Reverb and Sound by dren_yppah
Skyrim » Audio, sound and music
Added: 12/05/2013 - 10:33AM
Updated: 18/09/2013 - 07:31PM

93 Endorsements

0.91 Latest version

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Uploaded by ffe3214


Last updated at 19:31, 18 Sep 2013 Uploaded at 10:33, 12 May 2013

I'm currently working on a big update for this mod. So i thought it's best to add some information about it..

As the main change, the next version will feature an MCM (see screenshot): more possible sliders, finer adjusting, pitch, save-slot for settings... the rest is still wip and i'll ad information when it's ready (maybe two new modules..) ..And yes, i'll reduce the number of plugins. I'm pretty sure i can offer a single plugin on final release.
I'll make a beta release first to see if everything is fine. This will only be available for users with Dawnguard and Dragonborn (sry!).

sry for the delay. it turned out to be more work than expected. i won't make any more promises on release dates...

- Please do NOT report this mod to boss right now. The update will change the filenames and add new content, and these guys already have a lot of work. i don't think they need to look at this mod twice.. -

- Added optional file that disables all background music, but keeps exploration, level up etc sounds. This is compatible with every music replacer that does not have a esp. Other music replacers might work, as long as they don't add new music types (Fantasy music overhaul is compatible) and my file is loaded after their plugins.
Files included for seperate dlcs and all dlcs.
- Sound-Patches for Dawnguard and Dragonborn added

General Features
  • Modular mod
  • Full support of all official dlcs
  • No Scripts
  • Only edits records directly related to sound, to avoid mod-conflicts
  • Optional Vanilla-Bugfix file that can be used independent of the main mod

This mod is a project i've started for fun early this year, and i'm sharing what i made so far.
It adds the pieces to skyrims soundscape that felt missing, like location-based reverbs and longer, more natural fade in/out over distance, tweaks on balancing, more control for the user over the games volume and changes to menu behavior of sounds..
All in all the changes enhance the games atmosphere and make it sound more natural.
The player will hear dogs barking from the other end of the village, the bandit drawing his blade while sneaking up onto him or the resonating metal in a dwemer ruin when making noise in there. But most of the changes are subtle, because i don't want to get to the point where sounds get annoying, unbalanced or damaging the ears. And it should be seamlessly integrated in the game, without the player realizing that a mod is working. Just keep that in mind..

Basic Knowledge
Terms i'm using in this description, that you might not know
Skyrims Reverb and Reverb in common
Output Model, explains defined speaker output and HRTF
Sound Category
Sound Descriptor

Solid audio hardware, headphones recommended.

Can filter your load order for conflicts
Has many usefull features, like filtering of mods archieves/files for conflicts, merging mods, the bashed patch...

Skyrim uses only 7 different reverbs for all interior cells, and none for exteriors. But there are 50 different acoustic spaces (including the official dlcs), the majority for the different types of interiors, ie different sizes or types of wooden rooms, stone rooms, caves, mines, catacombs, and some for special exterior areas like glaciers or helgen which don't use reverb by default.
This module adds 40 new reverbs to give most acoustic spaces their unique reverb.
All types of interiors now use their own one. Forts don't sound like caves, and both don't sound like a dwemer ruin anymore. The few existing exterior acoustic spaces got fitting reverbs and for the rest the default reverb has been edited to work for non specified exterior areas.
The reverbs are designed to fit in the size and structure of the areas using them as well as furnishings/objects, but also support the atmosphere of the location.
The volume is moderate to keep the sound natural. Some, especially exterior ones can be very subtle (silent may be the wrong word) and might get covered by ambient sounds the most time. But keep in mind that even very subtle reverbs have a strong impact on sound and atmosphere.
A list of the new reverbs can be found at the readme tab.

  • Some cells just use the wrong reverb, for example the jarls house in winterhold (mid sized, wooden walls) is using the one for large stone halls, the same as the winterhold college (large rooms, stone walls). This frequently happens in wooden/stone living rooms
  • Reverb is most of the time used for whole cells. No difference is made between a room or a corridor, different sizes or if the cell changes it's material, like dragonsreach (1st floor is wooden, 2nd floor is stone..). So sometimes the reverb sounds out of place.
  • The default-reverb isn't loaded correctly if loading a savegame in an exterior area. After entering and leaving a interior, it will work.

No impact.

This module increases the audible distance of sounds, adds new audio menu sliders and adds misc tweaks and adjusments.
Furthermore many sounds decsriptors are rebalanced/tweaked. These changes go from tweaks like changing volume or adding slight variation on pitch to changes in radius/output model. Whatever the sound needs.. Due to the amount of 2000+ sound descriptors, this will take some time and is still a WIP.
All of the changes in this module require to edit the same records, so they're combined in one plugin. Changes are either of global nature or based around the vanilla balance, so that other mods adding or editing sounds have a higher chance of compatibility.
Overall it makes the game-sound more dense and alive, instead of leaving the player in a quiet and empty soundscape just filled with ambient sounds and ones that "suddenly pop in" when getting closer.

  • The "global" radius in the output models has been doubled, so every ingame sound is audible at twice the distance. The start attenuation is the same as vanilla, to keep the feeling of the objects distance, but the fadeout is longer and smoother than before (see image).
  • The amount of volume sent to reverb has been reworked. Less extreme/unnatural values, less difference between sounds.
  • Slight volume changes on some of the defined speaker outputs for less interference between sounds, eg all ambient sounds are focussed a little more on the rear speakers if using surround, player 1stperson more on the front. Difference on a stereo-setup is very subtle.
  • Some sounds with defined speaker output set to use HRTF, so the player can hear the direction of the sound source. (eg arrow impact on flesh)
  • Volume of dialogues without attenuation (ie daedra voices) slightly reduced to the point where they don't hurt my ears anymore.
  • Door-sound volume reduced by 10%.
  • WIP - Rebalancing/adjusting radius, output, volume, pitch for single sound descriptors. (These include changes to radius to bring it more in line with the objects size/volume, small fixes like the watersplatter standing in front of the waterfall, increasing volume for very silent sounds like picking chickens, etc. The list is long...)

The sliders at their default settings have the same volume as vanilla skyrim. The master-volume is increased by 10%. Some (Effects/Footsteps/Voices) can be set to a higher volume than before.
Sounds that were muted when the player is underwater, stay muted (for now). The difference is if sounds are paused, fade out or don't change during menus. Before most locateable loops and sounds faded out and the ambient loops where still audible. Now it works the opposite way. During the loading menus all sounds except music are paused.

New Sliders
  • Interface - Controls menu sounds as well as ingame notifications, like crit sounds.
  • Fx/Magic - Controls all magic sounds, all shout effects (not the words themselves) and some explosion sounds.
  • ->Covers some of the loudest game sounds to be able to lower their volume.
  • Effects - AmbientLoops - Controls ambient background sounds. It does not affect sounds that are not looped (ie birds, some winds or thunder) or sounds that have a specific ingame source (ie some locateable object emitting the sound). Is affected by the Effects slider.
  • ->By reducing the ambient loop volume, more room is made for sound sources that can be tracked down.
  • Effects - ObjectLoops/Winds - Controls looped sounds related to static ingame-objects, like fire, water, insects, dwemer gear, as well as wind sounds that are not looped. Doesn't cover quest related sounds. Works the same way as Ambient Loops. Sounds keep playing during menu.

Vanilla Sliders
  • Master - Same as vanilla, but by default 10% louder than before.
  • Effects - Same as vanilla. Keep in mind that this slider doesn't cover all ingame sounds. It didn't do that in vanilla, and it doesn't do now.
  • Footsteps - Same as vanilla, but it controlls npc-footsteps too. The slider does not affect animal/creature footsteps.
  • Voices - Same as vanilla
  • Music - Same as vanilla

  • The new sliders, especially the Fx/Magic, are no safety to be able to heavily(!) increase the games volume. They don't affect every loud sound in the game.
  • I don't recommend extreme changes on the slider-settings. Those would break the game sound. Less is more. The Screenshot shows my current settings.

  • Skyrim allows a maximum of 8 sliders besides the master volume. If more than these are added, their settings won't be saved between game sessions anymore.
  • The slider settings will reset every time the position of the plugin in the loadorder changes. Due to the way the settings are saved in the skyrimprefs.ini nothing can be done about it. I've made the new slider-records part of the esm, which can be loaded directly after the official dlcs to avoid frequent reordering.
  • Most voices from npcs use the same output model, no matter if an npc is whispering or screaming. A whisper naturally should attenuate way faster than a scream, but the game often makes no difference. So i used a medium setting for attenuation and distance.
  • Sometimes the sound modules changes to distance don't work when loading the mod the first time. Start your game with the mod enabled, save once, exit the game, restart and load last save.

The increase in distance should result in increased memory usage. But theres no effect on my system, neither in fps nor in used ram.
If you suffer from any negative effects, please let me know. Maybe the memory-settings at the ini-tweaks help..

_Ini Tweaks_
The main downloads contain a file called Sound(_SkyrimOnly).ini. It's loaded the same way as bsa-archive and overwrites values from skyrim.ini, without directly editing it. This file is technically not required for the mod to work, and the settings also work without the mod (if pastet in the skyrim.ini) and/or can be changed to personal liking.
I've pasted the full [Audio]-section of the skyrim.ini with default-settings at the readme-tab, in case somebody wants to try out some more. If you find something cool and usefull, please let me know.

fMenuModeFadeOutTime=5.0000 ;default=3.0000
fMenuModeFadeInTime=0.3000 ;default=1.0000
Defines how fast sounds sounds fade out/in if a menu is entered/left.

fNonDialogVoiceDuckingFadeIn=0.6000 ;default=1.0000
fNonDialogVoiceDuckingFadeOut=0.4000 ;default=1.5000
fNonDialogVoiceDucking=2.5000 ;default=9.0000
Defines how much specific sounds (depending on the audio category the sound is referenced to) are lowered, and how fast the sounds fade in/out, if the player is in Dialogue-Mode. The dampening of sounds is much more subtle than before, but still makes some room for the dialogue.

fReverbTransitionTime=1.0000 ;default=0.5
Defines how fast reverb fades in/out.

fASFadeOutTime=6.0000 ;default=8.0000
fASFadeInTime=3.0000 ;default=3.0000
Defines how fast Acoustic Spaces fade in/out.

fHighlightSpeechOverlap=0.0 ;default=0.5000
fMaxHighlightRadius=1.0000 ;default=250.0000
iHighlightSpeechOverlap=0 ;default=500
These disable the feature of random dialogues lowering the volume of other dialogues. For example a guard making a comment lowers volume on a dialogue with a quest-giver.

uiMaxAudioCacheSize=4194304 ;default=2097152
uiInitialCacheSize=1048576 ;default=1048576
uMaxSizeForCachedSound=52288 ;default=26144
If you have issues with sounds missing or not playing correctly, try enabling these settings. The distance-altering part of the mod could have an impact on memory..
They have been deactivated by ; in front of them. Remove it if you want them active. You can experiment with increasing these values. I encountered no issues with or without these or with higher values.

As long as not stated otherwise, loadorder doesn't matter. Obviously the esm must be loaded first.
WryeBash is able to merge all reverb_xx.esps into the bashed patch, and skyrim doesn't need to load them afterwards.

  • RnS_Source.esm The master file, is required for the reverb and sound modules. Should be loaded as early as possible in the load order to avoid the slider resetting issue, best is to load it directly after the official esms. It does not overwrite any vanilla records besides the default reverb.
  • Reverb_XX.esp The reverb-module. If you have both Dawnguard and Dragonborn installed, use only Reverb.esp, otherwise you'll need the Reverb_Skyrim.esp and the esps for the dlcs you have.
  • Sound.esp The sound module. Requires Dawnguard and Dragonborn installed.
  • Sound_SkyrimOnly.esp Use this if you don't own both dlcs. This was created from the sound.esp with tes5edit.
  • Sound_Dawnguard/Dragonborn.esp Requires Sound_SkyrimOnly. Patches for the dlcs.
  • Sound.ini/Sound_SkyrimOnly.ini Apllies the ini tweaks to the game. Requires either Sound.esp or Sound_SkyrimOnly.esp to be loaded.

Optional Files

Fixes general issues with skyrims sounds, that are not part of the USKP (yet, issues are already reported).
Does not require the main file or the dlcs. Should be loaded early in the load order, so other mods can overwrite the changes if needed.
I highly recommend using this combined with the sound-module.
  • Fixed bell-sound of domestic goats not working.
  • Added the missing player footstep sound for jumping up. Before jumpup sounds in 3rdperson didn't properly switch to HRTF.
  • Added missing FireballExplosion-sound to the Explosion-records that only used FireballExplosionDistant.
  • Fixed frosbite spiders using the footsteps of giant frostbite spiders.

The only noteworthy change is the reduced volume on the Wooden Sword Impact. This file is optional because i don't want to add another master to the main mod for only few changes..
Does not require the main file.

This file adds reverb to cells that don't use one. This is a WIP and more cells will be added in the future.
Currently included:
- The five main cities
- Dark Brootherhood Sanctuary
Requires only RnS_Source.esm. Does not require any dlcs. Has been cleaned with Tes5Edit.

Patch files need to be loaded after the mods they're patching.

This esp disables the volume-sliders of the sound-module, the volume is at vanilla-level for all sound-categorys. (Actually, it just hides them but keeps the routing of the sound.esp.) Due to the limit of 8 sliders, the settings of additional sliders added by other mods wouldn't be saved between game sessions. If you want to combine this mod with another one adding sliders, use the patch.
The archive has two files, one for sound and one for sound_skyrimonly. Use only one, load it after the sound(_skyrimonly).esp. Other mods that have their own sliders should be loaded after sound(_skyrimonly).esp as well (in case they are editing the same sound descriptors).

Patch for Moonpath to Elsweyr. Requires RnS_Source.esm, Moonpath.esm needs to be loaded after RnS_source.esm.
The moonpath-mod uses only one new acoustic space for all it's cells. The used reverb has been set to urban exterior instead of skyrims medium wooden room that is used by default.

Patch for Sounds of Skyrim -The Dungeons/-The Wilds/-Civilization. Requires RnS_Source.esm and Sounds of Skyrim. The reverb.esp is technically not required, but without it will sound odd. If Reverb_Cells is used, load it before Sounds of skyrim.
The patches add the new reverbs to the new acoustic spaces added by SoS. Furthermore, SoS adds new acoustic spaces to areas that hadn't one before, like smaller villages and citys. And the patches add reverb to these acoustic spaces. You might see where this is going..

Patch for the sound module of Climates of Tamriel. Other modules of CoT don't need patching.
The patch makes the CoT-Sounds be controlled by the ambient-loops slider. The Archive has two files, _90 and _100. The first is reducing the volume of the new sounds to 90%, the second keeps the full volume. Choose only one!
Loadorder: ClimatesOfTamriel.esm needs to be loaded after RnS_Source.esm, the choosen patch must be loaded after ClimatesOfTamriel-Sound.esp. Requires the sound-module to activate the sliders.

Patch for Improved Horse Step Sounds. Big thx to Crystan for giving me permission!
This archive contains a edited version of the IHSS.esp. The horse footsteps are now audible over a longer distance (same as elks instead of humans) and the volume is adjusted.
(It changes the output model used by the horse-footsteps to a different vanilla one with higher radius (from 1400(humans) to 3000 in game units(elks)). The longer attenuation of the sound module will be applied if the sound module is used.)
The original IHSS-Mod is still required for the samples. My mod is not required.
Load this after the sound module (if it's used). If you use IHSS for FSO, this patch is not required. FSO has similar changes.

As long as another audio related mod doesn't edit acoustic spaces, output models or audio categorys, in most cases the changes of my mod will be automtically applied.
I recommend to use tools like tes5edit to check for mod conflicts and think about if mods can be incompatible without conflicting records or files.

If another mod edits vanilla acoustic spaces or adds new ones, they will use the vanilla reverbs. Patching might be usefull in this case, but without the game will not break, just sound different.
Edits to vanilla reverbs will have no effect because these are not used by the game anymore. The only exception is the default reverb, which is part of the esm, but why would someone want to install two reverb mods anyway?

  • Some mods add new or edit vanilla sounds. The main issue, depending on the type of sound, is that it might not be referenced to the correct sound category. Or in other words, if a mod for example adds new ambient loops, they are not affected by the ambient volume slider. But if you haven't made extreme changes on the sliders, you might not even hear the difference, and most sounds don't use new sound-categorys. The same is possible with the distance/volume of single sounds being set back to default if a mod edits vanilla sounds, but this is unlikely to happen and will show in form of conflicting records.
  • Sample-Replacing mods are always compatible, as long as they switch vanilla samples with ones with similar volume. Mods that adjust volume on samples might be incompatible with the sound-module. It's changes cover many of the "fixed-volume" sample replacers available.
  • If a mod edits vanilla sound categories or output models directly, you shouldn't combine our mods unless you know what you're doing.
  • If you want to use this module with another mod adding volume-sliders, use the NoSlidersPatch.

Use your favorite mod manager to install/uninstall.
If installing manually, choose the wrye bash-file. All esps you find in the subfolders need to be copied to /skyrim/data and afterwards activated in the launcher. Choose only the files for the dlcs you have and you want active. For detailed information on the different folders/files refer to the Files-Section.

As far as i can tell, the mod can be installed at every time of the game and be removed whenever wanted without leaving permanent changes in the savegame/ini.

When installing or updating the Sound-module, after starting the game open up the Audio-Menu and press "T" to reset all sliders to default. Do the same after uninstalling the mod to restore skyrims default settings. No need to edit the SkyrimPrefs.ini.

_Recommended Mods_

Improved Horse Step Sounds
Adds horse footstep-sounds for different types of ground-material. Patch required.

SkyTEST - Dawnguard Wolf Sound Fix
It's one of the optional files of SkyTEST. Fixes the missing wolf howl and other wolf sounds.

New Samples
Smooth blade draw and Sheathe
Scabbardds are not made of stone!