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Thread: Crackling and popping noises???

  1. #1

    Default Crackling and popping noises???

    It's me again guys. I have another question about Pro Tools. Why is it when I record tracks I hear these crackling and popping sounds? It's very annoying.... Is there any way to avoid this? Maybe you can get rid of the problem by making changes to the setup options? I really don't have a clue.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Buffalo, NY

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    Tough to say. Any more specific info?

    When does it happen? Can you hear it "going in" (tracking), or only "coming out" (playback)? Can you hear it when the arm-track/record button is engaged, or just any time the system is on? Instrumental tracks, or vocals?

    It could be:

    *Cables (speaker/monitor or mic cables or other)

    *Distortion (in or out of the computer) from bad cables, connections, computer issues (CPU glitches), interface issues

    *Distortion (gain-staging problems somewhere in your system)

    *If on vocals or instruments recorded with a mic-- microphone, mic cable, or preamp/board/interface set-up/whatever issues

    *If on electric instruments (like bass and guitar), it could be issues with the instrument (pick-ups), instrument cable, output/volume control or pick-up selector switch, or amp or pod or modelling software you're running it through

    *If it sounds like "hum," it could be a ground loop problem

    *If you're using any type of outboard gear or effects, it could be a gain problem there

    *If you're simply recording things too "hot," it could be clipping (digital distortion), which sounds nasty

    *It could be... well you get the idea. It's really hard to tell from here. Could you post a sample that has a good example of the problem that you're hearing?

    When you're trouble-shooting, you need to take time to go through each step in the recording and playback chain and eliminate things one at a time to see if you can isolate the problem. But if you could post an example I'm sure that folks here wouldn't mind giving a listen to see if they can help you identify what the problem is...


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    It could be all the above or it could also be the I/0 buffer settings in your sound card. Do you hear the pops and crackles on playback? Normally you would increase the buffer size to get rid of popping, crackling noises. Larger buffer settings will help with popping sounds but will also increase latency. There's a fine line between the 2. I'm new to all this stuff so I might be totally off the mark.

    Dead last is greater than did not finish which trumps did not start.

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    Music and SFX 4 Media

  4. #4

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    I do hear it on playback. It always makes that sound in the same area/region as well. Could it be a hardware issue? I'm using an M-Audio ProjectMix with firewire. I don't know much about latency, buffering, and things like that. I saw where you can change those type of setting within PT, but I didn't mess with them because I was afraid I might mess something up.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    Well, I just noticed some settings that I should probably share with you guys. In PT I went to "Window" > "Playback Engine" and this is what it looks like:

    H/W Buffer Size: 512 Samples

    Host Processors: 2 Processors

    CPU Usage Limit: 85%

    Host Engine: "a checked box" Ignore Errors During Playback/Record
    (may cause clicks and pops)

    So, do you think I should just uncheck the box for "Host Engine" and it will stop those sounds I'm hearing?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Southern Victoria, Australia

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    Suck it an see. That function has never done anything for me, but YMMV.
    You won't hurt anything.

    If that doesn't fix it, give us much more information.
    Exactly what is your recording chain, and how is it all plugged together? ie, What is your interface and what other hardware do you have plugged into it?
    Are you hearing it in an overall mix, or just in individual tracks?
    Describe the noise better.... is it a static/crackle, or digital clicks and pops?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    What I was doing was recording a guitar track over a blues backing track that I had imported. I'm playing my guitar through a Line 6 POD X3 going into channels 5/6 (XLR) on the Project Mix. There is no noise on the backing track that I imported, but there is noise kinda like a static/crackling sound that pops in and out during both the recording process and playback. Yes, I now realize that it's not only happening on playback, but the sounds occur during recording. The funny thing is that I can arm the track that my guitar is on and when I play there is no noise. There is only noise during the actual "process" of recording. I hope someone can make some sense of all my rambling. What could be the cause of this noise?
    Last edited by project; March 16th, 2010 at 11:28 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    I just tried using a mic to create a vocal track and it did the same thing. There's no noise while the track is armed, but when I press play to start the recording that's when the noise occurs. There's no clipping or anything like that. I'm really confused...

  9. #9

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    First things first I guess... The specs for the computer I'm using plus the OS is as follows:

    Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)
    CPU: Pentium Dual-Core 2.5Ghz
    RAM: 4GB

    Here's the thing about how my Project Mix is connected to my computer. My computer only has one firewire port. I had an external HDD connected to my computer (via firewire) before I ever got the PM I/O. As you may know, the PM I/O is a firewire interface. So, since my only firewire port on my computer is being used by the HDD I have to connect the PM I/O directly to the HDD. Hope that explains how my control surface is connected to my computer.

    Heres the connections I have going into the PM I/O:

    Axiom 49 (via midi) > PM I/O
    PM I/O > PreSonus HP4 > Monitors
    DR-880 (4 TRS) + Line 6 POD X3 (2 XLR) > PM I/O

    * With all these things in mind you should also know that I have the latest version of PT M-Powered and all my device drivers are up to date.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Default Re: Crackling and popping noises???

    This could get hairy.
    It sounds like a clock issue. Do you see a spike in the actual wave on the screen?
    One thing, try trashing your preferences, sometimes this solves all your problems-
    Scott Leader
    Chief Engineer, Producer, Janitor, Brick Road Studios, Scottsdale, AZ
    "Where would we be without bass?"

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