digital pops, any tips? going crazy....

hello, I recently upgraded to Artist 9 and I have an issue that is driving me nuts…in almost every track on the new project i am beginning work on, i am getting digital ‘pops’ randomly and not at the loudest points of the track. It happens at least once per track. I’ve done a bunch of reading on why this can occur, and I made sure to carefully follow the various advice I got: my computer is a very new MacBook Air with the latest OS updates installed, my audio interface is the UR22 which should work seamlessly with Cubase, my mic is a new AT4040, my cables are all new and the highest quality the store carried for recording. I made double sure to not have my cables touching, my laptop wifi was turned off, my cellphone wifi was off and it was in airplane mode, i used the shortest cables possible within my setup, even my headphone cable was not touching the other cables. I’m pretty sure I took all the precautions one can take, and since my gear is all new and in top condition, and my software is up to date, I am frustrated about why this might be happening. The bit rate and sample rate are matching on the interface and software. I even changed the damn USB cable, which I believe was unnecessary. The pops on the track are not visible as physical peaks on the track no matter how much I zoom in. They are in the same spot every time I listen back, and in no explainable order…some are on a quiet part, some are in the middle of a chord, nothing is from a volume spike. Has anyone had this problem, and how did you solve it? I have invested a fair amount of money in upgrading my home recording gear in order to begin my latest project, and now I am so frustrated that I am wondering if I will have to abandon it and just find a studio somewhere, which is completely opposite of what I was planning to do :-/
I have my fingers and toes crossed that there is an answer that hasn’t occurred to me yet…one of those “aw man why didn’t i notice that” kind of things, but I am worried that it’s more technical than that… any help or advice is appreciated!

Just wondering, did you do a search for “clicks and pops” on this forum? It would seem you are not alone. You might find the answer in somebody else’s post here.
Do you use the same USB hub for the USB key and the UR22?

Very frustrating I’m sure.
Sounds like all your hardware and cabling can be ruled out as being a problem. I’m neither on a Mac nor using the same interface as you, so can’t really help in precise terms. I’m sure others will jump in with better advice.
I was just wondering if you had tried things like increasing the interface buffer size, or un-ticking ASIO guard on the Devices/VST Audio System menu or ticking ‘externally clocked’ on the interface page, to see if any of those settings have any effect. Problems like these can be annoying to troubleshoot I know… hope you find the cause.

What is your audio buffer size? Try increasing it.

I dont know what you actually mean but I too have a ur22, and I get audio spikes all over the place. Doesnt matter if I connect the interface to a usb2 or 3 port, or a hub.

Sounds like your buffer size is too small. Open the VST meter in cubase (F12?) and see if you are getting spikes when you hear the pops. If so, increase buffer size. Pages 7-8 of the UR22 manual. You will increase your latency, but anything under 5ms or so should not be noticeable. As you add more tracks, and more processing from VSTs, you will need more buffers to allow Cubase to handle the processing without pops. You may need to freeze a few tracks to free up processing.

Some people have reported clicks and pops when the USB key and UR22 are in the same port. This offered as troubleshooting help for the OP… but of course the issue could be due to any one of a hundred things.

Just a thought…but are you running any VST instruments as well? If so, the third party libraries, and audio project folders, should ideally be run from external drives. The main drive should only run Mac OS and Cubase.

Not to be a dark cloud, but the Macbook Air isn’t really going to cut it once you get into recording and playing back multiple audio tracks. It’s a dual core, and maxes out at 8GB Ram (which is a fart in the wind these days). It’s designed for word-processing, internet surfing, etc.

I have done several experiments with USB. My ASUS board even supports a lot of em, even 3.1. I am always confused seeing the results when copying data between USB ports, speed monitoring with FastCopy. F.i. sometimes speeds are really low, around 9-14 MB/s, sometimes over 100. Seem to be also quite different if you copy through external drives, or internal. Moral, USB 3 is usually fast, but sometimes unexplainable slow and i can’t figure out why. Since my eLicenser dongle, i hate that thing BTW, runs on a separate USB 2 bus (i think) my USB generally works better for other hardware. Luckily i have an RME UFX since a few months, with USB connected first. Now i got me a PCIe card for firewire. Never had plops, crackles, or latency problems since then. TIP set the windows firewire driver options to Legacy Mode BTW. Moral, if you have to use USB, you’ll have to figure which busses to use for important hardware. I found that when for some hardware is meant for USB 2, USB 3 functions even is slower or indeed causes hiccups in data transfer. Sometimes it helps to force certain USB busses to different behavior properties in the BIOS USB settings on your motherboard (they are usually set to auto). IMO USB due it’s generality is not really suited for audio unless you know the right tweaks for the bus used.- F