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When is a click not a click? When should you fix a click, and when should you leave it alone?

Clicks occur for all kinds of reasons - imprecise editing, random noises, gremlin infestation. But when do you need to do something about them?


An Audio Masterclass student recently pointed out a click in one of the source files we use for mastering projects. But on listening carefully, I had to wonder whether it actually was a click, or just a feature of the performance. Here it is...

In the mixed audio, the click is audible if you listen for it. If you listen closely enough to anything, you'll find the narrow line between error and 'texture' harder and harder to define. But yes, I'd say that this is a noise that would be better if it were not there.

Fortunately, having the original multitrack to hand, I was able to check through it and identify the source as one of the electric guitar tracks. In fact the guitarist made noises similar to this all the way through the track; this was just the most obvious of them.

So if it's part of the playing, there is no technical imperative to edit it out. But if the mix really does sound better without the click, then chop it out with your virtual razor blade. It's good to know when to stop though. Perhaps just this one click should be edited out, and the other lesser clicks left as they are. I'd say that would be a good compromise.

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One thing is interesting - the student was working with the mixed track on a mastering project. He didn't have access to the original multitrack recording. Yet still he managed to edit out the click, without the edit becoming obvious, or making things worse in other ways.

His virtual razor blade must be very sharp indeed.

By David Mellor Saturday April 13, 2013