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Audio channel mapping in Premiere Pro

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Map source and output audio channels to create a high-quality audio experience that fully captures the richness and depth of the original sound.

Audio channel mapping allows you to route individual audio channels from a clip to specific tracks in the timeline. This can be useful with multi-channel audio clips, such as those recorded with a surround sound microphone or a multi-track audio recorder.

When you import a clip with multiple audio channels, Premiere Pro automatically creates a sequence with the appropriate number of audio tracks to accommodate all channels. By default, each audio channel in the clip is mapped to its audio track in the sequence.

However, you can change the audio channel mapping. You can do this on import or by right-clicking the audio in the Project panel and selecting Modify > Audio Channels.

Map source audio channels on import

You can specify how Premiere Pro automatically maps clip audio channels to audio tracks and the Mix Track on import or capture.

  1. Select Preferences > Timeline.

    The image shows the Timeline Preferences dialog box indicating the section from which you can choose the format of your media.
    Choose the format of your media using the Timeline Preferences dialog box.

  2. Choose a format from the Default Audio Tracks section and select OK.

Change the source audio channel mapping

  1. Select one or more clips containing audio in the Project panel and choose Clip > Modify > Audio Channels.


    If you select more than one audio clip, ensure that the track format is the same for all the selected clips. If your workflow relies on modifying the source clips using Modify Audio Channels, do not use proxies in Premiere Pro. Doing so will result in unexpected behavior.

    Audio output channel mapping for a stereo track
    Audio output channel mapping for a stereo track

  2. You'll see a matrix in the Audio Channels dialog box with the clip channels on the left and the source channels on the top. Select the corresponding cell in the matrix to map a clip channel to a source channel. A checkmark indicates that the clip channel is mapped to that source channel.

  3. To preview the audio in a channel, choose the source channel, select the Playback button, or use the slider.

  4. Select OK.


You cannot modify audio channels of a merged clip. They must be mono by default. However, you can still reorder and enable/disable all of the available audio channels from the component clips.

Map sequence audio channels to audio output device hardware channels

You can specify the channel in a target hardware audio device for each channel in a sequence Mix track. Map channels in the Audio Output Mapping pane of the Preferences dialog box. Premiere Pro plays each sequence channel through the hardware channel you specify.

For example, your project could have a 5.1-channel sequence, but your system hardware might support only two channels. You could specify which of the two hardware channels carries each of the six sequence channels.

16-channel sequences, however, remain mapped to 16 output channels if the selected hardware device has fewer than 16 channels.

For example, the selected device could have only two channels. You could then map only the first two channels of a 16-channel sequence to the two hardware channels.


In the Audio Output Mapping pane, you can map sequence channels to any supported hardware device installed in your computer, not only the device currently activated. However, you see and hear the channel mapping you specify for a device only when the device is activated. Mapping sequence audio channels to the device does not activate the device. To activate an audio hardware device, select it in Audio Hardware preferences. For more information, see Specify ASIO device settings (Windows only).

To map sequence channels for a hardware device, you first select the device in the Map Output For menu. The list below the Map Output For menu shows the hardware channels supported by the device chosen. You then map sequence channels to each hardware channel using channel tiles.

For example, if you choose a third-party 16-channel audio device, the list shows 16 hardware channels. If you choose a stereo device, the list shows only two hardware channels. Tiles to the right of each channel name in the list represent the three types of sequence channels you can map to that hardware channel: stereo, 5.1, and 16-channel.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Audio Hardware 

  2. Choose the driver for the desired device from the Map Output For menu in the Audio Hardware tab. Premiere Pro selects Desktop Audio (Windows) or Built-In (macOS) by default.

  3. Drag the desired sequence channel tile into line with the desired hardware channel in the list.
  4. Select OK.

Extract audio from clips

You can extract audio from clips and generate new audio source clips in a project. The original source clips are preserved. Any source channel mappings, gain, speed, duration, and interpret footage adjustments in the original source clips are applied to the new, extracted audio clips.

  1. In the Project panel, select one or more clips containing audio.

  2. Choose Clip > Audio Options > Extract Audio.

    Premiere Pro generates new audio files containing the extracted audio, with the word “Extracted” added to the end of the filenames.

Break a stereo track into mono tracks

The Breakout To Mono command creates mono audio source clips from a clip’s stereo, or 5.1 surround audio channels. Breaking out a stereo clip results in two mono audio source clips—one for each channel. Breaking out a 5.1 surround clip results in six mono audio source clips—again, one for each channel. Premiere Pro preserves the original source clip. The Breakout To Mono command does not create new files, only new source clips with appropriate source channel mapping.

  1. In the Project panel, select a clip containing stereo or 5.1 surround audio.

  2. Choose Clip > Audio Options > Breakout To Mono.

    The resulting audio source clips are given filenames reflecting the name of the original clip, followed by the channel names. For example, when Premiere Pro creates two audio source clips from a stereo audio clip named Zoom, it names them Zoom Left and Zoom Right.


    The Breakout To Mono command does not create linked clips. To create linked mono clips, use the Source Channel Mappings command. The Breakout To Mono command works on items in the Project panel, not on clips in a sequence in the Timeline panel.

Break all stereo tracks into mono tracks

Premiere Pro can automatically break out individual stereo and surround channels to discrete monaural clips as each clip is captured or imported.

  1. Choose Preferences > Audio

  2. In the Source Channel Mapping area, choose Mono from the Stereo Media menu.

  3. Select OK.

Use a mono clip as stereo

You may sometimes find it useful to use a mono audio clip as a stereo clip. Using the Modify Clip dialog box, you can apply a mono clip to a pair of left and right stereo channels.

  1. In the Project panel, select a mono clip.

  2. Select Clip > Modify > Audio Channels.

  3. In the Modify Clip dialog box, select Clip Channel Format > Stereo and then select OK.


    You can apply the Modify Clip command to a mono clip only in the Project panel, before the clip appears in a Timeline panel. When used in a mono audio track, you can’t convert a clip instance to stereo.

If you have a stereo clip with sound recorded in only one channel, or if you have a stereo clip that has sound in one channel that you want to replace with the sound from the other channel, you can use source clip channel mapping, the Fill Left audio filter, or the Fill Right audio filter.

Link multiple audio clips

You can link one video clip to multiple audio clips and you can link multiple audio clips together. When you link audio clips in a sequence, you link only the instances of the master clips. The original master audio clips in the Project panel are untouched.

Linked clips remain synchronized as you move them or trim them in a Timeline panel. You can apply audio effects, including Volume and Panning effects, to all channels in the linked clips. If you make an edit that moves one of the linked clips without moving the others, out-of-sync indicators appear.

You can display and trim a multi-clip link in the Source Monitor. You can view and play only one channel at a time in the Source Monitor. If the linked clips contain markers, the Source Monitor timeline displays markers only for the displayed track. If the Source Monitor displays a multi-clip link from the Project panel, you can use the Overwrite or Insert buttons to add the linked clips to separate tracks in a Timeline panel.

The Effect Controls panel displays all the video and audio tracks in a multi-clip link, with the applied effects grouped together by track. You can apply effects from the Effects panel to a specific group in the Effect Controls panel.

Link audio clips

The audio clips must have the same channel type and each clip must be on a different track. If clips are already linked, such as an audio clip linked to a video clip, they must be unlinked before you can create a multi-clip link.

  1. If necessary, select each linked video and audio clip, or select multiple clips, and select Clip > Unlink.

  2. Shift-click to select each audio clip on separate tracks in a Timeline panel. You may also shift-click to select a video clip.


    All audio clips must have the same track format (mono, stereo, or 5.1 surround).

  3. Select Clip > Link.

Edit a multi-clip link in the Source Monitor

  1. In the Timeline panel, double-click a linked clip.

  2. Select a track from the Track menu to display a specific channel.

  3. (Optional) Specify the In and Out points for a track.

    Specifying the In and Out points for a specific track applies the same amount of trimming to the In and Out points of the other linked tracks. The In and Out points of linked tracks with different durations will be different. The In and Out points of linked clips are the same only if they have identical durations.

Talk to us

If you have a question on audio mixing, reach out to us in our Premiere Pro community. We would love to help.


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