Video Production

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

Want to get pro-sounding audio in Final Cut Pro X? In this guide you’ll find answers to any questions you may have on editing audio in FCPX.

Final Cut Pro is Apple’s fantastic video editor, it’s an excellent option for any video maker looking to make professional quality videos with ease. For editors just starting out there are lots of guides out there helping you to edit video in Final Cut Pro, however one often overlooked aspect of the editing process is audio.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

In this guide we’ve got the answers to any questions you may have regarding audio editing in Final Cut Pro, from How To create new audio tracks to more complex processes such as keyframes and audio effects we’ve got all bases covered.

Looking for audio editing tips for a different video editor? We’ve got guides for Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve.

Basic Topics

How to Add an Audio Track in Final Cut Pro X 

Adding audio to your video in Final Cut Pro X is as easy as dragging and dropping an audio file onto your project timeline. You can drag your audio in directly from your system, or import it into your media library and drag it into your timeline from there. To add an audio clip to your media library simply right click on your media library and select ‘import media’ or press the shortcut Cmd+I, this will open up a file browser from which you can import files.

When you add an audio clip to your video a new audio track will appear, there’s no need for you to create one in advance. 

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

In the above example we’ve added a sound from our royalty-free weather SFX pack which you can download for free.

How to Separate Audio from Video in Final Cut Pro

If you’re working with video that has audio attached it can sometimes be useful to detach the audio from the clip. This is as easy as right clicking on the clip in question and selecting ‘Detach Audio’ or alternatively using the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

Detaching audio from your video is often essential if you’re aiming for pro level audio. Camera audio can often have a lot of problems so you may want to export the audio and work on it in a dedicated audio workstation or remove it entirely and build your sonic landscape from the ground up with sound effects.

How to Record Audio Directly into Final Cut Pro X

To record audio directly into Final Cut Pro X got to Window >> Record Voiceover. This will open a dialogue window from which you can instantly record a voiceover using your default microphone (most likely your computer’s built in microphone).

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

By opening the ‘Advanced’ window you can choose an external microphone as your input. From here you can also turn monitoring on and off, choose to have a countdown before you record and more.

Once you’re happy with your settings simply press the big red record button and start speaking!

How to Export Audio from Final Cut Pro

If you have some audio in Final Cut Pro that you want to improve with external processing then you’re going to need to export it first. To do this go to Share >> Export Media >> Audio Only.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut Pro

To shorten an audio clip in FInal Cut Pro X simply drag in from either end of the clip.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Split Audio in Final Cut Pro

The best way to split a clip in Final Cut Pro X is to use the ‘Blade’ tool. To access it either press B or select it from the tools drop down menu.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

Once you have the blade tool selected simply click on your audio clips at the point where you want to split them. 

How to add Keyframes to Audio in Final Cut Pro X

In Final Cut keyframes are referred to as automation. To use automation on your audio clips the go to Clip >> Show Audio Automation, this will allow you to add automation to volume as well as any other audio units you may have loaded on the clip.

To add automation points (keyframes) either hold Option and click to add one or position your playhead where you want to add one and press Option+K.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Sync Multiple Audio Tracks in Final Cut Pro

To synchronise clips in Final Cut Pro X select your clips in the media browser select the audio and/or video clips you want to sync and go to Clip >> Synchronize Clips (or Option+Cmd+G).

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Mute Audio in Final Cut Pro

Muting a clip in Final Cut Pro is easy, simply select the audio or video clip and go to Modify >> Adjust Volume >> Silence

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Loop Audio in Final Cut Pro

There is no in-built looping functionality in Final Cut Pro, the easiest way to loop audio is to simply copy and paste your clip several times.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

You can smooth the transition between the clips to make a more seamless loop by using a cross fade. 

How to Extend the Duration of Audio Clips in Final Cut Pro

You can extend the length of an audio clip by simply dragging the end or start of the clip. However, you cannot extend the clip beyond the length of the original source file.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Fade Audio in Final Cut Pro

To add a fade to the start of an audio clip select the clip in the timeline and go to Modify >> Adjust Volume >> Apply Fades. This will add handles at the start and end of the clip which you can drag to adjust the gradient of the fade in.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Fade Out audio in Final Cut Pro

A fade out can be added to the end of the clip via Modify >> Adjust Volume >> Apply Fades and fade handles will appear at the beginning and the end of the clip. You can adjust these handles to alter the fade out. 

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Make an Audio Visualizer Final Cut Pro

To make an audio visualizer in Final Cut Pro you will need to use third party plugins, there are loads available online such as Waveform Audio Visualization and FCPX Audio Visualizer.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Adjust Audio Channels in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut doesn’t have an audio mixer, all audio adjustments are made on a clip basis rather than per track. Audio clip levels can be adjusted by simply dragging the gain bar up or down.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Show Audio Bars in Final Cut Pro

To display large audio bars in Final Cut Pro simply click the little ones at the top of the timeline, larger ones will then appear on the right hand side of the timeline.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

Advanced Topics

How to Pull up Extra Audio Settings in Final Cut Pro

You can access extra audio settings in Final Cut in the Audio Inspector. To access this go to Window >> Show in Workspace >> Inspector, and then click the audio icon at the top of the window that appears. 

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Equalize Audio in Final Cut

To apply an EQ (or equalizer) to an audio clip click the effects button in the top right hand corner of the timeline - from here you can access all audio and video effects. 

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

To access the equalizer simply search for it and then drag ‘Channel EQ’ onto the clip you wish to use it on. To adjust the EQ find the Channel EQ in the Audio inspector, here you can adjust each parameter or open the EQs UI for more detailed control.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Bass Boost Audio in Final Cut Pro

The easiest way to boost bass in Final Cut is to use the in-built ‘Channel EQ’. 

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

Using the EQ you can boost and cut different frequencies across the audio spectrum. To add a bass boost, increase the gain of frequencies below 250Hz (although this will vary depending on your sound source).

How to Check for Mono Audio on Final Cut Pro

To check if an audio clip is mono select it and go to Clip >> Expand Audio Components. This will separate each audio channel, if the audio is mono there will only be one channel.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Balance Audio Final Cut Pro

Balancing audio in Final Cut Pro is as simple as adjusting the audio levels on each clip so that the most important sound (normally dialogue) is clearly audible. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t want you audio to clip, always keep your meter levels below 0dB.

How to Make Audio go on Both Channels in Final Cut

If you find that you have a video clip with audio playing out of only one audio channel there’s an easy fix. To solve this problem simply select the clip, open up the audio inspector (Window >> Show in Workspace >> Inspector and click the audio icon at the top of the window that appears), go down to Audio Configuration and open the drop down menu labelled ‘Stereo’. From this menu select ‘Dual Mono’, now audio will play out of both channels.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Normalize Audio in Final Cut

Final Cut Pro X Doesn’t have a normalization function built in. Your best bet is to put a limiter on your audio clip and boost the gain, this will turn the clip up whilst stopping the volume exceeding 0dB. Be careful though, push the limiter too far and your audio will start to distort.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How To change Audio Speed in Final Cut Pro

To slow down or speed up an audio or video clip in Final Cut Pro simply select the clip and open the dropdown menu marked by the stopwatch at the top of the timeline.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

From here you can choose to slow down or speed up your clip and by how much.

How To make audio sound like a phone call in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut’s built in Channel EQ has a useful preset for creating the telephone effect. Start by loading Channel EQ onto your clip. To do this click the effects button in the top right hand corner of the timeline and search for the Channel EQ.

Once the EQ is loaded open the presets dropdown menu and choose the preset called ‘Phone Filter Wide Notch’

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

The reason phones have that distinctive tinny sound is that they don’t contain any high or low frequency information. This preset replicated this by cutting all frequencies not in the mid range.

How To make Audio Sound Underwater in Final Cut Pro

All that’s required to make audio sound like it was recorded underwater is some quick and easy EQing. Load the channel EQ via the effects tab and open up its UI

To create the sense of being underwater apply a high cut (or low pass) to filter out the higher frequencies. To shape the sound a little more it’s a good idea to cut around 800Hz and boost at around 40Hz.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How To use Audio Effect Presets in Final Cut Pro

Many of the effects units in Final Cut Pro have presets which are really useful for a quick and easy sound editing. Once you’ve loaded an effect on a clip there are two ways to access these presets.

The first is in the audio inspector window. Here you will find a section for each effect with a drop down menu labelled Preset. Simply open the window and try out each preset to see how it sounds.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

You can also access the presets in the UI of the effect. Once you have the UI open you’ll see a dropdown menu at the top. This is identical to the preset dropdown menu in the audio inspector, again have a flick through them and see which ones work for you.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Remove Background Noise in Final Cut Pro

The easiest way to remove background noise in Final Cut Pro is to use the built in Denoiser, you’ll find it in the effects panel.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

To remove noise using the stock Final Cut Denoise first find a section where only noise is audible. Next set the threshold level so only the noise is just filtered out and then use the Reduce parameter to remove it.

This can be a little complicated to learn. If you’re looking for a really easy to use denoiser check out the Accusonus Noise Remover. It’ll get rid of your noise with just one dial!

How to get Rid of Microphone Buzz in Final Cut

Final Cut Pro’s Denoiser is your best bet for removing microphone buzz from an audio recording. To use it, load it onto a clip from the effects window, set the Threshold so just the buzzing is let through and then use the Reduce dial to remove the buzz.

How to Remove Reverb from Audio in Final Cut

A quick and easy fix to get rid of reverb and echo in your audio is to load the Enveloper form the effects window and load the preset ‘Room Killer’. If you want a more effective reverb and echo remover then check out the Accusonus Era 4 bundle.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How to Fix Audio Clipping in Final Cut Pro

Clipping audio can lead to distorted and unpleasant sound. It’s an easy problem to avoid, simply turn down the volume of your individual audio clips until the audio meter shows that your output audio isn’t going above 0dB.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How To make Audio Sound Echoey in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro has a lot of great built in audio effects including several echo units, to find them go to the effects window and search for echo.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

There are several options available, have a go with each of them and check out the built in presets - you’ll be sure to find something that works for you.

How To Distort Audio in Final Cut Pro

Within FInal Cut Pro’s effects selection you’ll find several distortion options. There are some cool stylized units such as Shortwave Radio, Television and Car Radio, however the best all purpose option is the Distortion plugin itself.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know

How To Make Audio Deeper in Final Cut Pro

To make a voice recording or other audio clip deeper in Final Cut Pro X it’s best to use the stock Pitch Shifter effect. Load the Pitch Shifter as you would any other effect in Final Cut, open the effects panel, search for the Pitch Shifter and drag it onto the audio clip you want to make deeper.

Once the Pitch Shifter is loaded simply bring the Semi-Tone dial down and you will hear the audio begin to sound deeper.

How to Edit Audio in Final Cut - All You Need to Know
May 28, 2020
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