• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

I'm hearing crackling sounds in some tracks. Is this normal?

McFly

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 12, 2019
Messages
711
Likes
1,358
Location
NZ
Welcome to hifi. And yes, even the producers get the mix wrong, and some even do it (the crackling and compression) on purpose.

One of the best (or worst, really) examples in recent memory was Metallica - Death Magnetic. The first CD release was so bad, even metal heads where up in arms and a remaster was soon released.

EDIT: Holy crap that Iron Maiden stuff IS bad.... (not the music, I'm an old fan, time I gave them a catch up - but the clipping is ... surely a producer wouldnt have missed this.)

Any chance you can get the CD and give it a spin?
 

McFly

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 12, 2019
Messages
711
Likes
1,358
Location
NZ
Maybe see if I can purchase a FLAC directly somewhere see if its in there, be interesting to see if the streaming services are to blame here or the producers

EDIT: only digital downloads I could find were on itunes @ 256kbps, but yes, the distortion is there too.
 
Last edited:
OP
M

MartinDL

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
Likes
3
Holy crap that Iron Maiden stuff IS bad.... (not the music, I'm an old fan, time I gave them a catch up - but the clipping is ... surely a producer wouldnt have missed this.)
Any chance you can get the CD and give it a spin?

Yes, I know. I love the music and been looking forward to this release for ages. So... ja, pretty bummed.

Maybe see if I can purchase a FLAC directly somewhere see if its in there, be interesting to see if the streaming services are to blame here or the producers

I just got my hands on the CD and tried it, so yes, unfortunately it's the same on the CD.

I'm wondering if it's even remotely possible to remove the distortions somehow using a decent sound editor? I mean the crackling stuff is pretty obvious.
 
Last edited:

LeftCoastTim

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
361
Likes
700
So I guess these distortions are just more obvious in lossless formats and high end gear.

Anyone have an educated guess as to what's cause these noises on the recording? A faulty microphone in the studio? Mixing gone wrong? Some filter acting up? Out of whack master to streaming conversions?

To my ears, this just sounds like serious errors in the production. And it's not just on one occasion, it's all over these songs. I'm having a hard time accepting that Maiden (with pretty much unlimited recoding budget) accidentally let this crap through the mixing/mastering process.

It sounds like digital clipping to me. Maybe from the bass guitar, panned to the left channel.

Stuff like this happens in recordings all the time. I've heard digital clipping in popular and established artists (Celine Dion, in her vocal channel!).

Nobody cares except the audiophiles.

I blame the loudness war for this. CD has 96dB dynamic range, but everyone wants to use the loudest 6 bits because it sells better. $$$$ talks. It's not like people will stop buying Iron Maiden after this album, right?
 

khrisr

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2021
Messages
32
Likes
15
I can replicate the noise on my iPhone + bluetooth headphones. Turning on loudness normalization makes it a lot better and I bet if I used Roon it will mostly go away (I find their volume leveling works a lot better).

FYI on my main stereo I cannot hear any clipping so its definitely a problem with equipment not the recording.
 

LeftCoastTim

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
361
Likes
700
I can replicate the noise on my iPhone + bluetooth headphones. Turning on loudness normalization makes it a lot better and I bet if I used Roon it will mostly go away (I find their volume leveling works a lot better).

FYI on my main stereo I cannot hear any clipping so its definitely a problem with equipment not the recording.

If you can hear it on your headphones but not speakers, that's because your speakers are less "hi-fi" than your headphones.

This is true in general. Lossy codec flaws are revealed almost always on headphones.
 
Last edited:

khrisr

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2021
Messages
32
Likes
15
If you can hear it on your headphones but not speakers, that's because your speakers are less "hi-fi" than your headphones.

This is true in general. Lossy codec flaws are revealed almost always on headphones.

Hmm not sure I follow why that applies to this case … isn’t clipping mostly an issue with how the amp is handling the higher input signal? This is a pretty audible noise we’re dealing with here
 

LeftCoastTim

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
361
Likes
700
Hmm not sure I follow why that applies to this case … isn’t clipping mostly an issue with how the amp is handling the higher input signal? This is a pretty audible noise we’re dealing with here

Different kind of clipping.

In this case digital clipping is in the record.
 

khrisr

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2021
Messages
32
Likes
15
Different kind of clipping.

In this case digital clipping is in the record.

Got it. There is a distinct clipping I hear with iphone + headphones but not main stereo + headphones so does not seem related to the speakers. I rarely listen to metal anyways so it’s possible there are multiple sources of the noise and I’m just not hearing what’s already in the recording.
 
OP
M

MartinDL

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
Likes
3
It sounds like digital clipping to me. Maybe from the bass guitar, panned to the left channel.
Nobody cares except the audiophiles.

Well, I'm hardly an audiophile, yet I'm hearing it enough to moan about it. I know I'm kinda emotional about this record, this being an album I've been waiting for a very long time. And to be frank, you have to be pretty much deaf if you don't hear the distortions going on.... or, well, I guess, if you play on your car stereo, boom box or on a crappy head phone, you won't hear it.

Any person with a more than average setup is bound to get annoyed by it.
 

muslhead

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
1,039
Likes
951
Are you referring to songs that sound like they have been ripped from bad vinyl and then pressed to cd (or digital medium)?
Here are 3 that immediately come to mind.

Tim McGraw/Nelly - Over and over (opening and close)
Eminem - Lose yourself (song opening)
Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball (song close)
 

McFly

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 12, 2019
Messages
711
Likes
1,358
Location
NZ
Well, I'm hardly an audiophile, yet I'm hearing it enough to moan about it. I know I'm kinda emotional about this record, this being an album I've been waiting for a very long time. And to be frank, you have to be pretty much deaf if you don't hear the distortions going on.... or, well, I guess, if you play on your car stereo, boom box or on a crappy head phone, you won't hear it.

Any person with a more than average setup is bound to get annoyed by it.
Who produced the album? Get at them on Twitter or something and say they need to throw in the towel and retire, their ears are cooked. No more production for you. Demand a rerelease with the compressor removed (unless it was clipping from the bands guitar input - different story but producer should’ve captured it). This is Death Magnetic all over again.
 

LeftCoastTim

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
361
Likes
700
I just checked the youtube version because I know they do some processing to reduce digital clipping. Yes, the crackling is quieter, but still there.

Hopefully they do a remaster for their fans. It is pretty embarrassing.

Given the good reviews of the album, I think the band is going deaf as well as the reviewers. :cool:
 

JWAmerica

Active Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2021
Messages
286
Likes
181
Welcome to the loudness wars, where recording is perverted into destroying the very music it was intended to preserve.
When will they realize we can buy cheap high output amps nowadays? We don't need the recording to be louder.
 

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,429
Likes
2,648
Location
Pacific Northwest
When will they realize we can buy cheap high output amps nowadays? We don't need the recording to be louder.
Apparently, they have to sound louder than that other song you heard just before theirs, and the one after. Whether on streaming, radio, or whatever. They don't seem to care if it makes it sound so terrible you never want to hear that song again.
 

LeftCoastTim

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
361
Likes
700
Apparently, they have to sound louder than that other song you heard just before theirs, and the one after. Whether on streaming, radio, or whatever. They don't seem to care if it makes it sound so terrible you never want to hear that song again.
It's part of the art form now. :cool:
 

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,429
Likes
2,648
Location
Pacific Northwest
That link should come with a warning. I wish I could un-hear that.
At the risk of sounding like the old man on the porch shouting at the clouds, I'll add that it surprises me that any musician could consider that distorted noise to represent their art. To be clear, I'm not criticizing the music itself, but that's the point: it's hard to hear the actual music behind that wall of noise. I assume the people "recording" this aren't idiots, they know what they're doing and it's intentional.
 
Last edited:

JWAmerica

Active Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2021
Messages
286
Likes
181
Apparently, they have to sound louder than that other song you heard just before theirs, and the one after. Whether on streaming, radio, or whatever. They don't seem to care if it makes it sound so terrible you never want to hear that song again.

Fools. I don't listen to new music anymore. Any new recordings I hear I tend to turn down because they sound awful. I can count the number of albums produced after 2000 that I listen to on one hand.
 
Top Bottom