Clicks not showing up on waveform

Good day,
I’m recording my first audiobook and have been editing the recordings for weeks now. I had to re-record a few chapters and now there are clicks in the audio that aren’t showing up on the waveform and there’s no way for me to delete them. Are these clicks being created by my computer? Is there any way to get rid of them?

I’m using Windows 10 and the newest version of Audacity, which I just downloaded a few weeks ago. I’m also using a budget condenser microphone, but these clicks weren’t showing up in earlier recordings, or even recordings I’ve done after this chapter, so I have to assume the mic isn’t the problem. I’ve attached a clip of the audio file. I would greatly appreciate some help in this matter. Thanks.

Give us a push. Where do you hear the clicks?

Clicks don’t have to be enormous blue spikes in the timeline. You can have tiny pieces of wave that are just missing.

Do the clicks always happen in the same place? You can have some really interesting problems if the playback system is doing it and the files are actually OK. This is where you try the work on your mum’s computer or a different playback system that’s not your computer.


aren’t showing up on the waveform

It’s possible you’re making them. There’s a whole section on the ACX help pages about drinking water and how and when to eat apples to suppress lip smacks and tongue ticks.

Can you get this damage down to recording date? “I remember that. That was Thursday last week.” The other recording days seem to be OK.

Condenser microphones, even affordable ones are great at picking up every single tiny delicate nuance and character—sometimes whether you want them to or not.


…I can’t listen to your file right now.

I had to re-record a few chapters and now there are clicks in the audio that aren’t showing up on the waveform

Sometimes the [u]Spectrogram[/u] (or Multi-view) is helpful in “finding” clicks or other defects. Then, you can often see it in the waveform when you zoom-in on the right area.

There are 3 consecutive clicks that start right at the 1 second mark of that clip. They’re not mouth clicks and there is no parts missing from the wave file, it looks smooth and good. I tried looking in the spectrograph but nothing was on that either. I thought I read something about the computer getting overloaded and creating clicks like this…

And yes the clicks happen in the same place no matter what playback device I’m using.

It’s not just this one cheater, there are random clicks like this in different chapters that arent mouth clicks. So I guess the real question is, does ACX reject files for clicks like this? Do listeners go crazy and give 1 out of 5 if they hear the occasional click? The thought of rerecording all of these chapters and re editing might be worse than death :stuck_out_tongue:

right at the 1 second mark

Got it. 1.1, 1.6, and 2.2

does ACX reject files for clicks like this?

They reject any damage they consider a “distraction.”

Their metaphor is listening to someone telling you a fascinating story over cups of tea. Very few people have ticks in real life. That also kills people trying to rescue their files by piling on effects, filters, and corrections. Nobody is going to pay you to announce in cellphone voice.

Found it.

This is a waveform of a normal word with normal up and down motion.

Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 1.26.16 PM.png

This is the tick at 2.2 seconds (or slightly before).

Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 1.26.32 PM.png
There is a lot more rough, trashy “grass” between 2.17 and 2.2.

I can change it into different trash, but I can’t get rid of it.

I think your “affordable” microphone is making up its own sound.

Which microphone and how long is the USB cable? Describe your studio and computer in detail. Did you extend the USB cable so you didn’t get computer fan noise in the show?


You can see it in Spectrogram view, now that I know what I’m looking for.

The tick is that stack of four red blobs directly under the 1.6 number.

Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 1.41.14 PM.png
I think there’s a way to directly edit those, but I’m the wrong elf to tell you about it.

It may not get rid of all the damage, but it will help.

Besides, you’ll need to go down the whole book hand-correcting them one at a time. I picked this one because it’s pretty obvious. One of the fixes I tried gave me a thump instead of a sharp tick.

Reading it over is the easy fix. Finding a good microphone may be harder.


And because I haven’t been Suzy Sunshine yet. Can I buy your book on Amazon in paper or eBook?


Oh man. How do they even know the clicks are there? They listen to the whole book? Would those little clicks be considered a distraction?

There’s not even a name brand on the microphone. It’s just a cheap thing from China for $35. Just says professional studio condenser microphone.

I have a Dell laptop, older one. I talk into a closet with clothes hanging everywhere and the laptop is outside the closet door, with a 3 foot usb cable.

I havent published the book yet. It’s called A BETTER FUTURE: HOW WE FIX THE WORLD. It’s about changing political structure and bringing about direct democracy - online voting - and really giving the power to the people.

Appreciate your help.

I havent published the book yet.

This is a quote from the ACX publishing page.

We can help with the technical and submission requirements.

That’s from here.

Also from their help pages, there is a list of “bad” books. Scroll down to the bottom.


There was a forum poster who tried to publish both at the same time. It wasn’t fun. I can find the messages if you want.


I was actually just waiting to publish the ebook until I had recorded all of the chapters…in case there were any changes I wanted to make after reading it one more time. But there weren’t, and this convo has spurred me onto publishing it, which I’m doing right now. Plus, it looks like I might have to get a producer to do this now, since what I’m doing obviously isn’t working, and I’m about to lose my little studio :frowning:

Thanks for your help and quick replies, Koz.

It’s just a cheap thing from China for $35. Just says professional studio condenser microphone.

What you have is an electret condenser mic. There is something like [u]this[/u] inside and the case probably costs more than the element inside. “Real condenser mics” usually cost at least $100. Electret mics are not necessarily bad and there are some good-popular “podcast mics” and a few stage mics that are electrets. But, I don’t know of any electrets that are used in pro studios.

[u]What Is the Difference Between Electret Condenser and “True Condenser” Microphones?[/u] .

The Blue Yeti is probably the most popular podcast mic and I’m pretty sure it’s an electret. The Yeti also has a reputation of being noisy, but the noise is actually coming from USB power so it will be noisier on some computers than others. And, that “bad reputation” might be because they sell a lot of them… If they sell millions of microphones and thousands of people complain about noise, that could be unfair.

Any USB powered microphone or interface can pick-up noise through the USB power. The most foolproof solution is a good analog microphone and a USB audio interface with it’s own power supply, but most inexpensive interfaces are USB powered.

So you’re saying the mic is creating the clicks? Why is it only happening in some chapters?

Why is it only happening in some chapters?

There’s no good way to know. Troubleshooting is borderline magic in good times, and you apparently don’t have good times.

Because there are so many Blue Yetis around, we pretty quickly discovered how the curse worked and how to prevent it. We even have a “Frying Mosquitoes” filter to get rid of most of the Yeti distortion in post production.

You are a one-off with a no-label, affordable microphone that nobody else has, and your sound damage isn’t common.

I have a rule of thumb if you spend more than two weeks struggling with a bad computer microphone, stop using the computer.

I submitted a technically correct audiobook audition with that.

That’s a Zoom H1n sound recorder. My to-do list has me figuring out to shoot an audiobook on my phone.


So, good news. After a month, 3 high end microphones, 2 different PCs, multiple DAWs, an iPhone and messing around with the buffer settings for a week, I finally figured out what the problem was - my cell phone. I was reading my book from my cell phone which was always placed right by the microphone. I finally heard a bit of interference from the phone on my headphones and put the phone in airplane mode. No more clicks. I’m not sure if I should feel like an idiot or not because I did not see this piece of advice anywhere. But after doing this I realize it was a pretty obvious solution and can’t help but kick myself…many times. I think this last month just took 10 years off of my life. I hope this thread can help someone else to prevent this nightmare. Thanks for your attempted help anyway guys.

My nature is to read from paper, but I’m way in the minority there.

This started to be a problem when people showed up with all sorts of oddball sound troubles and we eventually traced them back to either the machine they were recording on, or the machine they were reading from.

We’re starting to collect stories of people successfully producing books on Zoom recorders (so far, Zooms 1 through 5) as well as other stand-alone recorders connected to good quality microphones in quiet rooms. The majority of forum posters with sound damage are trying to record on a computer and the computer is fighting them every step of the way. If you really offended the sound deities, you can have multiple problems.

“OK, that whine in the background (frying mosquitoes) is USB sound damage, the random ticks in your show are sharing errors and you sound like you’re talking into a milk jug because of Zoom.”

Also see: studios almost universally demand everyone turn their phone off before they “roll tape.”

Glad you found it. Thanks for posting back.


The clicks on the example you posted are mechanical, rather than electromagnetic interference.

If you play them at say 1/10th normal speed their mechanical nature is clear.

I have a Zoom H1, the H2 is legendary in both of its iterations, I have an older H4 and the H5 appeared on the forum at least once.

They do make an H3. It’s an ambisonic, 360 degree, Virtual Reality microphone. I would have bet there wasn’t an H3. I would have been wrong.