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There’s nothing worse than capturing the perfect take only to realize it’s a little noisy! Pops and clicks from an air conditioning fan. Mouth noises that come through because you forgot your chapstick. Your dog’s nails on the hardwood floor.
No matter the cause of your audio clicks, they can be distracting to a listener!
Below, we outline how to remove unwanted mouth noises and pops and clicks from the most popular digital audio workstations (DAWs). In most DAWs, you can remove these unwanted noises for free. Here at Soundfly, we’ve got in-depth courses covering music production in Logic Pro X and Ableton Live, but for some of the other applications appearing below, we’ve linked to useful videos to follow along.
At the end, you’ll find a list of our favorite declick VSTs and plugins.
Adobe Audition makes it easy to get rid of those unwanted noises and pops our mouths make. There is a built-in plugin called DeClicker. With your audio track selected, navigate to the menu. Then, click on Effects > Diagnostics > DeClicker.
The DeClicker plugin in Audition makes light work of getting rid of mouth sounds. After you’ve inserted the effect on your audio channel, adjust the settings. Choose how much reduction you’d like to use and click “Scan” below the plugin insert to activate it. The default settings tend to work best for conversational audio.
Watch O’Reilly’s course on how to use Adobe Audition to learn more about the DeClicker.
Logic Pro X
Logic Pro X doesn’t come with a built-in declicker plugin. Instead, you’ll have to remove clicks manually with the pencil tool.
Double click on the audio clip you’d like to focus on. This will open the audio file in the sample editor at the bottom of your Logic Pro window.
In the sample editor, make sure you have the “File” tab selected, not the “Track” tab. Zoom in on the region you’d like to remove the click in. Using the pencil tool, re-draw the waveform as best you can.
For minor pops and clicks, the pencil tool can sound smooth and unnoticeable. (And it’s a ton of fun to draw your audio back together!)
+ Learn more on Soundfly: Produce vocals at home that sound modern, polished, and professional using the tips, strategies, and advice of a home-recording professional in Soundfly’s Modern Pop Vocal Production course!
Pro Tools makes it easy to remove pops and clicks.
To start, zoom in on the piece of audio you’d like to fix. You can also increase the zoom size of the waveform itself to better see it. Then, choose the pencil tool from the transport controls. Using the pencil, draw a straight line through the pop or click.
You can attempt to redraw a sine wave. But in practice, a simple straight line will be unnoticeable. Obviously, if you have a lot of audio this solution may be tedious! There are no stock Pro Tools plugins that let you remove clicks.
Watch the Easy Way To Remove Pops And Clicks From Audio.
Fortunately, Audacity is one of the easiest DAWs to remove unwanted noises.
By default, Audacity doesn’t have every available plugin installed. If you don’t currently have the De-Clicker installed, you’ll have to download it and install it from this link in the Audacity Forum. Follow the instructions provided to install the plugin in your Audacity application.You may need to activate the plugin under: Effect > Add/Remove Plugins in the menu.
After installation, select your audio clip and go to the Effect tab in the menu. Choose DeClicker from your list of installed plugins. This will add the effect to your channel and automatically open the preferences window.
The default settings are good for most use cases. But if you’d like to adjust the sensitivity, you can. For very noisy audio, you may have to set your threshold quite low to find more of the clicks in your audio. You may have to process the audio a few times to find the optimal settings for your recording environment.
+ Read more on Flypaper: “What Are Kimbra’s Preferred Plugins and Gear for Vocal Production?”
Plugins to Remove Clicks and Pops
If the free options in your DAW aren’t cutting it, you can get download a number of plugins to do the heavy lifting for you.
iZotope’s De-click functionality is built into their RX software suite. There are different RX software packages with audio repair tools. With its simple interface, you can easily adjust sensitivity to dial in the click sounds you want to remove.
*Read our review of iZotope’s Spire app here.
Waves Audio’s X-Click is designed to remove subtle clicks and hums in a piece of audio. Originally designed for removing vinyl record hiss, it can also be used for vocals or other audio. The Waves click removal plugin typically costs about $35. X-Click does a great job at removing harsh transients and surprising pops across inconsistent audio.
Sonnox Oxford DeClicker
This is the Rolls Royce of declicking plugins. Hone in on exactly the parts of your audio that transient pops are occurring. Sonnox’s plugin is primarily for audio pros. It is able to differentiate between different audio types such as dialogue and music. You can also shape different parameters like pops, clicks, and crackles. This plugin typically retails for £175 GBP.
Whatever caused the clicks in your audio, it’s relatively easy to get rid of them. Start with free plugins or tools your DAW provides. If those don’t cut it, there are also professional noise reduction plugins that’ll help you fine-tune your audio track.
How do you remove unwanted noise in your own recordings?
Don’t stop here!
Continue learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, mixing, DIY home recording and production, composing, beat making, and so much more, with Soundfly’s artist-led courses, like: Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability, RJD2: From Samples to Songs and Kimbra: Vocal Creativity, Arranging, & Production.
Kam Lal is the founder and CEO of Notetracks. He is based in Montreal and has a passion for music and tech.