I just want to share my experience with an issue I fought with for the last 5 days.
I've been recording with Cakewalk since 2003 and over 16 years I've run into many issues that caused Clicks and Pops in recordings. Back when I started, I was still using single core processors with 250 MB HDD's and 256 KB of RAM, Creative Technologies Audigy Sound Cards and a DigiTech guitar processor (A red one I bought used for $59 from Music-Go-Round, I forget the model and it's unimportant I guess)
Anyway, fast forward to 2019 and I'm using an 8 Core Ryzen 2700X, 32GB DDR4, 970 PRO SSD, RME Fireface UFX+ and a Fractal Axe FX III. So things have changed as I've grown in this hobby and the equipment is nothing short of fantastic.
So I've upgraded all of this gear very recently. Within the past 2 months or so. It took me awhile to get around to getting it all set up and configured, but I went the through the setup process like I have a hundred times before and when I was ready, I went to make my first test recording. Just a little 30 second guitar piece, to try things out and get a feel for it after setting it all up. I've been playing some of my archived music back through the UFX+ for awhile and it sounds great, but I didn't get around to recording until last week.
Well, after recording the 30 second guitar demo and playing it back, there was crackling and popping when I played the recorded track back through the recording software.
Oh. Great. I figured it would be the usual suspects. Too small of a buffer size, or having too many windows open, or maybe the anti-virus software, or even being connected to the network. So I went through each one. Trial and error, eliminating possibilities as I went along. I think everyone who's been using DAW PC's for any length of time knows how this situation goes. But I hadn't had this problem with the interface I just sold (MOTU Ultralite Mk. IV) or with the Headrush Gigboard I was using previously. So as I was going through the list, I was getting pretty stumped.
I went through BIOS, Chipset, Driver and Software updates for every single piece of hardware and software in the system. I uninstalled the new audio interface software and reinstalled. I replaced every cable one by one. Laying down a 30 second sample each time and re-checking, with no luck.
I was getting pretty discouraged as days went by. Was my new hardware defective? Is there a setting I'm forgetting? Are there hardware incompatibility issues?
Well, finally after I went through all of that legwork and head-scratching, it hit me.
Between the time I sold me old equipment and received the new equipment, I had "temporarily" installed a PCI-e USB 2.0 card, to communicate with a stubborn ***** USB drive that wasn't cooperating with my USB 3.0 ports. It worked great for that purpose, at that time. But I didn't remove it when I was finished. One of those things where you think "this probably won't hurt anything being here" and "I can use the extra ports for my USB devices that don't need USB 3.0.
Nope. It effed everything up. It was a cheapo $12.99 USB card that was stealing processor clock cycles
I found that this simple, inexpensive device was creating major havoc with my $10K recording gear by stealing processor clock cycles that would otherwise be going to my other devices. When this happens in a DAW, it's one of the worst things that you can experience. Your otherwise pristine recording becomes a mess of minor "pops and clicks" that can typically be attributed to one or two issues with your system, but if it isn't those one or two things, it could literally be any driver, firmware, hardware, software or cable that is part of the PC, audio interface, MIDI device, microphone, processor, power supply or many other things. And to find the problem, you have to go through all of them. So, this is something to keep in mind if you happen to be in the position I was in. Hopefully you never are, but if you are a musician who composes, records and produces, stay away from this kind of item. Lesson learned.
I hope this is O.K. to put here as well. I know there are many more things to consider, but this might help narrow things down if you're having Clicks and Pops in your audio recordings and/or playback.
Quick Checklist Items in No Particular Order for Windows 10 O.S. - Sonar Platinum/Cakewalk by Bandlab:
*Windows System Restore to Last Good Configuration
*BIOS Disable Fast Boot
*BIOS Audio Settings
*Main Board Chipset Drivers
*Audio Interface Software, Firmware and Driver Updates
*Clock Master/Slave Timing Compatibility
*Windows Memory Module Tests
*SSD Driver/Firmware Updates and Read/Write Speed Tests
*All Audio Cables
*Midi Timing Settings
*Latency Monitor (Much Freeware Available)
*Windows Audio Device Management via Control Panel
*Device Manager - Audio I/O, Disk Drives, Sound-Video-Game Controllers, Storage Controller Drivers, System Devices Audio Controller, Universal Serial Bus Controllers