Pops and Clicks

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Sometimes when playing your music in Media Center you may hear pops and clicks.

Here are some things to try:

  • Check to see that you are using the appropriate Audio Output Mode.
  • Try updating your sound card drivers.
  • If you're using a sound card, make sure your BIOS has any on-board sound disabled.
  • Adding other programs that play sound may cause a problem. Try uninstalling these other programs.
  • Another possibility for anyone who has a problem is the well known (but not so commonly seen these days) problem with via chipsets and latency settings in the BIOS. Try a web search for these.
  • Disable any third party plug-ins, visualizations, spam blockers, pop-up blockers, virus checkers, etc. that you use while running Media Center.
  • Check your Windows volume controls and make sure your Mic is muted.
  • The pop or click may actually be in the song itself.
  • Enable silence suppression ("Do not play silence ..." option) for gapless MP3 playback.
  • Increase the buffering in: Options > Playback > Output Mode Settings.
  • Turn off sample-rate conversion or other CPU-hungry DSPs.

Here is one user's(Skeezix) experience with CD burning causing pops and clicks:

Just because your CD Burner is rated at 52X does not mean your music will play back flawlessly. I spent many hours burning CDAs from MP3 files at 52X on a LiteOn burner, then many more hours researching and testing to find out why most, if not all, played back with audible and repetitive "clicks" when playing beyond the half-way point of the CD.

The actual symptom was: Audible clicks occurring at about 3 times per second (i.e. every rpm of the CD during playback), beginning anywhere from about 35 minutes to 50 minutes in. The clicks started so low in volume they were barely detectable, then increased until, in some cases, the CD player would momentarily lose count of the played time. In extreme cases, the player would shut down.

Two different players exhibited this problem - a Toshiba, and a Sony, both connected to a home stereo system. The problems did not occur when the CDs were played on my computer burner, or on a high-end Alpine auto stereo player. In most cases, mp3 to CDA translation was done on-the-fly using MusicMatch software and also Nero 6.

To identify the problem, I used a program I got from the internet called "KProbe 2". It provided a graph of read errors on the CD. Every CD that exhibited the click problem showed an increasing number of read errors beginning at about the same time point in time that I could hear the clicks.

Media was Imation, Memorex, and Verbatim, all rated at 52X.

The cure was to reburn the CDs with the following changes:

1. Set the maximum burn speed to 24X.

2. Make sure the burning software does not translate on-the-fly. Set it to make an image on the hard disk first.

Time after time, these two changes resulted in CDs that sounded great. No clicks on the Toshiba or Sony. Also, when using KProbe 2 to test the burned CD, the error rate (C2 errors, for you techno-geeks) went from hundreds down to zero, or maybe 2 or 3 at the most.

For what it's worth, I have not yet (knock on wood!) experienced errors on CDs burned with data files, or with MP3 files. YET! As with everything, YMMV. Good luck!