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"Crackle" in Audio is almost always due to clipping of the Audio.
In PE, and with the Audio Mixer (Window>Audio Mixer), what are your levels? I'd guess that your source Audio is too "hot," and might well benefit from some pre-processing, prior to Import into PE. You mention MP3's, but I'm not sure what processing you might have applied before inclusion in PE. Can you list your steps?
The audio levels....is this what you mean?:
The volume is at 4.6 db
...yes I just followed your menu path and it was the same as the clip volume 4.6 db.
All other values were 0.
I didn't do any audio processing. Just dropped it into PE. Maybe that is my problem? Yes, the guy w/ the sound board showed me it was hot. Is there a way to determine this if you don't have a sound board?
If that is a + 4.6db, then you are getting a ton of clipping of the Audio. Digital Audio should be at 0db max.
Unfortunately, if the source files are this "hot," then the clipping has already occurred. MP3 is also a highly compressed format, so all that went into it, when processed originally (before you got the files) has already caused a problem.
You might have some luck using a program like the freeware Audacity to re-process your files, and limiting them to -3db (though a digital Audio file can be up to 0db, the -3db gives some headroom, and allows for spikes. I'd look into adding some EQ and also try Normalizing to -3db. I cannot recall which plug-ins come with Audacity, but would suspect that one could add all sorts of VST's to provide you with processing within the program. Might have to Google for VST's and install them. Most will be free and some available for a nominal fee. You might be able to get a usable source file, but remember that the damage has already been done with the original's processing and then the MP3 compression. Can you locate a better source file elsewhere? Personally, I'd look to getting the material in CD-quality 44.1KHz 16-bit form, and ripping the CD to 48KHz 16-bit Audio (PCM WAV) for use in PE. I am not a fan of MP3 compression, even when done right - just too much of the original source is lost by my ears.