Working with audio

In Adobe® Premiere® Pro, you can edit audio, add effects to it, and mix as many tracks of audio in a sequence as your computer system can handle. Tracks can contain mono or 5.1 surround channels. In addition, there are standard tracks and adaptive tracks.  

The Standard audio track can cope with both mono and stereo in the same track. That is, if you set your audio track to Standard, you can use footage with different types of audio tracks on the same audio track.

You can choose different kinds of tracks for different kinds of media. For example, you could choose for mono clips to be edited only onto mono tracks. You can choose for multichannel mono audio be directed to an Adaptive track by default.

Mono track

Mono tracks can contain mono and stereo clips only. However, stereo clip left and right channels will be summed to mono and attenuated 3dB to avoid clipping.  

There is no pan control for mono tracks with outputs assigned to a mono sequence master or mono submix track. Use the Pan knob to pan the mono track audio signal between left and right channels of a stereo sequence.  

Use the puck, to pan the mono track audio signal between L, C, R, Ls, Rs surround channels of a 5.1 sequence.  Note that the Center % control affects the balance between the center channel and the Left/Right channels. Its default setting in mono tracks is 100% so that all front channel output is Center channel only (no left or right).  Since the puck is centered in the tray by default, signal is also sent to the rear Ls and Rs (left and right surround) channels.  

The LFE volume control employs bass management, meaning that a low pass filter is applied to all surround channels combined, then routed to the LFE channel this control affects.

Use the Pan knob to pan the mono track audio signal between odd and even channels of a multichannel sequence with 2 or more channels.  There is no pan control for mono tracks with outputs assigned to a multichannel sequence with only 1 channel.

Stereo track

Standard (stereo) tracks can contain mono and stereo clips only. However, mono clip signal will be split into left and right channels and attenuated 3dB.

There is no balance control for stereo tracks with outputs assigned to a mono sequence master or mono submix track. Use the Balance knob to set the balance between left and right channels of a stereo  sequence.

Use the puck in standard track to balance the stereo track audio signal between L, C, R, Ls, Rs surround channels of a 5.1 sequence.  Note that the Center % control adjusts the proportion of left and right channel signal between the summed center channel and discrete Left/Right channels. Its default setting in stereo tracks is 0%, so that the Center channel gets no signal and all the clip's left channel signal is routed to L track output channel, the clip's right channel signal is routed to R track output channel.  Since the puck is centered in the tray by default, clip left channel signal is also sent to the Ls track output channel, while clip right channel signal is also sent to the Rs track output channel. The LFE volume control employs bass management, meaning that a low pass filter is applied to all surround channels combined, then routed to the LFE channel this control affects.

Use the Balance knob to balance the standard track audio signal between odd and even channels of a multichannel sequence with 2 or more channels.  There is no balance control for stereo tracks with outputs assigned to a multichannel sequence with only 1 channel.

5.1 track

5.1 tracks can contain 5.1 clips only. There is no pan/balance puck and tray or bass management in 5.1 tracks.

5.1 tracks are mixed down to mono in a mono sequence or mixed down to stereo in a stereo sequence. In 5.1 sequences, 5.1 tracks route its channels directly to corresponding output channels unaltered.

Note that there are cases where 5.1 tracks are useful for mono or stereo clips.  For example, when an audio post facility sends finished (or mixed down) 5.1 audio in the form of 6 mono clips, representing each of the 5.1 channels. These mono clips should not be placed in mono or stereo tracks in the 5.1 sequence because they have already been mixed at the audio post house. The proper workflow in this case is to change each mono clip to a 5.1 clip and designate its appropriate channel using Modify Clip>Audio Channels.  An alternative is to leave the clips as mono, place each into their own mono or adaptive track in a multichannel sequence, and use track output channel mapping and panning to assign the track output to the correct output channel.  

Premiere Pro 9.0 comes with track output channel assignments for 5.1 tracks, which allows more flexible and easy channel mapping.

Audio channel mapping for a 5.1 track
Audio channel mapping for a 5.1 track

Adpative track

Adaptive tracks can contain mono, stereo and adaptive clips only. An adaptive track includes a balance control. Adaptive tracks have the same number of channels as its sequence. For example, in a stereo sequence, an adaptive track contains channels 1-2 available even when containing an adaptive clip with more than two channels. If it is desirable to make channels 3 or greater audible, use Modify Clip>Audio Channels to map any of the clip's channels to track channels 1-2.  Note that only one source channel can be mapped to each destination channel. In other words, any one clip channel can be mapped to adaptive track output 1 and any one clip channel can be mapped to adaptive track output 2. So, instead of the default clip channels 1-2, clip channels 31-32 can instead be mapped to adaptive track outputs 1-2.  

Adaptive tracks no longer include track output channel mapping unless it is in a multichannel sequence.

Adaptive track settings

To work with audio, first import it into a project or record it directly to a track. You can import audio clips or video clips that contain audio.

After the audio clips are in a project, you can add them to a sequence and edit them just like video clips. You can also view the waveforms of audio clips and trim them in the Source Monitor before adding the audio to a sequence.

You can adjust volume and pan/balance settings of audio tracks directly in the Timeline or Effect Controls panels. You can use the Audio Track Mixer to make mixing changes in real time. You can also add effects to audio clips in a sequence. If you are preparing a complex mix with many tracks, consider organizing them into submixes and nested sequences.

Note:

For advanced editing using Adobe Audition, select Edit > Edit in Audition.

Audio tracks in a sequence

A sequence can contain any combination of the following audio tracks:

Standard

The standard track replaces the previous stereo track type. It can accommodate both mono and stereo audio clips. 

Mono (monophonic)

Contains one audio channel. If a stereo clip is added to a mono track, the stereo clip channels are summed to mono by the mono track.

Adaptive

The adaptive track can contain mono, stereo, and adaptive clips. With adaptive tracks, you can map source audio to output audio channels in the way that works best for your workflow. This track type is useful for working with audio from cameras that record multiple audio tracks. Adaptive tracks can also be used when working with merged clips, or multicam sequences. For more information, see this video.

5.1

Contains the following:

  • Three front audio channels (left, center, and right)
  • Two rear or surround audio channels (left and right)
  • A low-frequency effects (LFE) audio channel routed to a subwoofer speaker.

5.1 tracks can only contain 5.1 clips.

You can add or delete tracks at any time. Once a track is created, you can’t change the number of channels it uses. A sequence always contains a master track that controls the combined output for all tracks in the sequence. The Tracks panel in the New Sequence dialog specifies the following: The master track’s format, the number of audio tracks in a sequence, and the number of channels in the audio tracks

A sequence can contain two types of audio tracks. Regular audio tracks contain actual audio. Submix tracks output the combined signals of tracks or sends routed to it. Submix tracks are useful for managing mixes and effects.

Each sequence is created with the designated number of audio tracks in a Timeline panel. However, Premiere Pro automatically creates new audio tracks when you drop an audio clip below the last audio track in a Timeline panel. This feature is useful if the number of stacked audio clips exceeds the available tracks in a sequence. It is also useful when the number of channels in an audio clip doesn’t match the number of channels in the default audio tracks. You can also add tracks by right-clicking a track header and choosing Add Tracks, or by choosing Sequence > Add Tracks.

Channels in audio clips

Clips can contain one audio channel (mono), two audio channels—left and right (stereo), or five audio surround channels with a low-frequency effects audio channel (5.1 surround). A sequence can accommodate any combination of clips. However, all the audio is mixed to the track format (mono, stereo, or 5.1 surround) of the master track.

You can determine whether a stereo clip is placed on one or two tracks. Right-click a clip in the Project panel, and select Modify > Audio Channels. If you choose to place a stereo clip across two tracks, the Clip Panners use their default behavior (left to left, right to right).

Premiere Pro lets you change the track format (the grouping of audio channels) in an audio clip. For example, you can apply audio effects differently to the individual channels in a stereo or 5.1 surround clip. You can change the track format in stereo or 5.1 surround clips. In such cases, the audio is placed on separate mono tracks when the clips are added to a sequence.

Premiere Pro also lets you remap the output channels or tracks for a clip’s audio channels. For example, you can remap the left channel audio in a stereo clip so that it is output to the right channel.

Preserve matrix of 5.1 audio clip

To preserve the matrix of an imported 5.1 audio clip, use the clip in a 5.1 audio track in a sequence. To use the component channels as discrete multi-mono tracks in a sequence, import or remap the clip into mono channels.

Mixing audio tracks and clips

Mixing is blending and adjusting the audio tracks in a sequence. Sequence audio tracks can contain many audio clips, and the audio tracks of video clips. Actions you perform when mixing audio can be applied at various levels within a sequence. For example, you can apply one audio level value to a clip and another value to the track that contains the clip. A track containing the audio for a nested sequence can contain volume changes and effects previously applied to the tracks in the source sequence. Values applied at all of these levels are combined for the final mix.

You can modify an audio clip by applying an effect to the clip or to the track that contains the clip. Consider applying effects in a planned, systematic way to avoid redundant or conflicting settings on the same clip.

Chris and Trish Meyer provide an overview on the Artbeats website of how to mix and time multiple audio tracks for maximum clarity and story-telling impact.

Processing order for audio

As you edit sequences, Premiere Pro processes audio in the following order, from first to last:

  • Gain adjustments applied to clips by using the Clip > Audio Options > Audio Gain command.

  • Effects applied to clips.

  • Track settings, which are processed in the following order: Pre-fader effects, pre-fader sends, mute, fader, meter, post-fader effects, post-fader sends, and then pan/balance position.

  • Track output volume from left to right in the Audio Track Mixer, from audio tracks to submix tracks, ending at the master track.

Note:

You can modify the default signal path with sends or by changing a track’s output setting.

Making quick audio adjustments

Although Premiere Pro includes a full-featured Audio Track Mixer, there are times when many of these options are not required. For example, when creating a rough cut from video and audio captured together from DV footage, output to stereo tracks, follow these guidelines:

  • Start with the Master meters and volume fader in the Audio Track Mixer. If the audio is too far below 0 dB or too high (the red clipping indicator appears), adjust the level of clips or tracks as needed.

  • To temporarily silence a track, use the Mute Track button in the Audio Track Mixer or the Toggle Track Output icon in the Timeline panel. To temporarily silence all other tracks, use the Solo button in the Audio Track Mixer.

  • When making audio adjustments of any kind, determine whether the change is applied to the entire track or to individual clips. Audio tracks and clips are edited in different ways.

  • Use the Show/Hide Tracks command in the Audio Track Mixer menu to display only the information you want to see and save screen space. If you aren’t using Effects and Sends, you can hide them by clicking the triangle at the left edge of the Audio Track Mixer.

View audio data

To help you view and edit the audio settings of any clip or track, Premiere Pro provides multiple views of the same audio data. You can view and edit volume or effect values for either tracks or clips in the Audio Track Mixer or in a Timeline panel. Make sure that the track display is set to Show Track Keyframes or Show Track Volume.

In addition, audio tracks in a Timeline panel contain waveforms, which are visual representations of a clip’s audio over time. The height of the waveform shows the amplitude (loudness or quietness) of the audio—the larger the waveform, the louder the audio. Viewing the waveforms in an audio track is helpful for locating specific audio in a clip.

To view a waveform, use the mouse wheel or double-click on the empty area of the track header.

View audio clips

You can view an audio clip’s Volume, Mute, or Pan time graphs and its waveform in a Timeline panel. You can also view an audio clip in the Source Monitor, which is useful for setting precise In and Out points. You can also view sequence time in audio units instead of frames. This setting is useful for editing audio at smaller increments than frames.

  • Do any of the following:
    • To view the audio waveform of a clip in a Timeline panel, click the audio track and click Settings > Show Waveform.
    • To view an audio clip in the Source Monitor when the clip is in a Timeline panel, double-click the clip.
    • To view an audio clip in the Source Monitor when the clip is in the Project panel, double-click the clip, or drag the clip to the Source Monitor. If a clip contains video and audio, you can view its audio in the Source Monitor by clicking the Settings button and selecting Audio Waveform or by clicking on the Drag Audio Only icon near the time bar in the source monitor.

View time in audio time units

  • In the Audio Track Mixer, Program Monitor, Source Monitor, or Timeline panel, choose Show Audio Time Units from the panel menu.

    Note:

    To see more volume detail when viewing an audio waveform in a Timeline panel, increase the track height. To see more time detail, view time in audio units.

Audio Track Mixer overview

In the Audio Track Mixer, you can adjust settings while listening to audio tracks and viewing video tracks. Each Audio Track Mixer track corresponds to a track in the timeline of the active sequence and displays the Timeline audio tracks in an audio console layout. You can rename a track by double-clicking its name. You can also use the Audio Track Mixer to record audio directly into a sequence’s tracks.

Audio Track Mixer
Audio Track Mixer

A. Pan/balance control B. Automation mode C. Mute Track/Solo Track/Enable Track For Recording buttons D. VU meters and faders E. Track name F. Clipping indicator G. Master VU meter and fader 

By default, the Audio Track Mixer displays all audio tracks and the master fader, and the VU meters monitor output signal levels. The Audio Track Mixer represents the tracks in the active sequence only, not all project-wide tracks. If you want to create a master project mix from multiple sequences, set up a master sequence and nest other sequences within it.

Audio Track Mixer playback controls
Audio Track Mixer playback controls

A. Go To In Point B. Go To Out Point C. Play/Stop Toggle D. Play In To Out E. Loop F. Record   

The Audio Meters panel duplicates the audio display of the Audio Track Mixer Master Meters. You can open a separate Audio Meters panel and dock it anywhere in your workspace. The Audio Meters panel allows you to monitor audio even when the full Audio Track Mixer or the Master Fader section is not visible.

Note:

Set fader to 0dB by double-clicking the fader.

Audio meters panel
Audio meters panel

Audio Mixer
Audio Mixer

A. Show/Hide Effects and Sends B. Effects C. Sends D. Track output assignment E. Automation mode 

Video: An easier way to use Audio Mixer in Premiere Pro

Video: An easier way to use Audio Mixer in Premiere Pro
In this movie, you'll learn about the Audio Meter panel, its adjustable VU Meter controls, and the new, logical icon designs.
Richard Harrington

Modify the Audio Track Mixer

  1. Choose any of the following from the Audio Track Mixer menu:

    • To display or hide specific tracks, choose Show/Hide Tracks, use the options to mark the tracks you want to see and click OK.
    • To display hardware input levels on the VU meters (not track levels in Premiere Pro), choose Meter Input(s) Only. If this option is chosen, you can still monitor audio in Premiere Pro for all tracks that aren’t being recorded.
    • To display time in audio units instead of video frames, choose Show Audio Time Units. You can specify whether to view samples or milliseconds by changing the Audio Display Format option in the General tab of the Project Settings dialog box. The Show Audio Time Units option affects the time displays in the Audio Mixer, Source panel, Program panel, and Timeline panel.
    • To display the Effects And Sends panel, click the Show/Hide Effects And Sends triangle along the left side of the Audio Mixer.

    Note:

    If you can’t see all the tracks, resize the Audio Mixer or scroll horizontally.

    • To add an effect or send, click the Effect Selection or Send Assignment Selection triangle in the Effects And Sends panel. Then choose an effect or send from the menu.
  2. Right-click the panel and use the menu to set the visual metering mode, peak display, valley indicator display, and decibel range.

Monitor specific tracks in the Audio Mixer

  • Click the Solo Track button for the corresponding tracks.

    Only the tracks with the Solo Track button enabled are monitored during playback.

    Note:

    You can also silence a track using the Mute Track button.

Audio Meters panel

  1. Select Window > Audio Meters.

    Audio Meters panel
    Audio Meter panel

    A. LED Meter (gradients in the meter panel) B. Solo channels C. Clipping indicator D. Peak indicator E. Valley indicator 
  2. Right-click the panel and use the options to do the following:

    • View peaks as static peaks or dynamic peaks. For dynamic peaks, the peak indicator is updated constantly with a three-second threshold. For static peaks, the peak indicator displays the loudest peak until the indicator is reset or playback is restarted.
    • View valley indicators at low amplitude points.
    • View LED Meters (meter appears with color segments)
    • Set a decibel range from the available options

    Note:

    The audio meters provide information about both the Source and Program monitors.

Video: The improved Audio Meters panel

Video: The improved Audio Meters panel
Explore the improved audio controls in Adobe Premiere Pro. Learn about the repositionable VU Meter, the Audio Mixer panel, and the ability to monitor solo, mono, and stereo content.
Richard Harrington

Set monitoring options for the Audio Meters panel

Right-click the Audio Meters panel, and choose a desired option from the menu.

Solo in Place

Solo one or more channels without changing their speaker assignment. For example, soloing the right-surround in 5.1, you hear only this channel out of the right-surround speaker. This option is available for all clips played in the Source monitor and for all sequences played in the Timeline panel.

Monitor Mono Channels

Allows you to listen to one specific channel out of both your stereo monitoring speakers, regardless of its assignment.

For example, monitoring an 8-channel adaptive clip in the Source monitor allows you to listen to channel 4 out of both the left and right speakers. This option is available for the following:

  • Adaptive clips played in the Source monitor
  • Sequences with multi-channel masters played in either the Source monitor or the Timeline panel

Monitor Stereo Pairs

Only available for sequences with multi-channel masters played in the Timeline. For example, for an 8-channel multi-channel master sequence, you can monitor just channels 3 and 4 out of the left and right speakers.

Note:

Disabled channels are not displayed in the Source monitor or in the Audio Meters panel.

Customize a VST effect in an options window

  1. Apply a VST plug-in effect to a track in the Audio Mixer.

  2. Double-click the effect in the Effects And Sends panel.

    Premiere Pro opens a separate VST editing window.

  3. Customize the effect with the option controls.

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