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FCP X vs. Adobe Premiere, Part 4: Crossfading Audio
David Smith on Tue, October 11th 1 comments
"Video is two-thirds audio", or so the saying goes. Whatever the actual percentage, bad audio can ruin a great film. David Smith takes a tour of audio editing in Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere.

Great editing requires one thing more than probably anything else: great audio. Both FCP X and Adobe Premiere offer a great range of tools and methods to keep your edits sounding great. This article will look at how both applications compare when adding and editing an audio crossfade.

FCP X Step 1 - Getting a better look

Open the Clip Appearance button and from the options select the second button. 

Clip Appearance

This gives the Audio more emphasis in the timeline. Next choose View > Expand Audio/Video > For All

Expanded audio

Now the Clip Audio in the timeline is more visible and so easier to edit.

FCP X Step 2 - Assistants for monitoring Audio

Click to the right of the Timecode display in the Dashboard to activate FCPX's Audio Meters. 


The audio meters help with the visual monitoring of sound levels. To help further with the audible monitoring of sound levels, try switching off Audio Scrubbing by pressing Shift-S. This will keep distraction to a minimum.

FCP X Step 3 - Create a Crossfade

Create an overlap by dragging the in point of the audio from the second clip back into the first, by about 2 seconds. The magnetic timeline really helps here: dragging one clip over another to create an overlap is not something most editing packages would allow. However in FCP X the audio collision is avoided as the audio will move down to another "track" automatically.

The selected clip and handles

Select the outgoing clip in the Project Timeline. From the top corner of the selected clip, grab the handle and drag it to the left (into the clip). 

Audio Fade

This action creates the outgoing audio fade. The length of the handle dictates the length of the fade (for anyone used to working with Soundtrack Pro, this will feel very familiar). 

Second fade

Repeat the audio fade on the incoming clip. 

FCP X Step 4 - Choose Fade Style

Right-click on an Audio Fade handle and from the pop-up window select a type of fade. Of the 4 options, Logarithmic is FCP X's default. 

Fade Style options

Repeat this action for both fades. Then press Shift - / to play around the edit.

FCP X Step 5 - Removing Crossfades

To remove a crossfade, grab the crossfade handle again and drag it back to the start/end of the clip. Do this for both clips.

Crossfade gone!

Premiere Pro Step 1 - Set up for Audio

On the Sequence timeline click the disclosure arrow next to each audio track to expand its view and reveal levels: 

Premiere's Audio Levels

Next set the Audio Tracks Display Styles to Show Waveform.

Show waveform

Premiere Step 2 - Create an Audio Overlap

To create an audio overlap grab the audio track from the second clip and drag it down to Audio Track 2. Then use the trim handle to expand the clips and create an overlap.


Step 3 - Add Audio Fades

Open the Effects Panel, then navigate to the Audio Transitions and then Crossfade folders. 

Effects Folders

There are 3 types of crossfade to choose from: Constant Gain, Constant Power and Exponential Fade. Choose Constant Power. 

Crossfade added to out

Drag the Constant Power crossfade over the out point of the first Audio Clip and place it. A purple marker appears on the clip: this is the first crossfade. 

Premiere Step 4 - Modify Crossfade

To change the duration of the crossfade grab one end and drag it back until it's the desired length. 

Drag length

For a more elegant option, double-click on the Purple Audio Crossfade and open the Effects Control Panel: 

Duration in Effects Control


The duration of the Crossfade is indicated by the orange duration timecode. Click on the timecode and type the desired duration instead. 

Premiere Step 5 - Create second crossfade

Add a similar crossfade to the start of the second clip's audio by dragging another Constant Power Crossfade from the Effects panel to its head. Resize to the desired length, this time by dragging to the right. 

Second crossfade

Play back the sequence to hear the crossfades. 

Tip: Premiere Pro has no default 'Play Around' shortcut, but you can assign one yourself using the Keyboard Customization tool.

Step 6 - Removing Crossfades

Select one of the Purple Crossfades in the timeline and press Delete, repeat this for both Crossfades. 

Crossfade gone

As you can see there is a similar workflow for both applications. Final Cut Pro X's Magnetic Timeline probably gives it an advantage in this particular instance however. 

Learn more with the full range of FCP X tutorials here and Adobe Premiere tutorial(s) here.

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Comments (1)

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  • Iain Anderson
    Good to see a comparison. Another FCP X method: use Motion to create a new Transition. Change nothing, but simply Save as "Audio-only Transition". Launch FCP X. Apply the transition where needed. There will be no visual transition, but the audio will crossfade, and the style and length of the crossfade can be adjusted.
    • 9 years ago
    • By: Iain Anderson
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