Why does the scatter even spatialise when no spatialisation insert is present?

I have scatter instruments set for an ambience event. I want the event to not be spatialised at all, and for the random panning in the event to not be affected by player position. However, it is.

The scatter events act as though there is a spatialiser on the event.

How do I keep the scatter instruments in stereo without getting affected by spatialisation and causing parts of the event to be panned when others aren’t?

Try setting both the Min & Max Scatter Distance parameter to 0. That seems to prevent random panning.

It’s not the random panning I’m worried about, I want to keep that. The problem is that when the event is placed in level, the scatter instruments in the event spatialise and pan based on player position despite the fact that there is no spatialiser on the event at any point.

I see, this sounds like it could be related to something I’m also currently experiencing with Scatterer Instruments within 2D ambient events.
Many of my ambient events are comprised of a single stereo loop, and various Scatterer Instruments all placed on separate tracks. The Scatterer Instruments are being output in 5.1, and I’m using the random pan feature so they are played at a random position within the 360 degree field. The events sound fine when previewing in Fmod, but in-game (UE4) I’m not hearing any of the Scatter Instruments really, just the loops.
Is this similar to what you’re experiencing?

Just found this post in the FMOD Community Facebook page which might be useful.

The Scatterer applies its own 3D Panner (Spatializer) to every scatter, and the attenuation is quite short. However you can override this by placing a nested Event Sound into the Scatterer’s playlist, and giving this Event Sound its own 3D Panner with your preferred settings (even with attenuation disabled, if you so prefer). This will override the default 3D attenuation of the scatters.

Thanks Skaven252, would I also get the same results by simply setting the Min/Max distance of the scatterer instruments to 0, and then placing a random modulator on the panner of that track?
I don’t need to randomise attenuation/distance of the scatterer instruments, just the panning.

Exactly what I’m getting.

As already mentioned, the scatterer instrument will spatialize each playlist item based on the scatter distance settings. If you’re looking to just have the panning randomized but not spatialized, then the workaround is as follows:

  • Set the scatter instrument’s min & max scatter distance property to 0-0
  • Create a single event instrument
  • In this nested event, add a multi instrument with all your sounds
  • Add a random modulator to the nested instrument’s master track’s panner

Thanks for the info Richard.

Will this only allow you to randomly pan the sounds in stereo (not in 5.1/7.1)? I.e. there’s no random modulation on 5.1 panners in Studio version 1.10.12?


It is possible to automate and modulate 5.1 and 7.1 panners, but they’re a bit more tricky to use. There are two properties - direction and extent which control the left/right and up/down of the panning. Try playing around with them in an event to see how best to control them.

Thanks. I’ll give that a shot, although I think I may have to ask our programmer to position the ambiances on the listener, so that I don’t have to go and edit the scatterers in every ambiance. I’m doing a port from FMOD Ex to Studio, so everything is pretty much done and there are a lot of ambiances that I’d need to edit.

As a side note, I’ve mentioned this before, it would be quite handy to have an insert effect like the Surround Pan in FMOD Ex/Designer. If I ever need to do something akin to a front to back sweep, it would make it easier. Not sure how feasible that is with automating direction and extent, or I at least have not figured that out yet.

Also, so far I find some of the default behaviours in the Scatterer to not align with how I work. Specifically:

  1. If an event is 2D, I would much prefer it if everything inside of it, by default, didn’t react to distance and location. So far, I can’t think of a scenario where having the Scatterer react to the location of its 2D event would be useful to me. Having to nest an event inside of a Scatterer, and automating the panning of the nested event, is a few extra steps that slows things down a bit.

  2. Adjusting the pitch of a scatterer also affects the spawn interval. I’m not sure if there’s a case where I would’ve preferred this behaviour (over the pitch not having any bearing on the spawn interval). Sometimes I’m tweaking an event and decide that a different pitch is better and I don’t have time to go back to the source files (and I’ve already dialed in the spawn interval time). I know there’s a workaround via nesting an event inside of the scatterer, but again, it’s a bit more time consuming to set that up.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but these two default behaviours seem unexpected to me. #1 seems like it’s going to impact me much more frequently. So, if a toggle or different type of Scatterer were to be added to address only one of these concerns, I’d prefer to see something added/modified for #1.


I tried seeing what happens when I place the listener on the location of an event containing a scatterer and I’m still finding the scatterer sounds to be too quiet in many spawned instances. Specifically, if I make the “Min & Max Scatter Distance” range small enough to guarantee the audibility of each instance (e.g. a range 0 to 10), then any slight movement away from the event location causes the the distance to exceed 10 and the scatterer goes virtual/inaudible. And if I make the range larger to stop it from going virtual, then the distance related volume attenuation that’s integrated into the scatterer quiets down many of the spawn instances to the point of near-inaudibility. If I try to counter that by turning up the volume of the scattterer, then that might work for a lot of the spawned sounds, but then whenever I have a sound spawn nearby, it could be far too loud.

One thing that could help this is if I had independent control over the amount of volume attenuation that is applied by the scatterers (as per the Distance). I use Scatterers mostly for 2D ambiances (and for some 3D environmental emitters) and I like having some pretty hard panning on the spawned sounds, but I’d also want control over how quiet a spawned sound can get. E.g. a toggle to turn off distance based attenuation and then I can just use the “Vol Rnd” to vary the volume of each spawned instance.

Having more control over the volume attenuation, and having the ability to flip a switch to tell the scatterer to ignore the location of the event would make scatterers more convenient for me to use. However, maybe I’m an outlier and am using scatterers in an atypical manner?


See an earlier message; you can achieve this by putting a Nested Event into the Scatterer’s playlist, and giving that nested event a Spatializer. This nested event can then contain all the random variations, etc. If the nested event contains automation across a Built-In parameter (like Distance), these apply to each scattered instance individually.

The Min / Max distance of the Scatterer itself affects the positioning of each scatter, ie how far from the center point they get placed.

If the Scatterer contains a Nested Event with a Spatializer in it, the event that contains the Scatterer doesn’t even need a Spatializer since the attenuation is already in the scatters.

Thanks, Skaven. I’ve been doing a similar workaround that doesn’t seem to require a nested event. I have:

  • the track with the scatterer outputting to 5.1,
  • the scatterer Distance range Min/Max set to 0 and 0,
  • a Channel Mix effect attenuating whatever 5.1 channels I don’t want to be as loud,
  • automation on the 5.1 panner from -180 deg to 180 deg (Surround Direction) and ~35 deg to ~120 deg (Surround Extent) over the course of about 2 minutes to get some ‘random’ panning,
  • the “Vol Rnd” knob doing about 10dB of variation to simulate the random distance attenuation.

It seems to work (not sure if there are any downsides to this approach), and it might save me a step or two, but even then it’s more setup than I’d ideally want to do. My feedback is mostly to help improve the usability of the scatterers. Right now it feels like the default behaviour needs to be circumvented in order to do what users, such as myself, want to do with it.