Embedding Sound Sources In Revit Family Components
Adding ambient sounds to your Revit project creates a more compelling and realistic experience. But nesting sound sources within Family Components increases coordination and ease of use.
You should know by now that Enscape (enscape3d.com) allows you to add sound sources to your project. The sound sources even respond to the acoustic qualities of the objects and materials within the space. This is really great for increasing realism and the overall experience of exploring your design in Revit.
But sound isn’t merely ambient – it has a source. So why not associate it to the appropriate family component in Revit? This has the added advantage of coordinating the location of the sound source automatically when moving or adding a component.
For this tutorial, we’re going to modify the Autodesk® Revit® Basic Sample Project. You notice a few modeling changes in this file, like standing seams on the metal roof (hat tip to @jadamthomas), a nicer car in the driveway and some decent stereos: the addition of a Bose SoundDock in the kitchen and a Bang and Olufsen A9 in the living room.
Zoom into Level 1 and place a Soundsource in the kitchen. You also be prompted to associate a WAV file to the sound source – go ahead and do this – it doesn’t matter which sound source you select. This sound source is just a placeholder.
Now that you’ve placed the sound source, select it and open the family to edit. Check the Shared option and without closing the family, reload the family into the project and overwrite the existing version.
Now, let’s add the sound source to a few family components. Select one of the trees in the backyard and select Edit Family.
Once the tree is open, tab over to the sound source family and load the family into the tree family.
Birds like to chirp in tree canopy, right? So elevate the sound source into the right position in the tree. While the sound source is selected, let’s map it to an appropriate Instance Parameter. Select the small radio button to the right of the Soundfile parameter.
Select the Add Parameter button to create a new parameter for the sound source.
Use the following parameter values:
- Name: Soundfile
- Value: Instance
- Group parameter under: General
Then select OK to close the Parameter Properties dialog.
Load the tree back into your project and Overwrite the existing version.
When you select any of your trees, you now have the option to add map a sound source to the tree.
Don’t overdo it. Not every tree needs a sound source. Since the sound source is an Instance Parameter, you can add different sound sources to each tree.
Here’s the tricky part: selecting the Soundfile Instance Parameter doesn’t open a pop-up window. So you need to copy and paste the path to the WAV sound file to associate the sound to the nested soundfile component.
In the example below, I’ve associated the Nature Ambient.wav file to a few scattered trees. Then I associated the Woodpecker.wav file to only two trees so the sound would be less frequent.
Now let’s repeat the process with Bose SoundDock that will be placed on the counter in the kitchen. Note how the nested soundfile component is slightly above the family to keep the sound from being accidentally embedded inside the component or any casework.
Use the same process and parameter settings for the nested soundsource component.
Place the family on the counter top. Associate the appropriate sound file path to the component.
Here’s the perspective view of the kitchen.
Let’s repeat the same process for the a Bang and Olufsen A9 to be placed the living room.
Once the family is placed, copy and paste the path to the sound file.
Alright! Let’s start Enscape to see…ahem…I mean hear the results!
Move toward the trees in the backyard and you’ll be able to see the nested sound source components. Uncheck Show Sound Sources to hide the sound source.
From a distance you’ll notice the volume of the sound increases as you approach the sound source. You’ll also notice the sound is directional – so if the sound source is on your left you’ll hear it more predominately from the left headphone. Pretty cool, eh!
If you’d like to explore the Revit project on your own, all the project assets are on Dropbox over here. Based on your computer settings, you’ll need to repath the sound files before launching Enscape. Otherwise everything else should just work!
In the future, I hope the Enscape team adds more sound controls (volume, etc) in Enscape. As you walk around, I think you’ll find the space more contemplative and relaxing that when exploring the design in silence.
And finally, don’t forget to add your own tips and tricks in Revit and Enscape in the comments below.