Recognize noise in a waveform.

After recording from a vinyl record, viewing the waveform gives me no clue where the noise is. The noise I am trying to edit out, using “effect”, is the crackling noise of the needle in the groove which occurs periodically. Not consistently.
Does anyone know the waveform pattern of the noise that the needle makes in the groove? or its frequency, or spectrum or any other characteristics?
Anyone have a picture?
How much delay (milliseconds) is there between the noise present in the waveform and the ear registering it?

Serious pops or clicks are “spikes” either up or down on the blue waveform. They usually are pretty large and significant compared to the musical performance.


If the pop is not serious, you will never be able to take it out manually from the blue waveform. OK, I might be able to do that, but I’ve been doing stuff like that for hundreds of years.

There is a program in the standard toolkit that might help.

Effect > Click Removal.

The first words past people’s lips when they see this program is how to avoid any damage to the song. You can’t. The setting sliders allow you to play the song again and again until you get the best compromise between pop detection and song damage.

Making sure the record is surgically clean, with soap and warm water if necessary, will go a long way to getting a good transfer without having to do through all this. Is the needle in good condition? How old is it?

Are you trying to play 78 rpm records? If you do that with a 33-1/3 stylus, the record will be insanely noisy because the needle will not fit in the 78 groove.


I used to do manual repairs as Koz suggests - and like him got reasonably good at it. But it became too tedious and time consuming so I bought some software that Kopz pointed me in the directionof.

See this thread:


Indeed, with “pops” and “clicks” I have no problem as they show as a distinct and short duration.
It is the noise of the needle in the groove. Its’ many, many seconds of duration as opposed to a spike. Not spiky at all. Hence my difficulty to discern it.

The stylis and the needle is new. However, the user’s manual does not alert me to the 33-1/3 versus a 78 stylus or needle. Got to check into that !!

Drawing on your years of experience, how does one recognize noise of the needle? How does it show up on a waveform?

OK, so the first problem is our assumption that your “noise” is the standard clicks and pops that everybody complains about. You, on the other hand, want a vinyl recording to stop sounding like a vinyl recording.

First the 78/33-1/3 thing. 78 recordings have very wide grooves. 33-1/3 recordings do not. Proper playback only happens when the needle is suspended carefully between the two walls of the groove. The needle doesn’t touch the bottom of the groove–ever. Unless, of course, you’re playing a 78 with very wide grooves. Then, the 33-1/3 needle sits on the bottom of the groove causing all manner of noise and distortion.

People keep complaining about how terrible 78 recordings were and how did people listen to them. Very well, thanks, with the appropriate equipment. Radio shows used to be delivered to the station on very large transcription disks before audio tape got going.

I guess it’s possible to use the Effect > Noise Removal tool. You need to expose the tool to a portion of the recording with no sound, “dead groove”. That’s the “Get Noise Profile” thing. The tool then tries to subtract that “background sound” from the performance. The tools in 1.3 Audacity are easier to use than 1.2.


Quote " Proper playback only happens when the needle is suspended carefully between the two walls of the groove. The needle doesn’t touch the bottom of the groove–ever. "
(Maybe the following should be a different thread.)
I am sure I read that the new “gramophones” don’t have a needle anymore to pick up the sound from the groove. The music gets read by a laser which is, I assume, not as mechanical as a needle. Does the laser transfer sound to the stylis ? Is indeed the laser pick-up much better or is the jury still out on its performance ?