Noise ("cracks") in Recordings

Hello community,

i hope to find some help for my problem, i’ve the following issue:

When i record something, there is noise in it.

…no - not the usual constant background-noise, i’d rather call it “arhythmic cracking sounds” or “clanking”. This noise is loud and clear, i’ve no chance to get some proper recording done.

If i record “silence”, like when no input signal exists, there is no such noise. It only happens if i actually have a signal on my input channel.

What’s totally confusing me: If i don’t record the input signal but just listen to it - it sounds good! No noise, everything fine, just like it should. I really hope that’s only a matter of the correct configuration, does anyone know what to do to get this problem fixed?

Setup:

  • Operating System: Windows 7 professional, 64bit

  • Audacity-Version: 2.0.3

  • Sound card: M-Audio Firewire Audiophile (external device)

  • Output channel: Line-Out / Headphones

  • Input channel: Line-In

  • Source for recording: any arbitrary device with an 3,5mm output. MP3-Player, MD-Walkman, Gameboy, mobile phone, …whatsoever. I want to use any device, plug it to my Line-In and record the tunes on my PC. The problem currently exists with all listed devices.


    Sound preferences in the control panel:

  • only the Line-In of the sound card is the record-device

  • all other existing record possibilities are muted (SPDIF, Multichannel)

  • settings of the record device: Stereo, 44100Hz, 16bit

Audacity-Settings:

  • Soundarchitecture: MME (…i could change this to “Windows DirectSound”, but does nothing)
  • Playback device: Line-Out of the sound card
  • Record device: Line-In of the sound card
  • Channels: stereo
  • Quality: 44100Hz, 16bit

Thoughts and insights:

  • i don’t think my hardware is broken, i guess i would hear the noise by just listening to the input signal if it was
  • i already configured everything for a 24bit recording, still having the noise
  • my sound card supports “Multichannel” - i configured this as my recording device, the cracking wasn’t impressed at all
  • different combinations of the recording volume didn’t change anything (…well, the volume of noise and recording changed, of course)

…i really want to be able to record what i’m hearing :neutral_face:

Greets!


P.S.: …i posted this on a german Audacity forum, too (http://www.audacity-forum.de/thread/5765). And sorry for my english, i hope one could understand what i’m trying to say :wink:

That’s very clear and complete.

I can assume your computer has a “real” Stereo Line-In connection? Many people try to record stereo using their laptop Mic-In and that usually fails.

Peak and abrupt cracking or crunching during recording can be caused by overload in the recording system. Does your Audacity recording screen look something like this:

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/Audacity1_record.jpg

That is a perfect recording. Peaks at or just above-6. Some variation is acceptable. At no time should either the blue waves or the bouncing sound meter go all the way up. That will create permanent distortion. You can and probably should make your sound meters bigger. Grab the right-hand edge and pull to the right.

There is some problem with Windows and 24-bit sound. I’m not a good Windows Elf, so I don’t remember what the problems are.

Periodic cracking is usually caused by problems writing to the hard drive.

http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/faq_recording_troubleshooting.html#noise6

Is this helpful?

Koz

Hello kozikowski,

thanks for your reply!

Yes, i record (…or try to) in “real” Stereo - Cinch, it is. Separate left and right channel, using an adapter to the 3,5mm plug. When playing a real stereo sound on the source device it’s recognized and played back correctly.

It’s not a matter of the peak level, the volume or something similar - im not near the limit at any time, neither on the input levelmeter nor in the wave visualisation.

But someone in the german forum mentioned something i didn’t think about - and i guess it could cause the problem: bad drivers. The driver for the M-Audio on Win 7, SP1, 64bit is from… 2009. Looks like the guys from M-Audio don’t care too long about old Hardware (something to have in mind when buying new equipment…). Seems like i’m not the only one having issues with their hardware or drivers…

Meanwhile i remembered that 10-bucks-noname-USB-soundcard i bought over ten years ago, i still had this one lying around. I plugged it in, Windows installed the drivers without any problems, i configured my input channel - and using this cheap piece of plastic i can record without any nouse or other troubles.

I’m really pissed right now. I decided to spend some money on high-quality equipment, but right now this cheap little thing from the bargain bin does a better job. Thanks, M-Audio. :angry:


But thank you for your hints, anyways!

Greets!

I am not sure this is relevant at all, but it might be a factor. Your Audiophile device has TRS (balanced) line input and output. Are you using TRS (balanced) connectors and cables (see article at Connectors)?

Hi Robert2,

here is an image of the backside of this sound card:

M-Audio Firewire Audiophile - Back

The cards channels are connected using Cinch / Phono Plugs for line input and output - and the site you linked to mentioned this connectors are unbalanced. I can’t use TRS connectors except for my Headphones (…this connector is on the frontside).

However, i use such TSR connectors - as mentioned, i want to connect devices where i have to use such a plug (3.5mm - 1/8 inch?) and matching adapters. And the connectors i use therefor are balanced.

But i don’t think it’s relevant here. If there was an issue with the cables or the connectors, i guess i’d have the problem when just listening to the input signal - but that’s just fine.

But thank you for you reply - and this link! If I’m ever going to buy new hardware, i’m not going to stick with Cinch any longer. It has been very practical for various reasons, but meanwhile i think there are better ways to deal with audio signals.

Greets!

Sorry I said a wrong thing. Your device seems to be something like the “M-Audio Firewire Audiophile 2496 Audio Interface”, which can no longer be found on the M-Audio site, and has obviously been discontinued.

But their more recent models, like the ProFire 610, do have TRS connectors:

ProFire 610 Back View

@ Robert2:

Nothing to be sorry about! :wink:

Yes, my device is older and not listet on their website anymore - and i doubt they will make new drivers for it…

I’ve seen the device you mentioned, i guess this kind of connectors would be the better one, speaking about quality and such. But… i’m only having some privat fun with audio, i don’t think i’m willing to pay the money for new equipment anytime soon :slight_smile:

Greets!