Audiobook Recording- Punch and Roll with 2.0

I’m an author and I’d like to start recording my own audiobooks. The research that I’ve done says that the best way to record is to use “Punch and Roll” ie. when you have a flub you stop -delete the problem -set the cursor a few seconds before the cut off -hit record so it plays the last bit of the last track and then you drop in with the rest of the recording. This is supposed to cut hours out of editing time later and I can see how it would. This technique was discussed here ( but that was before 2.0 and when I have tried using fizzcat’s very clear directions the playback just stops at the end of the old track with no new recording. Obviously, I’m not an audio person. I am not ever going to be recording music just spoken word, so far I am thrilled with how easy audacity is to set up and use. I just need to find the most time efficient way to get the tracks down so I am not spending zillions of hours editing afterwards.

If all else fails, is there a way to ‘flag’ a flub so I can visually go in later and find them?

Audacity still doesn’t directly support Punch-In, but you can set a label at the fluff point. Tracks > Add Label and your shortcut key might be different from mine.

Audacity also supports Append Recording (Shift-R) but it only works at the end of the current track and doesn’t support play before that. You would have to delete the fluff and then start without knowing the pitch and rhythm of the original.


In order to hear the previously-recorded track you need to have Overdub on. With Overdub on, if you select a region of audio, Audacity will automatically stop at the end of the selection - this appears to be what is happening. If instead you just put the cursor at some convenient point in the previously-record track Audacity should continue recording past the end of that track. There are a number of problems when using this method to do punch-ins as you describe:

  1. You need to wear headphones to hear the previously-recording track
  2. When you speak, you will hear yourself delayed in the headphones (there is no way around this - it is a function of the delays inside the computer getting the sound from the mic to Audacity)
  3. You get a new track every time you stop and start
  4. You will probably still need to go back and edit every transition - getting this kind of thing perfect takes much practice.

Instead, when you make a flub, press Command- then press . This will place a label (with no text) at the current cursor position. Take a breath, back up to the start of a sentence or phrase (so you get the cadence right, as Koz points out) (but leave Audacity recording) and continue reading. Now you have a label at every flub so you can quickly find them and edit them so they sound seamless.

– Bill

Thanks guys for the quick responses! I’ll start playing with flagging and check to see if I’ve got overdub on. Do either of you know if punch-in is a feature that is in development?

There are 45 votes for this feature on the Feature Request page . I can’t comment on whether this will ever be developed: there are many technical hurdles to overcome.

– Bill

Hi I’m a fledgling audio book narrator. I’ve been using Audacity but also have come up against the punch and roll problem.
Can anyone just set out for me in a list the steps I need to take AFTER a track is completed…meaning…often I record an entire track of a chapter…doing the things suggested, and afterwards, want to ‘fix’ things. Interpretations etc.

Without the punch and roll capacity, it is hard to match or seamlessly edit in the new fixes.

I am conversant enough with the program to be able to add a new track, then copy and paste it in, I can use the slip delete process to sort of smooth out the noise levels…but could someone just clarify a hit list of an approach to doing this?

DOes that make any sense?

Also there are 8 votes for a somewhat more specific idea:

Delete mistakes on same track without interrupting recording workflow: (8 votes) Suggestions as described at > > arose from experiences of the Librivox community. For example, a recording region with a mistake could delete back to a cue point, play before the cue and resume recording after it. Both this and simpler ideas such as dropping labels without leaving the web or document application require Audacity to have cross-platform support for global hotkeys, which wxWidgets supports only under Windows.

There was a little discussion of this amongst the developers and it wasn’t rejected out of hand; it’s only an extension of append-record assuming you delete everything from where you stop back to the cue point. Would you like to vote for that idea or for punch-in recording that has 45 votes already?


With punch and roll (overwriting the previous audio) it’s virtually impossible to make a completely seamless edit unless the punch-in/out positions occur at pauses (in which case you don’t really need punch and roll). I agree that it can be quicker and easier to drop in a correction that is not too bad but it is not a reliable method for creating a completely seamless edit. I’d much rather see improvements to doing it properly than introducing old and inferior methods of producing drop-ins.

I think this is a much needed tutorial. I’m pretty sure I’ve previously written most of the material for this on the forum - I’ll need to do some searching.

That sounds like a good idea, though not a feature that I would envisage using myself.

I just started using Audacity to record narration to submit auditions for Audiobooks and had a problem resuming recording after a mistake and was trying to hopefully edit it as I went along. I couldn’t find a way to pause / stop recording after a mistake, move the cursor to a “quiet” spot before the mistake and resume recording easily so I joined the Audacity group and read the previous replies but still couldn’t find an easy way. I did read how some would like to mark it and come back to it which would be nice, but is there a way to stop and resume as I described above, or am I asking the same question as you all are? I’m NOT a proficient user of computers, but am really trying to get better at it, so I may not have understood all your explanations above. Thank you in advance, Zed (I am using a Mac OS X vers. 10.6.8, & I did download Audacity 2.x from a link through a friend’s email from the internet).

Press the spacebar to stop.
Select the bad bit and delete up to the end of the track.
Shift+R to “Append Record”.