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Apple Music’s New Spatial Audio Is Dazzling—and Sometimes Dull

It’s rare for me to spend most of my day on the phone with other audio writers, discussing the latest news, but that’s what happened on May 17, the day Apple announced it would add lossless audio and Dolby Atmos to the Apple Music streaming service at no extra charge. Unlike lossless audio, which merely promises improved sound quality, Atmos is touted as a revolution in music recording and reproduction. By creating a sense of sonic immersion, with sound appearing to come from around and above the listener rather than from a pair of speakers or a set of headphones, Atmos music offers the potential for more realistic simulations of live concerts and for creative effects normally reserved for movie soundtracks.

Even though Atmos music has been available on the Amazon Music and Tidal streaming services for a year and a half, it garnered little attention until Apple’s announcement, which left many people wondering what exactly Atmos music is and how they could get it. Fortunately, a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic hit, I got an extensive Atmos music demo from Dolby in its state-of-the-art Hollywood theater, so I already understood how the technology worked and how dazzling—and sometimes dull—Atmos music can sound.

What is Atmos spatial audio?

Dolby Atmos technology can reproduce sound from any and every direction—not only all around the listener but also overhead. When used effectively, Atmos can make a living room sound like a forest in springtime, a bustling avenue in Manhattan, or seat G108 at Carnegie Hall (PDF). Dolby created Atmos primarily to add sounds coming from speakers in the ceiling, to deliver more convincing simulations of movie sound effects such as rainstorms and airplanes flying overhead. Atmos

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/apple-music-spatial-audio-review/

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