iPod No vocals, weird sound . . . please help!


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2007
I've posted here before about this problem. Turns out many other iPod Mini owners are experiencing this, judging from the posts below. Can someone out there please help us? Thank you!


When I last used my iPod yesterday it was fine, but this morning I turned it on and the music was all distorted. The vocals sound distant, the volume is lower, and the drums can barely be heard. I plugged the iPod earphones into my iBook and they're working fine. I also reset the iPod, but that didn't fix anything. I have the latest iPod updater. Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions?

Suddenly my iPod will only play the instrumental track (as in, no vocals except for background) on all of the songs...very weird. I checked to see if it was the headphones, and it's not. I will pay to get it fixed if necessary (warranty is long expired), but I just wanted to see if anyone else had experienced this phenomenon.
It's an iPod mini, purchased about a year and a half ago.

I can't here (sic) the lead vocals on any of my songs. Background music and vocals are normal. Help!!!

Whenever I listen to my Ipod, regardless of if it has a full battery or not, the songs sound like they are "underwater". It's distorted and I usually can't hear the main vocals in songs. I have tried using 3 different pairs of headphones and it does the same thing with them all. If anyone can help me I would REALLY appreciate it. Thank you!

OK, this is SO bizarre. I have searched everywhere for help and can't find any. It's not my headphones as I've tried my headphones on other iPods AND I've tried my headphones with other iPods. I've called Apple Support and they say they can't help me SO this is my last resort. I've done the 5 Rs as well.
My iPod worked well for a few years. NOW:
The background music plays fine but the vocals are gone OR they're VERY faint. On iTunes, the music plays perfectly fine. I thought maybe I had hit a karaoke setting on my Mini (if there is one?) BUT that's not the case. Even reloading all my music didn't help.

Music through any headphones is garbled & bad. But JBL docking station plays music fine. Have restored twice - no improvement. Is the headset jack broken? Any solution other than buy a new ipod? Thanks.

omg mine just started doing the same thing. I have an ipod docking...outer...stereo thing, and it sounds fine through that, but I've tried a million pairs of ear phones and it's all garbled and underwater sounding. The background singers come in okay, but the lead vocal, I can barely hear at all. I restored once, and it made no difference.

Same problem. Just over two year old iPod mini 4GB. Worked perfectly until two days ago, when I charged it using a PC (NOT mine!). Afterwards all sound from the earphones gone. Everything else works and I do get sound via iTunes.

I see I'm not the only one experiencing this exact problem. 2-year old Mini, 4Gb, produces no sound but everything else works perfectly. Several R&R's to no avail. ALSO, problem occurred after an update a couple days ago!! Maybe the next update will correct the problem.

Exact same problem. Just started today after a new update was applied yesterday!

I have a 4 Gig Mini, running 1.4.1. The songs sound strange. They play, but it sounds like some pieces are missing, the vocal track here, the bass line there...sometimes it just sounds like the bands are playing in water.

I am also now having this problem. It worked perfectly 2 days ago, and now it's doing this. I've tried 'the 5 r's' as well. No luck.

Mine just started doing the same thing two days ago...most of the vocal tracks are missing, or if they're there, you have to turn it way up to here...and it's squeaky and weird-sounding. Any luck with Apple in finding anything out?

My mini works just fine through one of those car stereo receiver/senders, but when I try and use any set of headphones, you can hear the music (though it sounds heavy on the treble) but almost no vocals come through. I have tried everything except for putting it back to factory settings. Is this what I need to do? Or am I out of luck (since it's past the one-year warranty point)?
All of the songs on my ipod mini sound like the lead vocals have been removed. any ideas?


If you are also having this problem, please call Apple: 1-800-275-2273 Thanks!

Some background.
It is a 2 year old iPod Touch 16 gig. It has been very carefully taken care of. We have tried resetting, reinstalling, and all other "re's" we could think of. There is no warranty left so I am not sure what else to do. The problem stated suddenly with no warning. The vocal track is distant and distorted. All songs play well on iTunes and on other iPods.



macrumors newbie
Apr 21, 2008
Hi. Sorry if you have already ruled this out but have you tried different headphones? I had this problem. I treied pulling the phones out ever so slightly and the vocals returned. Haven't had chance to confirm if it is an issue with the Touch or phones yet.


macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2005
sounds very much like your tip and and one of the ring pins are shorted (as in a short circuit) in the headphone port. its the same sound you get when you slightly pull out headphones on any music player when you make the 2 short. What happens is what is the same in both channels cancel each other out (loss of vocals). The underwater sound is the garbage left over from AAC or MP3 that has been thrown out. A uncompressed song will not sound like that.

Make sure your headphone port has nothing inside, stopping you from plugging in the headphones all the way. Or it could be a bent pin in the port


macrumors newbie
Apr 21, 2008
Hi lostless,

thanks for the post. I would agree it sounds like a short but it works fine when I plug in other headphones. Just ordered the sennheiser's so hope they don;t exhibit the same problem. It could be something that is just on the very 'edge' and only shows up on certain phones...

Thanks again.