Learning About the Audio Controls in the Viewer

When you click an audio tab in the Viewer, the controls at the bottom of the window are the same as those in the Video tab. These controls allow you to navigate through your clip, set In and Out points and markers, create split edits, and so on. The In and Out points that you see in an audio tab are the same as the In and Out points shown in the Video tab. Similarly, the two timecode fields in the top area of the window are the same as those in the Video tab. For more information on those controls and fields, see Viewer Basics.

More detailed instructions on using these controls and adjusting levels and pan are described in Mixing Audio in the Timeline and Viewer.

Figure. Upper part of the Viewer Audio tab showing the audio controls.
Audio tab controls

There are certain controls that are found only in audio tabs.

  • Level slider: This slider adjusts the amplitude, or volume, of the currently selected audio clip between +12 and –∞ dB. As you drag the slider, the number in the dB field and the level overlay line are both updated.

    You can also adjust the volume by typing a number in the dB field to the right of the Level slider. The number you enter can include a decimal value, such as 6.23.

    If there are no level keyframes in the current clip, adjusting the Level slider affects the level of the entire clip. If there are level keyframes, using this slider will do either of the following:

    • Adjust the level of a keyframe at the current position of the playhead.

    • Add a new keyframe to the level overlay and adjust it to the new level.

    A change in level between any two keyframes appears as a slope on the level overlay line in the Audio tab of the Viewer. Changes to the level overlay in the Viewer are mirrored by the level overlay on that clip in the Timeline.

    Tip: Hold down the Command key while dragging the Level slider to adjust the audio level with more precision.

  • Level Keyframe button: The keyframe button to the right of the Level slider places a keyframe at the current playhead location on the level overlay. You can use keyframes to adjust the audio level of your clip over time.
  • Level keyframe navigation buttons: These buttons, to the left and right of the Level Keyframe button, allow you to move the playhead forward or backward from one keyframe on the level overlay to the next. You can also press Shift-K or Option-K, respectively.
  • Pan slider: This slider works in two ways, depending on what kind of audio you’ve opened in the Viewer:
    • If the clip items in the audio tab are a stereo pair: This slider simultaneously adjusts the left and right stereo placement of both tracks. The default setting of –1 sends the left track to the left channel output and the right track to the right channel output. A setting of 0 outputs the left and right tracks equally to both speakers, essentially creating a mono mix. A setting of +1 swaps the channels, outputting the left track to the right output channel and the right track to the left output channel.
    • If the clip items in an audio tab are single, mono tracks: This slider lets you pan the audio track in the current audio tab between the left and right output channels.

    As with the Level slider, if there are no pan keyframes in the current clip, adjusting the Pan slider affects the pan of the entire clip. If there are pan keyframes, using this slider will do either of the following:

    • Adjust the pan of a keyframe at the current position of the playhead.

    • Add a new keyframe to the pan overlay and adjust it between the left and right output channels.

    A change in pan settings between any two keyframes appears as a slope on the pan overlay in the audio tab of the Viewer.

  • Pan Keyframe button: The keyframe button to the right of the Pan slider places a keyframe at the current playhead location on the pan overlay. You can add keyframes to change pan settings over time.
  • Pan keyframe navigation buttons: These buttons, to the left and right of the Pan Keyframe button, allow you to move the playhead forward or backward from one keyframe on the pan overlay to the next. The left button moves the playhead to the next keyframe to the left of the playhead’s current position, and the right button moves the playhead to the next keyframe to the right.
    Figure. Viewer window showing the Audio tab options.

  • Pan overlay line: Drag this line up or down to change the pan for this clip. If you add keyframes to the overlay, you can create changes in pan over time.
  • Waveform display area: Displays a graphical representation of the audio clip, showing the sample values of your audio over time. If you zoom in on the waveform display, you can see progressively more detail in your waveform. Clicking anywhere in the waveform area moves the playhead to that frame, and dragging scrubs through the clip.
  • Level overlay line: Drag this line up or down to change the sound level. If you add keyframes to the overlay, you can create changes in level over time.
    Figure. Viewer window showing the Audio tab options.

  • Reset button: This button deletes all marked keyframes on both the level overlay and the pan overlay of the currently selected audio track, and resets the level and pan values to their original captured states (0 dB for the audio level, and –1 for the pan level).
  • Drag hand: Use this to drag the current audio clip to the Canvas, the Timeline, or the Browser. This control is necessary because clicking the waveform itself moves the playhead to the frame on which you clicked.
  • Ruler: When you’re looking at the contents of an audio tab in the Viewer, you’ll see two playheads, both of which are locked together. The normal Viewer playhead is located in the scrubber bar below the waveform display area, but there’s also a second playhead within the waveform display area.

    The ruler above the waveform display area shows the currently displayed range of your clip. If you zoom all the way out (press Shift-Z), this ruler shows the clip from its start point to its end point, and the movement of the Viewer playhead in the scrubber bar matches that of the playhead in the waveform display area.

    The playhead in the waveform display area lets you move around in an audio clip with more precision, using the waveform itself for reference as you perform edits or set keyframes for level and pan (down to 1/100 of a frame, if necessary). Clicking anywhere on the ruler or in the waveform display area moves the playhead to that frame in your audio clip. You can also drag the playhead to scrub through the clip, or shuttle through the clip using the shuttle control or the J, K, and L keys. If you hold down the Shift key while dragging the playhead in the waveform display area, you can move the playhead in increments of 1/100 of a frame, which lets you trim edits at a subframe level.

    The playhead in the scrubber bar works the same way it does in the Video tab of the Viewer. The whole length of the scrubber bar represents the entire length of the audio clip opened in the Viewer, and clicking or dragging the playhead in the scrubber bar immediately takes you to that part of your clip.

    The markers and In and Out points for your clip also appear in the ruler.

  • Zoom slider: This slider lets you zoom in to and out of the waveform displayed by dragging the thumb tabs on either side, which adjusts both thumb tabs and leaves the visible area of the keyframe graph centered. Pressing the Shift key and dragging one of the thumb tabs zooms in to or out of the waveform, locking the opposite thumb tab and moving the visible area of the waveform in the direction in which you’re dragging.
  • Zoom control: Using this control, you can expand or contract the ruler, decreasing or increasing the amount of the clip’s waveform that is displayed.