Using FMOD Designer and FMOD Sandbox walk through a song.

This last year I have taken it upon myself to delve into FMOD as much as possible.   Audio middleware is here to stay, and to stay current with the technology I have chosen to learn as much as I can about FMOD and its’ functionality as I can.  I have even started teaching it at Bradley University in my sound design class.

I was trying to come up with an interesting way to teach myself and students how they could use FMOD Sandbox and came up with this.  The band Phoenix released all of the multi-tracks to their last record for free to the public.  I thought it would be cool if you could take a virtual walk through a song as you are listening to it.  Kind of like you are in the studio and you can walk over to the drums and then take a stroll over to the guitars and then over to the much neglected bass player.  The following video is the result. First I quickly walk through the process of how I set it up in FMOD Designer.  Then I actually go through the song in FMOD Sandbox.  I   put the vocal track on a circular pattern to have 1 sound emitter giving doppler properties.  Plus, it just sounds funny in some places.  To get the full effect as to what FMOD is doing listen with headphones!! I will be happy to address any questions in the comments.  Thanks and enjoy.


  1. Hey bjaberle,
    that’s pretty cool. Reminds me of goofing around with fmod sandbox last year during my MSc programme. I and other colleague of mine did the same stuff with Nine Inch Nails track “Zero Sum” . Got such a kick out of it. It’s fun 🙂 . Glad to see someone else doing the same. Have fun… Cheers 🙂


  2. Nice. Never worked in gaming, but looks like fun. I do like capturing audio for SFX and foley, could be fun for games, too.

    1. Hi bjaberle,
      I am studying Music Technology at The University of Edinburgh. I am quite fascinated with FMOD designer and Sandbox .

      I am stuck in something. Can you help me in that?
      I want to retrigger an event in Sandbox automatically. I mean the event after stopping should retrigger on its own with different sounds (the event is randomized in pitch and volume). Can you help me in that???

  3. […] with headphones!! I will be happy to address any questions in the comments.  Thanks and enjoy.See the original post hereLeave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) […]

  4. How do I get the transmitters in sandbox?
    I’m very new to this! I’ve created and exported audio from Fmod Designer, but I can never get anything going in sandbox!

  5. @Vince V, you need to Build your project in FMOD Designer. Then in Sandbox you will need to Load Media. You will need to navigate to the .fev file that FMOD Designer built and and load that. Once the .fev file is loaded your FMOD Events will show up in the Media Browser. There are a couple ways to then put your sound emitters in the 3-D space. You can drag them from the media browser. Or you can double-click them. Depending on how your sound emitters are triggered, they should play. Now you can move them around in the 3-D space. I hope that helps.

    1. Hey thanks, I had figured out what I was doing wrong. The audio I was creating in Fmod wasn’t 3D it was 2d so it wouldn’t give me the same options in Sandbox. Thanks again!

  6. Hey there. For some reason my sandbox emitters dont have the cool yellow sphere framework indicating distance. I’m still studying fmod at the moment so Im not 100% fluent in it. I have my max distance set in the 3D parameters. What else should I do? Thanks for the video.

    1. Sorry about replying to my own comment. It was because I didnt set the minimum 3D distance to anything more than 1. Although I cant get my own distance parameter to interact with the distance of the character like you have done. (When you was moving the emitter in the video the distance parameter was changing).

  7. hello…first thanks for the tutorial!!!
    i get the concept but i am having an issue maybe you can help with….
    i made a simple 8 bar loop of kick snare, bass, and 2 guitars just for a test…the all loop perfectly and have used
    the same music for an adaptive audio test and interactive music test which you can watch on my site…..
    the problem i am having is when i open up sandbox and but my different tracks in the world they do not play in sync… the start at the begining of their own loop and not in time….the work around i used was to basically manually start each track by clicking the start button in time “dj style” but this just doesn’t seem right…so how did you you keep all your tracks in time and starting on the “one”

  8. Thanks for checking it out. Here’s what I had to do to get everything to sync up. It’s a bit tedious but it worked for my needs. The first thing you will want to do in FMOD Designer is to give all of of your tracks the same min and max distance parameters. Then when you lay them out in the event editor, give them all the same end point, for example, 100 feet. Build your project and open Sandbox. In Sandbox, drag all of your audio out and place all of your sound emitters where you want them. Note, they will not be in sync at this point. Write down all of the x and y values for your emitters. Stop all of your audio emitters. Move all of the emitters to 0 on the x and y axis. Now what you need to do is move away from that spot past your distance parameter (100 feet in this example). Now, you need to set all of your emitters to “Play.” But since you are not within 100 feet of the emitters, they will not be triggered for playback. Once you move closer to the emitters and break the 100 feet threshold, all of the sound emitters will be triggered at the same time, thus causing them to play back in sync. Now, go back to your emitters and place them on the x any y axis according to what you had written down before. As long as you don’t move further than 100 feet from any emitter, they will all play back. The downside to all of this is it is a one shot deal. If you close Sandbox, you have to do the whole deal over again. Hope this helps.

    1. right on thanks BJ….i wonder how something like this could be implemented in run time?
      i have just started digging into FMOD and really loving what one can do with audio!

      1. Hi. I may be late for this one, but have anyone figure out a way to run this stuff in real time? I was thinking in using MaxMSP to trigger information as it receives Sandbox’s output data but it seems that Sandbox is a closed application that doesn’t send any serial output data that can be accessed. Any thoughts on this? Thanks in advance.

  9. I’m about to puke: I was so happy having found your video when I read the description, only to find out one minute later, that this video isn’t available in germany because “it might be that there is music in it” for that youtube didn’t pay the GEMA… This is ridiculous. Could you please be so kind to point me to a link other than youtube? Vimeo perhaps? That would be soooo good.

    1. Thanks for the note. I will see about getting this video on Vimeo.

  10. Hi!
    I may have what it seems to be a very stupid question but I can’t figure out what is missing and I’ve being trying to find a solution for weeks. Whenever I walkthrough in Sandbox I can’t EVER turn left or righ. Whenever I use the directional or WASD keys It’s like crab walking. I tried every movement mode as possible, but I would like to be able to “walk” in Sandbox in “human normal mode”. Any hints of what is missing? That would save my day!

    1. Ah, I’m about to answer myself. As I always work with my laptop and never use an external mouse I just figured it out that I should use both for that. Well, we’re all laughing here. 🙂

      1. Yeah, I can’t remember what the key control is. But is either control or command with mouse click and drag that allows you to “walk.” Hope that helps.

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