And You Thought the Whine was Bad…

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

PowerBook G3 Bronze users in Italy may have an additional problem to contend with: audio noise on DVD. One Italian reader found that three different computers from three different batches all had the same problem with a DVD that plays on a U.S. machine flawlessly:

Just as I was getting used to having a nonfunctional trackpad button on my PowerBook G3/400 Bronze and a keyboard that scratches the screen when the PowerBook is closed, I found another problem that really makes it hard to use the DVD drive. I recently tried to watch DVD movies for the first time and was surprised to notice that the audio track had lots of noise, something that sounded like dust or scratches on old vinyl records.

I first though it was a software problem, but starting with a clean 8.6 didn’t fix it. I then tried to swap the DVD drive with another unit, and the problem was still there. Added external speakers, but that didn’t help either. I tried the same DVD on a U.S. machine and it sounded fine, so I thought my PowerBook was defective and waited to come back to Italy to fix it. But a trip to my reseller only revealed that all Italian machines are flawed (we tried 3 different ones from different batches).

I found that playing a loud sine wave at 220Hz is the easiest way to hear the problem, and verified that the same sound file on an Italian desktop Mac plays fine. So much for all the nice DVDs I already bought!

Alessandro Levi Montalcini

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