How to remove hardware crackling from my microphone?

Few notes before starting, I’ve been using Paul’s declicker for a long while now, and while it helps get rid of like 95% of the clicks and crackles from the microphone, some artifacts still leak. Second, I use a usb webcam (albeit rather high quality) as a microphone, and it’s had this crackling issue across both of the laptops I’ve used it on, both on Windows and on Linux (Mint Cinnamon 21.2). Third, though it goes without saying, the clip I share here, already went through the de-clicker.

Since I can only use one embed, I’m going to share a clip I posted on twitter that shows my issue (the first 5 seconds). And this thread from someone that has some audio with identical artifacts to mine.

For the actual embed, I want to post the settings I use on the de-clicker, after a LOT of fiddling around, I found that these were the most effective settings for removing clicks while also being time efficient. I used to use 2000-20000Hz and 6 bands, but I found these worked slightly better (both are better than default on two passes, not sure why though).

Hs it ever worked?


It’s recommended that you post raw problems instead of the reult of your patching and corrections. I know your goal is to produce clean recordings, but our goal is to hear the computer doing it wrong with as few impediments as possible.

Change the USB cable. Note what happens to the noises. Note if you can make the damage worse.


I got some snippets from the raw audio:

Change the USB cable. Note what happens to the noises. Note if you can make the damage worse.

I’m not sure what you mean by this, if you mean to slice my webcam’s usb cable in half, and then rewire it to a different usb, then there is no way in hell I’m ever doing that, lol. I’m not destroying my microphone like that for no reason, I don’t have the technical knowledge or tools to even attempt to do it.

Which one? Make and model number.


That’s a bit hard to answer, it was a very generic webcam, it’s probably a mass produced model that is then handed to resellers who slap their brand and model labels on them, but for what it’s worth:

MODEL: ML3-164

It only uses USB2. That’s all I can find on the store page.

The drop-outs are big and multiples of 500ms.
That pattern reminds me of different software fighting over control of the webcam audio.

Thanks for the details. My prime goal is to find out if the USB cable is permanently attached to the camera. If it is, then you can’t change it as in my above post.

It’s not unusual for microphone USB cables to be “too long.” From fuzzy memory, the one that comes with the Blue Yeti is way longer than the traditional 3 feet or so. That’s convenient up until it starts dropping bits and clicking.

So that’s the next level. Are you using the picture from the camera? What other applications are running? How did you separate the sound from the picture in the data stream?


My prime goal is to find out if the USB cable is permanently attached to the camera.

I don’t really know how it could not be permanently attached. I’d imagine you mean if I used a sort of jack-usb adapter or an extension? But no, it’s just a regular usb cable.

Are you using the picture from the camera?

I am not using the picture, not to my knowledge, I use the webcam exclusively as a microphone.

What other applications are running?

I don’t get this one, I only use my webcam when I need it, if I need to record, I use it on OBS, if I need to chat with friends, I use it on discord, if I need to talk in class, I use it on Meet, it’s not any different to how I would use any other microphone. If you mean if I run the microphone through virtual sinks or filters before capturing it on OBS/Audacity, then the answer is no, the only effect I use is a noise gate on OBS itself.

On this particular example, I only have OBS + the game I’m recording, and again this has been an issue ever since I was on Windows, and back then I used Action! Mirillis to record (and OBS for console). But no I really doubt it’s this hypothetical “software fighting over control of the webcam” scenario, considering the crackling has been happening across multiple OSs, recording software, and even laptops.

How did you separate the sound from the picture in the data stream?

I still don’t know what this means, all I do is, not capture the video…? I don’t think there’s any way to simply disable the video, that’s why the webcam comes with a cover, same reason why people put tape on their lap’s cam. It unfortunately doesn’t have a light to indicate whether the video feed is active or not. The camera has a video an audio channel, I simply capture the audio one only.

I have a web cam with a Mini-USB connector on the back. I can use whatever cable I wish.


Remember the first question way back at the top? So this has never worked right. You have always needed to add patching and corrections to avoid sound damage.

This is not an Audacity problem.


This is not an Audacity problem.

I- I am at a loss for words.

I came here because I am looking for a way to get rid of these artifacts by USING AUDACITY. I didn’t imply at any point that my microphone issue was caused by Audacity, that’s a completely different issue that is frankly irrelevant, all I care about is finding the best way to fix these artifacts in post until i can afford a better Mic.

Instead of being given assistance on the actual issue at hand through Audacity tools or plugins I may not know about, or de-clicker settings that may work better, I’ve been asked irrelevant questions about my webcam that I still tried to oblige to in hopes that they would lead somewhere, just to get politely told to piss off by a moderator of all people, because this is apparently “not an Audacity problem”.

I’m sorry if I come off as rude or entitled, I’m just not in the mood to have my issue completely disregarded on a basis as patronizing as this when it should be very obvious from the way my original post is structured, and the fact that it was made under the Audacity Help Forums, that this is indeed, an Audacity issue.

The best way to create clean, clear, undamaged recordings, is to stop the damage from happening in the first place.

See: Trebor, above. The clicks occurring at predictable intervals suggests strongly that you can make the problem go away if you can find out what configuration, setting, app, or program is stealing tiny but regular pieces of time from the performance.

As you are finding, corrections are never without their down sides. They all create damages of their own. It’s a constant juggling act.

Other forum elves may be able to suggest different apps or settings on the ones already here. That’s why I suggested a posting with “clean” damage—no corrections.


Well, that’s the thing. If you have drop-outs then data is being lost between your webcam and your computer, and Audacity can’t replace that data. So all the questions you’ve been asked have been very relevant.

Since the problem is with your recording equipment, and since it can’t be (entirely) fixed with Audacity, I’d suggest getting a better mic. The Blue Yeti is not expensive and can produce an excellent sound for you to work with in Audacity.

You can fix some of these ticks manually, without special software.

This is a selection from your sample post. “How Long Exact” with a tick after “long.”

This is a picture of the timeline blue waves with the tick illustrated.

Here’s one with the tick magnified and selected.

And deleted.

Here’s a sound sample with the tick, and then removed. I just drag-selected the spike and then hit the DEL key. This will make the performance very slightly shorter, but the difference should be so tiny as to be ignored.

This was a case where the tick was obvious and there was no competing voice. Some of the ticks are in the middle of a loud word and I can’t isolate the damage.

Also there’s the problem of surgically correcting a performance every hand-full of seconds. Some audiobook performers insist they are going to edit their entire book that way. This is called a “Retirement Project.”

While I was preparing this display, I noticed that the sound coming from the camera is not in standard, normal 44100 sound format. It’s in video format, 48000. That may be where the damage is coming from. The show settings and the voice sound settings are different.


See: Trebor, above. The clicks occurring at predictable intervals… … data is being lost between your webcam and your computer, and Audacity can’t replace that data

I think there might’ve been a misunderstanding. There are no dropouts in the audio, there is only crackling like vinyl pops. The “dropouts” are blank spaces I left in-between the snippets from my audio recording. Otherwise I’m not sure what they meant by “multiples of 500ms” since the clicks are way shorter than that.

And from what you say, I guess it could mean they come in 500ms intervals, but that still seems a bit unreliable.

The Blue Yeti is not expensive and can produce an excellent sound for you to work with in Audacity.

Blue Yetis are around $50-100, that is out of my budget.

You can fix some of these ticks manually, without special software.

I am aware, there is even a Repair effect to do this without shortening the audio! But this is obviously unviable for 40+ minute recordings where I get clicks, pops and crackles every few seconds. I already have to edit the videos themselves, i can’t afford to spend hours scouting the audio manually removing every click.

normal 44100 sound format. It’s in video format, 48000

OBS defaults to 48Hz when recording audio, it’s set to that for all tracks, I could ask on the OBS server on how to change this for my mic without breaking the game audio, however when I checked my webcam’s specs, this was the output from the terminal sample spec: s16le 1ch 16000Hz, not 44100 nor 48000.

I’m not sure if this is something I can or even should change directly (I know I can change the sample rate of my output devices at least), or if I should change the sample rates of the apps I record with instead, since at least OBS only has 44.1 and 48 settings.

For context, I tried recording on Audacity at 16000, and I still had crackles.


I don’t think that’s quite the case. The ticks are where the system stopped paying attention to your voice. If you remove the tick with suppression software, it doesn’t revert to a clean voice, it leaves a hole.

I’m out. You have a complex setup with multiple different jobs and software packages that has apparently never worked right. Patching with Audacity (or other) software tools is the only way.


For OBS issues, it might be worth a flick through this old OBS thread. A busy CPU might be a thing, try running OBS under a power saver plan. Perform a disk cleanup, optimise Windows, and check the driver for the webcam is up to date, there are no conflicts in Device manager, specifically sound drivers enabled on a GPU versus the system sound chip/card, and optionally run Driver Store Explorer to check redundant entries. Run the Device Cleanup tool and check the ports with something like HIDtest.
Good luck! :grinning:

I appreciate the help, but this isn’t really an obs issue, the crackling appears whether I record on OBS, Audacity, or just through alsamixer. Also I’m on Linux Mint, not on Windows, so I can’t really use any of the solutions provided.

Only thing I can do is check my webcam on my device manager, but I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to be looking for (all my headphones/webcams/mics say Keyboard, dw about that). I imagine I should check if any other device is using the usb-0000:03:00.3-4/button sink, but there isn’t any, no.

Sorry, don’t know where Windows came from, so that launches us out of the comfort zone. :man_facepalming:
There are apparently ways of running apps in low power mode on Mint, in case activity from the CPU interferes.
As far as the ports go, what’s the USB2.0 HD UVC WebCam: USB2.0 HD? is it possible to try the cam on a USB 2.0 port instead, disabling the GENERAL WEBCAM ... device altogether? The HIDapi will run on yours, there may be a wrapper somewhere.
Does the HD-Audio Generic ... driver interface indicate it can “see” the webcam audio at all?