Help identifying the cause of the "pop"


Version 2.0.2 Using a Dell laptop. I downloaded from the site… so I’m not sure whether it was the installer or the zip.

I’ve experienced this faint pop sound at intermittent intervals. I read the troubleshooting page and thought the most likely cause was the sound card writing to the drive. However, the timing is more random than every 6 seconds, and it’s not in every file. I’m using a Plantronics mic/headset with USB. It does not occur in every file.

I tried closing all applications, not connecting to internet, and opening and closing Audacity for each file recorded. That seemed to correct it. The thing is… I can’t remember if once I got on a roll, I stopped doing it and had more than one file open at a time.

Can you tell by hearing the noise what it might be/how to avoid? In the attached wav file, I hear it at least three times. It happens during a word in many cases, so I’m pretty sure it’s from something internal as I’ve been super careful with external noise. I’ve been able to see it when it occurs and I"m not speaking, and I can clip it out. Not so, when it happens when I’m speaking. I need to re-do about 6 files. :frowning:

If the sample isn’t good enough, let me know and I’ll try to find one that’s more blatant.


Can you find one of those pops that happens by itself? The reason you can’t remove it is the same reason we can’t inspect it clearly.


I’ll see if I can find one that doesn’t have sound on top. I know (or I’m pretty sure) I can’t remove it when it’s with sound. I’m trying to prevent it from happening to begin with, but I see the benefit of having one isolated for inspection!

It is possible to edit out the noises within words using Audacity’s spectral edit tool

(time-consuming though).

If the noise occurs when you are not speaking and not wearing the headset,
try giving Audacity higher CPU-priority: from “normal” to “above normal” …

@ Trebor–That’s impressive. I looked at the link, and it looks pretty complicated to do–I’m a rank novice–unless the page makes it seem more complicated than it is. It might be faster to re-record!! That said, I’m interested in prevention, too. The headset is what I use for the microphone, so I don’t see how I could test the noise occuring when I am not speaking or wearing the headset… unless I misunderstood, or there’s a way to do it. I think I’ll try to make the CPU adjustment just in case. It can’t harm anything, right?

@Koz- I think I found one that is more isolated–attached. I didn’t really hear it in the aup file. Rather, I saw it. I was looking for the little blip on the straight line. When I amplified the sound, it sounded like my kind of pop, but it’s much fainter than some of the others. But see if it will work. It’s at the very end. I was too quick in my other files. I already cut out the offending spot and resaved the file, so I’m unable to find any others where there is no voice. I do have some that are more pronounced. Though I will say that in the beginning of Trebor’s repaired file, the pop sound is much more pronounced than in my version.

Here is our site: The current version of Audacity is 2.1.3.

I suggest you upgrade, though it may not directly affect the “pops”.

Setting Audacity priority is only for that session, not permanent:


It’s possible the noise could be you breathing on the mic or moving your head. If it still occurs during a test recording when the headset is, say, on a table, that would exclude those as sources of the noise, (then the noise is computer-generated rather than human-origin).

That noise sounds mechanical to me, rather than digital : if that is the case changing the CPU priority won’t help.

Sometimes correlation can be a little fuzzy. Does it only happen when you wear your headset?

Trebor and Koz,

I guess I’ll have to do some more experimenting. I have only recorded with the headset on–that way I had consistency with mic position and distance. However, I can try putting the mic on my desk and see what happens. I can also experiment with turning my head or moving it, intentionally, to see if I get a noise.

I had this issue with Audacity and Windows 7 as well. Again, intermittent.

It may be a bit before I report back, but thank you for your comments and suggestions.

Headset microphones are frequently highly directional and noise cancelling. This can make them highly susceptible to breath impact. You may be listening to noise cancellation briefly losing its mind as you breathe.



@ Trebor–I have just studied the page you posted on spectral selection. For right now, tedious as it is, it may be my only hope. I saw how to make a selection. Are the steps I follow those associated with removing the whistle? It seems my range/parameters would be very small, since that noise is so short and low in volume/wave form… if I’m using the right words?

Since my “pop” is on the center line and barely above and below, would I make the selection narrow right where I hear the noise–just a little above and below, and a little to each side? (As opposed to selecting the entire take and attempting to eliminate all pops in one file at the same time?)

I’m going to experiment with it a bit

@Koz (and anyone else)
Here’s one more sample where the pop occurred and it was isolated. Does this example give a better clue? It’s right at the very beginning. I think I was even holding my breath at the time, but I won’t swear to it. I bumped up the CPU priority and that hasn’t worked so far. I did try putting the headset on the desk and not holding it. Still got pops.


I’m 80% of the way there. I see how to do the view and make a selection. I applied the tool with varying success. In one file where I could see the pop on a static line, I was able to remove it.

When the pop occurs with my voice, I’m having a harder time. First, I tried a small section, since I wasn’t quite sure exactly where it was, The result was that my voice was softened as well. Why is that? Does it have to do with the selected area? I’m also having troubles knowing where I am in the spectogram view. I can write down that the pop is between 7.5 and 8.0 for example, and then go to that spot in spectogram view. I there a way that “pop” looks in this view so I can zero in on it better? A couple of times I thought I had the right area, but the noise was still there afterwards.

I’ll keep at it, but I’m getting frustrated at not being able to find the right spot!

Fascinating. Removing a brandy cork. Not a wine cork, a smaller brandy cork.

It’s characteristics are serious. It has tones, overtones and harmonics the whole way between 500Hz and 11Hz. Thunder and earthquakes way below audibility.

If you indiscriminately boost everything by a large amount just to see what’s down there, you find that the cork is not the only sound. It’s only the worst one.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.13.08 PM.png
You also find a DC Offset (overall elevated blue line) in addition to the noise. That’s very serious hardware problems, not software. Something in your microphone system is not feeling well and it will pay handsome rewards to find out what that is before you make any more recordings.

I gotta go back and read the post.


I’m getting frustrated at not being able to find the right spot!

One of the less popular and obvious jobs of The Producer (upper case intentional) is knowing when to give up. “This is hopeless, lets trash it and start over,” said the lady with the checkbook. If nobody ever does that, you could be in the retirement home trying to patch your damaged work, and no further ahead in making new, clear recordings.


Plantronics mic/headset with USB

Model numbers? Pretend I want to buy that exact one.

I have used Plantronics in the past. They were one of the first makers of a headset whose earpiece could be fitted to your ear canal and whose headband snuggled up to your head.

I had to stop using mine because it was too comfortable. The ultra comfortable earpiece quietly fell out of my ear once and I failed to hear production commands during an important show.


I may be able to save you some trouble. If this is a real USB microphone, then it doesn’t use the computer’s soundcard and all the posted soundcard solutions aren’t going to help.

That also means the entire responsibility of the sound quality is in the headset. Once the show becomes USB and gets shipped down the cable, that’s the end of making new noises and damage like this.

And that leads us to a new or different microphone. In your sample, I can see the obvious pop, but I can also see other damage just waiting in the wings for you to let your guard down. USB microphones are either broken or not. There is no changing or adjusting bits and pieces like an analog system. Everything’s in one package.

I have two headset microphones. One game quality and one theatrical quality. The theatrical one is featured in the male voice here:

This is an analog microphone, not USB.

The game headset is terrible. It’s noisy and has bad volume and breath management. It’s USB and I can’t do a thing about it except stop using it.


(Now upgraded to 2.1.3)

@ Trebor: if you’re still reading the thread–since you were able to remove those three pops, is it possible for you to post a screen capture of the spectogram and selected area? And once you had the area selected, you chose Effect/Spectral Edit multi-tool, right? I watched a youtube video of this, but the extraneous noise in the example was a very obvious white horizontal bar against the blues and reds.

@Koz: The microphone is a Plantronics Blackwire C210 (according to devices!) I’m also using a government issued laptop, so the sound card is probably not special, to say the least.

A cork pop is a good description. Also reminds me of when someone puts their thumb in cheek and does a pop.

I re-recorded a few small files with some success, but the problem is still there. Probably not surprising to you. Maybe I was just lucky last time I did this. I need to try another microphone for sure. Obviously, this is a low budget work project, otherwise The Producer would be on it!

There’s a grammy winning, professional recording studio down the road from me. I think next time I might head there! My spouse, who is a musician, didn’t hear the pop until I pointed out what to listen for. If I can’t fix it, I’m hoping that will be the same for everyone else.

If it appears to be the microphone as culprit, perhaps I need to get the ok to make a new purchase…and I just now saw your most recent post, Koz… but I’m not going to go back and change this one! :stuck_out_tongue:

the sound card is probably not special

Doesn’t matter. The soundcard turns analog microphone sound into digital (among other things). Your microphone does that by itself, so it works around the soundcard.

Unless somebody has a better idea, I think you have an unstable or noisy microphone.

~~ Or ~~

We have a USB microphone failure common with the audiobook people where the computer USB connection isn’t high enough quality to work a USB microphone. Then you get this whine sound.

You don’t have that whine sound, but nobody would be shocked if your computer’s USB service was low quality or ratty and causing all the problems I found in your posted sample.

Can you try another computer?

Or another USB connection on the computer you have? Are you going through a USB hub or other USB service between the microphone and the computer? That’s usually a bad idea.


Confirming that the plug is directly in the USB port on the laptop, no hubs or funny stuff.

It did occur to me to try the mic with my desktop system to see what happens. I’ll give that a go over the weekend.

Still hoping Trebor chimes back in on the Spectogram.