Audio Environment: Airliner Edition
Developer: Turbine Sound Studios
Publisher: Flight 1
Release Date: Out Now
Players: One
Words By:

Audio Environment is an add on package for FSX which, in the developer’s words, “Replaces the aircraft sounds in the key FSX airliners with much more realistic hi-fi sound sets, in addition to providing a massive improvement in the AI traffic sounds”.

So basically what you get for your money is a bunch of new sound packages for the default Lear Jet, CRJ, Boeing 737, 747 and Airbus airliners. A simple interface enables you to easily add these sounds to any other aircraft you might have installed in FSX. These sound packages add a number of enhancements missing from the default sounds such as detailed start up and shut down effects, rattles and shakes inside the cockpit as you go down the runway and various other effects such as flaps deployment and gear sounds. The sound packages also reproduce the specific noises made by each aircraft, with the Airbus having the characteristic amplified washing machine noise, while the Lear jet has more of a high performance shriek. The package also enhances the AI traffic sounds, and is compatible with most traffic packages out there.

I had no problem installing these sounds to the default aircraft and my AI traffic package. I also installed the sounds to a bunch of add-on airliners I have installed. The interface is simple and intuitive and does the job with no fuss. It also makes a backup in case you want to go back to the default sounds—you won’t though.

I must say the enhanced sounds were a bit of an eye-opener (or should that be ear-opener?) To be honest I’ve never paid much attention to the default airliner sounds in FSX. I thought they were ok but these new sounds are a big improvement and definitely worth while if you fly the default airliners and are looking for that little bit more immersion and atmosphere.

The AI traffic sound enhancements I found harder to quantify. Firstly, on my system, setting traffic levels to a dense enough setting in order to appreciate the full effect turns my sim into a slideshow quickly followed by a crash to desktop, so I was unable to give that aspect a fair evaluation. Secondly, although there was some audible improvement, I wouldn’t say it wowed me as much as the radical improvement in the default aircraft. That said I do really like the way they have made it possible to enhance every AI package that I am aware of, so no FSX users of AI Traffic packages should feel left out. I think the AI enhancement is possibly more of a subtle change in the overall ambience the benefits of which will become more apparent over time.

I do have a couple of comments. Firstly, the manual suggests setting the engine sounds to 70%. This makes for an almighty racket inside the flight deck! Fine if you fly with all the windows and doors open, but otherwise not particularly realistic. Moving the sliders down the scale leaves a nice realistic background hum, and you can always switch to the external view if you want your ears blasted. Secondly it would be nice if they could have added some sounds to the default switches on the flight deck. Many of these are silent in the default aircraft and it would be nice to hear some clicks and whirrs, etc. But I’m being picky.
In summary I can’t really fault this product. It is a hassle free installation, it does exactly what it says on the tin, and I think is relatively inexpensive for what it does. I’d stop short of labelling it a ‘must have’, but if you have the spare cash I would definitely pick it up as it does enhance the overall ambience of the sim, definitely makes flying the default airliners a more pleasurable experience, and adds to that all important immersion factor us prop heads are always seeking.

Best Bits

- A significant improvement on the default sounds within FSX.
- Very nice, user-friendly interface.
Worst Bits

- May have limited appeal if you don’t fly the default aircraft in FSX.

by: Captain Magenta

Copyright © Gamecell 2010