Recording Problem: mysterious clicks and pops

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by tubes4tone, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. tubes4tone

    tubes4tone Guest

    My system has been running, recording 12-16 tracks simultaneously without any problems for about a year. Within the last week, when opening any sessions I had previously recorded, I get clicks and pops on playback. If I solo the track in Cubase, I still get clicks and pops. If I close Cubase and play a single track in windows media player, the track sounds clean, so it appears I don’t have any damaged files (hopefully).

    Tonight I tried recording some new tracks, to see if the system would actually record the clicks and pops “to tape.” It did. If I play a single track in WMP, the tracks sound dirty.

    Now, I have made ZERO changes to my system in the last 3 months: same computer, memory, hard drives, hardware, software, plugins. Nothing has changed. Does anyone have any thoughts on why I would suddenly be getting clicks and pops on both input and output?

    3GHz Pentium 4
    512Meg Ram (has recorded fine for the last 1+ year; 1GB on the way ;) )
    80GB system drive, SATA
    200GB audio drive, SATA
    Windows 2000
    EMU 1820M interface
    Running Cubase VST (5.1, I believe)

    Things I have tried:
    -Made sure the drive controller is set to “UDMA if available”
    -Set the computer to be optimized for “background applications” (to service the audio capture) under the System menu->Advanced tab->Performance
    -Tried increasing latency from 10ms to 100ms. This seems to help, but why should I have to increase it by a factor of 10 if my system hasn’t changed? It still has problems at 50ms, and perhaps even at 100ms (haven’t tried recording at 100ms)
    -Unloaded plugins that have been installed 6months+
    -Running test application from hard drive manufacturer: comes out OK
    -Disabled/enabled Hyperthreading. When disabled, the problem is much worse.

    My suspicion: for some reason or other, my audio drive is “suddenly” not working up to speed. It has worked fine for over a year, but now seems to operate slowly? Why the change? It does seem to operate with some level of success, since I can still hear the audio files on playback, it just doesn’t seem to be serving them up fast enough.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on what the problem is? I would be happier to know what the problem is and fix it (i.e. new hard drive) than to just start replacing parts and see if it helps. That could get expensive really quickly.

    Any help is appreciated, thanks.
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    There are dozens of variables that can cause clicks and pops.

    A slow drive is 100% assured to give you problems. Clicks and pops being the most ccmmon.

    Defrag your hard disk often?

    Update your BIOS, chipset drivers SATA drivers

    Update to windows XP.

    Make sure you are not running anything other than needed audio related programs/applications. No internet of any kind, disable virus, and all the other junk from the system tray.

    What version of 1820 drivers and PatchMix are you using?

    Many people claim they haven't changed or done anything to their system, but I have found that it is very rarely if ever true.

    You might even have a virus. It don't take much or very long to get your system corrupted these days.

    The free version of Cubase that E-MU includes is obsolete and riddled with bugs that will never be fixed. Call E-MU and upgrade to the Production Tools Software bundle for the price of shipping and handling and you'll get new supported versions of Cubase, Sonar, T-Racks Eq, Amplitube, Ableton Live. You'd be real dumb to pass that up while it lasts.
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Most times you can trace problems to things that are going on in your computer that you have no idea are there like a piece of software that keeps going on the net to look for updates. One of the worst offenders are programs that are running in the background and are suppose to be benign but are causing the CPU to spend resources on doing some non essential tasks at a critical moment and are taking resources away from your music software. One program that is installed with some burning programs is a program that can be used for compiling a CD by dragging things to it. I have had this problem with NERO and TOAST. On a normal office computer it works well but what ever it is doing is grabbing resources at critical times and causes clicks and pops on my mastering. I have had to eliminate these programs in order to stop the clicks and pops they cause. Another source of clicks and pops is your clock source for recording. You may have a clock source that is going bad. There are so many things to consider you have to start at the beginning and go on from there. One helpful program that you can download is which should tell you what programs you are running and allow you to shut them off if need be.

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