Does Spatial Audio Work With Apple Music?

Spatial audio

Yes, spatial audio works with the Apple Music platform. If you’re subscribed to Apple Music, it’s very easy to listen to select songs in spatial audio through the Dolby Atmos experience. Spatial audio does work with Apple Music. It is the latest feature that Apple has introduced to their listeners.

The spatial audio provides an unparalleled experience of music listening. You’ll not only listen to the music; you’ll feel it like you’re inside of it.

The spatial audio support for Dolby Atmos comes at no additional cost for Apple Music subscribers. That means, the listeners can switch to the spatial audio format within their existing subscriptions.

The news has been a pleasant surprise for listeners all across the globe. But before we dive into more details, let’s know more about spatial audio and how to use it.

What is spatial audio?

The sole reason behind introducing spatial audio is to deliver superior quality audio to all the listeners. Spatial audio is a high-resolution codec that attributes to creating a three-dimensional effect in sound. That means you can track and locate a sound source that can come from anywhere.

In real life, we don’t hear sounds coming from a single source or direction; each sound comes from a specific or different way. You can refer to the sounds of a vehicle or an airplane zooming in and out.

The result is parabolic; you hear the sound at a low volume, then it gradually increases and reaches a peak, then again fades out. With that, you can feel it changing the direction, which you can refer to as the 3D effect.

The Apple spatial audio applies the same strategy to create such effects. It takes the 5.1 or 7.1 channels and Dolby Atmos and applies its own directional audio filters. It also adjusts the sound output and frequencies that each ear can hear.

Following that algorithm, it can place the sound virtually anywhere it wants in a three-dimensional space. The result is a cinematic, true-to-life sound experience that resembles real life.

With the spatial effect, you can hear sounds coming from the front, sides, and even from the background and above.

You’ll feel that you’re not listening to your headphones, but you’re actually present in the scene. Most audio files that we listen to come after a lot of compression and reduction. This format lets you hear all the tiny nuances, and more to that, you can hear songs in the quality of the actual recording in a studio.

The advanced sensors in Apple’s audio devices can track and determine the position of your head to apply the effects.

For example, suppose you’re watching a film on your Apple device with Apple’s audio appliances. If you move your head in another direction, the sensors will track the movement, and you’ll hear that the sound is coming from the direction of your phone.

What does spatial audio with Dolby Atmos mean?

Dolby Atmos is a benchmark in surround sound technology. The feature was previously present in sound systems and home theatres, but today many PCs, smartphones, gaming consoles, and smart speakers also come with the feature.

The advanced audio technology resembles the sound inside a concert hall or a movie theatre. You’ll feel the sound coming from all sides.

The spatial audio feature takes the listening experience a step further. Though the feature can work separately without Dolby Atmos, Apple has enabled the feature for the songs that already has Dolby Atmos support. The combination of both ensures that you don’t only get ultra-high-quality sound but a lively listening experience.

The sound staging is so realistic that if you listen to a song, say, Bohemian Rhapsody, you’ll feel like you’re sitting among the musicians recording the song. If you move or tilt your head in a certain direction, you may hear the instruments on that side more prominently.

Do you need special devices for the spatial audio to work?

You can avail spatial audio in all existing Apple devices, you don’t need a specialized device for that. Apple Music will play Dolby Atmos tracks by default if you have a subscription.

The spatial audio feature with Dolby Atmos is available on Apple AirPod pro, AirPod max, and Beats headphones equipped with an H1 or W1 chipset. With that, the built-in speakers of the latest iPhones, iPads, and Macs. You can also get this feature in the latest version of Apple TV and HomePod.

It is important to note that the feature works with specific versions across all Apple devices. If you have an older device, make sure to check whether your software version is eligible for availing of this feature.

Spatial audio will work for iPhones and ipads that have a version 14.6 or above for both systems. If you want to listen on Mac, update the software version to 11.4 or above to enjoy this feature. To enable this feature, go to the settings and search music, then choose Dolby Atmos under the Audio.

How to listen to songs with Spatial audio support in Apple Music

The process is fairly easy for sampling spatial audio in Apple Music. When you play a song, you’ll see the Dolby Atmos logo in the details of the album. That will mean that you can listen to the entire album in Dolby atmos.

However, you can check playlists that have spatial audio facility. If you want to compare between regular stereo sound and Dolby Atmos with special audio, you can always turn them on or off to see the difference.

As the process is new, so there may be a limited number of songs that support Dolby Atmos with spatial audio. The company is set for adding an Atmos version, especially with spatial audio support for every song on the platform. The platform has around 75 million songs in its library at this moment.

Can you listen to spatial audio on other branded headphones?

The spatial audio format has come out targeting the Apple products such as the AirPod, AirPod pro, AirPod Max, and other Beats headphones. But in reality, you can listen to spatial audio with any headphone that supports Dolby Atmos, and it doesn’t have to be an Apple device.

To enable this feature, go to Dolby Atmos settings and leave it always on. Although it may show a disclaimer that the feature may not sound correct in your non-Apple device, in reality, it works fine in most cases.

Nevertheless, it is important to know that once Apple launches head-tracking for spatial audio format in the latest iOS 15, this feature will not be available in third-party headphones.

How well the spatial audio works and how does it sound?

Apple has announced that they will introduce spatial audio format for all the songs in their library. For now, the format works for thousands of songs across genres. For those songs, the format works pretty nicely, with or without an Apple device. People have compared the upgrade from stereo sound with regular TVs and HD TVs.

The latter brought an unparalleled viewing experience for people, so it happens when you turn the spatial audio feature on. Once you have switched to Dolby Atmos with spatial audio support, it’s hard to go back to regular stereo quality sound.

The audio quality this format provides is significantly higher quality in terms of volume and bit rate. Though Apple already provides a lossless format that delivers studio-quality output, Dolby Atmos with spatial audio takes the whole experience a notch higher. They provide this feature with 192kHz sampling rate. That results in immersive audio, and with the head tracking facility, it seems like you’re living in the moment.

One thing you must know is that songs don’t always follow the same production value and can also vary from genre to genre. Some songs automatically come with a higher sampling rate than some live recordings. Studio versions always have the upper hand regarding sound quality, which shows in the spatial audio format.

Audio engineers have the freedom to place different instruments anywhere in the overall sound spectrum. Little care while mastering a song can generate problems while listening to the higher-quality output.

The vocals and beats may sound distant or very widely spaced, or there can be too much reverb which can disrupt clarity. Spatial audio tends to unearth these issues. Some songs can sound very dull, and you may not be familiar with listening to certain instruments in unfamiliar places.

On the other hand, classical and jazz ensembles can sound astoundingly beautiful if they are good-quality recordings. To sum up, the feature may sometimes work inconsistently.

Is the spatial audio true to the expectations?

Modern inventions have challenged and changed the way we think about sound. The spatial sound format with Dolby Atmos is a breakthrough in the realm of high-performance, high-quality audio.

It offers a sound like never before without any additional cost and Apple Music has already added thousands of songs that support the format.

Moreover, you can enjoy this luxurious experience with any compatible device. With all that, spatial audio in Apple Music is a blessing for music enthusiasts and professionals alike.

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