Clicks/Beeps in Recorded Audio w. Video Examples

Hello folks!

First I need to be clear that this problem has nothing to do with Audacity itself, it simply evidences itself when I record with Audacity as well as other recorders, and I can see it visually using Audacity when I post-process. I occasionally record directly with Audacity (I did so in this video) and always use it to post-process my Audio (noise remove, normalize, compress, equalize, normalize again). If this is the wrong section of the forum for this I apologize - please direct me to the correct one.

I am using Windows 7, Audacity 2.0.4 and I obtained it from the .EXE.

I am a Youtube let’s player (I play video games and record commentary) and for a long while now I have had problems with clicks, beeps, and other noise artifacts in my audio. I will link below to a short video that gives both audio and visual (waveform, using Audacity and Sony Movie Studio visualizers) examples of these artifacts.

As the video explains, I’m looking for A) what is causing the noise? Is it mouth noise, a mic problem, a connection problem, something else? And failing that, B) what is the best way to remove it? I am currently just cutting them out of the waveform which works but is very labor intensive and occasionally produces a thud or gap in the audio that’s probably just as bad as the click it’s replacing.

I appreciate any help you are willing to share. Thanks!


Remember in the dialog when you said you would post a time stamp for the distortion sample? Do that.

I’m with the YouTube poster who can’t hear anything wrong, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s just the most fun when two out of five listeners can’t hear the problem. Technological Twilight Zone.

What else is the computer doing? Do you leave Skype running in the background?

You didn’t tell us enough about the specifics of your setup. USB microphone? Which one? Pretend I’m going to buy your system.

I would recommend upgrading to the current 2.0.6.


Hi there! Thanks for responding. I did post a comment with all the timestamps. It’s the only comment by me. It might have moved down a bit.
I am using a Blue Snowball USB mic. It is plugged directly into motherboard. I have an ASUS board (exact model in one of my replies to a video comment - I’m away from my machine for the weekend). The onboard sound is Realtek. I have mic volume - in windows - set at 50%. The mic cord is close to and touches my keyboard and mouse cords…hard to keep them separated.
Frankly I’m puzzled some folks can’t hear it. I know we are always our own worst critics but it seems unbearably noticeable to me.

It’s not digital , it’s mechanical : the diaphragm of the mic occasionally sticking and freeing itself with a click + ring.
IMO microscopic blobs of saliva hitting and accumulating on the diaphragm are the culprit, ( don’t try to clean the diaphragm yourself it’s too fragile ). It sounds like you are too close to the mic.

Prevention : #1 back off from the mic a bit , (#1b add some stocking-fabric to your popshield ).

Removal : Automatic De-click software is a solution , like Brian Davies De-click which the cheapest commercial de-click software I’ve seen. A free experimental prototype de-click plugin is available for Audacity here …

[ PS you’re using a bit too much noise reduction ]
Spectrogram @ 1 sec of ''Marcus original, slow-original, beep, repaired, slow-repaired''.png

PS you’re using a bit too much noise reduction

+1. Your voice has a talking into a wine glass sound and the spaces between words are deathly dead quiet. Both of those can be caused by too much noise reduction.

the diaphragm of the mic occasionally sticking and freeing itself with a click + ring.
IMO microscopic blobs of saliva hitting and accumulating on the diaphragm are the culprit, ( don’t try to clean the diaphragm yourself it’s too fragile ). It sounds like you are too close to the mic.

I don’t think that’s the case. The poster said it doesn’t matter what the volume is, and that’s a loud volume problem. Given how condenser microphones work, having a plate touch would give you a lot more troubles than a little tick. Also, this microphone has a -10dB switch for recording very loud sounds and instruments, meaning the plates will handle a lot higher volume than somebody announcing loudly.

I’m trying really hard to get Blue to tell me what the maximum undamaged volume is and apparently that information is not available. The user manual has been aggressively consumerized and what technical information there is is jammed into a tiny panel that’s difficult to see.


Thanks! I have noise removal at 25 (the top slider). What should I lower it to? I also feel I’m too close to the mic but I record in a small space and when I move back even with the cardiod you can hear the echo. I don’t have the budget to soundproof the walls :frowning:.

10 is a typical value for me, you should use the bare minimum of noise reduction. There should still be a hint of hiss-noise between words rather than total silence, as the onset of speech after total silence is jarring, (see comfort noise).

You could put the mic in a box lined with acoustic foam, ( a mini DIY vocal-booth ) … [ home made ] [store bought ]

I’m new to Paul-L’s de-clicker plugin, so I’m still experimenting to find optimum settings , but it definitely works, see attached wav …

Thanks again. I’m away from my computer until Monday but I’ll check out the declicker then.
So to summarize this thread so far, the sound is not mouth noise, so a new mic could improve it? I was planning on upgrading anyway but wanted to be sure it wasn’t fruitless, if the problem was my voice or my computer.

So it’s been a few days and I guess no one can determine with certainty where these sounds originate from. Pretty fun to have a unique problem :slight_smile:. However, since so many people on my channel claim to not even be able to hear them, I invested in a good pair of studio headphones that provide clean sound (i.e. no extra bass and all that).

The only solutions I have been given is a declicker program that I will try as soon as I get a chance, and the suggestion to lower the noise removal.

If anyone is still following the thread, I lowered the noise removal to 10 in a recent video and didn’t notice too big a difference, except for my mouse clicking is pretty easy to hear and annoying. Trebor and Kozikowski, if you would do me the favor of checking out a minute or two of it and tell me if you perceive less of the “wine glass” effect you noted.

If not, any other suggestions? Is there a “best practices” guide for Audacity tools like noise removal, compressor, normalization, equalization, for podcast-type speech? I would never have learned on my own to drop noise removal to 10, for example, and don’t even know what the other options do. Videos on Youtube just say: “here are my settings - copy them”, without a fundamental explanation of what they do.

I also want to say I really appreciate the responses and support for my issue when the cause isn’t directly Audacity. I really enjoy using the program and would honestly pay for it (my reason for not getting a paid software like Audition is that you don’t buy it, you rent it, basically. I’m more a one-and-done kind of guy). When all this audio stuff was way beyond my level of understanding, it’s nice to hear from folks who understand it. Thanks!


Marcus, we always welcome donations (even small ones, it all helps) :slight_smile:



Sure, sounds good. I’m still hoping someone out there sees this and can answer my questions in the last post and maybe the cause of my initial trouble.

Sorry for the necro but I now have a much more sensitive mic. The audio quality is really fantastic but the damn clicks are not going away. I am nearly 100% convinced at this point that it’s mouth noise, but only the mic picks it up, I can never hear it myself. Changing the gain does nothing because when I normalize in Audacity they come back anyway.

I’ve done it all - lemon water, green apples, chewing gum before recording. Nothing stops it. It only happens within words, never in the open . It almost sounds like my jaw cracking rather than a lip smack. I’m a young guy though, so it’s weird that I’m so rattle-y.

I have tried the Paul’s click remover and despite the thread here being full of people saying it’s the 2nd coming as far as I can tell after 12 minutes of work it doesn’t appear to have removed one click, again probably because my clicks are different than the usual mouth clicks (boy it’s great to be unique).

If anyone wants to check it out and tell me what you think, if you can hear it, or how the audio is otherwise, I would greatly appreciate it. I ran it thru noise removal at 15 (I tried 10 but it didn’t remove nearly enough), then normalize at default settings, then compress at default settings, then I use the bass and treble boost (only reduced to 3db in strength), and then normalize again. I think I could have better equalizer curves but a Google search for Audacity equalizer settings doesn’t yield anything. You’d think someone would publish a “vocal” setting. When I see photos of curves they are, well, curvy, while mine are straight line, angle down, straight line, angle up, straight line.

If you watch the below link, you can hear them everywhere, right from the beginning. One thing to note: if I listen using my speakers, with a small built in bass boost, I barely hear the clicks. I hear them a LOT however in my new Audio Technica M40x’s. I guess it all boils down to what the people who watch the videos use, but I still wish I could get rid of the clicks. Maybe a speech therapist or voice coach?

Here is the video link:

Thank you all!


Paul-L’s DeClicker really is miraculous …

Spectrogram display of Paul-L DeClicker on ''blind hills''.gif

I’m going to wear my Producer hat for a minute (upper case intentional).

“OK, I don’t hear any of those mouth problems on my very good quality sound system, so we’re done. Forget the lemons.”

“However, I find those oddball … pauses in the middle of a phrase really …annoying. I think you should …stop doing that. Since I know you’re cutting this stuff in post production, you should shrink those pauses in favor of the speech pauses that bound complete phrases and are more natural.”

“Once you fix that you’re ready for publication.”


Wow, Trebor, did you alter the settings at all from stock? Because I’m not just being snarky, I swear I tried it and it didn’t remove the clicks. It also seems like the removed (3rd) part has some voice in it…is that normal?

Kozikowski - as for the pauses, are you referring to the way I speak, or something I’m doing in post (when I edit out the clicks). I’m not entirely sure if you’re just criticizing my delivery or my editing :stuck_out_tongue:. I probably don’t have any LibriVox recordings in my future, haha :slight_smile: I’m glad the clicks don’t stand out on your sound system. Maybe these high tech monitor headphones were just designed to drive me crazy.

Also, do you think Normalize emphasizes the clicks? I believe it does, from my experimentation. Are there other normalize plugins, or to ask it another way since I use normalize to get more full volume sound, is there another way I can do that without raising the high pitched sounds (like clicks and long S’s) with it?

The default “threshold” setting on Paul-L’s DeClicker is 6dB, which will detect&correct conspicuously loud clicks, but will not change quiet clicks, the threshold needs to be reduced to about 3dB (or less) to detect the quieter clicks. The lower the threshold setting the more the DeClicker will remove, (if too low can remove wanted parts of speech), and the longer it will take to process.

If Normalize to 0dB isn’t loud enough , use a limiter plugin , e.g.

The “long S’s” are excessive-sibilance which can be attenuated with a De-Esser plugin .
Paul-L made one of those too , but SpitFish DeEsser is easier to use …

SpitFish settings used.png

Hello, I just discovered this discussion.

My Declicker has certain defaults in the published version. Lately I have increased the number of bands from 12 to 18 in my typical use but leave the rest alone. I think that does a decent job on the “blind hills” example.

As for Noise Removal, Audacity’s effect has many deficiencies. There will be a much improved effect in version 2.1.0 though. Not to boast, but, I wrote that too.

I hear mouth clicks – they drove me to such distraction, I wrote the effect. I don’t hear what you call “beeps.” Maybe your young ears are better than mine. With noise removal, chimes or “tinklebells” or “musical noise” left over in the pauses are one kind of artifact. The Frequency Smoothing setting of noise removal makes the bells less obvious, but does not reduce their number. The Sensitivity setting can reduce the number of bells if you increase it. But the danger is doing more damage to the speech sounds you want to keep. It is a tradeoff. Overuse of noise removal on speech, to my ears, is most evident in breaths and in sounds like s, f, th. (I mean generally, not in your example. What happens if you crank it to 48.)

Audacity’s noise removal is for removing background hiss, not for removing mouse clicks. Don’t try to crank it up enough to remove clicks.

Even so, it might decently remove hiss in pauses but does a bad job of removing the hiss behind words or music, and I think I am hearing that in your videos as a kind of “gating” effect in the background noise. I explained the reason for that failure and why it is possible to write a better effect in the WIki here, if you are very curious.