Spatial Audio on Apple Music is 'something different,' says host Zane Lowe

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 8
Spatial Audio in Apple Music will be an "exciting journey" for the music industry, according to Zane Lowe, with artists being given more freedom in the three-dimensional environment to express their music than with stereo.




On Monday, Apple rolled out support for both Lossless and Spatial Audio in Apple Music, giving subscribers new ways to listen to songs. Apple Music's co-head of Artist Relations and radio host Zane Lowe offered an explanation on Tuesday about how much of an impact Spatial Audio could have for musicians in the future.

Speaking about his first time with Spatial Audio using AirPods, Lowe was at first confused, but then found it hard to put the experience into words, due to being "born into stereo."

"It dawned on me that there are a lot of artists in the past and present who would have loved to be able to lean in with this kind of technology - to make their songs come to life, make them bigger, and just take them to levels no one had even thought of yet," writes Lowe.

"How are artists going to use this?" he wondered. "Are they going to start creating music with the idea of a three-dimensional environment, as opposed to this two-channel environment?"

When listening to songs he knew well in stereo under Spatial Audio, Lowe was "feeling something different" about the tracks. "it's not even just about the way it's going to end up sounding, it's very much how songs are going to feel," he offers.

Engineers have been given an "amazing new tool" to play with and to use in experiments. Lowe even proposes that future artists "might never even think about making a stereo record - because all they've ever know is Spatial."

Musicians and engineers who use Logic Pro will also be able to take advantage of Spatial Audio, Lowe tips, with "immersive music-authoring tools" being built into the software later in 2021. "So any musician will be able to create and mix their songs in Spatial Audio for Apple Music -- whether they're in the studio, at home, or wherever," adds Lowe.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,183member
    There are a lot of interesting options. For something like a jazz trio or a classical string quartet, you can create an intimate space that places listeners in the room with the performers. Not just a left-to-right soundstage in front of you, like a good stereo mix can do, but actually in the room, experiencing the acoustics of the space where the performance takes place.

    For something more psychedelic, the listener can be immersed inside the music, with instruments and sounds coming from all directions and swirling around. I think a lot of folks probably don't understand it yet, but this is every bit as big a deal as the introduction of stereo over 50 years ago. And no, Apple didn't invent it, but made it accessible to anyone who cares to listen. Millions of people already have the necessary playback gear in their pockets, making a niche audiophile thing instantly mainstream. 
    edited June 8 JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 6
    I don’t understand why this is not generating more buzz and more coverage. It’s absolutely groundbreaking. What Apple has done with Spatial Audio is incredible, and the most amazing part is they’re giving it away as a free upgrade to AirPods Pro/Max users, and Music subscribers. The first time I listened to Spatial mode on AirPods Pro, I had to double check the settings as I thought the sound was not routed to the buds and coming from outside — it feels that liberating. The experience is just incredible. And something tells me we’re only seeing the beginning. Can’t wait to hear what they’ll think of next, but consider me hooked.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
    It’s just Dolby Atmos repackaged for the audiophile crowd. This tech has been around for a while at your better movie theaters (before Covid obviously).
  • Reply 4 of 6
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,712member
    I don’t understand why this is not generating more buzz and more coverage. It’s absolutely groundbreaking. What Apple has done with Spatial Audio is incredible, and the most amazing part is they’re giving it away as a free upgrade to AirPods Pro/Max users, and Music subscribers. The first time I listened to Spatial mode on AirPods Pro, I had to double check the settings as I thought the sound was not routed to the buds and coming from outside — it feels that liberating. The experience is just incredible. And something tells me we’re only seeing the beginning. Can’t wait to hear what they’ll think of next, but consider me hooked.
    Well we live in a world where a significant number of people think that their thirty year old vinyl records on their equally old stereo system make the truest sound. Where people listen to music in their car with the windows rolled down. Where they listen with one earbud while they bike. It may be amazing, but for a lot of people it won’t make the slightest difference. 
    canukstorm
  • Reply 5 of 6
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 824member
    It’s just Dolby Atmos repackaged for the audiophile crowd. This tech has been around for a while at your better movie theaters (before Covid obviously).
    Yes, in a movie theatre with many speakers all around you.

    This is technology using a stereo headset.

    That's a lot more technology and processing than "just Dolby Atmos repackaged for the audiophile crowd". We're not talking the gold Pink Floyd CD set (because gold 1s and 0s sound better than aluminum!) or the thousand dollar audiophile ethernet cables for the gullible (CD audio is <1megabit per second).
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 6
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,183member
    It’s just Dolby Atmos repackaged for the audiophile crowd. This tech has been around for a while at your better movie theaters (before Covid obviously).
    No, it's Dollby Atmos for music, delivered to the masses, not just the audiophiles. Dolby Atmos music has been available to the audiophiles for a few years now, via BluRay audio, and 5.1 surround music on the same media for a number of years before that. It was always expensive and a niche thing which would only be heard by audiophiles and audiophile wannabes. More recently, streaming Atmos music has been available at a premium on Tidal and Amazon. Again, the added expense meant only the audio nerds would ever hear it.

    Now, Apple's spatial audio is delivering this feature to millions of people who already own iPhones and subscribe to Apple Music. Surround sound music will be heard by more people in the first few days or weeks on Apple Music than have heard it collectively in all the years prior, all the way back to quad vinyl in the 1970s. That's what makes this revolutionary. The format went mainstream today.
    edited June 8 Japheywatto_cobra
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