Crackles, pops and distortion in the recording

Learn about causes and fixes for this problem.


If you hear crackles, pops, or distortion when the recording is loud, or if the waveform is clearly touching the top and bottom edges of the track, you probably have clipping, which means that the signal has exceeded the maximum allowed level.


Try lowering the recording level using the recording slider or the slider in the operating system.

You can also check to see if you can lower the volume on the input source itself (such as the tape deck, record player or microphone). Many sound cards and USB turntables or USB tape decks have an independent volume control for the playback signal level. See Recording with USB turntables or USB cassette decks for more help with USB turntables or tape decks.

When recording, try to aim for a maximum peak of around –6 dB in the Recording Meter so as to prevent the meter's red clipping warning coming on. If the meters are set to linear, the equivalent level to aim for is 0.5. Clicking and dragging on the meter's right edge lets you expand the meter to gauge levels more easily. After recording, you can boost the level safely using the Amplify or Normalize effects.

Help with repairing clipped recordings: If there is only a small amount of clipping (just the tops of a few isolated peaks), Effect -> Noise Removal and Repair -> Clip Fix can be applied to just the clipped sections. This will attempt to reconstruct the missing peaks by interpolating the lost signal.

In other cases where there is mild distortion throughout a recording, using Effect -> EQ and Filters -> Filter Curve EQ to reduce the higher frequencies can help to mitigate the damage. Sometimes a bass cut will help also by making the result sound less "muddy".

If the troubleshooting steps aren't working for you, feel free to ask in our communities:

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