Need help with punch-in

When I punch-in a section of a track, n-track writes the new .wav file to a new track. That seemed odd, I figured it will alter the original track with my new punch-in recording.

So what I did is I just moved the new .wav file up to the original track, but it appears “behind” the original track and is not heard during the playback…

What exactly is the proper way to punch-in a section of a track?


There is no need to “punch in” in the DAW world.

In the old tape multi track world you had a limited number of tracks on the tape so punching in and out was necessary to make efficient use of the limited tracks.

With a DAW just mute the section you want to redo (using the volume envelopes or the non-destructive silence function).
Then just set your recording options to record to a new track.
Start playback as far ahead of the section you want to redo as you want, start playing as far ahead as you want as well and keep playing for abit afterwards.
Do as many takes as you like and keep them all.

Go back and listen to all the takes and work out which take (or takes if you need to use more than 1 take to construct your section).

then just use the volume envelopes to comp the whole track together.

If you want you can then mix down to a single wav file to save on screen space and resources etc.

Give you a lot more options and editing power than just cutting in and out at certain points.
You may even end up keeping 2 (or more of a take and “doubling” sectinos for effect)

Also allows you to edit exactly where you cut in and out for a smoother transition between wav files (or even crossfade to some extent with the volume envelopes).


Thanks Rich - I will try that approach.

i happen to like using punch-in instead except I would typically use the LIVE input feature and it was a problem because the track mutes when it reaches the punch in point.

the advantage of punch in is you don’t have to copy all the effects or even clone a track to get it ready.

I agree with Rich that punch-in is an old habit whose time is really over. Guitars69 has a good point, though – using Live mode, you have to prepare a blank track. Normally, we just let it record to a new track, no hassle.

Rather than using volume evolutions or nondestructive silence, though, I find the easiest way is to highlight the area I’m going to punch over and then use “Edit->Nondestructive->Splice”. (I use this feature a lot so I put its toolbar button on my toolbar. Right-click on the toolbar to customize it.) Then I right-click on the middle portion and “remove part”. This doesn’t affect the wave file and you can always get the cut-out section back.

Try this out – you’ll find it’s easier to see what’s going on and to adjust the splice points.

One of the advantages to this method is that it’s easy to do multiple tries until you get it right.

Regardless, punch-in doesn’t change the original wave file. Overlapped wave files are hard to manipulate, so I generally avoid it. However, with overlapped wave files you can use the cross-fade feature, which is nice.

Not sure if I am on the right track here…

I use punch in, multiple takes to lay down vocals in particular and as Ibra73 suggests, it generates a new .wav for each take. I just have the thing looping over the selected area of the main trackthat I use as the backing.

You can destructively alter your original take:
-Select the area to punch-in on the orginal
-Do a single punch in from the orginal (which creates a new .wav).
-On the original (in destructive edit mode) position the start line and select from that point to the point that you want to remove, and press cut Or destructively silence
-Without moving the start line, on the new .wav select from that same point to the end and hit copy
-Select once more the original track on the start line and click paste
-This should paste your new .wav punch in onto the original track at the same off-set

Hmm, Smiffy – maybe I’m missing something, but IIRC, when I use “cut” in destructive mode, it shifts the right part of the track to the left to fill the gap. Destructive silence and paste would work as you say, though. Actually, no need to destructively silence, just paste (in destructive editing mode).

But note that when doing that multiple punch-in thing, you end up with the wave files on separate tracks. IIRC, with a normal single punch-in, the new wave part just sits on top of the old one.

Cheers Learjeff, you are correct. Don’t “cut” the original .wav.

… When I punch-in a section of a track, n-track writes the new .wav file to a new track. That seemed odd, I figured it will alter the original track with my new punch-in recording…

It seem´s to me that you´re not enabling the record button for the tracks that you want to do a punch-in. To do a punch-in in the same track of your original record:
1) Set the record button to record in the same track
2) Select the region that you want to do a punch-in
3) Start playing selecting the start punch-in record.

Maybe I didn´t understand your question. In this case, forget about…

Makako, I think you missed the point. Based on what he’s reporting, he’s using the feature correctly. IIRC, “punch-in” always creates a new wave file, which it plops on top of the old one. I believe you only hear the wave file on top, when two wave files overlap (but I’m not sure, I generally avoid it). There’s a “crossfade” feature to help out with overlapping wave parts. I haven’t used it so I can’t fill in on the details.

New to n-track, trying to move off a dedicated piece of DAW hardware to a 'puter. Relatively speaking I’m a recording veteran, worked on all types of gear since the 80’s.

Really impressed with n-track so far. Incredible value, seems very stable for me so far.

But I’m still not too comfortable with this new world without punches.

I totally understand the New Way (go back, clean a patch, do a separate take, etc.) But this isn’t so handy when I’m working with, for example, an experienced vocalist. We’re flying thru a track, we look at each other and know we need to fix two words, I “rewind”, punch in during the brief breath, they drop in the two words, I punch out, check it, and we’re done and moving on.

With n-track I’ve apparently go to go back and do some computer fiddling to make a selection and ^X it. Check that I scrubbed the right part, then go back and do the take, check that. Time spent: at least two passes plus some computer fiddling. Not a huge deal but if the vocalist is in the groove and I’m stopping to fiddle with selections, the loss of momentum can be significant for the “talent”.

The DAW I was using handled it great, you got the no-muss speed of a punch but Undo non-destructively brought back the original part. Sure there are times I want to compose a part from pieces of many takes, but often I’m just driving for getting one clean immediate decent performance.

I keep thinking there has to be some secret little option that says “auto-mute the orig” under the overdub. Tell me it’s in here somewhere, won’t ya?