X3DAudio Overview

X3DAudio is an API used with XAudio2 to position sound in 3D space to create the illusion of sound coming from a point in space relative to the position of the camera.In particular, titles that feature 3D scenes will want to use X3DAudio. Sounds not requiring 3D positioning, such as soundtracks or non-positioned ambient sounds, may bypass X3DAudio completely.

Listeners and Emitters

To manage sounds in 3D space, X3DAudio employs the concepts of listeners and emitters. Listeners and emitters represent the position of whatever is hearing 3D sounds, and the point from which those sounds originate.

  • A listener is defined as a point in space and an orientation. It is the position at which the sound is heard. The position and orientation of the listener generally is the same as the position and orientation of the camera. This is true whether a title uses a first-person or third-person perspective view. The listener's position is expressed in world coordinates. It is important to note that it is the listener's position relative to an emitter that determines how to calculate the final speaker volumes.
  • An emitter is defined as one (or more) points in space from which a sound originates. The position of the emitter can be anywhere in 3D space. Like a listener, an emitter's position is expressed in world coordinates. It is the emitter's position relative to the listener that determines how the final speaker volumes are calculated.
  • X3DAudio uses left-handed coordinates. To use with right-handed coordinates, developers need to negate the .z element of the OrientTop, OrientFront, Position, and Velocity members of X3DAUDIO_LISTENER and X3DAUDIO_EMITTER.
In addition to position, listeners and emitters can include velocity. Unlike a 3D rendering engine, X3DAudio only uses velocity to calculate Doppler effects (it is not used to calculate position).

For more details about listeners and emitters, see the X3DAUDIO_LISTENER and X3DAUDIO_EMITTER structure reference topics.

Using X3DAudio with XAudio2

For all interaction between X3DAudio and XAudio2, use the following X3DAudio functions.

For a step-by-step example of using X3DAudio with XAudio2, see How to: Integrate X3DAudio with XAudio

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