Tutorial: Save Time with Adobe Premiere Pro's New Audio Ducking Tool

Adobe Premiere Pro Auto Audio Ducking
Instantly mix music to dialogue with auto ducking in Adobe Premiere Pro.

A popular feature inside of Audition, Adobe has now introduced the Auto Ducking feature to Premiere Pro. This allows you to quickly add keyframes to a music clip and have it automatically duck under dialogue or any other audio clips in the timeline. Jump into the Essential Sound panel to customize how the keyframes are applied, and use presets to further automate the process. As you can imagine, this new feature will save you hours of time and keep you from jumping over into Adobe Audition. Here’s a step-by-step look at how to use this new feature.

Step 1: Assign the Audio Types

Adobe Premiere Pro Auto Audio Ducking
First, I’ll open up the Essential Sound panel. Here I can assign audio types to clips, giving me specific tools related to the type. The new Ducking feature is available under the Music audio type. To apply the type I’ll grab my music clip and select Music. Once assigned I can see several different options, including Loudness, Duration, Ducking, and Clip Volume.

Step 2: Adjust Ducking Specifications

Adobe Premiere Pro Auto Audio Ducking
Before I duck my music I want to set the overall level of the clip. To do this, I’ll select Auto-Match in the Loudness section. This automatically matches clips to a “standard” average loudness for music. Next, I will select the Ducking checkbox and open it up. Here I have a number of controls to customize how Premiere performs the mix. I can specify which audio clips my music will duck against, the sensitivity of the duck, the decibel level, and the duration of the fades.

Step 3: Generate Keyframes

Adobe Premiere Pro Auto Audio Ducking
Once I have my controls set, I simply need to select Generate Keyframes and voilà! Premiere will automatically add keyframes to mix the music.

As if that wasn’t simple enough, I can make the process even easier by using presets. To use a preset, I’ll first select my music clip and clear the audio type in the Essential Sound panel. Now I can open up the Preset drop-down menu and choose the Music audio type. I have five different choices, including three presets for auto ducking. After I select Smooth Vocal Ducking my music clip will Auto-Match the loudness and automatically set the Ducking preferences. Now all I need to do is select Generate Keyframes.

Adobe Premiere Pro Auto Audio Ducking
So what do you think about this new feature? Will you be using it?     

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Your Comment


That’s an odd implementation Adobe has chosen. It certainly demos well with such a short and simple timeline, but I can see that getting really messy and cumbersome with long sequences that have dozens of audio tracks. It would have made more sense if Adobe allowed the media types to be set as metadata at the browser level BEFORE the clips are cut into the sequence. FCPX works that way using its ‘roles’ feature, and it works quite well.

April 4, 2018 at 1:08PM

Jamie LeJeune
Director of Photography

This actually looks amazing for simple testimonials.

April 5, 2018 at 5:12AM

Oren Agami
Creative Director, SAP