Video Production

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

Become a boss at the audio editing functions behind Adobe’s Premiere video editor, and get your projects sounding better than ever before.

Premiere is one of the world’s top video editors, if not the most accomplished video editing software out there. After years of updates and changes, Premiere has a feature set perfect for giving experts the functions they need to do any task to a video project, and the audio operations are no exception.

In this article, we’ll explore some commonly asked questions about the audio editing features in Premiere. And for a quick guide to every major audio feature in Adobe’s NLE, check out our video below…

Basic Topics

How to Import Audio in Premiere

Getting all of your assets open and available in your Premiere project is an excellent first step to working efficiently. To do this, simply locate your video/audio files on your hard drive, and import them into Premiere by dragging them directly into your media library.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Duplicate Audio in Premiere

Need a quick copy of an audio clip? Instead of locating the file in your media browser, you can duplicate audio in Premiere by holding down the Alt key while dragging a clip along the timeline. 

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Show Audio Waveforms in Premiere

Audio waveforms provide you with a visual read of what you can expect to hear. Displaying audio waveforms will certainly make your workflow faster (locating audio clips, project navigation, etc), and is especially handy when making precise edits or processing audio.

To view audio waveforms in Premiere, open the ‘Timeline Display Settings’ menu (wrench icon under the Timecode Display) and check ‘Show Audio Waveform’.

You can then enlarge the waveform by simply hovering over the bottom border of the audio track and dragging vertically. Additionally, double clicking the audio file will open a larger view in the Source Monitor.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Merge Audio Clips in Premiere

Premiere projects can get messy fast. When working with large numbers of tracks and clips, you’ll often find that it’s helpful to declutter by combining pieces of your project.

In Premiere, combining clips into one sequence is called Nesting. To create your first nest, highlight the audio clips you’d like to merge, right click and select ‘Nest’. 

Nesting is reversible and therefore non-destructive–If you’d like to render the nested sequence into its own audio file, right click and select ‘Render and Replace’.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Mute Audio Clips in Premiere

Toggle the ‘M’ button either on the timeline or on the audio mixer.

How to Loop Audio in Premiere

Looping a segment of audio eliminates the need to control the transport repeatedly, and will help you focus on the task at hand by heightening your ability to listen critically. To set a loop, double click the audio clip to open it in the Source Monitor, click ‘Settings’ (wrench icon in the Source Monitor) and check ‘Loop’. 

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Record Audio in Premiere

Once you have your microphone plugged in, configure Premiere to use it as the audio input by navigating to Preferences and selecting ‘Audio Hardware’. 

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

Next, locate the selection for ‘Default Input’. Click the dropdown arrow to reveal all the input options that your computer recognizes, and choose your microphone (or the interface that it is plugged into). If you are working on a laptop, such as a Macbook Pro, the default setting will be Built-In-Microphone.

Now that your microphone is enabled, the next step is to prepare the timeline for recording.

First, create a dedicated track for the new recording by right clicking on an existing audio track and selecting ‘Add Track’. Alternatively, you can select an existing track that is empty. 

When you are ready to record, press the microphone icon next to the audio track you just prepared. Pressing this icon will launch a 3 second countdown before the timeline starts playing and the recording begins.

Watch out for clipping, which is signified by the audio levels reaching the top of their meter and turning red. It is usually a good idea to first do a test recording to ensure that the levels aren’t clipping. Adjust the track volume in the Audio Track Mixer before recording to set an appropriate level.

Once you are done with the voiceover, press the spacebar to end the recording. A new audio file will appear on the track that was armed for recording. This file is saved in an automatically generated folder titled ‘Adobe Premiere Pro Captured Audio’, which is usually in the same directory as the project file, unless otherwise specified.

How to Trim Audio in Premiere

Hovering the mouse over either side of an audio clip in the timeline will change the cursor to a red bracket/arrow symbol. Now, click and drag that side of the audio clip to extend or trim the length of the clip. 

How to Separate Audio From Video in Premiere

By default, Premiere keeps videos linked with their audio to streamline the editing process. While this a great general workflow, you will run into situations where it’s necessary to separately edit a video and its audio.

To enable or disable linking in the timeline, toggle the Linked Selection icon (middle icon under the timecode display).

You can also temporarily disable linking by holding down the Opt/Alt key while making your edit on the timeline.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Sync Audio with Video in Premiere

If you’re recording audio and video on seperate devices, it’s good practice to slate with a clapboard or any other item that produces an obvious visual cue in conjunction with a sharp audio transient. Having a slate can save a significant amount of time when piecing your project together.

When working with sound effects, use your ears along with the audio waveform to identify the effect’s moment of impact, then line it up with the visual moment of impact. For example, you would line up the transient of a ‘punch’ sound effect with the exact moment that the punch hits in the scene.

Syncing audio in Premiere can be done effectively by carefully nudging it into place. To nudge a clip one frame left or right, use keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd-Left Arrow/Right Arrow. By adding the Shift key to this shortcut, you can nudge five frames at a time (Shift-Ctrl/Cmd-Left Arrow/Right Arrow). Once in place, you may want to consider linking the audio and video to prevent anything from moving unexpectedly.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Change Audio Output in Premiere

Your audio output can be changed within the Preferences window, under ‘Audio Hardware’. Select your preferred audio hardware from the ‘Default Input’ and ‘Default Output’ dropdown menus. If you do not see your hardware on this list, make sure you have the proper drivers installed and refer to the hardware’s manual for any additional instructions on software compatibility.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Zoom In and Out in Premiere

There are several ways to zoom in Premiere, try them out and figure out which one feels best to you!

The simplest way to zoom is by using the default keyboard shortcuts; Zoom In (-) and Zoom Out (=). Alternatively, with the Zoom Tool (Z) active, you can click and drag a selection of the timeline to zoom in on. Lastly, you will find a horizontal scrollbar at the bottom of your timeline. Grabbing one of the handles on either side of it and dragging will zoom your timeline accordingly. 

To zoom back out and reveal your entire sequence in the timeline, simply hit the backslash key (\).

To make extremely precise trims, you may need to zoom in more than Premiere lets you on a frame-based timeline. Access the sequence menu by clicking the three stacked lines icon to the right of the sequence name. 

Enable Show Audio Time Units, and now try zooming in on your timeline. Premiere will have switched to a sample-based timeline with far more precision when fine-tuning audio. Toggle the menu option off to return to a frame-based timeline when you switch back to editing video.

How to Split or Cut an Audio Clip in Premiere

To split a clip based on the playhead location, select where you’d like to make the edit and use keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd-K. You can also achieve the same results by using the Razor Tool (C) and simply clicking where you’d like to split clips.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Add Keyframes to Audio in Premiere

Keyframes are Premiere’s method of animating a property to change over time. Creating a keyframe designates a position in the timeline in which a property is set to a specific value. By mapping out several keyframes, you can program the property’s value to change as the playhead moves across the timeline.

Keyframes can be added to an entire audio track and/or specific clips within it. To do so, click ‘Show Keyframes’ under the Audio Track name and select what lane of keyframes you’d like to edit.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

To add or remove a keyframe at the current playback location, click ‘Add-Remove Keyframe’. Alternatively, you can do this with your cursor by holding Cmd down while clicking, or by selecting the Pen Tool (P).

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Increase and Decrease Volume in Premiere

To adjust the gain on an audio clip in Premiere, right click on it and select ‘Audio Gain’ or use keyboard shortcut G. Input a value next to ‘Adjust Gain by:’ and hit enter to apply your changes.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

To increase/decrease the volume of a clip in an audio track, open the Audio Clip Mixer (Shift-9) and drag the fader up or down. You can also do this by vertically dragging the gray horizontal line that crosses your audio clip.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

To increase/decrease the volume of an entire track, open the Audio Track Mixer (Shift-6) and adjust the faders to your liking.

How to Fade Audio In and Out in Premiere

The quickest way to add a fade in Premiere is by selecting the end of the audio clip and using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-D. Audio fade transitions can also be accessed in the effect panel and dragged and dropped onto the start or end of a clip. After the fade is applied, click and drag the start of the fade to adjust its length.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Crossfade Audio in Premiere

Crossfading is a technique that effectively transitions between two audio clips by automating their volumes simultaneously fading up the incoming audio while fading out the outgoing audio at the same time.

To add a crossfade, either select the cut point of two touching audio clips and use the Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-D shortcut, or drag and drop the effect to the cut point. Depending on your desired effect, adjust the length of the fade to make it happen quickly or gradually. Hold down Shift to adjust one side of the crossfade independently.

Advanced Topics

How to Normalize Audio in Premiere

Normalizing refers to a process in which the gain of the audio is increased as much as possible before any part of the audio crosses the selected dB value.

To normalize audio in Premiere, right click an audio clip and select ‘Audio Gain’ or use keyboard shortcut G. Check ‘Normalize Max Peak’ or ‘Normalize All Peaks’ and adjust the dB value to the desired amount.

‘Normalize Max Peak to’ adjusts the gain of all selected clips by the same amount, such that the difference between the loudest peak and the specified dB value is applied to all selected clips equally. This option will retain relative volume between clips.

‘Normalize All Peaks to’ will calculate the difference between the loudest peak of each selected clip and the specified dB value, and adjust the individual gain of each clip accordingly. 

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Equalize Audio in Premiere

Select an equalizer plugin from the Effects tab (Shift-7) and apply it to your audio by dragging it on top of the clip, or selecting the clip and double clicking the effect. You can then adjust the EQ parameters by opening Effect Controls (Shift-5).

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

You can add audio effects to an entire track so that the processing applies to all of the clips within it. To do so, open the ‘Audio Track Mixer’ (Shift-6) and toggle open the effects/sends rack by clicking the arrow on the top left of the panel ‘Show/Hide Effects and Sends’. Now you can add an equalizer by selecting the arrow on any of the FX slots.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Make Audio Stereo in Premiere

Converting a mono audio file to stereo is fairly straightforward in Premiere. Right click the audio file in the media library and select Modify > Audio Channels. Next, select ‘Stereo’ from the ‘Clip Channel Format’ dropdown menu. Finally, make sure both the ‘L’ and ‘R’ checkboxes are selected under ‘Media Source Channel’. Hit ok to save your changes. You will now see a stereo clip when dragging your audio file to the timeline. Keep in mind, this process merely duplicates the single mono signal to two channels and does not apply any kind of stereo effect.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Pan Audio in Premiere

Panning allows you to move audio more to the left (L) or right (R) side rather than playing equally from both channels. In the Audio Track Mixer, the panning dial is always centered (0.0) by default. Changing panning settings here will affect the entire audio track, use the Audio Clip Mixer to pan a specific clip at a time.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Slow Down Audio in Premiere

Right-click on an audio clip, and select Speed/Duration. Here, you can adjust the speed of the clip or play it in reverse.

How to Speed up Audio in Premiere

By right-clicking on an audio clip, and clicking Speed/Duration you can choose to speed it up.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Add Audio Effects in Premiere

Open the tiny arrow in the upper left corner of the mixer to access the effects rack. This allows you to apply and combine audio effects like EQ, reverb, and compression to entire tracks.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to remove noise/echo from audio in Premiere

Add your favorite noise removal plugin to an audio clip or track in Premiere. Listen carefully to what area(s) of the frequency spectrum are being affected by the noise and adjust the parameters accordingly. Try the Accusonus ERA 4 Noise Remover for quick results with a simple interface, or ERA-D for more detailed noise removal with additional parameters for removing unwanted reverb.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to Clean up Audio in Premiere

Premiere contains a Noise Reduction effect that lets you easily get rid of unwanted background noise including hiss, hum and buzzing. 

Find out more about the different Types of Noise in Audio on our blog.

Other things that can go wrong with your audio signal include Sibilance, Plosives, and clicks and pops. You can take care of a list of common audio problems in order to restore your signals to professional quality using the plugins in the ERA Bundle. A free trial is available.

How to Distort Audio in Premiere

Always avoid distorting your audio by increasing the volume too much. This results in awful sounding digital clipping and is indicated by the red bars at the top of Premiere’s volume meters. For best results, use a dedicated distortion plugin or Premiere’s built in audio distortion effect.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know

How to make audio better in Premiere

Start by cleaning up your audio of any unwanted noise, clicks, pops, or other distracting noises. You can do this by using Premiere’s stock plugins, the Accusonus ERA bundle, or other plugins that you have scanned into Premiere.

It is common to run into sibilance issues when working with dialog. Use a de-esser to tame unpleasant sibilance in the recording.

For any unpleasant frequencies in the audio file, apply subtractive EQ by carefully lowering the gain of the problematic frequency band. Toggling your EQ’s bypass function will help ensure that you don’t remove too much.

To tame overly dynamic audio, use a compressor or limiter and start applying gain reduction to taste. Don’t forget to play with the attack & release parameters for more natural sounding results, and practice good gain staging by increasing the plugin’s output gain to compensate for volume loss through compression.

How to Edit Audio in Adobe Premiere – All You Need to Know
July 08, 2020
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