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  Tricks for getting rid of stubborn clicks and pops

Getting rid of pops and clicks is more of an art than a science. It is very difficult for software to tell the difference between a pop and a snare drum hit. Since a human listener can take into account the context, it is usually quite much easier for us to tell the difference.

There are some tricks that help a lot. In order to demonstrate, we took a small bit of a recording from an LP that had a click left over even after running our automated Pop and Click Removal tool. If this click happened in louder music it would not have been noticeable, but in the middle of a soft string section it stands out. Here's what to do to get rid of a click like this one:

First, find the exact spot where the noise occurs. Zoom in on that spot. As you zoom in more and more, you should eventually see something like this:

Sample with small click

Now, use the mouse to select the just the portion that has the abrupt transition from low to high or high to low like this:

Click is Selected

If you don't know how to use the mouse to make a selection, go to our Editing tutorial:

Once you have the click selected, use the Amplify effect to reduce the volume of just the click. (Note- in the near future we're going to change the name of this effect to Change Volume- if you see that under the Effects menu, that's the one to use). Usually setting Amplify to about 0.3 is pretty effective, but you may need to experiment:

Amplify dialog box

Here's what the waveform looks like after the operation:

After volume reduction

If that's not quite enough, just undo the operation and try it again with a lower setting. Remember that if you reduce the volume all the way to 0 you are likely to get a break in the sound that may be nearly as disturbing as the click.

When we had taken the click out we noticed a bit of hiss- that's a pretty typical record noise, and, now that the clicks were gone, it was more annoying. So we used the Reduce Hiss tool at a fairly low setting to get rid of some of the high frequencies.

The result is pretty good! Would you like to hear how it sounded before and after? Click Play button to listen to before and after samples.

Use the automatic tools as much as you can, because they are quicker and easier. But small noises may take some individual effort. The result is worth it!

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