Adobe Premiere: How to Edit Audio Tracks

We are going to learn about:
  • Adjusting volume in the Effect Controls panel

  • Adjusting the volume using the Timeline

  • Using keyframes to adjust volume within a clip

  • Adjusting audio gain

  • Normalizing your audio

  • The audio workspace

  • Applying and customizing audio effects

Adjusting Volume in Premiere Pro

There are two ways that you can adjust the volume of audio in Premiere Pro.   You can adjust it via the Effect Controls panel or via the Timeline.   We are going to learn how to do both.

Whenever you change the volume in Premiere Pro, these changes affect the amplitude. Amplitude is measured in decibels (dB).   Unlike volume which can start at zero, amplitude is measured by a logarithmic scale. It starts at infinity and can go up to 0 dB in digital waveform. That said, when you increase the volume, you increase the amplitude of the signal and sound as well.

Adjusting Volume in the Effect Controls Panel

To adjust the volume of an audio track using the Effect Controls panel, first select the track in the Timeline.

Next, go to the Effects panel.

Click the triangle next to Volume so that you can see the controls (as pictured below).

Now click the triangle to the left of Channel Volume as well.

Keep the following things in mind as you make adjustments:

1.        When you adjust volume, the adjustments that you make will affect both channels. 

2.        Channel Volume lets you control the two channels of a stereo configuration.  

3.        Volume can be increased to 6dB.   It can be decreased to -287.5dB.  

4.        Drag the values to the right to increase the volume. Drag them to the left to decrease the volume. 

5.        You can enter values for either the left or right channels – or both. To do this, just enter in a value. 

6.        If you want to adjust the left/right balance, change the value in Panner effect.   0 is balanced. -100 is all left. 100 is all right.

Adding Keyframes

You can also control the volume over time in a clip.   In other words, you can have the volume increase and decrease as the clip plays.   To do this, you will add keyframes.

To add a keyframe, go to the Timeline.

Move the playhead to the location where you want to put a second keyframe, or where you want the change in volume to start.

Click the keyframe button in the Effect Controls panel (circled below).

Now, move the Timeline playhead to where you want the volume adjustment to end. Click the keyframe button again.

Adjust the volume by dragging the second keyframe marker up or down, as shown below in the Effect Controls Timeline.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Adobe Premiere course?

Adjusting Volume Using the Timeline

To adjust the volume using the Timeline, hover your mouse over the volume band on the Timeline. Your pointer will change to two black arrows.

Drag upward to increase the volume. Drag downward to decrease the volume.

Using Keyframes to Fade In

To use keyframes to fade the sound in, select the Pen tool in the Tools panel.

It looks like this: 

Next, select a point on the volume band where you want to insert a keyframe by clicking on it with the Pen tool. Follow up with selecting the second keyframe. Again, use the Pen tool to do this.

You can see our keyframes in the snapshot below.

Drag the second keyframe toward the lower left corner. 

You have created a fade-in.

Adjusting Audio Gain

According to Webopedia, "gain" is defined as the following:

To set audio gain for your clip, right click on the clip and choose Audio Gain.

You will then see the Audio Gain dialogue box.

Check the "Set Gain to" box. 

Enter a gain value, then click OK.

To adjust audio gain, open the Audio Gain dialogue box again.

Select Adjust Gain By. Enter a value.

Normalizing Audio

When you normalize your audio, your audio clip is analyzed, then the amount of gain needed is applied.   This is determined by the amount of gain needed to increase the waveform peak to the dB limit you enter. When you have two clips, you will want to normalize them so that they do not play at different audio levels.

To normalize your audio, select both clips, then right click.

Choose Audio Gain.

Once again, you will see the Audio Gain dialogue box.

Put a check beside Select Normalize Max Peak To.

The value that you enter should be lower than 0dB. 

The Audio Workspace

To reach the audio workspace, go to Window>Workspace>Audio.

The audio workspace is pictured below.

A lot of the work you do in the audio workplace will take place in the Audio Mixer panel.

The Audio Mixer panel is pictured below.

At the top of the panel, you can adjust the pan by dragging the L (left) and R (right) knobs. 

You can adjust the volume by dragging the sliders up or down.

You can mute, solo, or add keyframes by clicking the buttons pictured below:

Applying Audio Effects

Audio effects are found in the Effects panel.

Drag the effect that you want to add onto the clip, then release your mouse.

We are going to drag EQ.

In the Effect Controls panel (Window>Effect Controls), and click the triangle to the left of the effect you just added.

As shown above, you can click Individual Parameters to see the effect's parameters.

You can also click the Edit button that is by Custom Setup to see the Clip FX Editor.

We are going to select a preset EQ from the Presets Menu.

The values below the knobs will show the keyframes with gain levels. They will show them at up to five gain levels, as you can see in the snapshot below.

Now you can adjust the keyframes by dragging them right, left, up, or down. The keyframes are green in the snapshot above.

If you want to activate the Lowpass or Highpass filter, check the Cut box. 

You can also increase or decrease the gain by dragging the slider.