Configuring Audio Outputs

Configuring Final Cut Pro to output audio requires two basic steps:

Stage 1: Choosing an Audio Interface for Output

An audio interface provides hardware outputs for connecting to speakers or external devices such as video decks. For the purposes of this section, you can consider an audio interface to be either the built-in audio connectors on your computer or an external third-party device. For more information about audio interfaces, see Connecting Professional Video and Audio Equipment.

You can choose an audio interface for playing audio from the Viewer, Canvas, and Timeline.

To choose an audio interface to monitor your audio or to output audio to an external device
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > Audio/Video Settings, then click the A/V Devices tab.

    Figure. Audio/Video Settings dialog showng the Audio pop-up menu and Options button.
  2. Choose an audio interface from the Audio pop-up menu. This interface is used for playing audio from the Viewer, Canvas, and Timeline.

    • Default: This option uses the output device you have selected in the Output pane of the Sound pane of Mac OS X System Preferences (or in the Audio MIDI Setup utility). If you want to control the audio output of Final Cut Pro from these locations, choose this option. This is the default setting for audio output.
    • Built-in Audio: This is your computer’s built-in audio interface.
    • FireWire DV: If you connect a DV camcorder or deck to your computer, this option becomes the default setting.
    • Other available audio interfaces: If you have a third-party video or audio interface installed, it appears in this list.

      Depending on your hardware, additional options may be available to configure your audio interface.

  3. Click Options, then make choices for the following:

    Figure. Audio Device Options dialog showing Channels, Bit Depth, and Sample Rate pop-up menus.
    • Channels: Choose the number of channels your audio interface can output. You can assign sequence tracks to these channels by creating an audio output preset. For more information, see Creating and Saving Audio Output Presets.
    • Bit Depth: Choose a supported bit depth for the audio. Sixteen-bit audio is compatible with most DV equipment. For high-resolution output and export, 24-bit audio is preferred.
    • Sample Rate (Hz): Choose a standard sample rate from the pop-up menu. For professional video applications, 48 kHz is typical, though 96 kHz is becoming more popular.
  4. Select or deselect the following alert message options:

    • Do not show External A/V Device Warning when device not found on launch: Select this checkbox to turn off the alert message when selected devices cannot be found during application startup.
    • Do not show warning when audio outputs are greater than audio device channels: When selected, this option disables the following message: “The selected external audio device does not support N outputs. Unsupported outputs will be ignored during playback on this machine.” This message appears when you assign more audio output channels to a sequence than the audio interface currently selected in the Audio/Video Settings window can support. For more information about setting audio outputs, see Assigning More Audio Outputs Than Your Hardware Supports.

Final Cut Pro supports “audio follows video” output switching, which means that changing the selected video interface automatically switches the audio to the same interface (when possible).

To turn on “audio follows video” switching for video and audio outputs
  1. Choose View > Video Playback, then select a video output from the submenu.

  2. Choose View > Audio Playback > Audio Follows Video, and make sure that the option is turned on (indicated by a checkmark).

    With the Audio Follows Video option turned on, you can now select a video interface and the corresponding audio interface or device is selected automatically.

    Tip: If you don’t see your audio interface appear in the list of audio outputs, choose View > Refresh A/V Devices, then try to select your output again.

Stage 2: Choosing an Audio Output Preset

Audio outputs define the number of hardware outputs you want to use with the tracks in your sequence. Up to 24 audio outputs can be assigned, and each pair of outputs can be grouped together as a stereo pair or as two independent mono channels.

Audio outputs also affect audio channel groupings when you export audio using certain commands. For more information, see Audio Output Export Settings.

An audio output preset contains saved audio output bus groupings. Final Cut Pro includes two audio output presets:

  • Stereo Monitoring L+R: This is the default audio output preset. This corresponds to your computer’s built-in headphone jack or stereo speaker output. However, you can also use it with an external audio interface.
  • 5.1 Monitoring L+R, C, LFE, Ls+Rs: This preset is used for monitoring completed 5.1-channel surround sound mixes you receive from applications such as Soundtrack Pro. For more information, see Matching Audio Outputs to Clip Items in the Timeline.

If you change your audio equipment setup, you can modify your sequence’s existing audio outputs or create a new audio output preset and assign it to your sequence.

You can choose or modify your sequence’s audio output settings in the Audio Outputs tab of the Sequence Settings window.

Figure. Sequence Settings dialog showing the Audio Outputs tab.
To choose an audio output preset for your sequence
  1. Select a sequence in the Browser or Timeline.

  2. Choose Sequence > Settings (or press Command-0), then click the Audio Outputs tab.

  3. Choose an audio output preset from the Load Audio Output Preset pop-up menu, then click OK.

To modify the audio output settings of your sequence
  1. Select a sequence in the Browser or Timeline.

  2. Choose Sequence > Settings (or press Command-0), then click the Audio Outputs tab.

  3. Choose the number of audio channels you want to access on your audio interface from the Outputs pop-up menu.

  4. For each pair of audio channels, select Stereo to allow for panning clip items between the pair of channels, or select Dual Mono so that each channel can be used as an individual output.

  5. Choose a downmix level for each mono output channel and stereo group.

    For more information about downmix levels, see Downmixing Multiple Audio Channels to a Stereo Mix.

  6. Click OK.