Overdriven iPod?
January 10, 2008 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Can a 5G iPod develop sound distortion in one channel?

I had a theft. Bought a used 5G 30gig iPod to replace the same model that was thefted. Wiped it, installed my library.

I have noticed that in the left channel, at some frequencies, it can sound slightly "overdriven." I have noticed this both in earbuds, and through a speaker in my vehicle. I am not an engineer, and it baffles me in that I can understand analog distortion like that, but not digital.

I have till the end of tomrrow to decide if I want to keep it or get my money back at this game store (they say they work with police closely on buy, sellling, used equip., btw). I can't find any info online about this, so I want to know of anyone else has heard of probs that could generate this kind of thing from within the works of the iPod.

posted by Danf to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Are you outputting through the stereo jack or the docking port in your car? I suspect that the distortion *is* analog - in the headphone jack itself.
posted by notsnot at 9:36 AM on January 10, 2008

Try fresh batteries?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:36 AM on January 10, 2008

Oops, ipod. That was stupid.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:37 AM on January 10, 2008

Response by poster: Well it's through earbuds, also.
posted by Danf at 9:40 AM on January 10, 2008

Do earbuds not connect through the headphone jack? the female part of the connection- inside the ipod itself - is suspect.
posted by notsnot at 9:42 AM on January 10, 2008

Possible workaround: check if the distortion exists via the dock connector, you're going to need dock-style speakers or an old-school ipod dock with a line out to check.

Also, since it's used, make sure the EQ settings are set to flat and not some wacky setting that's causing the distortion.
posted by knowles at 10:15 AM on January 10, 2008

When you say "I can understand analog distortion like that, but not digital" -- perhaps this is a misconception. Yes your music is stored digitally, but to get converted into sound it must pass through a digital-to-analog converter before being sent through the amplifier and speaker. The circuitry that is producing the sound is analog, just like in any other stereo, and it's entirely possible that it's faulty and producing the distortion. I agree that the problem is likely in the connection.
posted by PercussivePaul at 10:27 AM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Personally, I'd just get my money back and get another one without the problem, if you can find another used one there's no sense being stuck with this one and it's issues.
posted by clanger at 10:27 AM on January 10, 2008

Something similar happened to my iPod after I wrenched out the headphone cord a couple of times. The headphone jack was damaged. I sent it away and got the jack replaced and now it sounds great again, but it was out of warranty and a pretty expensive fix. Plus the hold button no longer works (is part of the same mechanism) and I've been travelling too much to get the repair redone (it already took two goes to get the sound right). You can but the parts fairly cheap and replace the jack yourself but that looked way too scary for me, YMMV. Personally, in your situation, I'd just return it. The issue is not going to go away and is a definite distinct fault.
posted by shelleycat at 1:03 PM on January 10, 2008

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