Spatial Audio 101: Understanding Apple Spatial Audio and Virtual Dolby Atmos

Spatial Audio 101: Understanding Apple Spatial Audio and Virtual Dolby Atmos

Film, music and audio lovers alike are always on the lookout for the best new ways to improve the listening experience of their favourite audio. Popular audio technologies such as standard stereo playback and surround sound offer great sound quality and an enjoyable audio experience. However, with technology in constant development, there’s now an even more immersive audio experience to be had.

So, what is spatial audio? With Dolby Atmos and Apple Spatial Audio, you can now delve into an incredible 360 degree soundscape while listening to your favourite audio. The immersive result is experiencing spatial sound that feels as though it’s coming from all around you while you watch your favourite movie, play a new game or listen to a great album.

By recording music or film from multiple angles at the same time, these audio technologies allow producers to create a 3D audio experience for the listener. All the listener needs is an audio player that supports spatial audio technology.

Spatial audio vs surround sound

The tried and true stereo playback, and even surround sound, provide a horizontal listen experience, with sound coming from the left and right independently. With powerful speakers and audio equipment that still has the capacity to offer up an incredible audio experience, high end stereo systems are able to recreate depth to the soundstage which is impressive. However, for those looking to get even more out of their audio, spatial sound may be worth checking out.

sonos speaker

Spatial audio is much more immersive, as it offers up a 360-degree, virtual sphere of sound that feels as though it’s coming from all around you. While listening to music, this delivers an experience more similar to a live music performance.

Benefits of Apple's Spatial Audio

Virtual Dolby Atmos and Apple Spatial Audio offer an unparalleled 3D audio effect that elevates sound to the next level. But, exactly what is spatial audio able to offer the listener?

The benefits of Apple's Spatial Audio include:

  • Experience audio that comes from all angles—not just left and right like traditional stereo or surround sound
  • A more immersive listening experience
  • Improved clarity and accuracy of music—it allows you to pinpoint a sound’s location and distinguish it from multiple sources
  • Head tracking that allows a three dimensional sphere of sound
  • Audio that is utterly tied to the images on the screen

Virtual Dolby Atmos vs Spatial Audio

Once you've experienced the spatial audio effect, it's easy to see why both the Virtual Dolby Atmos vs spatial audio immersive sound technologies are so appealing to listeners.

Virtual Dolby Atmos creates virtual height and side channels that trick your ears into thinking that sound is coming from all around, instead of just right in front of you. Incredibly, it simulates the effect of being in the movie you’re watching or at a live concert of the artist you’re listening to.

It can be found built into theatre systems and soundbars, PCs and tablets, game consoles, smartphones, headphones, smart speakers and TVs. In fact, Dolby licences Atmos as a software package to various manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung, and Sonos, which then intuitively determines which kind of system you have and renders the audio so it sounds its best.

Similarly, Apple’s own Spatial Audio sound technology was introduced to level up the listening experience for users. However, Spatial Audio differs in that it adds an extra dimension of movement to the listening experience—the result makes you feel as though you can move around the soundscape and the audio experience will change accordingly.

Compatible with Apple devices including AirPods, Apple TV, Mac with Apple silicon, iPhones from 7th generation up, and certain iPad models, Spatial Audio users have diverse listening opportunities. With dynamic head tracking, Apple Spatial Audio brings cinema-like sound to the movie, video or music you’re listening to.

Virtual Dolby Atmos vs Real Dolby Atmos

It’s important to not confuse Virtual Dolby Atmos which is found in headphones, soundbars and phones. The difference is the height channels are being added virtually to give the effect of sound coming from the 3D space. Real Dolby Atmos is found in higher end home theatres, and is true object based audio, which allows sound to be recreated in the 3D space using multiple surround and overhead mounted speakers, which as you can imagine recreates a higher level of immersion.

Is upgrading your sound system for Apple Spatial Audio worth it?

Choosing to upgrade your sound system, especially in your home theatre, is a big decision. So, is upgrading your equipment for spatial audio content worth it? What is spatial audio able to add to your home theatre or music setup? Let’s have a closer look.

Streaming service compatibility

Nowadays, there are plenty of great streaming services and devices with lossless audio that are compatible with this technology. Spatial Audio Apple Music compatibility is an obvious one as Spatial Audio is Apple’s own technology, but even Dolby Atmos is compatible with the spatial audio supported songs that are listed on Apple Music. In fact, though both technologies can work great independently from each other, Apple developed Spatial Audio to work best when it's alongside Dolby Atmos. The incredible result means music lovers can enjoy the effect of being at a live concert in their own home.

The Dolby Atmos Apple Music listening experience brings new layers to music listening no matter where you are. As Apple designed Spatial Audio to work best with this technology, Dolby Atmos Apple Music compatibility is seamless. Plus, popular movie and TV streaming services including Netflix and Disney+ are adding more and more Dolby Atmos supported films and TV shows to their library everyday.

Sonos compatibility

As Sonos is fully compatible with spatial audio content, you can listen to the supported songs on Apple Music, bringing the most out of these incredible, reliable, and well-loved, speakers.

Apple Spatial Audio Sonos compatibility allows you to enjoy an astonishing sphere of sound with the Sonos Beam Soundbar, the Sonos Arc Soundbar and the Sonos Era 300 Wireless Speaker—all of which are stocked at CHT Solutions. Now you can listen to supported Spatial Audio Apple Music content through a powerful speaker system.

At CHT Solutions, we stock a range of Sonos speakers due to their great sound quality, versatility and modern features—which include an intuitive Sonos app and sleek design. With Apple Spatial Audio Sonos compatibility, if you’re looking to level up your audio equipment to experience the spatial audio effect, CHT Solutions has all the products you’ll need.

Ready to upgrade your audio?

Shop the best spatial audio products with the Sonos or Dolby Atmos speaker range at CHT Solutions. We are committed to stocking only the highest quality audio products to give you the best sound experience in the comfort of your home. Reach out to our friendly team for expert advice on the latest spatial audio compatible speakers.