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Microphone Month 5

Punch In

A process where the onset of recording on one or more tracks in the midst of an already existing recording can be precisely (a relative term) controlled by the user. For instance, a mistaken word or phrase by an announcer or singer can be corrected by listening to the playback and punching in at the exact moment with the performer correcting the part. In the earlier days of recording punch-ins required considerable skill by the engineer. Many tape machines of the day had subtle differences and inconsistencies in punch in behavior and speed, and don’t forget, engineers were often punching in on nearly complete tracks containing otherwise good performances. Stress ran very high during many a punch in those days. Nowadays machines can be set up to automatically punch in and out at specified times, and those times can be rehearsed in advance. And better yet, we have so many tracks and virtual tracks at our disposal these days that punching in is rarely even necessary. We just record a whole new take on a different track and “comp” them together later.

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