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Apple lossless official announcement

DimitryZ

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That seems about right. Though Apple headphones that track head movement make the “Spatial Audio” portion of the offering pretty interesting. I was a bit skeptical, but in some instances the ability to move the soundstage out in front is pretty dramatic and almost completely eliminates the in-head feeling of headphones that can be so tiresome. The effect is most pronounced on videos where the tracking fools the brain into believing the sound is coming from the screen.
Perhaps it has headphone utility. Or new Atmos recording played on an Atmos tricked out home theater setup.

However, in a direct comparison of original stereo content (Herbie Hancock's Speak Like a Child, 1968), it's frankly bad. Fuzzy, soft indistinct bass, rolled off highs and poor soundstage. This could never be released as an actual high quality recording by a reputable studio.

Original recording played with Atmos turned off sounds excellent.

That Apple and Dolby are doing this to good masters is a real shame.
 

txbdan

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I noticed that the Apple intro/demo songs mention using headphones. They never mention a 2.0 speaker setup. Is this because for the Atmos to render correctly, the renderer needs to know the position of your speakers and Apple Music doesn't? So far based on the Atmos material, it just seems to have a very wide/exaggerated sound stage. But this is arbitrary based on where my speakers are placed. The whole point of Atmost is to position sound independently of where your speakers are placed.

I also noticed that only a few of the songs in the "Made for Spatial Audio" play list have the Dolby Atmos symbol light up in the player. Pretty much only The Weeknd Blinking Lights works. They rest sound pretty spatial, but no indicator.
 

acbarn

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Perhaps it has headphone utility. Or new Atmos recording played on an Atmos tricked out home theater setup.

However, in a direct comparison of original stereo content (Herbie Hancock's Speak Like a Child, 1968), it's frankly bad. Fuzzy, soft indistinct bass, rolled off highs and poor soundstage. This could never be released as an actual high quality recording by a reputable studio.

Original recording played with Atmos turned off sounds excellent.

That Apple and Dolby are doing this to good masters is a real shame.
What were you listening on? If standard 2-channel then I wouldn’t expect it to sound good. Of course, if that’s the case, you can just turn off Atmos in settings.

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Good thread on gearspace where the mix engineer for The Weekend, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift etc…etc explains the atmos stuff he’s doing for Apple Music

Gearspace Apple atmos thread here
Very good thread indeed. Nice to see that mixing is being done using a 7.1.4 setup, then a separate mix is bing used for binaural. Also like how he even said atmos mixing for music is still the wild Wild West atm.
 

Somafunk

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I’ve copy/pasted below from the thread on gearspace regarding the atmos/binaural/stereo confusion, i don’t want to post John Hanes entire responses on here from the gearspace thread/forum as he’s replying to specific questions regarding atmos mixing for Apple Music and as this is ASR not gearspace where he freely offered his advice so check it out, it should clear up any confusion.


“Every Atmos mix is required to have the binaural modes set and is "required" to have been monitored in binaural by the mix engineer.

All Atmos mixes are therefor ready for binaural headphone playback.

How that all sounds and works out in the end is again matters of choices and preferences.

Yes, the mixes that I am doing for Atmos are done in a proper 7.1.4 studio as is the (minimum) requirement for submitting Atmos mixes to all of the streaming platforms.

As I noted upthread, Binaural is NOT meant to play back on stereo speakers. There is NOT a stereo downmix included in the Atmos files/stream. If you are listening to Atmos, binaural or otherwise, on stereo speakers it will sound off.”
 
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But there is no cost effective equivalent to the $40ish (and now defunct) Chromecast Audio for Apple that I am aware of.
For audio only, the previous best answer was an Airport Express A1392, which was an Airplay target and had analog 3.5mm out and optical SPDIF. With the latest update to Airplay 2, there are a number of minor issues, and it seems people have a number of different problems (for me, there's what sounds like clipping with some music).
Thread discussing this:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...n-apple-airplay-2-sound-quality-issues.22013/


Then there's this:
https://www.belkin.com/us/speakers-...nect-audio-adapter-with-airplay-2/p/p-auz002/

Essentially a Chromecast Audio but for Airplay.
 

DimitryZ

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I’ve copy/pasted below from the thread on gearspace regarding the atmos/binaural/stereo confusion, i don’t want to post John Hanes entire responses on here from the gearspace thread/forum as he’s replying to specific questions regarding atmos mixing for Apple Music and as this is ASR not gearspace where he freely offered his advice so check it out, it should clear up any confusion.


“Every Atmos mix is required to have the binaural modes set and is "required" to have been monitored in binaural by the mix engineer.

All Atmos mixes are therefor ready for binaural headphone playback.

How that all sounds and works out in the end is again matters of choices and preferences.

Yes, the mixes that I am doing for Atmos are done in a proper 7.1.4 studio as is the (minimum) requirement for submitting Atmos mixes to all of the streaming platforms.

As I noted upthread, Binaural is NOT meant to play back on stereo speakers. There is NOT a stereo downmix included in the Atmos files/stream. If you are listening to Atmos, binaural or otherwise, on stereo speakers it will sound off.”
So, Atmos is either for headphones or for a proper 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 multichannel system.

Apple is certainly not making any such distinction. Most users will leave the setting as "always on" and be unsure what it is they are hearing.
 

Somafunk

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So, Atmos is either for headphones or for a proper 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 multichannel system.

Apple is certainly not making any such distinction. Most users will leave the setting as "always on" and be unsure what it is they are hearing.
As I understand it then yeah, it seems like Apple has rummaged around in the spares box and grabbed a handful of potentially good ideas to throw out there without any proper thought/explanation as to why its an improvement or correct use scenarios.
 

DimitryZ

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As I understand it then yeah, it seems like Apple has rummaged around in the spares box and grabbed a handful of potentially good ideas to throw out there without any proper thought/explanation as to why its an improvement or correct use scenarios.
It's unfortunate, as they have truly deep pockets and could have done something meaningful.
 

Somafunk

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I’m sure they’ll sort it out as the tech support bods are bound to be pissed off with all the queries, shouldn’t have happened in the first place though as Apple are usually on point with simple explanations for this sort of stuff, I guess the entire lossless/atmos/spatial audio was rushed out to compete with Amazon hd and to jump the gun on upcoming Spotify lossless
 

acbarn

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“As I noted upthread, Binaural is NOT meant to play back on stereo speakers. There is NOT a stereo downmix included in the Atmos files/stream. If you are listening to Atmos, binaural or otherwise, on stereo speakers it will sound off.”
This is the crucial bit. Apple should remove the “always on” setting for Atmos so that people who are on 2-channel systems don’t accidentally leave it turned on and get a degraded version. “Off” and “auto” covers it. That said, “off” is the default, so perhaps accidentally setting it to “always on” won’t be a thing for most people.
 

DimitryZ

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This is the crucial bit. Apple should remove the “always on” setting for Atmos so that people who are on 2-channel systems don’t accidentally leave it turned on and get a degraded version. “Off” and “auto” covers it. That said, “off” is the default, so perhaps accidentally setting it to “always on” won’t be a thing for most people.
That sounds reasonable, but if memory serves, AUTO was the default for me. But maybe I am misremembering.

I have settled on iPad as a streaming device, but up to now it has been Tidal/Qobuz/Amazon.

I have to applaud Apple for fielding an excellent computer.
 

acbarn

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That sounds reasonable, but if memory serves, AUTO was the default for me. But maybe I am misremembering.

I have settled on iPad as a streaming device, but up to now it has been Tidal/Qobuz/Amazon.

I have to applaud Apple for fielding an excellent computer.
Hmm, maybe you’re right and “auto” is the default. I may have misremembered that myself. In either case, “auto” is supposed to recognize compatible hardware (appropriate surround systems or Apple headphones) and only serve those files when the hardware is available.
 

Somafunk

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I would love to hear Dolby Atmos on a genuine full surround system as I imagine it’d be genuinely effective for select music/tracks but on my AirPods max I’ve yet to hear anything that hasn’t made me think wtaf is this I’m listening to, so needless to say I’m keeping it switched off for now but I’ll occasionally try it out on my preferred genre of electronic music now and again if I read of a good sounding track.

The spatial audio using AirPods max for movies/shows is pretty cool though so I’m not totally against it, but it still sounds way inferior to the impact of listening to my 2.1 stereo setup whilst viewing movies
 
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