Audio Middleware Comparison Sheet 10/2014
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Middleware Options (Be sure to hover over cells for helpful comments and links)PRIORITY 1=fundamental 2=important 3=useful improvement 4=special caseWwiseFmod StudioFabric (Unity)Master Audio (Unity)Unity 4 (no middleware)Unreal Engine 4 (No Middleware)
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TOPICS/FEATURES BELOW
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Manual1Y, incredible in depth and clarity!Y Y/N - Currently the free version has no manuals or support, but the priced versions have options for support and access to API.Y - Extensive and thorough! With free access to the API.

Y - Basic and not very helpful
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Video Tutorials2YYNYYY
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Documentation 1Best! None for free users with Fabric 2.2. Difficult to findFree, extensive documentation being updated regularly.
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Support1Excellent! Large team with thousands of hours of development in their tool. Very responsive.Best I've had. Answers emails within hours, integrated many requests the same day when possible, and very receptive to change.
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Userbase2LARGENo forum4k
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Integration Difficulty1Simple – No engineering support needed. Works WITHIN the tool! NOT on Unity asset store.Simple – No engineering support needed. Works WITHIN the tool!N/AN/A
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Complexity1Tweakable, and augments Unity audio capabilities to a large degree!Simple, and augments Unity audio capabilities to a large degree!Simple, but can't do much of anything
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Ability to trigger sound events with multiple sounds instead of just one sound per call1YYYY (Events)N, would have to be written from scratch.
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Price for license1Free for 200 or less sounds in a project, For paid version it starts at $750 per platform with a lot of additional paid options. Free for projects with budgets under $100k. For paid versions it starts at $3k for projects with budgets at $100k-$500k. Free for projects with budgets under $100k but no support or source code access is given to users. For paid versions it starts at $2,400 +$1,700 for support and $850 for source code access.$60, or $30 when on sale, per seat, bulk deals offered, ask Eric for prices. For studios they offer bulk discounts of around 1 year of access at $12 a seat or perpetual access for $22 a seat.Unity Pro is $1,500 for a license which includes a profiler to debug audio memory usage.
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Memory Managerment (Dynamic loading/unloading of soundbanks)1Y but requires engineering support. Uses soundbanks and organization of project to define soundbanks that get loaded depending on how it's set up.Y but requires engineering supportY - Included Without Further Support per scene or prefab.N, would have to be written from scratch.
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Compression Options1.mp3, pcm.mp3, pcm.mp3, pcm
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Performance1HIGH PERFORMANCE - extremely low (zero bytes in majority of cases) garbage collection allocations.Uses low level FMod engine to play sounds. Works on a very basic level with simple sounds.
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Workflow Improvements1N
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Profiler (Keeping track of voices playing, memory manager, etc.)11200 for pro license (Unity's Profiler)1200 for pro license (Unity's Profiler)1200 for pro license
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UI18 out of 10. Collapsable, easy to navigate, visual feedback, jukebox for prototyping.Non-Existent. New Unity 5 mixer exists though.
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Audio Pooling1YN (Would have to be coded)
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Mixer (Features)1VCAY (Unity 5 will have meters, ducking, and sub-busses)
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Save live mixer changes when adjusting during gameplay2Y, connect to game, adjust, save.Soon, but not yetN
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Sends on mixer3YYN, but will exist Unity 5 has sends
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Ducking2Unity 5 mixer will have sends
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LUFS/EBU metering3Y ITU EBS 1770-3 and EBU R-128Y - EBU R-128NNN
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Synchronized Music (Music layers in sync)2N
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Container Features1Blend TracksRandom/ordered, Dialogue(1 at a time killing olders), Normal (Replay limit for x# of frames or time), Weighting, Linked group mode, Caller Despawn mode (when object destroyed stops sound), Vol min/max, Pitch min/max (Adding all simultaneous), Simple looping toggle for audio files, delaysN
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Manually define position over time3Y?NN
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Falloff Curve Features1Shareable, Assignable, Definable falloff curves. Basic, no shared curves, simple UI for defining individual curves.
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Spread2YY?NN
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Voice Limiting on Containers2YYN
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Voice Limiting on Individual Sounds2YN
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Voice Limiting on Busses1YYN
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Prioritization based on Distance2?YN
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Copy/Paste settings between sound containers2YYN
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Mass Edit Capability2YWithin same container only. Volume, Pitch, etc.N
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Looping Music1YYY
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Gapless playlists1YYN
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Seamless Looping mp3 tech1?, Unsure if they have this working on Unity.Y - Must import .wav file and convert within Unity to work.Y
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Music Crossfading1Music timeline with visual crossfading and prototyping tool.Y, but no equal power or adjustable x-fadesN
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Music Stingers1YTriggered using events OR using custom events when song changes or ends.N
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Switches (For collisions and Footsteps) All require engineering support to be triggered.1Excellent UI switch for different sounds in containers based on the input it receivesY, using tags or volumes, but no dropdown menu and set up on events instead of containers. One script per tag. N
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Prototyping2Excellent prototyping tool (Soundcaster) with access to all paramaters to test and create complex events and music setups without coding support.Fire events, music playlist testing using Jukebox.N
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Scripting help2Y, but not many script examples. The idea is to use the prototyping tool more often.Lots of premade scripts for music and sound event triggeringN
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Audio Settings Manager1Unity 5 has bulk edit mode for audio clipsUnity 5 has bulk edit mode for audio clipsUnity 5 has bulk edit mode for audio clips
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Obstruction/Occlusion (Coding Support Required)1Excellent obstruction tool to ensure the best sounding natural volume and LPF fitlering.
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Third Party Integrations:3Unity tools - Playmaker
- NGUI (Unity 4.6 may make irrelevant)
- 2D Toolkit
- Behavior Designer
- AI For Mechanim
- Dialogue System
- DF-GUI
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Linear or dB1dBdBdBdB or Linear with a toggleLinearLinear
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Events that can trigger other events2YY (Unlimited Linked events, and containers can trigger other containersN
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Complex Event capabilities2YY, Control groups, buses, playlist and sounds!, pause and unpause all sounds for menuN
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Real Time Parameter Control RTPC2YYNN
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Audio FX2Y - Incredbile amount of HIGH quality effects!NY (Unity Pro Filter Audio FX Support - $1,500 pro license cost)Y (Unity Pro Filter Audio FX Support - $1,500 pro license cost)
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PLATFORM compatibility1Android™, iOS, Linux,Mac®, Nintendo 3DS™, PlayStation®3, PlayStation®4,PlayStation®, WIndows, Windows Phone, Xbox 360™,Xbox One,Wii™, Wii U™Microsoft Windows (32-bit and 64-bit)
OS X
iOS
Linux (32-bit and 64-bit)
Android
BlackBerry
Wii, Wii U, 3DS
Xbox, Xbox 360
PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita
Google Native Client
Same as Unity! ios, Android, Windows Phone 8, Blackberry 10, Windows, Windows Store Apps, Mac, Linux, Web Player, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PS Mobile, XBoxOne, XBox 360, WiiUSame as Unity! ios, Android, Windows Phone 8, Blackberry 10, Windows, Windows Store Apps, Mac, Linux, Web Player, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PS Mobile, XBoxOne, XBox 360, WiiUios, Android, Windows Phone 8, Blackberry 10, Windows, Windows Store Apps, Mac, Linux, Web Player, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PS Mobile, XBoxOne, XBox 360, WiiU
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Ability to change settings per platform3Y?Impossible?Impossible?Impossible?
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Play sound across scene changes2Y with proper bank loading and engineering support?Y - Built in to Master AudioN
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Dialogue1YY?Y - Basic functionality. Compatible with Dialogue System for Unity N
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Dialogue Stitching3Y??NN
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Dialogue - multi-language support.2YYYY (Localization feature. One page with example scene.)N
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Manages memory for resource files2YN
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Binaural Audio4Y, AstoundSound3d integratedNY - using 3rd party options like 3dceptionY - using 3rd party options like 3dceptionY - using 3rd party options like 3dception
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HDR Audio4YNNN
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Source Control built in for multiple users3YYNNN
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Live in-game mixing, tweaking, and creation2YYNN (Possibly in the future)N
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Hardware Control Support3Y - Midi and ctrl surface supportY - Ctrl surface supportNNNN
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Overall Voice Limit2256 registered objects. Can be modified to allow more voices to be registered if exceeding in complex multiplayer game, but rarely do you need more than 256.32 HARD LIMIT in Unity 4!32 HARD LIMIT in Unity 4!32 HARD LIMIT in Unity 4!
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Man hours spent creating tool16 people full time for 8 years?~1500 hours (36+ work weeks for one engineer, at $90k avg. that's about $70k as well as request from multiple teams improving one tool that is a proven solution instead of taking risks)
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Surround Support2Surround editor, panner, center channel percentage, playback in surround.?Playback in SurroundPlayback in SurroundPlayback in Surround
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