Audio for Native Apps

Audio is crucial for creating a persuasive VR experience. Because of the key role that audio cues play in our sense of being present in an actual, physical space, any effort that development teams devote to getting it should be worth the effort, as it will contribute to the user’s sense of immersion.

Oculus provides free, easy-to-use spatializer plugins for engines and middleware including Unity, Unreal and native development. Our spatialization features support both Rift and Android development.

Our ability to localize audio sources in three-dimensional space is a fundamental part of how we experience sound. Spatialization is the process of modifying sounds to make them localizable, so they seem to originate from distinct locations relative to the listener. It is a key part of creating presence in virtual reality games and applications.

For more on the foundational concepts that make up immersive audio be sure to check out the following guide on VR Audio, Design, Engineering and Mastering.

Audio Features

Oculus provides the following audio tools:

  • Sound Spatialization Plugins - The Oculus spatialization tools and integrations transform monophonic sound sources to make them sound as though they originate from a specific desired direction. For details of our spatialization features, considerations and limitations see Spatializer Features.
  • Synchronization of Avatar Lip Movements Synchronize avatar lips to speech and laughter sounds with Oculus Lipsync.
  • Audio Profiling - Use the Oculus audio profiling tool to track audio issues.
  • Loudness Meter - Measure the loudness of your audio mix with the Oculus Loudness Meter.

Download and Use Oculus Audio Tools

See the following documents for Oculus integrations with popular development tools.

Native Development

Oculus provides a native spatializer and a native Lipsync package.

Native SpatializerNative Spatializer Reference
Oculus Lipsync for Native DevelopmentOculus Lipsync for Native Development

Audiokinetic Wwise

Oculus provides a plugin spatializer for Wwise.

Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugin for WwiseSpatializer for Audiokinetic Wwise

The following image shows an example of Wwise.

FMOD Studio

Oculus provides a plugin spatializer for FMOD Studio.

Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugin for FMODOculus Spatializer for FMOD Studio

The following image shows an example of FMOD Studio.

Avid Pro Tools and other DAWs

Oculus provides a plugin for Avid Pro Tools and other Digital Work Stations.

Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugins for AAX (Windows)
Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugins for AAX (Mac)
Oculus Spatializer for Avid Pro Tools (AAX)
Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugins for VST (Windows)
Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugins for VST (Mac)
Oculus VST Spatializer for DAWs

The following image shows an example of Avid Pro Tools.

Additional Audio Utilities

Oculus Audio Profiler for WindowsProvides real-time statistics and metrics to track audio performance in apps that use Oculus Spatializer plugins.Oculus Audio SDK Profiler
Oculus Loudness MeterA tool that measures the loudness of your app’s audio mix. Loudness goes beyond simple peak level measurements, using integral functions and gates to measure loudness over time in LUFS units.Oculus Audio Loudness Meter

Sample Audio Files

PackageMore Info
Oculus Audio Pack 1An archive of WAV audio files that includes a variety of sounds including weather, animal sounds, and human vocals.
Oculus Ambisonics Starter PackIncludes several AmbiX WAV files representing various ambient soundscapes, such as parks, natural environments with running water, indoor ventilation, rain, urban ambient sounds, and driving noises.

Learn More

Sound design and mixing is an art form, and VR is a new medium in which it is expressed. Whether you’re an aspiring sound designer or a veteran, VR provides many new challenges and inverts some of the common beliefs we’ve come to rely upon when creating music and sound cues for games and traditional media.

Watch Brian Hook’s Introduction to VR Audio from Oculus Connect 2014.

Watch Tom Smurdon and Brian Hook’s talk at GDC 2015 about VR Audio.

Learn more about audio propagation simulation in the Facebook Reality Labs blog post

Read the Introduction to VR Audio white paper for key ideas and how to address them in VR, or see any of the additional topics:

Localization and the Human Auditory SystemDescribes how humans localize sound.
3D Audio SpatializationDescribes spatialization and head-related transfer functions.
Listening DevicesDescribes different listening devices and their advantages and disadvantages.
Environmental ModelingDescribes environmental modeling including reverberation and reflections.
Sound Design for SpatializationNow that we’ve established how humans place sounds in the world and, more importantly, how we can fool people into thinking that a sound is coming from a particular point in space, we need to examine how we must change our approach to sound design to support spatialization.
Mixing Scenes for Virtual RealityAs with sound design, mixing a scene for VR is an art as well as a science, and the following recommendations may include caveats.
VR Audio GlossaryDefinitions of technical terms VR audio terms.

Oculus Audio Community

If you’re interested in learning more about Oculus VR audio or just want to chat with other audio-minded developers, drop by the Audio Developer Forums.