the sound made when you start or stop any of the test tracks from playing.


I find that the background squeak is, for some reason, less of a problem with music tracks than with  podcasts.


If I turn on the Dolby noise reduction button on my car's tape-player, I can actually eliminate much of the noise. However, then the tracks are significantly muffled. I never liked using Dolby at the best of times but - since iTunes tracks were obviously not prepared in Dolby - there is a distinct fall in clarity (especially in the podcasts which contain speech) when Dolby is switched on.


The way things stand, I'm inclined to take my 4th Generation Shuffle back, and replace it with a less irritating 2nd Generation Shuffle.


Anyone else experienced this?

Do I just have a duff iPod?  Should I just try replacing it with another 4th Generation model?

iPod shuffle, iPod Shuffle 2G, software: 1.0.1
  • 1. Re: iPod Shuffle 4th generation background noise
    jamesfromnewcastle upon tyne Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am in exactly the same situation as you - I got my 4th gen Shuffle yesterday (after my 2nd gen was accidently put in the laundry). The 2nd gen version was brilliant so I assumed the 4th gen would improve it even more, however the first time I plugged it into the cassette adapter in the car, I assumed it was defective. The background whistling and clicking between tracks ruins spoken word or quieter songs. It means its not really useable with a cassette adapter, which is a big let down, as thats the purpose I bought it for! I am going to see if I can send it back and get a 2nd gen from somewhere. I know cassette adapters are old tech, but its frustrating that a newer version of the Shuffle has this big issue with them, whereas an older model does not.

  • 2. Re: iPod Shuffle 4th generation background noise
    camischue Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I bought a 4G shuffle in January which works fine with the provided earbuds.  Today I tried using my higher end earphones and got the fairly loud sound (like am or shortwave radio background noise) that you both describe.  To be thorough, I checked that they worked with my old MP3 player, and the shuffle sounded fine with the OEM earbuds.  Since the noise is happening when the shuffle is connected to your cassette adapter too, I assume that the shuffle amplifier has a very limited impedance that it can tolerate - unless of course we all received bad product. I wonder if there are 4G shuffle users with success stories when connecting to other than "regular" earbuds.

  • 3. Re: iPod Shuffle 4th generation background noise
    chuck kamas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I found the solution for the car adaptor: