Sound in Flash

Written by Amanda Kern

Advantages and disadvantages to using sound

Sound is one of the most influential aspects to interactive projects. Regardless of how sound is used, it is certainly one factor that will leave a lasting impression with those that view your projects. Let's overview a few advantages and disadvantages of sound.



Sound file formats supported by Flash

Before we start using sound in Flash we've got to be familiar with the sound file formats that we can import into Flash. The three main file formats we can import into Flash are:

If you have QuickTime 4 or later installed on your system, you can import these additional sound file formats:

Sound resources

Luckily there are a lot of free or low cost sound resources available online, here are just a few that you might find beneficial

Sound Editors

You'll find out quickly that Flash is not the place to edit your sound files. Flash is quite limiting when it comes to altering your sound files. If there ever comes a need to edit or even create your own sound files you should consider using a sound editing program. Most sound editing programs enable you to chop up files into smaller segments, fade in or out, or change sound levels to make the sound seem softer or louder. Here are a list of just a few that you might find useful:

But what about sounds I have in iTunes?

If you use iTunes regularly you might notice that sounds are often in a different format (.m4p), and yes, this file is not supported by Flash. You are able to convert sounds to different formats from iTunes to another format that Flash will accept []. Another alternative is to burn a CD which will convert the sound to wav or aiff file format.

Importing Sound

importImporting sound to a Flash file is the same concept as importing other graphical assets. You may use either Import to Library or Import to Stage, however, the sound will only go to the library no matter which option you use. You may select more than one sound at a time to import to the library.

Once you've imported your sounds they appear in the library. The sounds can be played directly from the library before you decide to add them to the timeline.

Adding Sound to the Timeline

There are two main ways to add sound to the timeline:

  1. Drag the sound to the timeline. With all frames deselected you can drag your sound from the library to a keyframe to add it to your movie's timeline. You must add sound to a keyframe, if you do not it will apply it to the last keyframe in the timeline. You will notice the waveform in the timeline once the sound has been added.

  2. Add the sound using the property inspector. You may alternatively use the property inspector to add your sound. Select the keyframe you wish to apply the sound to. In the property inspector sound options will appear. You may choose sounds from the drop down menu to add to the selected keyframe.
    property inspector

Sound Options in Flash

We do have a few options available for sound in Flash. Let's take a moment to take a closer look, this knowledge might just make the difference in applying the sound to your project appropriately. To access these options you must have your sound applied and the keyframe that has the sound applied must be selected.

Sound Sync settings

Among all of the sound options, the syncronization choices are the most crucial to understand when using sound in Flash. Let's take a moment to clarify each sync setting available:

Repeat vs. Loop

If you're new to Flash "repeat" and "loop" might seem pretty similar and so much so that you might not understand which you should use, so let's clarify and explain the differences:

Sound Effects available in Flash

The "effects" available in Flash are the only options you have to edit sound in Flash. From the drop effect down menu you have the following choices:

Event vs. Streaming Sound

It's easy to confuse the two main sound sync settings so we're going to take a moment to clear up the differences:

Event Sound

Streaming Sound