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Apple Spacial Audio Questions


Active Member
Feb 3, 2020
I'm currently trying out Apple Music primarily for the spacial audio. Over headphones I have not been super impressed. At least not enough to continue with the service. I'm contemplating getting an Apple TV streaming device so I can play spacial audio over my 5.1 surround sound system via my AVR.

1. Has anyone tried this? Is it real multichannel music or just up conversions?

2. Is it significantly better than just up converting stereo using the AVR?

3. Is there a large library of music in spacial audio, including classical?

4. Is any of the multichannel music also lossless?

5. Is all of Apple's spacial audio music Dolby Atmos or is it a blanket term for various formats they offer?

Thank you for your experience with the platform and info.
1. It's real E-AC-3 Atmos with discrete base channels and objects. It sounds far better than Atmos for Headphones.
2. Yes, even on non-Atmos speakers, since the surround channels are discrete. The next best thing is upmixing Atmos for Headphones from macOS / iOS instead of upmixing plain stereo. Upmixing Atmos for Headphones on an AVR sounds better than listening on headphones.
3. Depends on what music you like. Popular albums, both old and new, are being remastered in Atmos on Apple Music.
4. No, it's lossy E-AC-3 for now.
5. Spatial audio refers to a bunch of things - downmixing E-AC-3 Atmos files with Atmos for Headphones on AirPods or any generic headphones, downmixing E-AC-3 Atmos files to virtual speakers on a MacBook, bitstreaming E-AC-3 Atmos files to an AVR on AppleTV, placing stereo tracks in front of the listener on AirPods, all of the above with head tracking on AirPods.
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