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Shielding issues Logitech Audio systems resulting in Popping

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August 9, 2006 6:18:17 AM

Hello,

We, members of the forum Gathering of Tweakers, specifically Het Logitech PLOPJES probleem topic DEEL 4, started this topic in the Netherlands due to an overwhelming number of complaints concerning noise issues regarding Logitech Audio Systems.
This involves, in particular, the Z-5500 and X-530 speaker set, but also other Logitech audio models suffer from this issue.

Let us first explain what the problems are about. There are 3 main issues:

1. "Popping" noises from the speaker system. When light switches, blenders, fridges or other electrical appliances are switched on or off, a very loud and disturbing "popping" noise is generated in the audio systems.
Sometimes the volume of this “pop” is at such a loud level, that you do not want to be in the same room when it occurs.

2. An irritating permanent ‘humming noise’ coming from the subwoofer.

3. And in some occasions the Z-5500 picks up radio signals that can be heard. And that without any other appliances connected.

Since most people do not realize that the problems are part of their Logitech speaker system, they usually blame their indoor electrical system or other electrical appliances.
This idea was (and still is) stimulated by the things mentioned in the customer support section on Logitech's website.
As a result, many people are buying EMI filters, which of course do not provide a solution.

Some members have started the initiative and contacted Logitech about these issues in order to solve the problems.
At first, Logitech even denied that a problem existed which affected their speaker systems.
However, a few members, who are qualified engineers, did investigate the Z-5500 and some other audio models and figured out exactly what is causing the noise problems.
With some minor modifications they managed to solve almost completely the noise issues.

It became very clear that the noise problem is a result of a design error and affects not only the Z-5500 and the X-530, but also other Logitech audio models.
There is no doubt that the Logitech design staff has repeatedly underestimated the importance of a proper shielding of the respective audio units.
May we point out that it is common knowledge that a proper shielding of audio equipment is essential, in order to avoid noise problems.

However, it took an incredible 5 months for Logitech to accept this fact.
Due to our efforts Logitech was not able to deny any longer that a serious problem exists regarding their audio units.
Since Logitech showed no initiative at all to change their FAQ section, we had to press hard for Logitech to do so!
As a result the FAQ were somewhat altered and a refund policy, concerning the Z-5500 as well as the X-530, is offered.

May we draw your attention to the fact that Logitech is still talking about a "production error". However, the noise problems are definitely a result of a design error!

Now, 8 months later, after many emails, phone calls, meetings, prototype testing and even some visits of members of Logitech’s Technical staff (to test some experimental units at the homes of members), we feel that all our efforts were in vain.
There are hardly any improvements at all, we all still have a defective audio unit.
Nothing constructive has been undertaken by Logitech in order to solve the design issues!
We feel that Logitech has been buying time in order for us to lose interest and to prevent us from going public with this issue.

What strikes us most, is that Logitech is still selling their audio products worldwide, while realizing very well that these products suffer from a design issue.
We feel that selling a product with a defect, to customers who trust Logitech to provide a product which will perform according to the things mentioned in the sales literature, is far from fair practise.

Last but not least, Logitech is trying to make us believe that the noise (popping) problem is very localized and only concerns The Netherlands and Belgium.
However, this is a far cry from the reality.
By using Google it is not very hard to find many, many, forums (worldwide) that are related to this “popping" problem.

Reason why we feel we have to share this information with other (potential) Logitech customers worldwide, bearing in mind that this action will make Logitech seriously consider to take proper and constructive action in order to solve these design issues.


Best regards,

The Forum members

Representatives:

BvB
RV
MvH
DW
RC

If you have the problem to, we would be happy if you send us a E-mail: plopjesprobleem@xs4all.nl
August 9, 2006 7:28:21 AM

Wow, that sounds exactly like my dad's Altec Lansing issue!!! We bought some VS2121 speakers because of their low price...and well, we got what we paid for :(  . I even contacted Altec Lansing about it, and they never replied. I hate being screwed by companies that so many ppl swear by...
August 9, 2006 7:43:43 AM

We have some members who are professional electrical engineers and they have stripped some Z-5500 from people who had these popping and humming noises. The conclusion was the same: the powersupply in the subwoofer and the wirering to the POD and shielding/ground in the POD are responsable for the problems.

After making a special steel-plated shield around the powersupply, rewirering to the POD, shielding the inside of it with aluminumfoil and grounding it all, the popping/humming noises were 99% redused! Now why won't Logitech do the same, we keep asking ourselves.
Logitech (who has confirmed that there are 'issue's' with the Z-5500 months ago) answer is that they believe the units will not pass FCC regulations if they do so. We are not so sure about that.

But the main thing is, they keep selling the Z-5500 anyway, while they know that there is a problem with it! Giving a refund- or replacementoffer is not a solution and we think many people will think the same way.

Greetz
Related resources
August 9, 2006 6:05:14 PM

A letter from logitech:

Logitech Europe S.A.
Z.I. Moulin du Choc D
CH-1122 Romanel-sur-Morges
Switzerland

Friday, 4th August 2006

Mr. B
XXX
The Netherlands


Dear Mr. B.

I am writing to you in my capacity as Vice President Sales and Marketing and General Manager for Logitech in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

I have been paying close attention to the ongoing issue regarding the popping noise you and some other customers experience with our Z-5500 speakers. I had hoped to discuss this matter in person, so was disappointed that you declined my offer to visit. I am writing to you instead to outline some of the points I would have made on my visit. I know you and your associate, Mr. R.C, have written to our chairman, D.B. Please also accept this letter as an answer to the points you have raised with him.

First, let me say that I understand your frustration as one of Logitech’s customers who have experienced this popping issue. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize once again to you and all our customers who are affected.

In your communications to us, you make three very important claims: 1) that the Z-5500 popping issue is the result of a “design defect”, 2) that this “design defect” affects all Logitech’s speaker models, and 3) that this issue affects large numbers of Logitech’s customers worldwide. Logitech has assured you many times already that these claims are not true. I would like to add to that my personal assurance on all three points:

1) Logitech has reviewed its data across its speaker lines once more. All evidence shows that currently less than 1% of our European customer base has reported the popping issue. This figure varies on a country by country basis, but it indicates that an average of 99% of our customers are satisfied with their speakers. It is true that some speakers in a limited number of environments are susceptible to popping. However, it is also true that some speakers which emit
popping noises in one environment function properly when they are moved to another. This indicates that the popping issue is environmentally dependent, creating an unsatisfactory customer experience in a very limited number of environments.

2) Every speaker model’s design is unique. While our records indicate that less than 1% of our European customer base has experienced the popping issue in the Z-5500, far fewer customers of other Logitech speaker models have experienced the issue – a strong indication that the issue is not repeated throughout other speaker models.

3) As I have indicated, only a small percentage of our total European customer base for the Z-5500 has reported the issue to us and an even smaller set of customers for any other speaker model has reported the issue. We have highlighted the issue publicly on our European website, with a clear FAQ in different local languages. The English language version can be found under the speaker section here: http://logitech-en-emea.custhelp.com
Under normal circumstances, such a limited issue would be resolved with a refund. Nevertheless, Logitech is committed to good customer service and we did not want this matter to be an exception.

As you know, we pulled a number of our engineers off new product development projects to undertake a thorough investigation of the Z-5500 issue. As part of this investigation, we temporarily stopped factory production of the Z-5500 speakers. We also organized a personal customer visit from our senior engineers based in the U.S. Within two weeks, we were able to offer a set of replacement speakers. When these proved unsatisfactory for some of our customers, we offered a longer-term solution to create a limited quantity of units specially designed and certified for those customers still affected. Logitech has considered all technical feedback sent to us by our customers throughout this process.

The customers who agreed to take up the offer of one of the limited quantity of units – you included – were offered the chance to test hand-modified prototypes of those units, which could then be certified and produced in greater quantities. Our own tests on these prototypes indicate we have found a solution, but because you and our other customers have shown such an interest in the technical details of this issue, it made sense to involve you in the testing process as well. This is just one example of the unprecedented insights you have had into our product.

I was disappointed to hear that you have chosen to stop the customer testing process and return these prototype units before giving us the results of your tests. I firmly believe that Logitech has taken exceptional steps to resolve the issue for you and the other customers experiencing it. Our efforts throughout have been genuine.

While we have to accept your personal decision to return the prototype units, we also have to consider our other customers who are waiting to see whether the units resolve the issue and can be certified. Logitech will therefore continue to work towards building the limited quantity of units as promised. We will also pursue the incorporation of speaker improvements into future production of the Z-5500 speaker product.

Finally, I’d like to say how much we appreciate the time and energy you and our other customers have devoted to this issue. I think your passionate response to the matter shows how loyal you have been to the company and our products to date. I hope that, when you read this letter, you will recognize that Logitech has made every effort to return that loyalty, taking the extra steps necessary to try and resolve this.

Yours sincerely

S.D.
Vice President Sales and Marketing, General Manager, Logitech EMEA
August 11, 2006 3:47:06 AM

I already received my refund. That wasn't much of a problem. I have bought the creative gigaworks s750. And guess what. No popping, no humming, nothing.

Greetz
August 11, 2006 4:11:46 AM

Quote:
I already received my refund. That wasn't much of a problem. I have bought the creative gigaworks s750. And guess what. No popping, no humming, nothing.

Greetz


rub it in this guys face
let him know you bought a "real" product

Lol.

Yes, it's not cool to make fun of people who buy trendy products. But its okay in reverse. Apple can make fun of PCs. Why is this sort of nonsensical logic acceptable? Because its cool to be trendy, and you can't beat cool.
August 11, 2006 5:01:53 AM

I've got a pair of 530's, never have a glitch. Course I grounded all outlets in my house myself, and run all power and data cables seperatly. I'd says it's probably just environmental conditions like the guy said.

Two different products will operate differently in the same locations, that's just commen sense. If you had two pair of the same speakers experiencing the popping sound in the same place, then took them somewhere else, one might still do it while the other doesn't, or both might stop, lots of variables exist even thought both sets might be made perfectly. Manufacturing differences play a role as do quality of components. One shipment of resistors might not be as good as another perhaps.

Did logitech look into their supplier quality? Did they have difinitive proof of a design flaw in the 5500 based on controlled quality tests, or were they simply investigating based on a handful of people with the problem?

I've had many customers complain about this same thing with all kinds of speakers, usually a trip to their house is all it takes to move their monitor power cable off the line out cable, or at least put it perpundicular to it with a saddle zip tie.

I think it's great you got them to respond like this though, at least it shows some companies will try to remedy customer complaints. Why did you refuse to test the samples? Just got sick of it I suppose huh?
August 25, 2006 11:50:07 AM

We did test the samples. However, after testing it was very clear that the "improved" audio units did not function properly as well.
They were returned by us to Logitech.

Link to the Logitech Forum:

Logitech forum

R.C.
August 25, 2006 1:48:57 PM

This makes me feel fortunate that I've not experienced any "popping" or other negative issues with the Z-5500's that I recently purchased. I hope they remain trouble-free.
Anonymous
February 6, 2011 1:26:32 PM

Hi there, ive just bought yesterday the logitech n700 lapdesk with speakers, i was really happy with it untill i tried to watch a movie!!!

in bs player and in divx player it made a pop sound, crack noise, almost every minute, and if i use may old speakers or earphones theres no pop noise!!!!

ive been reading through the net some people telling about this, but no solution at all,,, so the only way is to get my money back???

ive seen a product similiar where i bout this n700 but it costed near the double of it...
June 15, 2011 6:35:07 AM

Hey guys,

I got the 530 speakers I'm in South-Africa btw... I get the popping problem but it ONLY happens when the fridge is doing something nothing else I switch on or off(lights or microwave oven, stove) creates the popping noise could be environmental, but I must say my previous Creative sound system never made any noises except music ofcourse :p .
June 15, 2011 3:01:50 PM

there z-5500 sub aint even magnetically shielded...
!