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Spatial Audio vs Dolby Atmos: What is the Distinction?


Apple Music is formally a lossless music streaming service. As of early June 2021, subscribers now have entry to an enormous catalog of lossless tracks which can be CD high quality (16bit / 44.1kHz) and higher (as much as 24-bit / 192 kHz), which is a large improve over the MP3-quality tracks that they had been beforehand had entry to. But it surely’s not simply higher-bitrate tracks that Apple has delivered to Apple Music subscribers — it is given them entry to extra immersive tracks, as effectively.

Apple Music has began including tracks that help Dolby Atmos and make the most of Spatial Audio, each of that are immersive sound applied sciences. The mix of the 2, based on Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vp of Apple Music and Beats, is the “largest development ever in sound high quality.” However what precisely do every do? And the way do they work collectively? Think about this your newbie information.

What’s Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is without doubt one of the most sought-after options for any new soundbar or dwelling theater system. It is an immersive audio expertise that creates digital top and facet channels, which trick your ears into pondering that sound is coming from throughout you — left, proper and above — as a substitute of good in entrance of you. Primarily, Atmos makes it sound such as you’re in a film or at a live performance — and it is unbelievable.

What gadgets help Dolby Atmos? Rather a lot. There are lots of of hundreds of thousands of gadgets that help Dolby Atmos. And it is not simply dwelling theater programs and soundbars. It is constructed into PCs and tablets, recreation consoles and streaming sticks, smartphones, sensible audio system, headphones and TVs. Dolby licenses Atmos as a software program package deal to varied
producers (like Apple, Samsung and Sonos), which figures out what sort of system you may have, whether or not that is a 2.0, 5.1.2 or a 7.1.2, after which renders the audio in order that it sounds greatest.

What’s Spatial Audio?

Spatial Audio is Apple’s personal immersive sound expertise that makes use of the varied sensors (particularly the accelerometers and gyroscopes) in Apple’s AirPods Professional or AirPods Max to trace the listener’s head actions. It then creates a digital house primarily based on the listener’s head and the machine they’re listening from (like an iPhone) in order that it at all times sounds just like the audio is popping out of that machine. For instance, in case you’re watching a film in your iPhone and AirPods Professional and also you flip your head to the suitable, the sound will grow to be extra outstanding in your left ear as a result of it is nearer to the motion (the iPhone display).

What gadgets help Spatial Audio? It is advisable carrying Apple’s AirPods Professional or AirPods Max and listening from an Apple machine that helps Spatial Audio. Should you’ve purchased an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV up to now few years, it probably helps Spatial Audio; you simply must have it up to date with the newest software program.

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What’s Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos

Spatial Audio can work with out Dolby Atmos, however extra occasions than not you are going to be listening to content material that helps each simultaneous. In truth, Apple designed Spatial Audio in order that it really works greatest with Dolby Atmos. The mixed impact enables you to take higher benefit of the digital audio house that Dolby Atmos creates by permitting you to maneuver round in it.

In a nutshell, Dolby Atmos creates the impact of watching a film at a cinema or listening to music at a stay live performance — the sound comes from throughout you (middle, left, proper, above and behind) — and Spatial Audio provides one other layer that makes you are feeling such as you’re in film or shifting round on the live performance.

When listening to music, you may flip your head to left or proper and the vocals and devices will grow to be roughly outstanding relying on the place you are dealing with. Should you’re watching a film in your iPhone or Apple TV, and a personality is yelling on the suitable facet of the display, you may flip your head to the suitable and it will sound like they’re yelling proper at you.

What content material helps Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos? It is advisable be carrying AirPods Professional or AirPods Max and listening from an up to date Apple machine that is from 2018 or later. From there, any content material that Atmos (or 5.1 or 7.1 encompass sound) will be capable to make the most of the Spatial Audio characteristic. Most video streaming apps, equivalent to Apple TV+, Hulu, HBO Go and Amazon Prime Video help some kind of encompass sound applied sciences on Apple machine. (Netflix solely helps stereo sound on iOS gadgets.) Apple Music is the one music streaming service that helps Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos.

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