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Another pseudo newbie question.

The title I am working on is my first utilizing surround sound. I’m somewhat confused as to when I should be feeding FMOD stereo files versus mono files.

From what I understand the sounds I tag as 3d will essentially be played back (collapsed if stereo) as a mono sound positioned in a surround environment.

Needless to say, a stereo file already has its elements spread to some degree, and the two channels contain different information. So stereo sounds are much richer than mono.

I am accustomed to designing all of my sounds in stereo. However, when I place them into the game via FMOD am I being wasteful by adding stereo sounds that will later be categorized as 3d sounds? Am I utilizing twice as much space as is needed for these sounds or is FMOD intelligent enough when building the project to do what it has to do from an efficiency standpoint?

Should I be smashing most of my sounds to mono in my editor before handing them to FMOD?

Thank you,

FP

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Nothing, really. It’s just more convenient to use wiki as knowledge base, in my opinion.

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probably is more useful to sort all this stuff logically using the wiki, but I don’t have a lot of time to spend on this kind of thing. I would have no problem with someone posting my info on the wiki if they want to. I have a lot of tight deadlines at work here, and I can’t really spend a whole lot of time on the wiki. Probably shouldn’t even be spending this much time on the Forum, lol.

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And on a related note…

I’m working primarily with 24bit audio. Should I/must I dither down to create 16bit versions of my sounds/music before importing into FMOD, or is that unnecessary?

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If you feed a stereo wav into a 3D sound then FMOD will mix it down to mono, so, yes, you’re generally wasting space that way. Most games only use stereo streams for music, ambient backgrounds, and cutscenes.

Regardit the bit depth of your audio, I’m pretty sure FMOD will accept 24 bit wavs. Whether that’s an efficient use of memory or not depends on the compressor you are using. Most PCs and game consoles output 16 bit audio, so 24 bit is generally overkill.

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We normally add a small fade to ‘2D sound’ based on distance, this gives us stereo (or above) separation when close to point sources. We don’t do this on everything though, just a few key sounds.

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what about using the 3d speaker spread parameter in the events tab. It spreads a stereo or multi-channel sound over a set angle (in degrees). This works good for bringing back the fullness of a stereo file when being panned in 3d.

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Great suggestion vfxs!

Using the 3D Speaker Spread parameter is a real nice compromise between maintaining the richness of stereo while at the same time covering the job of relaying positional information. By experimenting I found that a setting of around 90% seems to work well (although of course it is all dependent on the sound and where it is supposed to be emanating from). Vfxs…what do you find yourself setting this at?

I found some of the more extreme settings, such as 360, to be somewhat unpredictable as far as where the sound appeared to be coming from when I used the 3d audition tool.

Without getting too far off topic, this is yet another example of the frustration I am having with the documentation. To the developers, please understand I am not trying to vent – I genuinely just want to know the best and most efficient way to learn my way around FMOD better and I need your help.

Without this suggestion from vfxs I probably wouldn’t have had a real clue as to what the 3D Speaker Spread parameter does. Even now when I look at the docs I found the ‘3D Speaker Spread’ only as an effect, and not as an event property. Obviously this is something you changed at some point (to be fair I understand you won’t rewrite the manual every time you make changes, but how about an occasional update to the docs…or an addendum?).

Back to the 3D Speaker Spread. At no point do the docs make ANY reference to what practical use it might have. More glaring – it doesn’t even mention that this would/should be used for stereo sounds only (I tried it with mono and it seemed to have no effect. Should we just know this stuff? To quote the manual…"This effect can be used to dynamically control the spread of sound in a surround sound field. The effect can be used to make the sound appear directional (coming from a particular speaker driver) or immersive (coming from all speaker drivers) in nature."

Even a mono sound can sound more or less immersive by mixing it amongst the surround speakers. But in this case there doesn’t seem to be an changes unless I’m working with a stereo sound. Simply adding the word ‘stereo’ could have saved a lot of time.

I realize none of this is rocket science, and when it is explained it makes sense – usually. But I’d much rather be spending time using the tool than hunting down explanations of basic concepts, posting newbie questions, and uncovering inconsistencies between the docs and the actual software (not to mention straight up omissions).

I think what makes things more difficult is that some parameters do update in real time, and others seem to need a kickstart by saving your project, shutting the software down and reopening it. And this makes me always unsure as to whether I am misusing the software, or it is just being quirky.

Hey developers…how about adding a button that is the equivalent of shutting a project and reloading it thereby resetting things?

Another example of quirkiness…this time referring to the playmodes set in the sound definitions (sequential, sequential event restart, random, random no repeat, shuffle, etc.)

If I audition these sounds from the sound definition level, SOME of the playmodes seem to audition correctly, while others don’t. If I set this to shuffle, things seem to work fine. Next I set the playmode to sequential or sequential event restart and audition from the sound definition play button and suddenly it doesn’t seem to move through my list of waves sequentially…it just plays the first in the list over and over (shouldn’t it play sequentially here as well?). But if I then try to audition an event that references this sound definition it works fine.

Arrrghhhh. Is this me screwing up and not understanding something correctly (very possible and usually I blame myself first), or is this the software?

I’d like to ask anyone who reads this – did you go through the same pains when learning Fmod? How did you learn all of the ambiguities? I’m all for experimenting and getting creative with the tool (as well as reading through forums), but I struggle to understand the use of even basic parameters. There seems to be very little which is intuitive.

Rant over. Suggestions?

๐Ÿ˜›

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Flying poo,

I think a lot of your problems could be solved by updating to the newest version of Designer and Ex. I also found a few wording error/flaws in the documentation, but nothing that threw me too far. Mostly they just misused a word or something.

Mono sounds of course being spread out using the 3d spread will not do anything other than spread your sound across all some/all of the speakers. This is not a good idea, as the listener will presumably be positioned in the center of the surround field. Any deviation from the exact center or speakers not in a perfectly correct 5.1 setup will cause comb filtering of your sound that is played in mono through all the speakers. Basic acoustic concepts support this and I know it to be true from trying things like this. Stay away from spreading mono files over more than two speakers. Also on the description of the 3d spread it says "for stereo or multi-channel source".

For a stereo source I want to use for a specific sound in a 3d field I have found much more than 70-75 degrees of spread takes away from the directionality of a sound. For more immersive sounds that do not need directionality it is fine to go further and in some cases the full 360 is fine.

Your problems with the parameters updating may be simple to fix. I have not really had this problem too much. What I do and the documentation says REPEATEDLY is to hit "enter" after any parameter change you have made. This seems to work for me. When I first started using Fmod Designer it took me a while to learn the little tricks and tips that make everything a lot easier. You’ll get the hang of it, just give it some time. Knowing basic acoustic theory and basic audio terms helps when flipping through the manual and any other documentation you can find.

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Again thanks for the input Vfxs.

Good tips regarding the 3D spread as well as regularly hitting enter. I’m sure I’ll become much more fluent in time.

I do have the latest version of Designer. I’m not so terribly concerned with occasional wording errors, typos, or flaws. I’m just looking for some basic descriptions of concepts. They did fine for some topics, but completely ignored others. I guess the spottiness of it has made me a bit frustrated.

I have a solid background in acoustics, studio terminology, and sound design although my whiny posts might give the opposite impression lol.

I just find myself confused when trying to learn some basic concepts that the documentation often skips. Take spawning for example. I have a general idea of what spawning means (intuitively and also from being a game player) but have no real clue exactly how or what it is to be used for within Fmod or when a game situation that might demand an event with spawning properties.

There are plenty of references to various spawn parameters in the documentation, but not a single simple prefaced paragraph describing what spawning is and what and how it is to be used in a general context. Yes of course I can figure it out by creating some events and messing around with all the parameters, but a simple basic explanation would save me quite a bit of time that I could then be devoting to learning the more subtle aspects of being creative with the tool. I still don’t know what spawning is even though I made a post requesting a brief overview. Nobody responded. Was my question really that ignorant? Please don’t answer that one ๐Ÿ˜†

Some of these concepts are described while others are totally omitted, and it makes an assumption that we should already know this information.
That’s all. I greatly appreciate your help and look forward to when I can be posting to steer other Fmod Designer newbies in the right direction.

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Why don’t you guys use fmod wiki to share the knowledge and Make the Wold Better ™? :-)

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what’s wrong with sharing the knowledge on the Forum???

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