11 Replies Latest reply: Feb 3, 2014 7:37 AM by Froissart
Atwen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Recently, I purchased a 160 GB IPod Classic from Wal-Mart. Once I got home and synched my notoriously large music library onto it, I immediately noticed a huge difference in the sound quality.  The kicks and snares were ugly, and the bass was even more disgusting! All of my favorite songs were so distorted.  At first I assumed it was the headphones, so I tested them out on my ''ex'' 8GB IPod Touch to compare - and everything was perfectly fine (and better).


I searched my issue online and seen many buyers like me having the same exact problem, and most of them purchased their IPods in 2009-2010!  How can a problem like this go unsolved for so long? Why wouldn't Apple change/fix the software to be up with the newer generation's standards if they are still for sale today? There has to be someway this could be fixed.


So all I want to know is if I really wasted $249 on a device so worthless? I only bought this product for the 160 GB of memory since I couldn't fit all of my music on my IPod Touch,  and now I feel robbed.

iPod classic, Windows 7
  • 1. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    Bilbo_cheshire Level 4 Level 4 (1,770 points)

    Yes, me and lot of users share your angst, on the sound quality, my only suggestion, so that it is not worthless device, that can only store 160GB of music.

    1. Can you turn off Soundcheck
    2. EQ set to None.


    Try first, one really favourite song that plays well in the Touch, but lousy in iPod.

    Set SoundCheck off

    Set EQ to None(off) on both the iTunes and iPod Classic.

    Drag the song from the library to iPod Music.


    Good luck!

  • 2. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    bongteo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm a recent victim to ipod classic, bought it 1 month ago, too late for not reading any reviews before buying. The sound was distorted mostly on high and low passage. I've test it on Shure se425 and Psb M4U 2. I'm an avid hifi hobbies and I know what I'm listening to, it's definitely distortion sound similar to a bad amp driving a bad speaker.


    Trial and error I've done, I've tested on 3 laptop and all give same result even though I've rip it using individual laptop driver (meaning not copy same file and paste on all 3 laptop). Then I test it on my iphone 4s with IOS 6 and the result is a lot better then Ipod. So I thought I bought a faulty Ipod and hence went to exchange it but it give the same issue. Using apple own earphone can't really hear it.


    My question is why apple not solving this issues if it's really a software problem and not hardware? Why are they taking so long?

  • 3. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    Bilbo_cheshire Level 4 Level 4 (1,770 points)

    We are not Apple, but just a community of iPod users like yourself, so cant answer your question. You may have to wait for a very long time, for any upgrade or solution to be implemented in the iPod Classic.

    My advice, dont use the EQ, just set it to off, unless you are lowering the volume to the  high and low freq range, to reduce the distortion.

    Have a nice day!.

  • 4. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    josh_b_b Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I also recently just bought a new 7th gen iPod Classic and am severely disappointed with this issue! How Apple can say it ''leads the digital music revolution with its iPods'' (taken directly from their mission statement), and not take timely action on this problem seems pathetic. I don't really feel the need to go searching for problems in quality sound reproduction form a premium personal music device before I purchase it, I believe it is assumed to BE the product, and should be fixed or purchaser offered a refund if such a problem presents itself.

  • 5. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    danielmarcondes Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    How could Apple do such a fault like this? I have the same problem with my new iPod classic; at fist, i thought the device was defective... some music sounds distorted even without the EQ... like a high volume music playing on a sound system with bad speakers... my former iPod Nano sounded so good, unfortunately it's broken.

    Apple, PLEASE READ US, solve this problem!

  • 6. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    shquidbits Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have noticed THE SAME PROBLEM! I have had a touch for the past two years (32g) and upgraded to the classic to fit my growing music library and ALSO the added pleasure of greater sound quality.... or so I thought! I have noticed the EQ  is ONLY OKAY on 'off' but once set to my former favorite 'electronic' higher frequencies distort and scratch...I am using Sennheisers HD202 headphones which are a particularly clear pair of cans that create more treble than bass, and I find an eq setting such as 'Electronic' gives me quite a good balance....I listen to blues, jazz, punk, rap and dub/house music- I find many of my favorite songs RUINED by the distortion created by the Ipod.APPLE, I am very DISSAPOINTED! A product WITH SUCH PEDIGREE MUST BE FIT FOR AN UPGRADE!! This is ONE such FAULT that is UPSETTING customers that CANNOT BE HARD to FIX! Give the classic some polishing from 2009 LIKE EVERY OTHER DEVICE BECAUSE IT FILLS A MARKET FOR SOUND LOVERS WHO WANT A BEAUTIFULL AUDIO PLAYER AND NOTHING ELSE; Just broad musical capabilities at their best. We do not all want flashy touch devices but something simpley brilliant to forthfill one purpose.

  • 7. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    shquidbits Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Oh and it's only JUST shy of something simply brilliant..and thats the slight sound quality bug! Please resolve this issue APPLE and apply yourself with your missionn statement

  • 8. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    Blackers800 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Music post 2008 ish is recorded into an MP3 file at higher volumes than prior to that era.

    Modern DAC (digital to analogue converter) can deal with this increase in volume (earlier albums, particularly those ripped from 1980's CDs) will sound quieter.

    Unfortunately the DAC in the ipod classic hasn't been updated from one of the early versions.


    What I've done for some recent purchases, is run them through this volume levelling software:


    There is an equivalent version for the Mac.  They are identical in operation, and one version is no better than the other.


    I reduce the volume by about 10% on a whole album, even if it's only 2 or three tracks that are distorting.


    Remember to keep a copy of your original files for safety.


    The quality of the music does not degrade, and I'm really fussy and have $300 senheiser IE80s.  It's just the volume that is reduced so it doesn't upset the iPod classic DAC.


    However, there's no getting away from it, that this is a REAL PAIN, and there should be NO EXCUSE for apple selling such an inadequate product.  It shouldn't be too long before the iPod touch or Nano is in the 200Gb region.  After all, they can fit 64Gb on a Micro SD card whose outer casing is smaller than my small fingernail, what are Apple waiting for?

  • 9. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    Froissart Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have posted elsewhere about the sound distortion on the 160gb Classic.



    It really came home to me when I purchased an Apple TV recently and began to stream music through it from my laptop. The difference in sound quality is sensational.


    I mostly played my iPod through a hi fi system, and I do the same with the Apple TV. So I am comparing like with like.


    The strength of the iPod is its capacity and the amazing flexibility of iTunes. I miss the latter but it's worth losing that for the much better sound quality on the Apple TV.

  • 10. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    congaman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi guys


    I have the same distortion problem with my iPod 160gb Classic.


    I listen to music in the car through a Volkswagen media/iPod lead. It distorts like **** most of the time, but occasionally its great. Weird.


    While writing this, I'm listening to the iPod through a jack lead into a mixing desk and powered monitors and it sounds 100%.


    Does this mean that the Apple connection is the one causing the problem? Either the lead or the iPod itself...


    Off to try on a small docking station and will report back.

  • 11. Re: 160 GB IPod Classic : Sound Distortion?
    Froissart Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    For what it's worth, I recently bought a Pure i-20 dock through which I play my iPod. This suits me because I don't use the iPod as a mobile device with earphones. I play it through my stereo system at home.


    I have noticed a considerable improvement in sound quality since I started using the Pure dock. This is because it bypasses the iPod's built-in chip and accesses the original sound files. So, the better the original quality of the digital file, the better the sound that emerges from my speakers.  A lot of my files are Apple Lossless and these sound really great. But even mp3s at 320kbps are noticably better.


    The only way to describe the difference between the iPod linked directly to my system, and via the Pure dock, is that the sound from the dock is vibrant whereas the iPod on its own produces a flat, lifeless sound. With the dock I can hear details that are just muddy with the iPod.


    The iPod is great and iTunes is brilliant. But for good audio quality something else must be added to the mix.