Fixing mistakes while recording so that we can continue, rather than start over every time, can be a huge time-saver in the studio. It can also be a sanity-saver. The most common way to do this goes back to the analog tape recording days, and is called punching in/out. This means that we stop recording, and on the same track, record over the mistake and continue on.
But I find it much easier and faster (and who doesn't like our good friends, easier and faster?:)) to use a process called overdubbing, which basically means recording the same part on another track, to do this instead.
Computer recording - where we can SEE the audio, as well as hear it - has made overdubbing for something like this much easier than in the old days. I'll show you how to use overdubbing to fix a mistake (or a guitar buzz, or dog sneezing, etc.) so you can continue recording quickly, leaving no sign that there was ever a mistake - seamless audio "patching."
I'll use Reaper software, but the process is the same with any multitrack recording software (sometimes called a digital audio workstation, or DAW).
Few of us are capable of recording a performance perfectly from start to finish. Even if you often perform live, things change when you're in the studio to actually record instrument or vocal parts. We're bound to make mistakes.
And If we're talking about voice-over recording, especially long scripts like audio books, then it's almost a given that you'll have to stop somewhere to pick back up later. Rather than using the punch in/out method (which only uses a single track), we are going to start a second track underneath our main track.
Also, there are two situations when this procedure works really well: 1. When your want to fix mistakes as they happen and have a perfect track when you're done; and 2. When you don't want to stop and start, but would rather go back and fix the mistakes after the part is recorded.
When recording a part that is being tracked to a tempo, as you would when recording a part for song, you almost have to stop when you make a mistake, fixing each as you go until you either finish recording the part, or make another mistake.
This is because everything has to happen at a specific point on a timeline and it can be very hard to recover, and get back on track, after making a mistake. Also, if you're like me, you're brain knows you made a mistake and that knowledge can make it hard to focus for the rest of the recording.
So here is how it is done.
Here is a video showing the process, which will make it more clear if the above was at all confusing:
This was how to fix mistakes as they happen. In part 2 of this article, you'll see an alternate way to use overdubbing to fix mistakes after you've recorded the entire track.
The above video is an excerpt from The Newbies Guide To Audio Recording Awesomeness 2: Pro Recording With Reaper. For more information on the course...