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Guide to Compressing Voice Audio in Soundtrack Pro

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 4/29/2010

Take a look at Soundtrack Pro's Compressor effect and how you can use it on voice audio.

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    Soundtrack Pro Audio Effects

    Voice audio is often used in the Soundtrack Pro workflow because of the way that voice over, narration, and other voice tracks are used in film editing in Final Cut Pro. Soundtrack Pro itself is equipped to handle a whole range of audio mixing methods, with voice audio only being one of them. There are a lot of audio effects that can be used in Soundtrack Pro on voice audio, and Compressor is a common one. Here is the method for how to add compression to voice audio and why this may be done.

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    Soundtrack Pro Compressor

    After you record or import your voice audio into Soundtrack Pro you should then select the entire file from your work screen. Go to Process and select the top Effects option. From the Soundtrack Pro audio effects you will want to select Dynamics and Compressor. This will bring up the Compressor window to add compression audio effects to your voice audio track.

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    Compressing Voice Audio

    The point of the Compressor audio effect in Soundtrack Pro is to compress the dynamic range of the sound. This is different than video compression in that what it does is limit the available frequencies that the audio track can go to. This gives you the ability to limit how loud and whole quiet an audio track will be. This audio compression is given palatable control in Soundtrack Pro’s Compressor audio effect. Here you have a number of options like setting a limiter threshold and limiting gain. This is all adjustable and must be done according to how you really want the audio to sound.

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    Using Compression Techniques

    The decision to apply compression to voice audio in Soundtrack Pro comes from the way you want the voice to sound. Often times a narration track is meant to exist only within a specific parameter. This is so that it does not become so loud that it takes away from any other sounds, but also so it is not drowned out. More than this you may want to simply compress the voice audio because of the sound it produces, and in this way it acts as more of an audio effect. You can try a few different ways in Soundtrack Pro, along with other available audio effects. Compressing the voice audio in Soundtrack Pro is not usually a good way to eliminate background noise unless they exist at the very top or bottom of the scale.

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    Exporting From Soundtrack Pro

    When you are done applying the audio compression to your voice audio in Soundtrack Pro you are going to go through the normal export patterns. This can be to send it back to Final Cut Pro as it came, or to another source. You will not have to go through a different export function as the Soundtrack Pro Compressor audio effect is simply an audio effect and will not necessarily effect its export options.

Soundtrack Pro

Here are articles and tutorials about different functions in Apple's Soundtrack Pro, which is part of the Final Cut Studio video editing package.
  1. Batch Export in Soundtrack Pro
  2. Basic Soundtrack Pro Keyboard Shortcuts
  3. Using a Low Pass Filter in Soundtrack Pro
  4. Guide to Compressing Voice Audio in Soundtrack Pro