Crackling Sound - Ruins recordings - HELP please


I am experiencing this same issue on 3 separate computers. Two desktop (both same computer at different studios Gateway-Desktop / AMD A-Series Processor SX2370-UB30PAMD Quad core processor 4gb DDR3 Ram, one laptop (HP Pavilion DM4 with Intel Core I5 processor -

All are windows 7. All Audacity 2.0.3. All using a simple Sony portable condenser mic plugged in through the 1/8" mic in jack (Sony ECM DS70P

To be clear, this issue doesnt happen all the time, fairly unpredictable when it comes around. When it does, I never know if a recording will be effected or not until playback and if it is, it’s ruined. You can imagine how frustrating this is, losing best takes! Thats why I’m writing you guys, finally hoping to get some tips or pointers to get this resolved.

What I have noticed is it usually never happens on track 1. It may happen on track 2 or 3. Especially when overdubbing and listening to a playback track but sometimes even when not overdubbing. Another puzzling thing is I’ve had this occur on track 2 but then not on track 3 or 4.

Here is a few example mp3 files and pic of the mic. I need to figure out something more consistent, what I’m doing now just isn’t acceptable. THANK YOU for any and all help / ideas : ) : ) : )

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All using a simple Sony portable condenser mic plugged in through the 1/8" mic in jack (Sony ECM DS70P > > … &A=details)

It doesn’t have anything to do with the problem, but that’s not a “simple” microphone. I would be surprised if any of your conventional soundcards gave you stereo sound. It’s designed to plug into a custom Sony connection that “knows” how to manage audio signals on what is normally the battery connection on the plug.

I’m sure it works fine as a mono microphone and since it doesn’t do that, that’s the problem.

If you were using a USB microphone through a USB hub, we’d all be home in bed by now. That’s what the error sounds like.

If all your computers have similar virus protection, it’s possible the protection is interfering with Audacity’s efforts to write the sound information to the hard drive. Disconnect the computers from the network, defeat the virus software and try recording again.

That’s the only “magic” problem we’ve found that can cause this kind of problem. The other causes can be “normal” like the computer is trying to do something else stressful at the same time as the session. This is actually a good bet because track one never has problems. Track two is the first one where the computer has to both record and play back surgically correctly with zero errors. In other words, its stress level is double what it is for a straight recording.

Disconnecting the network is still not a dreadful thing. If you leave Skype running in the background, that can cause problems. Anything running back there with sound services. Do you leave games napping?

Stop doing that.


First, thanks for the response Koz, I really really appreciate it. I suppose your right, that mic isnt so simple. I will look into what is running in the background. No Skype for me now, but thats def good info because I will be starting skyping soon.

As I read your ideas, I realized I forgot one huge piece of info here and for that I do apologize. Though I’ve been having issues on all three machines, and the ones I used most often are desktop w Sony mic, both of these recordings you heard were done on the laptop with the good old internal microphone of the HP Pavilion.

It makes sense to me that in theory the 1st track ought to have no issues because requires less resources wheras overdub tracks need more resources. But what I don’t get is why track 4 would then sometimes be ok (which is needing even more juice) when track 2 is messed up?

** I should also mention that the sound problems from the second attachment were at the very beginning of the recording, which went about 15 minutes or so. They were there for a while, and then dissipated later. Again, the theoretical obvious idea is volume input (second track is just vibes wheras first is drums) but it there were times on that track where we were just quietly talking in between with (no instruments) and the popping can still be heard. To be clear, I just left the computer recording the entire time and the crackle sounds just seem to start and stop when they want. The computer was not connected to internet or having any changes of useage during that track.

Hope this additional info helps and sorry I didnt add this prior.

Current antivirus is Malewarebytes, version w latest updates

As I was digging up some old saved projects to try and find patterns to this, I was wrong about track one always coming out flawless. I found an example where the issue was on track 1, and again just talking, nothing loud. I will try to start keeping better track of this. I still say track 1 is usually good, and other tracks have more issues, but wanted you guys to know all the info in case that matters.

I was going to confidently run off and claim that the system wasn’t running fast enough to keep up with the data load, but I don’t think that any more. Attached is a segment of your last sound posting. You have data damage, not the classic straight vertical lines of data missing. Note the flat spot at 1.240 and the blast of scribble at 1.270.

I wonder if your system(s) aren’t oscillating from internal feedback. Since you set all of them up, you could have used, for example, Stereo Mix for all the recording devices instead of recording directly from the microphone. That means any device and anything playing on the computer is in the sound mix while you’re recording.

Oh, and your machines aren’t ‘simple’ broken, they’re unstable. If you go back and read your postings, they’re pages of odd conditions. The problem changes with everything. “If we’re recording track two and the humidity is over 50% and my coffee is cold, it starts crackling.”

One troubleshooting technique seems counterintuitive. Can you make it worse? Is there one condition or thing you can do that seems far worse than the others and is it repeatable?

Did anything in that wiki article several posts back help?

Did you have your microphone plugged in even though you weren’t recording from it? That microphone is not intended to be plugged into a standard soundcard. That may be the elephant in the room.

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Can you make it worse? Is there one condition or thing you can do that seems far worse than the others and is it repeatable?

Thank you again for the help with this. As all these computers are at different locations, its going to take a bit to see what the current settings are. I will start by making sure recording is set to mono instead of stereo and see where that leads. I have not been able to get a handle on the repeatable aspect, thats what makes it so tough. My hope is that if I pay really close attention and learn a bit more from what you said (a lot of good tips and thx for the wiki link) then I will hopefully start noticing what attributes make it better and worse. For now, I will be in data collection stage. This has been a devastating problem, never used to occur at all, and now its everywhere. I truly appreciate your help, I owe you a big time THANK YOU.