New plug-in effect - PopMute

I like that the “skirts” of the active segment can be tuned so not only the plosive blast goes away, but the slight click before and after as well. That example is far from what I can do with more effort. You can still hear I didn’t get the delays quite right.

Given that there is no valuable work at all during the pop, gracefully suppressing them without damaging anything else is a good thing – and I didn’t drill them down to nothing, either. They’re just a lot lower than they were and probably a handful of dB down from the overall show volume. They sound like the performer is too close to the microphone, but the pops don’t shatter glass any more.


Looks promising.

I’ll play with it a bit and let you know how I get on. I’ve a very badly damaged copy of Neil Young’s “Harvest” (damaged before I got it, I hasten to add) which should make a good test bed.

However, one problem I can see with a record as badly damaged as this, is that there are places where I’m left with gaps where the pops used to be, which is nearly as bad. What about looking at the audio level for, say, 10ms either side of the pop, and setting the attenuation to that level?


If the effect is being used on one pop at a time, that relatively easy to do.
If you mean that you want to be able to process multiple pops with a dynamically changing mute level that follows the dynamics of the music, that is quite a bit harder, and I expect that it would also require the threshold level to also change dynamically.

This is not a “clever” effect, it just blindly attenuates sounds that are above the threshold down to a “floor” level. I’ll have a look to see if I can make it a bit more intelligent without it becoming horrendously complex.

Pop Mute is a real time saver. I record church services for CD and podcast, and we have a couple of people who can’t remember not to clap in front of a mic. I fade out the mic, but not before I’ve got a string of spikes in the recording. With this tool I can squash the whole string in one operation instead of manually fiddling with each one. It even works on coughs. Just one simple improvement to suggest: Separate settings for attack and decay. I use a ceiling mic to pick up individuals in the congregation speaking without a mic. Sometimes a cough reverberates, so it has a sharp attack and a slow decay. The separate controls would let me approximate the event envelope.

Thanks for the feedback Koz and DickN.

(Topic merged with original “PopMute” topic)

There’s always a balance to be drawn with this type of plug-in between flexibility and simplicity. As the complexity of the interface goes up, the usability goes down (especially for casual or novice users). My aim was to make this plug-in as simple as possible to use.

That’s a persuasive argument for adding one more slider.

There’s been no comments regarding the “Linked Stereo” mode, so I’m guessing that it’s not really useful.
I’ve removed the “Linked Stereo” option in this version, though it can easily be re-enabled (open popmute.ny in a text editor and read the comment text near the top of the file).
popmute.ny (1.84 KB)

Can I run this in batch mode?

i.e. Can I configure/set popmute, and then run it across all of my dance/trance mp3s which have an annoying kick drum?

Only built-in effects can be used in the 1.3 batch mode at File > Edit Chains.

You could import all the files, Select All then run the effect and come back later to do Export Multiple (this assumes there is no valid reason not to using this effect). However it would add silence at the end of tracks so as to make all the tracks as long as the longest one, so that’s a good reason not to run Nyquist effects on more than one track at a time at the moment.


Also the optimum “popmute” settings for the different tracks (e.g. threshold) may be different : so each track should be processed individually rather than in a batch.


  1. How do I install popmute? How do I confirm that it was installed correctly?
    I put the latest popmute.ny in:
C:Program FilesAudacityPlug-Ins

After that, I rebooted the machine and loaded the attached mp3. Under the Effects menu, I notice there’s a “Click Removal” which lets me choose Threshold and Spike Width. Is this popmute?

  1. Please tell me how to remove/reduce the kick drum in the attached mp3.
    When I tried all the different extremes for “Click Removal”, the kick drum didn’t change.

Which version of Audacity are you using? (look in “Help menu > About”)


I’m using version 1.3.12-beta.

  1. How do I install popmute? How do I confirm that it was installed correctly?
    I put the latest popmute.ny in:
C:Program FilesAudacityPlug-Ins

After that, I rebooted the machine and loaded the attached mp3. Under the Effects menu, I notice that there’s a “Click Removal” which lets me choose Threshold and Spike Width. Is this popmute?

  1. Please tell me how to remove/reduce the kick drum in the attached mp3.
    When I tried all the different combinations of extremes for setting “Click Removal”, the kick drum didn’t change.

That looks like an Audacity 1.2 installation folder.

Have a look and see if there is another Audacity folder in C:Program Files
It may be called something like “Audacity 1.3 (beta)” or “Audacity 1.3 Unicode”

That track does not lend itself to using pop-mute to remove the bass drum: on that track the bass drum does not produce peaks above the rest of the track, which is what the pop-mute technique I suggested relies upon.

You could just cut the bass from it using equalization to reduce the bass, a before-after example and equalization curve are attached.

What was the benefit of linked stereo? If the pop was only in one channel it would seem to artifact the other channel to no purpose.

I attached a wav file with an artificial spike of 10 ms (EDIT this meant 10 samples, see post below) generated white noise. Strangely Click Removal seems to remove it with less artifacts than PopMute (I tried less attack though it did not help much, and I appreciate setting the mute level is critical). Perhaps like Paraic, I think it might be good if the effect could be more clever and have an “auto” setting that tries to figure an appropriate residual level. Even when I matched the mute level exactly I still sensed more of a “whoosh” in the area than Click Removal produced. Perhaps unlike Click Removal, the recommendation for PopMute should be to use it on as small a region as possible?

Clearly though there are many cases where PopMute works and Click Removal has little or no effect.

I added links (not attachments) to the front page post:

Is that a good way to keep it updated?

The “benefit” is:
If the effect is applied to audio with a long burst of noise on one channel, using a slow attack/release, independent channel processing will cause the stereo image to swing violently across to the side without the noise (not much fun if you’re wearing headphones and riding a bicycle at the time).

In practice I found that linking the channels is very rarely useful, and in my opinion not worth the additional control.

You mean 10 samples of white noise?
Yes, for very short clicks the Click Removal effect is much better, but with clicks of 10 milliseconds or more, Click Removal will hardly touch them, and that’s where “Pop Mute” can come in useful. Pop Mute not a subtle effect, it just bashes spikes with a big hammer, but it can make loud pops (and even hand claps, drum beats and small explosions) less obtrusive.

Yes, thanks.

Sorry, I did of course mean 10 samples! And Click Removal also seems fairly ineffective on even narrow spikes if they are not very much louder than their surroundings.

What do you think is the best route to getting a single click/pop removal effect that removes a wider range of disturbances? Can Click Removal ever be improved? Is the better route to make Repair work on much longer selections? The two proof-of-concept attempts at doing this a while ago were apparently fairly successful.

Meantime should PopMute be “starred” as a Wiki candidate (even if you eventually try to make it more intelligent)? I guess it only needs a single page of “help”?


This could be classified as a bug report with a workaround found. I don’t know whether the issue is in Audacity itself or in the effect I was using. I use this effect often and have never seen this happen before. I’m using Windows XP, SP3.

I had 162 ms selected about 30 minutes into a long track (project has two tracks but the other track is vacant (no clip) in this area). I tried to use Pop Mute (tried both versions) and consistently got an error box:There is not enough room to paste the selection. After the operation, the selected part had been deleted :open_mouth: . I undid the operation and tried setting the threshold so Pop Mute would do nothing. Same result. I undid it again. I tried setting the Attack/Decay parameters very short. Same result. Undo. Changing the length of the selection made no difference either. Then I tried duplicating the selection and operating on the copy with my original parameters set. Success :wink: !

My curiosity now stoked, I tried another experiment: I split the original track (selection was now a clip within the track). Pop Mute worked on the clip just as it had on the copy.

One more experiment: I undid the effect and duplicated the clip. Length of the new track was 7176 samples. I applied Pop Mute to the copy, then clicked on the track panel to make sure I had it all selected. Length was still 7176 samples.

Hi Dick,

Thanks for the report.

PopMute is a third-party plug-in and not directly a part of Audacity, so it’s best to post feedback/bug reports directly to the third party rather than in a general Audacity part of the forum. In this case, I’m the third party and this is currently the “home page” for this effect (I presume that you downloaded the PopMute plug-in from this topic).
I’ve moved your post here so that it is together with other discussion for this plug-in.

When testing plug-ins (and software in general), use the most current version, which in this case is version 0.2 (experimental).

That’s curious, because that error message is not generated by the plug-in.

I’ve not been able to reproduce the problem.
Did the problem occur only with that one audio track, or are you able to reproduce the problem with other audio tracks?
Which exact version of Audacity are you using (Look in Audacity “Help menu > About Audacity”)

I’m using “1.3.12-Beta (Unicode)” on Windows XP, SP3. Pop Mute is an effect I’ve probably used fifty times now and I’ve never encountered this problem before.

After several hours of experimentation and two Audacity crashes (I was writing a log of the experiments to send as reply, but the system logged me out and I lost the text), I have some solid and some tentative conclusions:

Solid conclusion (just one):

This is not a pattern-sensitive problem. It doesn’t even matter whether Pop Mute actually does anything. Under the conditions which cause it, the selection can be anywhere in the clip.

Tentative conclusions:

It has something to do with there being a split somewhere after the selected region. If there’s enough (5 seconds is enough and 1 sample seems not to be) gap at the split, it does not happen. It also does not happen if “Editing a clip can move other clips” is Checked. It also seems there has to be something peculiar about the split. When the region selected for the effect is itself a whole clip (using Split with the same time selection) the problem does not occur.

Not all effects are bothered by the conditions that evoke it in Pop Mute. Hard Limiter for example is not.

Two circumstances suggest there’s something abnormal about the split associated with this problem:

1: Both Audacity crashes occurred thus:
I had invoked Pop Mute unsuccessfully, which deleted the selected region, then used Undo to restore it. “Editing a clip can move other clips” was Unchecked at the time. Then I Checked “Editing a clip can move other clips”. The crash occurred upon clicking Effect (the list did not appear). If I did not invoke Pop Mute / Undo before Checking “Editing a clip can move other clips”, there was no crash upon clicking Effect. Neither does the Pop Mute / Undo sequence alone set Audacity up for a crash - I did this many times during the experimentation.

2: I had encountered a problem yesterday during the process that resulted in the splits. I was replacing a cycle of audio with a nearby cycle to eliminate a click. I had duplicated a cycle with a bit of overhang on each side. I used Split New to both open a space for the new cycle and save the old one. I time-shifted the new cycle to align with the vacancy, then trimmed it using the time selection from Split New. I then tried to drag it vertically into the space, and I couldn’t. Then I remembered it can’t be selected at the time, so I used Ctrl-Shift-A. I still couldn’t drag it into place. I’m new at using the vertical dragging feature (have used it exactly once before), so maybe I’m missing something here. I wound up selecting/copying/pasting the new cycle into the space. Now I wonder if the vertical dragging problem occurred because the new cycle didn’t quite fit into the gap, and Paste somehow produced an overlap. “Editing a clip can move other clips” was Unchecked during this entire process.