Removing transients

I am a relatively new Auduacity user. I recently recorded my sister singing and on one track had her sing too closely or directly into the mic, resulting in some syllable “pops” (b, p, s). They are most audible on good speakers–there’s a low almost sonic boom sound. (My dog starts barking madly.) I can see the spots on the wav form–a sharp point upward and then downward, like an inverted “Z.” I have tried various methods to mitigate this and am not satisfied. I can eliminate the breath-pop with the high-pass filter (default setting), but end up with a click that I can’t seem to remove. I have also tried using the high-pass filter on the whole word, not just the first sound–to filter from silence to silence, essentially, but it strips the life out of the whole word–big dropoff in total sound.

I would appreciate any suggestions on how to mitigate this problem. There is accompaniment on separate tracks, so the vocal isn’t totally exposed.


It is much much better to avoid these sort of problems before they happen than to try and fix them later. To avoid the problem you should use a “pop shield” - a thin piece of gauze supported by a frame - you can make one from a wire coat-hanger and a pair of nylon tights - alternatively you can buy one ready made. (see here for detailed info: )

OK, so that’s not what you are asking.

How to fix it:

  1. Use a 24dB per octave high pass filter set to around 60Hz to the entire vocal track. This will help to “centre” the waveform without virtually no effect on the voice quality. Use a lower frequency if it is very low (bass) voice.
  2. Apply a high pass filter set to around 150Hz to just the “pop” (see note below about avoiding clicks)
  3. It can sometimes help to apply a gentle (6 or 12dB per octave) low pass filter set to around 1600Hz to just the “pop” - this is if there is a noticeable “rushing wind” type sound.
  4. If necessary, carefully adjust the volume with either the envelope tool, or using the Amplify effect. This is to try and make it blend in with the rest of the track.

How to avoid clicks:
Zoom in very close on the ends of your selected region and make the selection start and end at points that are as close as possible to the middle line (the line at “0.0” on the vertical scale).

Steve, thank you for the suggestions. I tried 1 and 2 and they improved the sound considerably. 3 wiped out the wave form, though. The click tip was also useful.

What filter quality setting should be used–I kept it at default.

I have a pop filter but we didn’t use it because we were also videotaping (family gathering) from that direction. We’ll be more careful in future.


Yes, it should be at the default.
The number of times that it would be better to set it to something else is probably never.