Microsoft Surface Earbuds already have a big problem

Microsoft Surface Earbuds
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Microsoft Surface Earbuds have only been out for a few weeks, but they're already the subject of a major controversy. A forum user has felt the pain of being an early adopter, with "white hissing noise" and popping sounds coming through their new $199 headphones.

On May 14, Microsoft forums user V.Vaicys posted about this issue, saying "There appears to be a glaring issue, and I wonder whether they're particular to only my pair." The noise lasts for about two to three seconds, and it's even there if the Earbuds are paired with no sound playing.

Then, three days later a Microsoft Agent named Janette_Z, who moderates the forums, let folks know that Microsoft is on it: "We apologize for the troubles you have to go through with the pop/hiss sound on your Surface Earbuds. We have raised this to our team internally. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and we will get back to you as soon as we get updates on this."

The original poster isn't the only one with this problem. Benkly responded, saying "I am an electronic engineer and have the exact same issue with my earbuds and this annoing [sic] hissing noise. As electronican [sic] I can tell that this sound should come from the amplifier that is in the earbuds. As soon as this amplifier is turned on, this hissing noise is there. It sounds like a bad calibrated amplifier." 

The forum thread is filled with other aggrieved users. AC360 (who we're going to assume is not the silver fox Anderson Cooper), writes "I am returning these things. The audio quality is unbearable.  ... When watching a video or listening to music, when using the airbuds headphones, it stutters the entire time.  If I switch to headset, the stutter goes away but the sound quality is terrible."

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.