Adobe Premiere Pro routinely tops lists of the best editing software platforms on the market, and with good reason. Whether you’re a casual user of Premiere or a professional editor, you’ll have to agree it’s quite amazing what you can do with the simplest of home setups.
While many people do purchase distinct editing audio mixing software, it’s absolutely possible to mix audio down in Premiere and output a nice-sounding final track with distinct elements: good strong vocals and clear dialogue, crisp sound effects, and whatever music you want to add important pace and emotion.
Here’s a handy guide to how to mix audio down in Adobe Premiere, as well as guidance for some common situations you may find yourself in.
Why Mix Down?
First of all: why mix down?
The answer, depending on your project’s complexity, is that you’ve probably been working with many, many tracks in order to make the most of Premiere’s sound editing capabilities.
Once you want to share your project with others, though, it will have to be in a handier and more easily shareable format.
That means “mixing down;” that is, outputting your numerous audio tracks into (most likely) one or two tracks and in the listening format most suited to your ultimate audience, which could be in stereo, mono, or a more advanced sound system like 5.1 ( surround sound, which uses 5 speakers and a .1, also known as a subwoofer, arranged around a theater to create an immersive experience).
Not every speaker your project will ultimately be played on will be super high-end — it may end up on viewers’ phones and tablets. You want to make sure your project has the capacity to sound good anywhere, including through potentially less-than-ideal listening devices and equipment.
How to Mix Down Audio in Premiere Pro
First, make sure organize your audio tracks well when you edit. Premiere’s Essential Sound panel allows you to group your audio tracks as Dialogue, Music, Sound Effects, or Ambiance. That makes any tweaks to your audio much easier by using their presets.
Once you have all your tracks to your liking, Adobe lets you reduce your tracks to submixes, which you may think of as bouquets of tracks. (If you want more technical detail, you can check out Adobe’s handy guide on its site, but we’ll go through general principles here).
To create a submix, go to the “Choose Sequence” Menu, then scroll down to “Add Tracks.” Here, you can specify the tracks you want mixed down to each submix, as well as whether you want them to be in mono, stereo, or 5.1.
Combine all your similarly-grouped tracks to each submix (dialogue in one, effects in another, etc.), then see how they sound relative to one another.
If something doesn’t sound right, go back to your earlier mix and tweak the levels there by opening the Audio Meters Panel, playing through till you find the source of your rough sound, then boosting or taking it down with Premiere’s virtual audio mixer knobs.
After that, go back to the submix stage and, if you’re happy, go to “Export” through the “File” menu, selecting the number of channels you ultimately wish to mix down to.
Here are a few specific situations you might want to explore:
Mixing Down to 5.1
Premiere’s default output mode is stereo (two tracks, left and right). So to create a 5.1 mixdown, create a new sequence and add three audio tracks (giving you a total of five).
Lay down your submixes on each track, then move the panning knob left and right with your cursor to send each track to the desired speaker.
Mixing 5.1 Down to Fewer Channels
As noted above, sometimes you have to adapt to your ultimate viewer situation.
Decide where you want each of your five audio tracks to go (left or right), which should leave you with two submixes, then simply output to either stereo or mono.
How to Mix Drums Down in Audio
Mixing down drums is its own specialized skill. You want all your percussion instruments to sound sharp and clean on their own, and then play nicely with one another.
Ideally, you’re working with clean recordings. This may not be possible — loud drums often blow out recording devices — but you can still make them sound better.
You can do this before you mixdown, while you have your drum tracks all laid out, by playing around with compression.
Compression refers to squishing an audio signal’s dynamic range, taking the loud peaks down and raising the softer moments so the sounds are all around the same zone. This provides a more satisfying and rich sound, even on lesser speakers.
The Audio Track Mixer in Premiere comes with an effects panel, which you can access by clicking on the small arrow in the top right corner of each audio track as shown in the mixer. Select Amplitude and Compression from the menu that pops up, and play around with it until your drum tracks all work together well in unison.
After that, using the same effects panel, try equalizing (EQ’ing) the drums track until it sounds about right to you. EQ is the process of adding or cutting frequencies to improve a track’s sound.
Premiere also offers noise removal in its Essential Sound panel, which may help reduce distortion.
Once your drums sound good to you, follow the steps described above to mix them down to create submixes and eventually a final output.
How to Cut Music From Mixed-Down Audio
You can go back into Premiere and cut mixed-down audio the same way you’d make any cuts in your timeline.
However, that only means you can cut seconds or minutes out of your edit — not that you can modify tracks as you’d be able to, premix. That’s the nature of mixing down: as you’re combining all your sonic elements onto one or two tracks.
If you want to make some last-minute cuts to your project, though, that’s fine, though; consider adding a short audio dissolve if you’re left with any abrupt transitions.
Mixing Down and Other Audio Considerations
Hopefully you learned some useful tips here!
If there’s anyone who cares about the quality of your audio as much as you do, it’s StockMusic.net. We have a vast array of royalty-free sound effects and musical tracks to help your project sound amazing. If you’ve got any music needs before you get to your mixdown, call on us today!