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Audio clicks and pops in Ableton are nothing new to me. Needing to fade audio clicks at the beginning (and sometimes ending) of clips is part of my workflow if I don't want to re-record an instrument, (and sometimes it's just unavoidable regardless).

That being said, one of my guitar tracks on a particular song is laden with them. Practically half of the chords I played had clicks when I listened back. I was using an American-made Fender Stratocaster.

I was going to let it go, since I can either just grit my teeth and repair all of the clips or re-record (though I am hoping this issue didn't arise from the recording process, since I put a lot of time and effort into the performance). However, if you listen to the audio sample in the SoundCloud link below, you will hear the closing chord of the song, interspersed with audio clicks that are curiously timed with the kick drum. I feel like this might be a clue . . . though I am not sure.

I played with the sample rate in audio preferences, as too high (or was it low . . . ) of a sample rate has led to buffering issues (and lots of similarly painful clicking) in the past, but this didn't help any. I also toggled the other instruments on and off--the clicks were still there.

The fact that the same click happens across two instruments (guitar and bass)--see screenshot of session below--leads me to believe this is not related to my recording of the instruments or my subsequent splitting/consolidating or other manipulating of the tracks (the clicks occur in the middle of the sound wave--not at the beginning or ending of the clip regions). That would be a crazy coincidence.

Would you happen to have any suggestions for me?

Here are some very basic details of my setup:

MacBook Pro (Big Sur 11.6)

Ableton Live 11 Suite

Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2nd Gen

enter image description here

https://soundcloud.com/21-21-21/clicking-issue/s-X6aTU960itX?si=f7d33f21590b4f6887cbcefe4da1125b

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  • I'm not hearing any clicks. Have you tested the resulting exported track?
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 5, 2021 at 8:43
  • Do you have the metronome turned on?
    – Duston
    Oct 5, 2021 at 12:44
  • @Duston good thinking, but I do not
    – 286642
    Oct 5, 2021 at 14:38
  • @Tetsujin the audio sample I uploaded to Soundcloud is the exported Ableton file. The clicks accompany the first and second (not third apparently) kick drums hits. It might help to turn up the volume/listen in headphones
    – 286642
    Oct 5, 2021 at 14:39
  • I've had it in the main monitors & in the cans. I don't hear a click, all I hear is a bit of a crunchy kick drum. The file isn't set to be downloadable so I can't see if Izotope RX can 'see' it.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 5, 2021 at 15:25

1 Answer 1

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The processing needs of the set exceed my system's resources. Live's overload indicator (to the right of the CPU meter) is engaged during playback, displaying the text 'CPU'.

So, I am experiencing irregular crackles, pops, and silences when playing back my set. These interferences are called 'audio dropouts'.

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    That's why I said to check the export. Non-realtime export on any DAW will eliminate those processing overs because it can take its own sweet time generating the file.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 5, 2021 at 15:30
  • So you’re suggesting that the audio file itself isn’t damaged—the audio dropout only interferes with the playback? Trying to determine if I need to re-record or not. It’s really hard having confidence mixing a track when it’s full of clicks. I tried reducing the load on my MacBook by deleting other tracks, freezing tracks, removing unnecessary plugins and so on. The crackling remains.
    – 286642
    Oct 5, 2021 at 16:03
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    Have you listened to the exported version yet? General rule, for tracking switch off unnecessary plugins & lower latency [buffer size]. For mixing, raise the latency as far as it will go.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 5, 2021 at 16:07
  • I just checked the exported audio. The crackles are still present. I'm going to plug back in and re-record. I'll take your suggestions above re: tracking and keep an eye on the CPU meter. Thank you!
    – 286642
    Oct 5, 2021 at 16:48
  • It does continue to puzzle me how you can hear it yet I can't… If you make that soundcloud track downloadable, or a larger segment, then we could all have a look.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 5, 2021 at 16:49

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