Audio Preview

Audio Preview lets you hear sounds live while editing a scene. It's a great time saver for playing sounds in a scene before publishing, as well as balancing sound emitter positions and volumes relative to each other.

Here is how to turn on Audio Preview in Desktop mode:

  1. In the top menu toolbar, click Options.
  2. In the Options menu, select Audio Preview to toggle it. At any time, select Audio Preview again to turn it off.
audiopreview.png
Toggle Audio Preview on the Options menu.

Audio Preview affects:

  • The Background Sound in the Scene Settings, which is non-spatialized and plays at a constant level regardless of camera position.
  • All sound emitters within the scene itself, which are spatialized and get louder as you move your camera closer. If you drag a sound from your inventory into a scene, the newly-placed emitter automatically starts looping the sound.

Audio Preview does not include Compute Scene Reverb, which needs to be calculated after you click Build. It's still very useful to fine-tune your desired soundscape before it is treated with reverb and occlusion, which can make an already great-sounding scene even more cohesive.

While Audio Preview is on, you can continue to move emitters as you normally would, and hear how sound changes based on your position.

Audio Preview also works with VR mode. If you put on a VR headset with headphones and move sound emitters, you'll hear audio from your first-person perspective — this can be a very effective and fluid way to directly edit the scene.

Adjusting rotation with Audio Preview on

If a an emitter contains a stereo/binaural or ambisonic sound, you can rotate it to change the soundfield's orientation:

  1. Click an audio emitter in your scene.
  2. Drag the blue rotation handle. On a point emitter, you see its green "speaker cone" rotate to match.
Sound_point_emitter_showing_blue_rotation.png

This is a convenient way to align sounds to match visuals. For example, if you have an ambisonic sound recorded at a location in the physical world where there is fire crackling in one direction and seashore waves lapping in the opposite direction, you can rotate it to align with the virtual seaside campfire you may be creating, and adjust the layout as you continue building your scene.

Adjusting volume with Audio Preview on

In addition to hearing sound emitter position and rotation changes in real time, you can also hear volume level changes:

  1. Click an audio emitter.
  2. Click Properties Sound_emitter_Properties_icon.png.
  3. In the emitter’s Properties panel, adjust the Loudness slider as desired. You may adjust the loudness using Level or dB values. Notice how the volume changes as you drag it.
loudness.png
Note: 40 Level is the default for an Audio Emitter, comparable in the real world to moderate-level sounds, like a running river or light traffic. However, the perceived volume depends on a number of things including the actual sound file's dynamic range and frequency content.

Audio Mixing Tips

If you are new to working with audio and balancing levels, we generally recommend that you mix subtractively: if the soundscape feels cluttered and a lot is sonically happening, reduce certain emitter volumes rather than raising the ones that should be louder.

When there are a lot of sounds playing, it is more effective to have some audio be felt as a "presence" — comparable to how subtle shade adds depth to visual objects — instead of overwhelming and fatiguing ears with noise.

This also has the additional benefit of making it easier for visitors who use voice chat in your scene, since they are less likely to have to shout if the sounds are well-balanced.

 

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