Crackling on Samson Meteor since firmware update

Hey Guys,

First time poster and I hope you can help me out with an issue I am having.

I am an audiobook narrator that uses a Samson Meteor mic, the latest Audacity build and Windows 10. I have a new desktop machine with a Sound Blaster Z soundcard.

I read somewhere about Samson’s sound deck software and thought the real-time noise reduction that comes with it sounded pretty cool, so I installed this. This brought to my attention that my Samson mic wasn’t registering as a Samson mic and just as generic microphone in Windows/Audacity, and this led me to implement a firmware fix - and now Windows recognises it as a Samson mic. This has brought problems.

There’s now a persistent crackle on my recordings that wasn’t there before the firmware fix and some of the audio is breaking up really badly. I looked into this and most of the information seemed to suggest that this was as a result of the mic being overloaded and to turn down the input volume, but this is where is gets weird (to my mind, anyway) - I used to have my recording volume set very low at around 2 before the firmware fix, but the crackling is much worse at low volumes. If I turn the recording volume up to around 8, the crackling is much reduced, but not entirely.

I’ve included two files - one at a low recording volume which in addition to the crackling is breaking up badly and unusable, and another at high volume which is much better, but not perfect.

Any ideas? I would much prefer to record at low volumes and then normalize to reduce background noise, etc. If it’s a case of uninstalling the firmware and just using it as a generic mic again that’s ok, but I do not know how to do this.

Thank you in advance!

Koz will give you much better help, but in the low volume recording, it sounds a little like noise-gate clipping to me.
In the high volume recording, the noise floor seems pretty high in the first half-second, but the volume is high enough that the gate never causes the clipping.
Novice guesswork, here, but trying to give you something to go on until the professionals get here.

Koz will give you much better help

Sure. Here it comes.

It sounds a little like noise gate clipping to me.

I bet if you dig into your Meteor software, you’re going to find settings to help you create a conference or chat. Auto Noise Reduction, etc. Turn all those off.

Entertainment reading and Conference/Chat are very different

The audiobook goal is listening to someone sitting at the table across from you on a sunny morning telling you a fascinating story with no distractions over cups of tea.

Conference/Chat wants to shoot your words to others no matter what it has to do to get them there, and whether or not you or they have a quiet room. That’s the Earthmover or Howitzer version of recording.

ACX has a failure called “Overprocessing.” It’s in the second step, after the automation when an actual human listens to the work.