Adding sound to the animation timeline in Maya

For sound effects and background music, it’s probably much easier to export your Maya animation as a sound-less movie or numbered stills and add sound in Premiere. But if the music dominates the timing of your animation, you want key in frames as you listen to the sound playing in Maya’s playback mode.

To add music to Maya’s animation timeline:

1. Go to File => Import and locate your music file (eg: .wav) and hit OK.

2. Right click the timeline and select Sound => your music file.

You will see waves in the timeline to indicate there is music/sound. The music will play when you play your animation in Maya as long as your animation play-back setting is not set to play every frame.

If the music doesn’t play when you hit play, hit the settings icon (settings icon) at the bottom right of the window.

If you want to work in PAL, go to the Settings tab of the Preferences window that pops up and change the Working Units: Time to PAL (25fps). Then in the Time Slider tab, change the Play-back speed to Real time (25fps).


14 Comments Add yours

  1. John Rivera says:

    Thanks for the info, I just rendered a ton of frames and was wondering where I can put in sound effects, now I have to learn premiere. Can premiere act as a music editor, or should I use a different program to create the many different sounds to one wave file? If so which program do you recomend?

  2. Kakes says:

    Hi John,
    Premiere can act as a music editor so you can do your sound editing in there. You can cut parts of sound files, merge/layer differnt sound files, and change the volumes, etc. You’d have more control over your sound by importing separate sound clips into Premiere and editing them to match your frames, rather than using another software to merge your sounds to one file first. But Cool Edit Pro is a nice program to edit sound files before you import them into Premiere.

  3. FORTUNE ABBEY says:

    Thank you for the Information.

    But i still have a question to ask. It is:
    Can i automation make my Character in Maya talk according to the movement of the waves of the sound clip i have inserted into Autodesk Maya?.

    1. Kakes says:

      You may be able to with a mel script or some plug-ins, but I don’t think there is a built-in command to make your character automatically lip-sync.
      Good luck though – let me know if you find out a way to do it :)

  4. putha says:

    Thank You very much!

    1. Kakes says:

      No probs, glad it helped :)

  5. Tigerfeet says:

    I realise this is an old post but I just wanted to say, thank you very much! I’m using Maya for the first time for a project with a tight deadline and this is exactly the information I needed without having to dig through a pile of extraneous stuff.

    1. Kakes says:

      Thanks for your comment – it’s always great to find out when someone finds my post useful! Good luck with your project.

  6. Dharmarajan says:

    Hi. this is very helpful for me… Post more articles like thiss..

  7. AMP says:

    hey i imported my sound file but when i click on the timeline and selected sound it said no sounds avaliable. Is there sort of plugin i need for sound or what?

    1. Anonymous says:

      I had the same problem until I tried this:
      Save your file as either a .wav or .aiff. Save at 48Khz.
      (The important part was 48khz – mine was higher). I got this answer from here:!!-Need-Sound-To-work-in-maya

  8. Anonymous says:


    I use maya2013 SP2 in Linux, and when i put wav into timeline, i can see it but no sounds, even though i set real-time, my wav file is 48khz, if it is 44.1khz, i can see it and it has sound, can you help me to solve this problem, thanks a lot.

    1. Anonymous says:

      i found that Linux maya can play 48khz, but must be 16bit, not 24bit

  9. Anonymous says:

    maya bonus tools is the plugin you need AMP can download from autodesk website

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