I am working on a series of animations which have elements that are timed to the beat of the background track in AE. It's crucial that they are lined up perfectly to the audio (they are DJ training videos).

I'm used to Premiere, but am pretty new to After Effects. In Premiere you can preview the audio by pressing space, and then press space again to stop the preview. In After Effects, when you do this there is no audio.

The only way I've been able to get a preview with audio is to use the RAM preview, but when I press space to stop it, it goes back to the beginning of the timeline / render area.

I need to be able to listen to the audio, and then stop it on a beat so the timeline marker is in the right place for an effect / keyframe. Is there any way I can do this?

2 Answers 2


To enable the audio playback, only way is to use the RAM-Preview. Press Numpad 0 or the associated |||> in the Preview Panel to start the preview rendering process:

enter image description here

  • Press Numpad 0 again to stop it
  • Press Numpad 0 twice to stop and playback the previously rendered (green) frames

In terms of correct audio playback:

  • Set the Frame Rate to the composition settings
  • Enable From Current Time option
  • Enable Sound Preview (6th button in the first row)

In order to facilitate the work:

  1. Set the rendering resolution of the view to a lower value for e.g. to half or quarter
  2. Limit the work area in your timeline, press B to set the start render point (Begin), press N to set the end point (End)
  3. Enable Loop preview (7th button) to repeat the preview of the current work area

Note: As @Emir Dupovac mentioned, also check your waveform:

enter image description here

See this related answer: AE - Composition video file/layer missing audio

  • 1
    Is there any way to pause the RAM preview? I want to be able to listen for a beat, and pause so the timeline marker is on the beat. Best workaround I've seen so far is to add a keyframe on the fly with *, but it's not ideal.
    – Ben
    Apr 13, 2015 at 10:38
  • @Ben To loop something you can set your work area, with B and N for Begin and End. You can also use flags and drag it into the timeline to mark a specific time.
    – p2or
    Apr 13, 2015 at 10:40

You can hold CTRL and drag timeline marker which will play audio, its not perfect, but maybe it will help. And also you can select audio and double tap key L which will open waveform so you can see the beats.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.