Too Much Gain?

I’m using Audacity 2.0.6 with Windows 10. I am not an audio engineer, just a voiceover guy doing audiobooks for ACX. I’ve been cruising along great for almost 2 years without any issues. I recently finished a chapter of a book and did my usual “mastering” and when I played it back, the beginning syllable of the chapter sounds almost like a 'pop". I use the “Compressor” function and figured out that if I uncheck the “make up gain for 0 db after compressing” box the driving sound of the syllable goes away but so does the volume. When I manually adjust the gain slider up to get the volume back, the driving sound of that syllable also comes back.


P.S. I also use the Steve Daulton Limiter

Have you tried High Pass Filter on that pop noise?


Thank you Gale.

I ran the High Pass Filter on just the syllable and it definitely helps.

To give you (hopefully) a better idea of what’s happening, the first chapter title is “Hating God haters”

So, instead of that first “H” sound being soft as it is with the raw audio, when the Compressor function is applied ( with the accompanying gain increase) the “H” sounds like a person clearing something out their throat.


But presumably, just Amplify without compression would also bring up that flaw?

And presumably you use a Pop filter?

You could record that sentence again, couldn’t you, a bit further away from the mic?


Yes to all three. I also run a “Plosive Repair” on all my audio as well.

The weirdness lies again in the fact that I’ve been using the same setup in my booth and the same Audacity settings for almost 2 years and this is the first time that this has happened.
I guess that’s not completely true. I have a new Lenovo laptop and I updated to Windows 10. I also assume that my version of Audacity has probably changed as well.
Maybe somewhere in there is the change!

Thanks for your help!


I doubt the Audacity version is relevant, Tim.

You have not said what mic you are using and how it is connected to the computer, but that ingress to the computer could be “hotter” (apply more gain) than on the previous computer.


That’s a possibility

I’m using an Audio-Technica AT2005USB mic.

Would the audio level input in Audacity (the slider at the top) somehow affect things? Other than making it louder or softer when speaking?

I sit about 12 inches from the mic and usually end up with a db of about 70-73. I use a windscreen and don’t usually force my voice at all. All the books I’ve done are non-fiction so there aren’t big swings in the dynamics of the book. I use enough inflection to make it interesting, but my appeal to my authors has been my “conversational” tone.

I’m willing to consider a better mic if it could improve things.

when I played it back, the beginning syllable of the chapter sounds almost like a 'pop".

If it’s only at the beginning of a chapter, perhaps it’s at the beginning of the file or the beginning of a cut/edit?

A [u]DC Offset[/u] (usually caused by a hardware problem) can cause something like that, although it’s usually more a higher-pitch “tick” than a “pop”. And, with an offset, you’ll normally get another “tick” at the end of the file.

There is a DC Offset Remover effect, or offset removal is also an option for the Normalize effect. If those don’t work, a high pass filter (say 30 or 40Hz for speech) will also remove the offset, since DC is zero Hz. Or, a short fade-in (maybe 50 milliseconds) will remove the sudden introduction of the offset making it inaudible.

Thank you for the suggestions,

None of the 3 approaches made a difference

DC offset
Fade In
High Pass Filter

I’m going to go with Gale’s third suggestion which is re-record the chapter and see if I can soften that “H” on the front end enough to take care of the problem.


You did say High Pass helped on the first syllable.

In case it helps, you might be able to just re-record the sentence.

Slide the new recording under the old (F5, Time Shift Tool), then select and silence that section in the original recording. If there is noise at the join, you can always do a fast fade in where the original recording starts after the retake.


@OP Silly question, but you say you are using a USB mic… Looking at the device on amazon shows it also has a standard mic jack.

Are you using the USB or the standard jack? I don’t know if it might change anything for you, but a lot of my USB devices are experiencing oddness on Windows 10 that were previously just fine. If you’ve been using the USB, maybe try using the jack instead and see if that improves performance. If it does, that’s a work-around for you until drivers improve or you can get a new one with better Win10 support.

Just a thought, and honestly, I might be in left field. I just think it odd that so many different types of USB devices have new issues with Windows 10 so thought I’d throw it out there.

errr - okay… conventional sound system mic doesn’t look like what I thought for connectors. Maybe there’s a hardware conversion option out there?

Sorry for the misunderstanding of the equipment. I have an ATR4697 that I just lay on the desktop, it works fine for what I need but might be beneath yours. Still it’s an inexpensive temporary option if the issue is USB related.