Disabling Automatic Downmixing in Editor?

Is it possible to disable this behavior?

For example, if I send a stereo file to a return track with a 5.1 panner on it that is routed to LsRs, when I audition the event with my Windows device to stereo, I hear everything folded in. I’m wondering if it’s possible to not hear any audio which is routed to channels besides LR, UNLESS I’ve got my Windows audio device set to output 5.1.

This is no way to achieve this behavior in FMOD Studio.

However, it is possible to manually disable specific channels from playing by clicking on the speaker icons that appear on the panner widget in the deck of any bus. This should allow you to approximate the behavior you want, though you will have to manually disable and re-enable the relevant speakers whenever you want to change which speakers you can hear.

Thanks, that’s helpful. So this is only in-editor, right? If I add a 5.1 panner to a stereo event and say, bus some tracks to reverb that goes out the surrounds, someone playing the compiled game is going to experience the downmix of those tracks back into the LR?

No. Disabling speakers affects the mixer built into the banks created when you build your project, and thus the output of your game.

I’m afraid I don’t fully understand this example.

Sure, so, whole scenario:

Objective is to create a surround mix for players who designate a 5.1 playback option on their system. The concern is that the 5.1 mix will sound muddy / phasey / undesireable if folded back down to stereo, especially if components of it are reverb sends to the surrounds to help fill out space. So what I’m wondering is:

  1. is it possible to work within the FMOD project and hear only the stuff explicitly sent to LR (no downmix) during situations where we’re working on the project on a non surround system?

Seems like it is, per your answer: just disable the speaker outputs

  1. what will players on a stereo speaker experience with a mix like this?

This is the question I was trying to ask in the last post, I’m unclear on it. Seems like if we mute the speakers on a panner, that isn’t just an editor setting—it will be the experience players on that platform have. In the example above, it would mean that even people playing on an output they’ve designated for surround playback would experience no surround, because we muted speakers in the editor, and that becomes part of the end user experience.

  1. is it possible to get the ‘best of all worlds’—authors and players working on a stereo system don’t hear any downmixing; authors and players on a surround system are able to experience the content sent to all channels?

Also unclear on this, and asking!


Thanks for the clarifications.

This is a complex question. The answer is “yes,” but the explanation of why and how will require a significant amount of background information.

There are multiple different places in an FMOD Studio project at which downmixes and upmixes can occur:

  • The inputs of each bus and track. By default, these are set to “automatic,” meaning that they will preserve the format of the signal they receive, but they can be set to any supported channel format.
  • The output of each bus and track. By default, these are set to “automatic,” meaning that they will preserve the format of the signal they receive, but they can be set to any supported channel format.
  • Any effect that can cause an upmix or downmix. The most common of these is the FMOD spatializer effect, which automatically upmixes or downmixes the signal to the platform’s surround channel format.
  • The final output of the project. This is automatically set according to the channel format reported to FMOD by the operating system.

The target channel format of the inputs and outputs of buses and tracks, as well as of the FMOD Spatializer effect and some other effects, is platform-specific. This means when auditioning in FMOD Studio, the channel formats used will be those associated with the platform currently selected in the “Platform” dropdown menu located in the bottom-right of most windows; and when playing sounds in your game, the channel formats used depend on which platforms’ banks are currently loaded.

If you want your project to be upmixed to a surround format for users with a surround sound system, but only ever processed in stereo for users who have only stereo speakers, the easiest way of doing so is probably to define two or more separate platforms in FMOD Studio, one in stereo format and one for each other surround format you want to support (e.g.: “Desktop 5.1,” Desktop stereo" and “desktop 7.1”). This will cause all banks and spatializer effects in the project to use the surround format associated with the current platform, meaning that you’ll only need to change which platforms’ banks are loaded to control which method of spatialization is used. Howeve, note that this method assumes you are only using FMOD Spatializer effects and the “automatic” track inout/output format; if you have created a more complex mix, you will have to make surround format-specific versions of that mix for each channel format platform you wish to support.

Assuming you set your game to use the stereo channel format version of the banks (as described above) when it detects that a player is using stereo speakers, they will hear a version of the project that is only ever processed in stereo, never upmixed to or from a surround channel format.

Yes, by using the method I described above.