GoPod tries to crack 2nd gen iPod nano

Since Sony invented the walkman, the trains, trams and busses have been flooding with people wearing earphones. At first, they irritated everybody with the “ts…ts…ts…ts…ts…ts…ts…” sound comming out of their ears, and now, many early walkman owners are starting to show hearing problems. The European Union has stepped in to protect our ears, and have set some limits to how much sound a personal music device can produce.

In theory this is a terrific idea, but in practice, it doesn’t work. Most manufacturers, like Apple are simply limiting the absolute maximum the device can use by measuring how loud a very loud mp3 plays at max volume. Then, they apply a software cap on the volume slider and that’s that. As a side effect, people who like to listen to inheritly low-volume music (classical music or some talkshow podcasts) are very limited in where they can use this device.

I have an 8GB iPod nano myself (a.k.a. the “second generation”), and I am having trouble hearing the voices of a podcast when walking on the street. Most music has a sort-of-okay volume level, but this particular podcast I’m listening is very low on volume. Because it is a news podcast, I don’t have the time, or patience, to manually manipulate the audio level of this podcast every single day before synchronizing it to my nano.

Today I found GoPod, a tool which can remove the volume limit on many iPod models. This process is called “uncapping” the volume. I’m on an Intel mac, and even found someone who has compiled it for Intel Macs (not available on the original site). After some fiddling with it, I found that it didn’t work with my iPod nano. In a search on the internet, I found that the 2nd generation nanos were not supported by GoPod because the developers had not figured out how to do this for the 2nd generation. Aperantly it is not that simple.

When entering diagnostic mode, you can make the iPod produce a really loud 1KHz tone, which shows that the nano is capable of much more than Apple is showing you. The writers of the GoPod software also found the regional strings interesting, and everybody started posting:

Reginal code Purchase location Capped
0x0001 0x0002 US no
0x0022 0x0001 France, Italy, UK yes
0x0020 0x0001 Swiss, Austria yes
0x0024 0x0001 UK yes
0x0021 0x0001 Finland, Sweden yes
0x000a 0x0002 Canada no
0x001f 0x0001 Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Mauritius yes

So far, the regional codes have not helped solving the problem. The GoPod people are still working on a hack, meanwhile the only options you have are the following:

  1. Sell your European (capped) iPod and buy a new one from the US, make sure it is a US version. Maybe this is the moment to upgrade to that nice new generation nano 🙂
  2. Buy isolating in-ear headphones like the Sony Fontopia, or the  Sennheiser cx300, or the  Shure E2c. Isolating in-ear phones will cost you anywhere between 30 and 100 euros.
  3. Buy a set of earjams to turn your iPod earphones into in-ear earphones. The cheapest, but maybe also clumsiest solution.

Please note that the first option is the most expensive, but actually solves the output voltage problem some people are experiencing when connecting the iPod to other hardware like amplifiers.


7 Responses to GoPod tries to crack 2nd gen iPod nano

  1. Super90 says:

    Ipod simply the world’s best player, plays crystal clear audio when music is ripped by iTunes and it drives every owner crazy. Damn the Ipod 2nd gen should be uncapped so people with large earphone or headset can enjoy those lovely music.

  2. rolfje says:

    I solved the low volume problem by spending 10 euros for a set of Sony earbuds, and they sound terrific. See

  3. amphed says:

    you can try euPod.. works on my nano 2G..

  4. rolfje says:

    euPod actually changes the volume of the tracks. It doesn’t remove the volume cap of your ipod. This means that freshly downloaded podcasts for instance need to go through the euPod process before placing it on your iPod.

    I think it’s not the right solution, but for those of you who want to try:

  5. Dante says:

    Ipod is the best, well, i just fell in love with the clickwheel hohoho i love how it scrolls as fast as your finger goes, and the m4a format is amazing.

  6. Kate says:

    This is my first experience using an iPod. We have a son who designs the top of the line earphones for the iPods. It is through his interests for us that we purchased a Nano iPod. I am 80 yrs old and love using this equipment in my woodshop. If I were you I would buy ipod nano . I can’t say enough good about the whole system. The earphones are the very best and the Nano is great. My advice to seniors, get help from your children and grandchildren, as I have done, get to understand and appreciate the wonders of the new technologies out there today. My wife is a tole painter and loves to listen to the equipment as well. The ear phones are made by Klipsch and they are the “greatest”.

  7. I read some of the posts and I think it is a great place! Tell me about my hype hardware I have a nice joke. How do you clean ice off tall buildings? With sky scrapers.

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