How to Use the Audio Clip Mixer in Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro 26/11/2018 5 min read

In this tutorial, we’ll be an in-depth look at the audio clip mixer in Premiere Pro CC. Learn how to take control of your audio editing and get the best sound quality for your next video project. Let’s dive into the audio clip mixer’s features and uses!

Part 1: Audio Track vs. Audio Clip Mixer

Premiere Pro has two different audio editing choices. Before we get the tutorial underway, let’s clear up the differences between the audio track and audio clip mixers.

The Audio Track Mixer is designed to control the entire track that houses each piece of audio. When you edit in the track mixer, you control parameters that influence the entire track as a whole. However, when you work with the Audio Clip Mixer, you make changes to each specific clip that’s under the playhead at any given time. 

For this tutorial, will just be focusing on how to use the Audio Clip Mixer

Part 2: Using the Audio Clip Mixer

Alright, let’s take a deeper look at the Audio Clip Mixer. You’ll find it in the Workspace, and by going to the Audio tab on the top menu bar. Within this window, you’ll find the Audio Clip Mixer. If you’re not able to see it, you can simply go to Window > Audio Clip Mixer

You’ll notice that the number of audio channels in the clip mixer section directly reflects the number of audio tracks you have on your timeline. If you add more tracks of audio on your timeline, more channels will appear in your clip mixer section. 

It’s also important to note! The audio clip mixer doesn’t control the audio tracks, but instead the audio clips within those tracks. It simply uses the tracks to identify which clip you’re working with. Each audio clip mixer channel displays the results of the specific clip on that track that the playhead is over at that given time. The audio clip mixer is entirely dependent on the position of the playhead to be used correctly and to even identify which piece of audio you will be interacting with.

Improve Your Audio with the Audio Clip Mixer

When you start to play audio, you’ll notice the audio meters bouncing up and down depending on how loud or quiet the audio is playing, and whether or not it’s even playing at all. While watching your audio levels, it’s important to note that if your audio enters the red section, you’re in danger of clipping your audio and losing quality as a result.

You can control the volume of each of your audio clips that your playhead is over by raising or lowering the slider here. When you change your audio with the slider, your corresponding clip on the timeline shows that the audio level has been changed. If you can’t see the keyframe signifier, make sure that your audio track is tall enough and then ensure that your audio keyframes are enabled. You can do this by right-clicking on the clip and going to Show Clip Keyframe > Volume > Level.  

You’ll also notice that the blue number changes when you move the audio slider around. You can also change things by manipulating the value of the number. When it’s highlighted blue, it signifies that you can click and drag the value to input a new amount.  Alternatively, you can click and then key in a specific number.

Staying Organized 

Having a basic understanding of identifying which channel controls which clip and how to change the clip volume is half the battle. Organization is also key — but keeping things organized and quickly identifiable can be easier said than done. 

What can really help is keeping similar items on similar tracks. For example, if you keep music on one track, when you go to the corresponding channel in the audio clip mixer, you can see that it will have all of your music tracks. To make things easier, you should give this track a name, such as “Music” or whatever makes sense for that track. This will help you remember when you’re watching the audio changing, what each channel controls.   

Mute, Solo, and Keyframes

There’s a lot more flexibility you have in controlling your audio clips than just changing the audio volume. At the top of the panel, you’ll find three symbols: M, S and a Diamond-shaped symbol:

  • M stands for mute. When you click the M, it will highlight green and that entire track will be muted.
  • S stands for solo. Highlighting the S will turn it yellow and everything except for that track will be muted, leaving it as the only thing that’s playing. 
  • The Diamond-shaped symbol denotes the ability to write keyframes underneath the playhead for the track. 

Using the Write Keyframes Function

Unlike normal keyframes, clicking this button doesn’t create a new keyframe, but simply activates writing keyframes for the clip under the playhead for that track. 

If you highlight the write keyframes marker and make a change to the audio meter, a keyframe will pop up on your clip. If you move the playhead forward and make another change, a new keyframe is added, and the volume of the clip changes over time. You can quickly erase keyframes by selecting the Pen Tool, highlighting the keyframes, and hitting backspace or delete.

Much the same if you highlight the write keyframe function but move the slider live as the clip is playing. As a result, you will get a slew of keyframes all adding up to the final effect of making your audio change over time.

If you move the playhead forward to a point where it is now over a new clip, you can see that when you make changes, it only affects the new clip that is under the playhead. It doesn’t impact at all the previous clip that you might have made changes to before.

This is one of the most significant differences between the Audio Clip Mixer and the Audio Track Mixer. The audio clip mixer respects the unique identity of each clip on it’s own.

Controlling the Audio Panning

Within the Audio Clip Mixer, you can control the panning, that is how much the audio is being outputted from either the left or right direction. This can be done in one of two ways: using knobs or sliders. 

Using the Panel Knob

You can control the audio panning from the knob at the top of the panel by moving it either left or right. This will influence the balance of where it sounds like the audio is coming from — this comes in handy when you have a clip like ocean waves that come in from the right-hand side of the frame, and you want to ensure the sound is coming from the same direction. 

While doing this, keep in mind that as long as the write keyframe button is active on that channel, you can tell that audio clip to change the left and right orientation over time. 

If you right-click on any of the channels of your clip mixer, you can change a few parameters. You can show the peaks and valleys which are simply the high and low points of your audio given with marker. 

You can make those markers static or dynamic. Dynamic meaning that they will re-adjust every few moments to reflect the current state of the audio. Static means that they will remain where they are unless they are either forced higher or lower by the audio itself. 

Enabling color gradient will simply control whether or not your audio levels are displayed as either solid green, yellow, or red. Or, displayed as a slow gradient of the vast range in between those three colors.

Using the Sliders

The second way you can control the left and right channels of your audio is to right-click and make sure that the Show Channel volume is selected. This will bring up two sliders that can independently control the volume coming from either the left or right channel of the entire audio channel itself.

Keep in mind, that this too is subject to be keyframed as long as the write keyframe parameter is checked.

We hope you found this tutorial on Premiere Pro’s audio clip mixer helpful! There are a lot of ways you can use the audio clip mixer to create exceptional sound. With a little experimentation, the right equipment, and a little time, you can make an impactful soundscape within Adobe Premiere Pro CC.