Crackling when two separate clips are played


Been recording my vocals for a song that I am planning to post on youtube but for some reason there is a crackling noise when my vocals are being played with the music.

This is my first time using audacity so I am not quite sure what the issue is. It is definitely not the recordings as when I play them separately, they sound fine.

Don’t know if its because my singing is too loud for the music so its distoring, or if its a problem with the sample rates, settings etc.

Been looking online but can’t seem to find much information on this topic.

I would appreciate any help I could be given with this as its a problem that is highly stressing me out.

Thanks all! :slightly_smiling_face:

p.s. may try uninstalling and reinstalling but if I do that, I will let y’all know if that fixes the issue.

How are you “playing them together”? Are both tracks loaded into Audacity?

Try cutting the volume of both tracks in half. (Run the Amplify effect at -6dB.) Mixing is done by summation so you can easily get clipping (overload distortion). …Analog mixers are built-around summing amplifiers, but they have a level control for each input plus a master control so it’s more of a weighted average.

If it ends-up too-quiet you can re-import the mix and Amplify or Normalize. Or instead of reducing the volume before mixing you can export to floating-point WAV (which can go over 0dB without clipping). Then re-import and Amplify or Normalize to bring the levels down. (You shouldn’t “produce” a file that goes over 0dB because the DAC can clip when it’s played.)


Thanks for getting back to me and sorry for taking so long to respond!

By playing the them together, I mean the vocals on top of the music. I have tried reducing the audio down to -6 as you have suggested and whilst it did get rid of the crackling (woohoo), I don’t think it sounds too great (but mind you I don’t know whether that’s down to the quality of the vocal editing).

So sorry I am new to audacity so not entirely sure what you mean by exporting to floating point WAV? I’m assuming you mean turning it into a file in some way or other?

I know this is not something obligatory and taken out of your own time to do, so I am very grateful towards you! :slight_smile:

don’t think it sounds too great (but mind you I don’t know whether that’s down to the quality of the vocal editing).

50/50 is not necessarily the “right mix” but the idea is that the total shouldn’t go over 100% (0dB). Usually the vocals need to be a little “out front”. Try opening the [u]Mixer Board[/u] and adjusting by ear.

So sorry I am new to audacity so not entirely sure what you mean by exporting to floating point WAV?

Yes - File → Export → Export Audio.
Save as type: WAV (Microsoft).

Encoding: 32-bit Float.

I may have a couple more suggestions later, but I gotta’ go now…

What’s the background music?

Audacity has tools which can help with this. You don’t have to guess at the volume. Yes, if you play multiple tracks at the same time, some of the sounds can add up to more than 100%. That’s not serious inside Audacity because of its weird sound format, but the instant you export a sound file like that, you’re in trouble.

Watch the Audacity bouncing sound meter. The indicator is never supposed to go all the way up (0dB).

Adjust your tracks and mix so it sounds OK without hitting 0dB.

I should be very clear about this. Adjusting loudness up and down, in and out of overload only works inside Audacity. The instant you make a sound file with errors, all the loud parts become seriously and permanently damaged.

That happens before Audacity, too. If you overload your microphone, interface, or sound mixer, it doesn’t matter what Audacity does later, the performance is trash. Nearly all devices have some form of volume indicator. Tiny flashing lights, actual meters, knobs that change color. Pay attention to them.

Screen Shot 2021-06-21 at 12.46.08 PM.png
This is my my microphone preamp. The SIG light should be flashing green and the CLIP light turns red if the sound is too loud.



Thanks for getting back to me.

Unfortunately, I do not play any instruments so the instrumental is a piano version I got off youtube.

I see with the db that makes a lot of sense, and looking at it now the vocals are going up to 0db so that will need reducing.

I will have a go now and get back to you if I have any more trouble.

Hopefully it should be okay :crossed_fingers:

Ever grateful! :smiley:

What I was going to add is -

Compression can be used to bring-up the vocal “intensity” to help it stand-out in the mix. Dynamic compression reduces the loud parts and/or boosts the quiet parts, so that allows you to bring-up the overall loudness without clipping. It’s one of the most commonly used effect in audio production, along with equalization and reverb.

Limiting is a kind-of fast compression and there are fewer settings to mess-with (and it’s less likely to damage the sound when used in moderation) so the Limiter effect is probably a better place to start.

Of course, compression (including limiting) is optional and it can also be used to “tame” the piano or it can be used on the mixed track.