How to Fix Blips, Pops, Clicks, and Crackling in FL Studio

Blips, pops, clicks, and crackling are the terrorists of the music production world. They lay hidden and silent in the mix, striking with explosive and unexpected fury to decimate the eardrums of anyone unfortunate enough to hear them. As irritating as they are though, you will not need to invade a country to fix them. They’re relatively easy to understand and fix in FL Studio, and this quick tutorial will show you how.

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What Causes Crackling and Popping?

Blips, pops, clicks, and crackles are caused by two things that are overloading your computers processor:

An extremely fast change in the value of an active parameter in FL Studio. They are commonly (but not always) due to poorly edited samples or poorly designed automation clips and plugin envelopes.Using too small of a buffer

If it’s caused by a very fast change somewhere in your mix, you can pinpoint where the problem is by simply playing your track and looking for samples, automation clips, or plugin envelopes at those points in time at which you’re hearing the glitch.

If it’s caused by the buffer underrun situation, it’s pretty easy to identify. It sounds like Megatron dumping Rice Krispies into a jet engine, and it can happen throughout the entire track if the buffer is set very low, or just for the parts that have a lot going on if the buffer size is decent, but just not enough.

Once you determine which one it is, you can remedy the problem accordingly.

Bad Samples

With samples, you will experience this glitch when the sample volume starts at a non-zero value and goes from zero to non-zero instantaneously. This creates a slope of infinity in the volume parameter and gives your computer’s processor a brain freeze, resulting in a pop, blip, click, or crackle at that point in time.

For this example, I took a stock FL Studio SFX sample called FX Blackhole and edited it in Edison so that it no longer starts at zero volume. Here is what it sounds like:

http://www.tastecraftedmcd.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Pattern-1_18.wav

We can hear the blood-curdling pop at the beginning as a result of the poor editing I did. Now lets see what it actually looks like in Edison.

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Latency

Worth adding to this is a word or two about latency. Latency is the time it takes for all of the above to take place from FL Studio to your monitors. A larger buffer size will increase the latency. You’ll notice that as you increase the buffer size, you’ll experience a lag that’s very noticeable in your user interface graphics and audio. The rule of thumb is to keep your latency less than 12 -15 ms. If you’re serious about producing and you can’t get your latency below 12 ms without causing buffer underruns, it may be time for a hardware (CPU) upgrade.