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tok

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 8, 2012
66
7
I’ve seen people being really impressed with Dolby Atmos on Apple Music, but mostly everyone is using the AirPods Pro or Max. I’m using the regular AirPods (2nd generation), which are also supported, but I’m not THAT impressed honestly.

What do other regular AirPods users think?
 

bigshot

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2021
285
149
I haven't heard the Atmos music yet, but I've heard Atmos video and I wasn't impressed with my APMs. It didn't sound any more spatial than regular stereo. Still just left and right and no forward and back.
 

jn_p

macrumors newbie
Jun 11, 2021
4
0
I’ve seen people being really impressed with Dolby Atmos on Apple Music, but mostly everyone is using the AirPods Pro or Max. I’m using the regular AirPods (2nd generation), which are also supported, but I’m not THAT impressed honestly.

What do other regular AirPods users think?
I’m on AirPods Pro and iPad iOS15 beta, it’s really superb. Somehow the “real” dolby atmos is enabled on iOS15. On my 14.6 iphone so bad quality.
 

tripleh3lix

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2014
560
371
Works a lot better in iOS 15 Beta... it's kinda bad in 14.6. iOS 15 has head tracking enabled everywhere around the entire operating system.
 

bigshot

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2021
285
149
I sure hope it's better in 15. In my current iPhone it is just plain "eh". To be honest, it just isn't worth the price.

The problem isn't the head tracking. That works fine. The problem is that there is absolutely no surround to the sound. Nothing behind me, nothing in front of me. Just regular headphone sound going in a straight line from ear to ear through the middle of my head left to right. I'm comparing headphone Atmos to my 5.1 speaker system. They aren't even in the same universe. Not remotely close. Yes it sounds more bloomed out than standard stereo, but it isn't spatial by any stretch of the imagination. Space is three dimensional, not a one dimensional line.

I suspect a lot of people who are saying that Spatial Audio sounds fantastic don't have multichannel speaker setups in their home. They're comparing Spatial Audio to headphones, not a true multichannel rig. The whole point of Atmos is placing sound objects in three dimensional space- behind you, above you, in front of you... not just left and right. Dolby has played fast and loose with the definition of what Atmos is in the past. So much so in fact that some of the things they call Atmos (like sound bars) aren't at all the same as true Atmos. I suspect we're getting more of the same here.

I would love to be proved wrong in September. Then these $550 headphones and $1100 cell phone would be worth the price. Naturally, we get to wait until the return window is long passed before we find out one way or the other.
 
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bigshot

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2021
285
149
I took one for the team and signed up for Apple Music. The spatial audio music there is all over the map. Some of it sounds wimpy and distant compared to the non-Atmos version (Rolling Stones Goat's Head Soup) and some of it sounds a million times better because it's a completely new mix, not the early stereo Beatles kind of mix. (Art Blakey Moanin') The Mahler classical recording I listened to was also better in plain stereo. In Atmos, the soundstage was unclear. That might have been a non-standard seating arrangement for the orchestra. I'll listen to more classical and check that. I heard one recording that sounded like it was just a plain stereo track slathered in reverb.

I compared the Beatles Abbey Road to my blu-ray. I can't even tell if the Atmos version is even derived from the same mix. It sounds like plain old stereo. Switching spatial audio on and off only makes me more confused. But one thing I know is that the blu-ray is a million times better. Sound comes from all around you. It's immersive and dimensional. On headphones it's just a good sounding stereo mix. The Kraftwerk album is nothing like Kraftwerk's multichannel blurays either.

There isn't a lot of spatial audio music to choose from. I hope they add more, and I hope spatial gets more spatial with iOS 15. But my suspicion is that most of the difference lies in the mix, not Atmos.
 
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bigshot

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2021
285
149
In another forum, several people with AppleTVs and Atmos systems reported that played on their systems they were getting true Atmos output with object based sound placement. The quality of them were all over the place though. The best ones were music that has been released in Atmos on blu-ray. Some were obvious upscales from stereo though. So Apple's spatial audio has the ability to produce actual spatial audio. The trick is just getting it to produce true spatial audio in headphones.
 

One2Grift

Cancelled
Jun 1, 2021
609
546
Works a lot better in iOS 15 Beta... it's kinda bad in 14.6. iOS 15 has head tracking enabled everywhere around the entire operating system.

Looking forward to 15 wide release. So far, IMHO, Atmos has been about ok. Definitely nothing I'd write home about(so to speak).
 

fischersd

macrumors 603
Oct 23, 2014
5,370
1,936
Port Moody, BC, Canada
I'd say YMMV - some music tracks are more easily remastered due to what's available, some others? Meh

I've been playing a lot of spacial audio on TVOS / ATV4kv2, running the current public TVOS beta and my eARC Sonos setup (ARC +. 2 x Sonos One's for satellites). Atmos has been phenomenal, but the remastering of songs has been hit and miss.

Maybe things are better in the headphone soundscape, but for speakers it's spotty.
 
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Minarets

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2011
857
367
I’m not even impressed for music with my AirPods Pro. Using the playlist from Apple Music titled “special audio with Dolby atmos” some songs sound WAY worse and some sound ok. Very few sound, what I would consider, better or amazing.

Maybe it’s great for movies but I’m not too excited yet for music.
 

vladi

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2010
980
590
Unless the track was mixed in Dolby Atmos it will most likely sound nothing spectacular or in some cases even worse. You can't rely on upmixing to work all the time.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,836
5,434
Atlanta
Can’t say I notice the difference of Dolby Atmos, but Spatial is very cool, especially when watching movies.
Spatial Audio=Atmos+Apple nomenclature

Anyone who wants to experience what could be ultimate show off mixes, here you go.


 

Minarets

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2011
857
367
Spatial Audio=Atmos+Apple nomenclature

Anyone who wants to experience what could be ultimate show off mixes, here you go.



Now these sound way better. Wish the music I like did.
 

One2Grift

Cancelled
Jun 1, 2021
609
546
Just started using my AirPods Pro.
Went into my iPhone settings>music and confirmed settings were right then played music while messing with the eq presets. Overall very impressed, the AirPods Pro provide an excellent audio experience.
After that, I also now noticed the Dolby Atmos. i am now a fan (I gave it mixed reviews in a prior post).
 

bigshot

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2021
285
149
To those who say Spatial Audio sounds better: Are you hearing sound coming from a distance in front, behind or above you?
 
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