Spatial Audio lands on Apple Music after WWDC launch

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 9
The Apple Music streaming service is gaining its support for Spatial Audio on Monday, with Apple starting to roll out the feature to subscribers.




Briefly mentioned during the WWDC 2021 keynote, Apple is enabling Spatial Audio in Apple Music. The feature, which was originally announced on May 17 alongside Lossless Audio, was leaked as launching on Monday via the Apple Music app itself over the weekend before the keynote.

"We recently announced spatial audio for Apple Music, with the incredible multi-dimensional sound experience of Dolby Atmos, and we're excited that it's available starting today," said Senior Engineering Program Manager Gagan Gupta.

Apple said "thousands" of songs will use the feature at launch, and name-checked Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, and The Weeknd as musical acts offering tracks with Dolby Atmos support. Listeners will be able to hear the music in a simulated 3D audio space, giving more depth and directionality to audio that adjusts when the user moves their head.

To use Spatial Audio, users need to be using AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or Beats headphones equipped with the H1 or W1 chip for wireless communications.

Apple Music is not the only app to gain Spatial Audio capabilities. During the keynote, iOS 15 was revealed to add Spatial Audio support to FaceTime, while support will also be incorporated into macOS Monterey and tvOS 15.

Follow all of WWDC 2021 with comprehensive AppleInsider coverage of the week-long event from June 7 through June 11, including details on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS Monterey and more.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get the latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    joogabahjoogabah Posts: 131member
    How does one know if a track has spatial audio?

    I can’t see any indication in Music.   Is there a particular song anyone knows that works?

    there are a ton of articles announcing this but nothing describing how to try it out beyond a mention that some big name artists have unspecified tracks that I guess you’re supposed to go listening for. 
    Scot1watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 27
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 451member, editor
    joogabah said:
    How does one know if a track has spatial audio?

    I can’t see any indication in Music.   Is there a particular song anyone knows that works?

    there are a ton of articles announcing this but nothing describing how to try it out beyond a mention that some big name artists have unspecified tracks that I guess you’re supposed to go listening for. 
    There will be a specific icon designating Spatial Audio-enabled songs. Right now, not many have it and Apple will be highlighting playlists of compatible songs soon.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 27
    Scot1Scot1 Posts: 93member
    Ariana Grande Sessions 3D spatial audio. 

    First track I found. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 27
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,313member
    Interesting, I was sure I read on MacRumours that the spatial audio would work on non Apple gear by enabling Dolby Atmos in the settings.

    **edit **

    edited June 7 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 27
    CGCG Posts: 10unconfirmed, member
    "To use Spatial Audio, users need to be using AirPodsAirPods ProAirPods Max, or Beats headphones equipped with the H1 or W1 chip for wireless communications. "

    I am not sure this makes any sense. Am I just missing something or what?1? It is a stereo mix down of a Dolby Atmos track using delays and eq to simulate a 3D space using stereo headphones. That is all done by the app - Apple Music will simply be sending right channel and left channel audio to headphones. This is not a head tracking kind of thing that requires feedback from the headphones so it should work with any stereo headphones (as the faq on the Apple Music site states).  Hopefully it will also output Dolby Atmos tracks to a receiver using Apple TV for real multi channel Dolby Atmos.
    AppleZuluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 27
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 785member
    saarek said:
    Interesting, I was sure I read on MacRumours that the spatial audio would work on non Apple gear by enabling Dolby Atmos in the settings.
    Sadly, no - you need the sensors in Apple's devices (H1/W1) to use your head position to adjust the audio for the 3D effect.

    CG: Your head is constantly moving small amounts. That's how your brain/ear stereo combo can locate a sound in 3D space.

    If you were to lock your head in a rig so your ears are level and you can't move at all you'll get a left-right stereo effect, but you won't be able to locate if it's in front or behind, above or below.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 27
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,103member
    mknelson said:
    saarek said:
    Interesting, I was sure I read on MacRumours that the spatial audio would work on non Apple gear by enabling Dolby Atmos in the settings.
    Sadly, no - you need the sensors in Apple's devices (H1/W1) to use your head position to adjust the audio for the 3D effect.

    CG: Your head is constantly moving small amounts. That's how your brain/ear stereo combo can locate a sound in 3D space.

    If you were to lock your head in a rig so your ears are level and you can't move at all you'll get a left-right stereo effect, but you won't be able to locate if it's in front or behind, above or below.
    This is not correct. At all.

    Binaural audio has existed for a very, very long time (since 1881!), long before dynamic head tracking was possible.

    Binaural audio: What is it?

    How to record binaural audio.

    Here's an example: Put on your plain old headphones, and go to this page for a Neumann binaural dummy-head microphone and scroll down to the video. Hit play, and listen as the guy with the guitar sings and plays as he walks around you. You'll be able to hear him go behind you without any dynamic head tracking gear or AirPods hardware.


    edited June 7 watto_cobraelijahg
  • Reply 8 of 27
    jeromecjeromec Posts: 116member
    2 things.
    First, Apple says that spatial audio works on "other"non- Apple or Beats headphones (probably without head tracking). From the Apple Music page on apple.com https://www.apple.com/apple-music/

    How can I listen to Dolby Atmos music?

    • All Apple Music subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV7 can listen to thousands of Dolby Atmos music tracks using any headphones. When you listen with compatible Apple or Beats headphones,8 Dolby Atmos music plays back automatically when available for a song. For other headphones, go to Settings > Music > Audio and set Dolby Atmos to Always On. You can also hear Dolby Atmos music using the built‑in speakers on a compatible iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, or HomePod,9 or by connecting your Apple TV 4K to a compatible TV or audiovisual receiver.
    Second, has anybody really seen it live yet?
    Apple Music usually happen around midnight EST on Monday nights. So I wouldn't be surprised if we had to wait a few more hours.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 27
    aa4aa4 Posts: 3member
    Scot1 said:
    Ariana Grande Sessions 3D spatial audio. 

    First track I found. 
    Can't seem to find such a song by Ariana Grande🤔
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 27
    I don't really care for head-tracking with headphones.  What I really want is an Atmos mix that can be decoded by an Atmos receiver for real surround sound.  Unfortunately I didn't hear any mention of this today.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 27
    Scot1 said:
    Ariana Grande Sessions 3D spatial audio. 

    First track I found. 
    Dude, there's no such song.

    Has anybody actually found something real or has Apple just BS'ed us?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 27
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,103member
    llamafilm said:
    I don't really care for head-tracking with headphones.  What I really want is an Atmos mix that can be decoded by an Atmos receiver for real surround sound.  Unfortunately I didn't hear any mention of this today.
    When they finally switch it on, that’s what should be available. Their app is terrible, but that’s already possible from Tidal via their AppleTV app. If they can do it, Apple Music can, too.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    joogabah said:
    How does one know if a track has spatial audio?

    I can’t see any indication in Music.   Is there a particular song anyone knows that works?

    there are a ton of articles announcing this but nothing describing how to try it out beyond a mention that some big name artists have unspecified tracks that I guess you’re supposed to go listening for. 
    I assume that when it’s available, Monday, we’ll begin to see some indication on the tracks and albums it’s available for.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    llamafilm said:
    I don't really care for head-tracking with headphones.  What I really want is an Atmos mix that can be decoded by an Atmos receiver for real surround sound.  Unfortunately I didn't hear any mention of this today.
    Apple TV has had it for some time. If your A/V system is set up for it, you should have been getting it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 27
    Are we really going through this again AI? Apple itself has even stated spatial audio will be able to be reproduced with just about any old headphones.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 27
    Scot1Scot1 Posts: 93member
    Jblank74 said:
    Scot1 said:
    Ariana Grande Sessions 3D spatial audio. 

    First track I found. 
    Dude, there's no such song.

    Has anybody actually found something real or has Apple just BS'ed us?


    My bad. The album is a anina.land productions session 200805. 
    Damn auto correct. Sorry

    There are a whole series of spatial audio albums mostly ambient sound. 

    I just searched in Apple Music for spatial audio. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 27
    So I guess no upgrades to our purchased iTunes Music?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 27
    jhalmosjhalmos Posts: 15member
    Try this. St. Pepper and, in a move that brings me great joy and a smile to my face, almost the entire Kraftwerk catalog via "The Catalogue":

    edited June 7 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 27
    ccs46ccs46 Posts: 6member
    Nothing so far…
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 27
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,255member
    ccs46 said:
    Nothing so far…
    It's there for me now. If you go into Apple Music, turn off sync library. Go back to the Apple Music app and it will ask you to turn sync back on. Turn it back on and wait a few minutes. You should now have the new Dolby Atmos and Lossless streaming options under Music settings. 
    watto_cobra
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