For a long time, I was largely uninterested in Live’s punch-in/punch-out controls:

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That’s because I was thinking of punching in the traditional sense, the way I used it in Pro Tools – namely, to replace bits and pieces of a live recording when working with musicians in the studio. That sort of thing isn’t a huge part of my process when working with Live.

Where punching really comes in handy for me nowadays is working with automation. In particular, when working on something like the new Hobotech mix. It’s not that this problem doesn’t apply when mixing a track, it’s just that the longer and more varied an arrangement is, the more of a mess the automation tends to become.

To punch in automation, set yourself up as seen below.

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In the Control Bar at the top, Global Record is turned on and the Punch In and Punch Out switches are enabled.

The Loop Brace is used to define the in and out points. In the example above, recording will engage at bar 396 and disengage 8 bars later (no matter where you play the arrangement back from). This allows me to start playback well in advance of the area I want to record automation for. I’ll use this extra time to twist knobs, getting everything on my controller into the right position and testing things out to get my ear oriented.