Become a member of the iLounge Forums. Register Now!
To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the Forum FAQ and Forum Policy.

Topic: iPod Photo Sound Distortion

Reply Thread Tools Topic Search
Old 04-13-2005, 04:11 PM
#1
 
Senior Lounger
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 196
iPod Photo Sound Distortion

I know this topic has been brought up before, but no one actually posted a real resolution to the problem. On top of that the problem has been posted in the Apple Discussions, and it has been tested that the IPOD PHOTO, and only the photo models have a sound distortion that is quite apparent especially with PIANO SOLOS.

I didnt think I had this problem before but after taking a long hard half-hour listen last night I noticed what people were talking about

Quote:
There is a destinct and extremely perceptable distortion when listening to moderately-high pitched notes not surrounded by any other type of music. The best example is a piano.

When listening to solo piano, it sounds as if the microphone was placed beneath a snare drum, and you can hear a slight almost buzzing sound. A similar description would be trying to listen to music through a kazoo.
(as quoted by ZManCartFan)

On Apple discussions, the problems seem to be quite serious (professional tests done)

http://discussions.info.apple.com/we...8664@.68a989fc



[ D e n Z ]
DenZ is offline  
Reply With Quote

Join the iLounge Community and the ad above will disappear.

Old 04-14-2005, 12:21 AM
#2
 
Freshman Lounger
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 7

You're absolutely correct. It has to do with the fact that they had to reengineer the headphone jack to accomodate the video out feed. In doing so, sounds that are higher in frequency tend to distort or crackle. This is especially true when listening to piano music. Vocal music seems to be ok. I'm amazed that Apple released this product with this flaw. I ended up returning mine for a refund and will buy the Photo only when they fix this issue.
traveler429 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2005, 02:32 PM
#3
 
Junior Lounger
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Probably at work!
Posts: 54

I previously replied to this in another thread, but i'll paste it here anyways (because I hope people understand that this problem can be fixed....well for me anyways). It fixed any problems i had with distorted bass or treble.

[copy & paste]
I had the same problem as you with my 30 gig photo. Some of my songs that are bass heavy (and even lighter music) would distort and become virtually unlistenable. I upgraded my headphones to a nice pair of sony's, it made things a bit better with overall sound quality. The volume adjuster that iTunes allows to be applied to each file didn't do much either.

The main problem doens't lie with the headphones or the loudness of the song, it's the amplifier built into the ipod. For a good explanation of things, refer to this site:
http://www.dapreview.net/content.php?article.133

So now that you know what the problem is, what can you do about it? If you read the whole article, they recommend a tool called MP3gain. It'll find an optimum output rate for your mp3 files (experimental AAC support now). It runs pretty fast as well (i'm using pentium 4 mobile with 256 megs RAM, windows XP).
http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/index.php

You may be thinking "oh crap, i really don't want to do this for all my files and i especially dont' want to fool around with my mp3's." Trust me, it's quick and painless. It does not analyze and recode your mp3s. It only adjusts a parameter in each mp3 file that determines what level they should be played at. Now, even my most bass heavy songs sound great.
[/copy & paste]

Just give it a run and see if there's any improvement in your music.
JustLoungin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2005, 06:44 PM
#4
 
Senior Lounger
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 196

Ill give that a try on a piano album.. see how it goes



[ D e n Z ]
DenZ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2005, 07:24 PM
#5
 
Senior Lounger
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 196

No.. not much of a change, in fact almost no change.

Oh well... I guess im going to have to wait for Apple



[ D e n Z ]
DenZ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2005, 04:14 PM
#6
 
Freshman Lounger
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 3

I just bought a 60GB iPod photo and am horribly disappointed with the poor sound quality. My other player is a 5GB Rio Carbon and it sounds great with all my headphones including BeyerDynamic DT770-80 (80 ohms, powered by a custom headphone amp) and Sony EX-70 earbuds.

The music I listen to is primarily Electronic: Trance, Downtempo, Industrial, old school Techno - it all has a lot of bass. My MP3 files are all at least 192Kbps.

The iPod sounds weak, tinny, and harsh in comparison to the Rio Carbon. None of the EQ presets on the iPod make it sound good - the "bass boost" and other presets just distort the bass.

Call me picky but when I pay $500 I expect to get excellent sound and I didn't get it. I would return this unit immediately and buy something else or just wait for a new product, but the online store I bought it from (www.futurepowerpc.com) won't accept returns on opened iPods. Take note of that and never buy from them.

So now I have to try to sell this $500 brick on eBay or something and get less than I paid for it... I'm totally disgusted. Way to go Apple, for not paying attention to _sound quality_ on an AUDIO player!!! >:\
Solivagus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2005, 11:38 PM
#7
 
Junior Lounger
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Probably at work!
Posts: 54

I pretty much 100% agree with you. I managed to stop my music from distorting, but that's not to say that I get the sound quality I'm looking for. My sony mp3 discman had great sound, no tweaking necessary (**sigh** if only sony could make a decent HD player, their Vaio Pocket sucked INTENSELY). Not sure why after so many iPod generations and complaints about the weak audio, there hasn't been any improvements. My brother has like a first generation iPod and warned me about the weak bass. X generations later, the problem still exists.

On the other hand, this is just an issue I've come to grudgingly accept. Having all my songs on the go is my main requirement, and iPod being more mainstream means i can easily find the answers and tools i'm looking for.
JustLoungin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2005, 12:25 AM
#8
 
Freshman Lounger
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 7

I had a 4G iPod for a while, and it was receently stolen so I got a 30 GB photo. My music is all 192kbps MP3s, and I use the pack-in headphones. The music is normalized a little louder than 100%. I always keep the EQ off.

My experience is that at half-volume, you can't notice the problem 99% of the time. On higher volumes it becomes more noticeable. Nevertheless, I'm not talking about distortion to the point of ripping the earphones off. I mean that it just kind of bothers me.

Personally, I don't notice it as much on piano solos. I think it comes up the most when their is a power snare or a cymbal without much else going on, and the volume is relatively high.

While I agree that this is unacceptable on Apple's part, it's not as bad as some people say it is. Keep in mind that the majority of iPod photo users won't notice this unless they listen to their music fairly loud (and carefully), and even then it's not _that_ bad. You'll only know it's there because you're listening for it.

My advice would be to buy it (the color screen, bigger hard drive, and longer battery life are definitely worth $25-$50 more if the defect doesn't bother you), BUT do so from a store with a good return policy. Either that or go to an Apple store first and try the iPod photo that they have there.

Just my 2 cents.
rjahrman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2005, 12:45 AM
#9
 
Senior Lounger
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 196

I think all ipod photos have this problem... those who report that they dont have it havent payed enough attention.



[ D e n Z ]
DenZ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2005, 09:56 PM
#10
 
Junior Lounger
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 42

Sigh. I've been noticing bad distortion even at low volumes (50%) on my ipod 60, particularly with piano music. And after a bit of experimenting I figure it is definitely the headphone amp. I tried the sound out from the dock and don't get it there. This is with EQ off and volume at 50% I notice it. And gee, I've been blaming my earphones, as I couldn't notice it on my over ear headphones.
napalm68 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2005, 01:26 AM
#11
 
Junior Lounger
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 42

Hmm, I did a bit of reading on the above thread on the apple forum, and another, and did some more tests myself, and it appears related to the impedance of the headphones. The sony ex51's I have are only 16 ohm, and the problem is very noticable. The stock ipod 32 ohm phones - the problem is extremely faint. My audio technica ATH-A5s are 60 ohm, and I don't get the problem at all on them.
napalm68 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2005, 02:43 PM
#12
 
Senior Lounger
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 196

That's interesting.. I was thinking of buying a sendstation portable dock that has a headphone output.



[ D e n Z ]
DenZ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2005, 06:36 PM
#13
 
Junior Lounger
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 42

You have to remember though that the output on the sendstation is line out, not headphone. There is no volume control. If you have a dock, try plugging headphones into that for an idea of volume. It isn't too bad a max level if your phones are efficient enough. It is an interesting idea though. If you have efficient phones with a volume control, it'd work.

Personally, I'm just going to find higher impedance phones for portable use. It is looking like in the canalphone arena, the Etymotic ER6 (NOT the 6i) would be the best. The 6's have 48 ohm impedance, the 6i's are 16 ohm, so the distortion would be a problem. Er4p - 27; The ER4S are 100 ohm, which might be a bit difficult to drive. Too expensive anyhow . The shure e2c - 16 ohm. Shure E3c - 26 ohm. Looking at other canalphones by japanese manufacturers (pana, jvc, etc) they all seem to be 16 ohm where I can find specs. The sharp md33 - I can't find specs for but assume it is 16...

Philips have a set of noise reduction canalphones with an impedance of 75 ohm, but I can't find any real reviews on them. The stuff posted on amazon is the usual quality customer reviews...

Last edited by napalm68; 05-25-2005 at 06:38 PM.
napalm68 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2005, 08:22 PM
#14
 
Senior Lounger
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 196

Yes, I know that the volume output is at max.. places like Radio Shack sell volume controls for headphones (3.5mm headphone jacks), but adding so many things onto the ipod just to get good sound quality seems too troublesome..

Apple sent me an email last month about the sound distortion issues, they asked me a few questions and told me to send a sample exhibiting the problem. They haven't left any reply though after that, so I hope Apple is really looking into this issue.



[ D e n Z ]
DenZ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2005, 08:29 PM
#15
 
Junior Lounger
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 42

The sound isn't at max from the line out. It is standard line out 0.5v rms or something (I think). To my ears it was about half the ipod headphone out volume.

How did you contact apple about it? Through the forums?
napalm68 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Topic: iPod Photo Sound Distortion

Reply Thread Tools Topic Search

Become a member of the iLounge Forums. Register Now!
To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the Forum FAQ and Forum Policy.
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On





View iLounge History. Read our old Forums Archive (2001-2003)
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:30 PM.


Shop for Accessories: Cases, speakers, chargers, etc.