Spatial Sound and Music in Timeline

Dennisse Pagán Dávila
5 min readFeb 20, 2023

Audio Tracks allow you to add background music and sound effects in a straightforward easy process. You can add a simple audio track that plays as a sound that can be heard consistently on both headphones/output, this type of track can also be edited to favor either the left or right audio outputs so that it so louder on one side than the other.

For another more dynamic Audio Track, you can add a track with a specific audio source. Audio Tracks with audio sources create spatial awareness — they are heard in proximity to how close or far you are from the source.

With the detailed capacity of Timeline, Audio Tracks are very comfortable to manage and edit, let’s take a look!

Objective: Learn how to add sound effects that have spatial awareness, and how to add background music using Timeline.

Table of Contents

· Adding Background Music
Using Audio Properties
Using Audio Clip Properties
· The Result:
· Adding Sound Effects with Spatial Awareness
· The Result:

Adding Background Music

  1. Let’s start by finding a track, if you don’t one you can check out Pixbay. You can get the one I’m using for this example here.
  2. Drag and drop the track into your Timeline, this will automatically create an Audio Track for you.

3. Edit your track as needed. There are a few things you can do with an audio track to alter it:

Using Audio Properties

If you click on the Yellow line right beside the audio icon in your Timeline, you will get some additional properties.

  • Volume — Adjusts the overall volume of your audio.
  • Stereo Pan — This makes the audio louder to the extreme in which you move the indicator while making it lower in the opposite.
  • Spatial Blend — This option is only available when using an audio source, we will explore this later when adding a sound effect.

Using Audio Clip Properties

You can access Audio Clip properties by selecting the audio in your Timeline. You can edit all the values here manually on your Timeline, but if you like your numbers and data, this is the way to go.

Clip Properties are divided into three(3) categories:

  • Clip Timing — Handles the position of the clip in your Timeline, when it starts and ends, and how fast it plays. The speed also serves as a pitch alterer, so this can really change the way your audio sounds. Additionally, Ease in/out adds a fade effect to audio as it starts and ends.
  • Blend Curves — Handles how the clips blend in and out. This includes how it blends with other clips.
  • Audio Playable Asset — This controls the asset(clip), here you make the audio loop and set the volume.

You can also control this from other settings in Timeline, however, think of this as the regular unaltered state of your asset with the Timeline version(if edited) as an alternate version. You can always keep the original asset with all its settings independent of how it was altered in the Timeline.

The Result:

Once you’re comfortable with the changes made, your background music is all set!

The scene features in this example are from my Adventurer’s Office Den level design.

Adding Sound Effects with Spatial Awareness

Sound Effects share the same properties as audio clips, so I won’t be doing a deep dive here. Instead, we will focus on learning how they can be dynamic with spatial awareness.

  1. For spatial awareness, we first need an audio source. This can be an Empty Game Object positioned wherever you’d like the audio to be heard or it can be a specific game object.

Just drag and drop your object into the Audio Source slot in your Timeline.

Here I am using a Blown Out Light asset from my previous article on Activation Tracks, you check out this article here. You will notice a round gizmo around your object after adding it as an audio source, this sphere is the area in which your audio is heard the most.

As you get closer to it, you will notice how the sound gets louder.

2. Edit your audio using the aforementioned properties as needed. An additional property we want to look at is Spatial Blend, which is only available when using an audio Source.

This property turns your audio from 2D to 3D making it more dynamic for headphone users. Make sure to turn this on to enable spatial audio.

Once you’re done editing, your audio is all set!

The Result:

Here is my lightbulb blowing out animation with a sound effect. You can out the full article on the animation here.

I hope you have found this information valuable! Follow me for more Unity Development articles! :) I am a passionate Unity Developer and Writer on a journey to join the video game industry. Check out my LinkedIn and Twitter!

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Dennisse Pagán Dávila

Software Engineer that specialize in Game Development. Currently looking for new opportunities. LinkedIn: https://rb.gy/xdu8nu