Working with Speaker Panning

Speaker-panned sounds can be used for a variety of purposes, such as menu sounds and character voices. The Speaker Panning mode is defined for a sound or music object in the Positioning tab of the Property Editor. There are three possible modes, which function as follows:

  • Direct Assignment: This is the default mode. The object’s source audio is downmixed, as needed, to match the channel configuration of the object’s Output Bus and is then assigned directly to the corresponding channels. If the source audio has fewer channels than the Output Bus, the content is not upmixed; channels not existing in the source audio are silent in the Output Bus. The Speaker Panner is not available.

  • Balance-Fade: The object’s source audio is upmixed or downmixed, as needed, to match the channel configuration of the object’s Output Bus. The Speaker Panner then allows you to adjust the volume of each channel by moving a control point within the horizontal plane. Refer to Balance-Fade Speaker Panning Illustrated for further details and examples.

  • Steering: The object’s source audio is downmixed, as needed, to match the channel configuration of the object’s Output Bus. The Speaker Panner then allows you to redistribute the content of the source audio amongst the channels of the Output Bus, including possible height channels. If the source audio has fewer channels than the Output Bus, the content is not upmixed; channels not existing in the source audio will be silent in the Output Bus unless the Speaker Panner is used to redistribute audio towards those channels. Refer to Steering Speaker Panning Illustrated for further details and examples.

[Note] Note

The Speaker Panner has no effect on an ambisonic sound.

[Note] Note

In any of the three modes, speaker panning on its own does not take into account the position or orientation of the listener or emitter. Refer to Working with 3D Spatialized Objects for details on enabling such considerations.

Using the Speaker Panner

To adjust the channels of a panned object:

  1. Load a top-level object into the Property Editor.

  2. Switch to the Positioning tab.

    [Note] Note

    If the object is not a top-level object, you must select the Override parent option before you can set the Positioning options.

  3. Select the Balance-Fade or Steering option from the Speaker Panning list.

    The Edit button becomes available.

  4. Click Edit to open the Speaker Panner.

  5. Drag the control point to any position within the 2D plane.

    [Note] Note

    You can specify exact values using the X and Y coordinate text boxes. If Steering is selected, you can also adjust the value of the Z coordinate text box.

    In Balance-Fade mode, the volume of each channel is adjusted according to the position you specified. In Steering mode, the sound is redistributed towards the position you specified.

Using the Center Speaker

Some sounds, such as character voices, are key to gameplay, so you may want to route their signals to the center speaker to ensure audibility. The Center % control in the Positioning tab of the Property Editor allows you to define the proportion of the signal that will pass through the center speaker. For more information on using the Center % control, refer to Routing Audio Signals to the Center Speaker.

Attenuation

In addition to panning, you can define the attenuation of an object. The attenuation settings simulate the natural weakening of a signal as its source moves away from the listener. Wwise uses a series of curves to map Wwise property values, such as Volume and Low-Pass Filter, to specific distance values. With these curves, you can create a sophisticated distance-based roll-off for your objects. To add even more realism, you can also use sound cones that attenuate the sound based on the orientation of the object in relation to the listener. For more information on defining the attenuation of your panned objects, refer to Applying Distance-Based Attenuation.

Panning for Motion Objects

For less sophisticated motion devices, such as game controllers, you should use Direct Assignment Speaker Panning because the motors within these devices cannot simulate a 3D environment. However, there may be situations where you want to reduce the intensity of a motion signal based on the proximity of the source. In these cases, you can enable Listener Relative Routing with 3D Spatialization set to None in order to use the attenuation settings without the demands of a 3D environment.