Crackling sound when recording from ZOOM H4N

The problem:

When I record my voice using my ZOOM H4N as sound card, when I listen back to the track I hear crackling noise.

My configuration:

Laptop acer aspire 3820TG-7945 running Windows 7 64b with factory reset yesterday,

Sound card driver are the original. (Realtek high definition audio :

ZOOM driver is the latest (when recording, zoom mic volume is at 70 and not cliping at all)

Audacity 2.0.5

I have checked :

    • Both the zoom and audacity are at 44100 Hz.
  • Played with Latency in Autacity and Zoom. No luck.

  • Tried installing back audacity 2.0.4 … No Luck.

  • I have tried “disable all sound effects” on the computers onboard microphone hoping it would affect the ZOOM. No Luck.
    (In Zoom recording mixer properties, there does not seem to have an enhancements tab.)

Any help or ideas would be great!

Oh and im very new to sound design… :wink:

Sorry for spelling, im french speaking


You used the Zoom USB connection? Did you go through a USB hub with other equipment? That can cause crackling noises in audio. USB Audio machines must have direct home runs to the computer. If you have many USB devices on the computer, see what happens when you disconnect some of them.


Thank you for your fast reply!

Nop, no hub and no other device atached.

Also, sound is the same either pluged or not in wall socket.


Drag-select one second of audio with crackles in it, Export as WAV, and post it here.


OK, hope this works!

Wave should be here.

(sorry if there are more than one post, was not really sure how to add the file :wink: )


Now tried recording with ableton live, same problem.

Tried with an other USB cable. No luck.

Tried with the AC adaptor on and off. No luck.

When zoom is selected as playback device and listening to music, same problem. No luck.

Weerd thing is that when i instaled the zoom drivers, it was ok. Thinking of an Windows 7 update might be creating an issue?


All I have ever done is transfer files. I have never tried to use the H4 as a microphone or live audio device.

I don’t recognize the damage.

Do you have Audacity set for 44100 sample rate and the H4 as 48000?


When I record with the zoom and transfer files, all is OK. It’s when i use it as an audio card that it does the crackling.

Dont think it was like this before the Windows update. Remember testing it and not noticing any problems.

They are both at 44100. Really hoping someone will have an idea on this forum.

Not really sure what else to look for or to test.

However, since it is also present in ableton, it probably more of a driver thing im guessing?

And by the way, thank you for your help! :slight_smile:


However, since it is also present in ableton, it probably more of a driver thing im guessing?

Yes, it’s between the computer and the H4N. My Zoom is an H4, so I’m even further away.

It is possible to see the sound damage in the blue waves, so the waves are being made like that during the recording. I don’t recognize the pattern of the damage. Usually we get a system that leaves holes in the show or one that produces a very specific noise (Frying Mosquitos). We more or less know how to deal with that.

I got nothing.


Well thank you for trying! Very much appreciated!

Will wait and see if someone else has something to share… Hope so! haha

Thanks again!

It could be.
Have a look to see if you can “roll back” the drivers for the device to an older version. (Windows help & learning)

Which Zoom driver did you install? I can only find their ASIO driver which won’t work with Audacity as shipped unless it also exposes a WDM driver.

If you found the driver worked before, and rolling back does not help, have you tried uninstalling then reinstalling the driver that you obtained?

Have you tried “Alternative settings if crackly recording or playback occurs” in the green box a few scrolls down on Missing features - Audacity Support ?

Note that Zoom say

Some audio problems may occur when using the H4n as an audio interface for some laptop computers based on AMD chipsets.

As far as I can see your laptop has an Intel chipset, but I’ll mention it for others who may read this.


Did anyone find a solution for this issue?
I have exactly the same cracking/cut-outs happening - came across it trying to use H4N as audio interface with Cubase LE6 then found same issue with audacity. Arg.
Thinking it’s something to do with USB interface but past that… stuck.
Tried battery power, AC, and USB but no change.
The slightly bizarre thing - I got a different pattern of clicks coming through on a recording after having rendered it into WAV - there was one repeating pattern during playback in Cubase but then half the pops went when rendered…? That give any clues? Stumped me.
I live in hope,
Harmo. :neutral_face:

Then it is not an Audacity issue, is it? You have not said what version of version of Windows you have or given your computer specifications.

If the suggestions I made at Crackling sound when recording from ZOOM H4N - #12 by Gale_Andrews don’t help, or if you have an AMD chipset, record to a WAV file in the H4N instead of using it as an interface.


I know this is a super old post, but I thought I’d share what worked for me in case anyone else encounters this problem. I ended up fixing it by changing the buffer length to 10 milliseconds.

Preferences > Devices >Latency > Buffer Length = 10

Hope this helps! :smiley:

I would just add, that this solution addresses a common problem on Mac computers. It is described in a bit more detail in the FAQ section of the Audacity manual (FAQ:Recording - Troubleshooting - Audacity Manual).

As this is the Windows section of the forum, and the original poster was getting the same problem with Cubase LE6, I doubt that the above solution is relevant.

I have the same problem with Zoom H4N and never found a solution even those mentionned previously do not work. If I swith to a zoom H1 I have no problem with crackling or dropout playback. I think the audio interface of H4N is faulty.

Win 10
Lenovo Yoga 720
Power management and energy saving disabled. No wireless internet activated. No antivirus.
H4N 1.90 driver
tried with usb powered no usb powered etc All Asio setting tested. MME same problems.

No bug with H1 with same Asio driver from zoom !

Good luck!

The reason for using stand-alone recorders such as the Zoom (I have two, now) is so you can stop recording on the computer. Note way at the top of this thread, recordings work perfectly stand-alone.

When I record with the zoom and transfer files, all is OK. It’s when i use it as an audio card that it does the crackling.

That setup exactly as you see it produces good quality voice files that I transfer to Audacity and can easily pass ACX Audiobook technical standards.

Getting a USB microphone to work right connected to the computer is the subject of many, many pages of forum posts. You have a perfectly workable alternative recording method and you should be using it as we hash this out.

We should also note that it’s possible your computer setup will never work reliably. Not every computer can manage perfect, real-time sound.


I have the zoom h4n pro. I have the same problem. However, when I use a Blue Yeti usb microphone it’s records and plays back clearly. I use the Zoom h4n pro as A/I in order to use xlr cables with different microphones like the Shure sm57. I have Windows 10. It seems to be a setting issue on the desktop because The exact setup records and plays back clearly in my HP laptop with Windows 10 and also clearly on my daughter’s MacBook Pro. Therefor I don’t believe it is the Zoom device or the sound card. I just don’t know what setting to adjust. Thoughts?

I just don’t know what setting to adjust.

The only one that might work is Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Devices > Buffer.

You have the best of all possible worlds because you have a way to make very high quality recordings without the computer. The people with straight, simple USB microphones and that kind of damage are out of luck.

Correct me, but you can mount the Zoom as File Transfer and not Live Microphone. So you can record perfectly to the Zoom memory and push the files over to the computer for editing. I believe that will also power the Zoom so you don’t drain the batteries.

You can record, do production that way, and get work out the door while you figure out what the noise problem is.