Can I play sound to 8+ channels?


For a special setup I would like to play sound to 8 channels, plus possibly a subwoofer.
The 8 speakers will be placed inside all corners of a cube surrounding the listener.
So we have:

Can I somehow control this with UE4?

I hope someone can advise me on this.

UE4 supports 7.1 output natively from the engine. However, there currently isn’t a way to map sounds to discreet hardward outputs. The way I set up a surround space in-game is to place audio actors at coordinates around the player’s position that mimic the surround positions. Also, LFE control is handled by the LFE Bleed setting in the SoundClasses; if you want audio to hit the LFE channel, create a new SoundClass with 100% LFE bleed. Hope this helps.

Thanks Zak,

Do I understand correctly that I can setup several audio actors (at different positions) and that I can map outputs from these actors to individual audio channels?

Correct, that’s how I do it. In fact, I set up a blueprint with the audio components XYZ offset to the correct positions, and then play back surround content that way. Since it’s a blueprint, you can drop it in anywhere and make it instanced.

Hi Zak,

Maybe I misunderstood you. Isn’t an audio actor mend to play pack audio only? I would like to place sort of microphones around the player that matches the positions of the speakers in my audio setup. Then let UE4 determine the sound picked up by each microphone individually and route that to my 8 channel output device (for the 8 speakers in mu setup).

Is that possible?

Alas, direct device channel outputs are not currently available in UE4. This is a requested feature though, so it will be coming in the future.

so am I correct in thinking that this
does not work at the moment ? I tried it and I’m not hearing anything ?
Is there a timescale for when this might get implemented ?

My mistake - it does work, just had naming convention incorrect. But if this does work then why are you building your own blueprint to do what appears to be the same thing ?

Hi, I just wanted to check in on this and see if discrete audio channel addressing has been implemented yet.

I’d like to know too. Are discrete channel outputs coming to UE4 soon?

bump I would also like to know if discrete channel outputs are coming? I have an 8-speaker cube array same as the OP.

also quite interested in this; it seems there are no options to configure any output channels

The question i think all us “normal people” are asking , will a surround sound setup make it possible to hear from where rockets are shooting at you ?

Btw , im not very researched in surround sound my math says that 4 speakers should be enough to create a cubic sound vector system by placing them as if the head was in the middle of a tetrahederon , where the corners of the object are speakers directed torwards the center … ? Tetrahedron - Wikipedia

Has there been any progress on this ?

we’re looking at a 16 channel output if possible.

Matt Hermans
Electric Lens Co

+1 Sending multi-channel audio out of an interface would be extremely useful.

Can’t you set a audio component to binaural instead of panning and interpolate it around the user to achieve this?

I probably wouldn’t want to go this route because a) binaural audio really only functions properly for headphones, b) what I’m personally really after is sending multi-channel audio out of an audio interface or equivalent device.

That said, I scrubbed the Discord and found this answer, which I think looks like a pretty good lead to try:

Is it somehow possible to use more than 8 speakers?

@GrobiThee This should happen when the audio team embraces Microsoft’s new Spatial Sound API (UE 5.0?). Sadly until this is done even if you have a Dolby Atmos system with ‘height’ speakers you will not be able accurately position “audio actors” to duplicate this. I know, I have tried it doing some testing with creating an export of a multiple channel (max 8 channels still) WAV as I found using a virtual audio device with 12 channels which are labeled to act like Windows new Spatial Audio API. The way I have been able to accomplish ‘Z’ for creating Ambisonic 1st & 2nd order Ambisonic audio and Dolby Atmos is to just roll (X axis) 90 degrees and run a second pass in a sequencer event. I am finishing up tutorial on how to do this, this week in using my latest video teaser for my Mar’s Perseverance & Ingenuity Drone simulator. However I found the 7.1, which is suppose to add two side audio channels, does not work correctly in Unreal. Having created a virtual geodesic frame that I mounted my ‘Audio Clients’ to with neat little animated effect to show which speaker is running, I noticed no audio coming out of my side speakers, which is confirmed in reviewing the 8-channel WAV file. In fact the best way is to just use 5.1 audio device and which does seem to mix properly between front and back to give you side. Also, even though ± 30 degrees offset for front and back is great for speaker placement, It would be nice have them at 45 degrees, which would give equal power at proper cosine power points. Not a big problem for me because I can use my Amisonic VST encoder in my DAW or LRE to place the points with reasonable positioning achieved. You may ask why I am going through the trouble of doing this in Unreal instead of just building the soundfield in a DAW? Frankly it seems like wasted time and it does not sound the same – especially now that you can do so much more in Unreal like the inclusion of doppler, reverb, convolution audio that to duplicate it in a DAW seems redundant and time wasting. Plus, I like knowing when I put a sound actor in 3D space in Unreal, I get pretty facsimile of that sound’s location. Something I have not seen any DAW do well unless you pay for expensive “3D” visualization plugin. Even Facebook’s Spatial Workstation plugins leave a lot to be desired even though you can don a VR headset and get pseudo 3-axis positioning.

There is Wwise solution that some AAA developers are using, but it requires you add their plugin and even do a little recompiling to recognize Dolby Atmos. Plus it cost money.