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Spatial Audio -- warning from a producer/engineer

sarumbear

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Apple did that to sell more headphones. Live long enough and you know that, surround (or spatial now as we have progressed) has always arrives to sell something new. Never to improve anything. Same with 3D (now called immerse). Yes Atmos is better than many previous attempts but it will not survive the test of time. It will possibly stay as a niche but I doubt even that will happen. Market will return to using Blumlein's century old method.
 

dmac6419

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Hey mate,

What are you trying to say? I have the feeling we are talking about entirely different things. That'd be very helpful.

Cheerio
Oh we talking the same language, you just said it more eloquently,my take is some people think Apple invented the HD , Atmos, spacial music scene,since it's Apple it must be better.Oh almost forgot cheers homie, ( an acquaintance from one's town or neighborhood, or a member of one's peer group or gang), Lol.
 
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Ata

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Oh we talking the same language, you just said it more eloquently,my take is some people think Apple invented the HD , Atmos, spacial music scene,since it's Apple it must be better.Oh almost forgot cheers homie, ( an acquaintance from one's town or neighborhood, or a member of one's peer group or gang), Lol.

Got it! There is no fairy dust on Apple products and they rarely invent entirely new things. But they are excellent at creating new products that creatively combine existing technologies with a little bit of a twist, just enough to create new businesses and propel them into the stratosphere, most recently the Airpods one. I was resisting to join that gig at first on ecological and sound quality grounds, but having had my Airpods pro for over a year now I can say the implementation is excellent, having the nearly weightless form factor with noise cancellation and spatial audio with head tracking is a wicked combination. If they can only improve the FR (should be trivial, right?) and the wind/noise cancellation on the mikes...

Back to the article, though, all it claims is that the Atmos + spatial/head tracking firmware was recently re-done, and while Atmos would have a reference implementation that could conceivably be ported to the Airpods, the spatial/head tracking is an Apple only implementation. It is about Apple physical products and not Apple Music, the streaming service.

Cheers
 

Sal1950

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I think we have to differentiate between audio enthusiasts and the mainstream. I don't think sound bars are as good as a well set up true AV surround system but many sound bars now are very good. Most people aren't interested in chasing ultimate sound quality, they want something that sounds good and gives a kick in the low end when necessary.
IMO sound bars are a waste as a replacement for any descend discreet Quad or better surround setup. They do give improved sound over any TV's built in speakers as they rightfully should in any case. I bought one of the Zvox units claimed to be designed to improve dialog intelligibility and it works fairly well for that, having 3 or 4 different eq curves you can chose from to better understand the talking on TV shows. etc.
On the other hand soundbars and headphones might be the best thing that's ever happen to multich sound. The immersive techs like Atmos and Sony 3D is speaking directly to this market and it seems to be catching fire with much of the mainstream. ;)
I'm hoping to see the new techs push MQA out of the public eye to be replaced with Atmos, etc. Now here is something that really does sound different and has much "improved spatial properties" to my ears. Maybe this will take multich encoded files to the level of popularity we had always hoped for over the decades since the first 3ch and quad recordings.
 

Tom C

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Got it! There is no fairy dust on Apple products and they rarely invent entirely new things. But they are excellent at creating new products that creatively combine existing technologies with a little bit of a twist, just enough to create new businesses and propel them into the stratosphere, most recently the Airpods one. I was resisting to join that gig at first on ecological and sound quality grounds, but having had my Airpods pro for over a year now I can say the implementation is excellent, having the nearly weightless form factor with noise cancellation and spatial audio with head tracking is a wicked combination. If they can only improve the FR (should be trivial, right?) and the wind/noise cancellation on the mikes...

Back to the article, though, all it claims is that the Atmos + spatial/head tracking firmware was recently re-done, and while Atmos would have a reference implementation that could conceivably be ported to the Airpods, the spatial/head tracking is an Apple only implementation. It is about Apple physical products and not Apple Music, the streaming service.

Cheers
Uhh…
I realize there is a component of individual taste in such matters, but really, my JBL in-ear buds are so much better than my Air Pods Max.
 
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Ata

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Uhh…
I realize there is a component of individual taste in such matters, but really, my JBL in-ear buds are so much better than my Air Pods Max.

Airpods Max are a bit controversial, many people love and many dislike them. I personally liked them very much sound wise but don't own, as the Airpods Pro are filling the on-the-go niche and for critical listening nothing beats my Staxes. :)
 

Spocko

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Read what I said again.

"The reality in the market is that 7.1.4 gets immersive in more rooms than 9.1.6 because the former can be found in a bunch of AVR's and Pre-pro's, but not the latter."

Translation....there are more AVR's and Pre-pro's sold with 7.1.4 than 9.1.6.
Oh, wait, so even if the HT Atmos version was mixed in 7.1.4 but because it's not channel based, a capable pre/pro can seamlessly upmix it to 9.1.6 due to the "object" nature of the effects, correct?
 

Spocko

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Uhh…
I realize there is a component of individual taste in such matters, but really, my JBL in-ear buds are so much better than my Air Pods Max.
And thus the new Airpod Gen 3! I just ordered them because word is that the music sound quality has been upgraded significantly
 

Soundmixer

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Oh, wait, so even if the HT Atmos version was mixed in 7.1.4 but because it's not channel based, a capable pre/pro can seamlessly upmix it to 9.1.6 due to the "object" nature of the effects, correct?
The answer is yes. It is not due to the "object" nature of the effects, it is due to an internal renderer in the high-end decoders. Most AVR and Pre-pro's that are 12 channel based do not have an internal renderer, but those that have 16 to 32 (or more) channels (like the Altitude processors) do have one. So they can take a home-based Atmos mix that is pre-rendered for 12 channels, and re-render it to 16 or more channels in real-time much like the theatrical decoders do. With the high-end decoders, you tell the processor how many speakers are in the system, and it will render the objects to the appropriate coordinates within that speaker set up.
 

ThatM1key

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Are atmos albums downloadable ? Is there a way for me to play them on my receiver without an Apple TV? I have Apple Music but I think I need an Apple TV, which is stupid
I don't know about apple music but with Tidal (using a certain tool), you can get the files directly. Generally streaming platforms share the same files, so if you switch from one to another, the music is the same. The music is stored in MP4, which means you can't put it on a thumbstick and plug it directly into your receiver. What you can do is use a 4k disc player or Bitstream through HDMI using VLC.

Here's the specs of a typical Dolby Atmos music file.
Atmos.png


My take on Dolby Atmos Music & Misc: It's just a gimmick, just like those 5.1 upmix DVDs. I prefer the "Dolby Surround" mode on my modern AVR then what an engineer thinks how it should sound. If my AVR can spit out a better mix then why do I need it pre-mixed? I wouldn't be surprised if some of the pre-mixes suffer from the loudness like the FLACs on there do.

I think its funny how there's a hifi boom with streaming services, people demand better audio quality but they don't care if dolby atmos is lossless. Now I hope the next step of this "hifi boom" is WavPack DSD not MQA 2.0, Dolby Brain Audio or some gimmicky fade/scam.
 

Sal1950

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My take on Dolby Atmos Music & Misc: It's just a gimmick, just like those 5.1 upmix DVDs. I prefer the "Dolby Surround" mode on my modern AVR then what an engineer thinks how it should sound.
Not all Atmos music files are upmixed. There are plenty being done as original from the master tapes, try,
Yello - Point
Steven Wilson - The Future Bits
Booka Shade - Dear Future Self
John Williams - Live in Vienna
They're not a gimmick and bring a exciting new dimension to music reproduction, there will be thousands more coming.
IMO It is the future of music mixing and distribution.
Mono had it's day, stereo too, time for them to move over. ;)
BTW, yes I would prefer to have everything lossless too, it's time is coming to streaming.
 

Soundmixer

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My take on Dolby Atmos Music & Misc: It's just a gimmick, just like those 5.1 upmix DVDs. I prefer the "Dolby Surround" mode on my modern AVR then what an engineer thinks how it should sound. If my AVR can spit out a better mix then why do I need it pre-mixed? I wouldn't be surprised if some of the pre-mixes suffer from the loudness like the FLACs on there do.
If you think Atmos music is the same as a 5.1 upmix from a DVD, then you clearly have no understanding of how Atmos works. You need a pre-mix because Dolby Surround does not work effectively with all two or multichannel mixes. Some mixes will produce a good result, others will not.

While you can make the determination that Atmos isn't for you, you cannot say at this point it is a gimmick. It is far too early to say this, the format just got out of the gate on the music side.

I think its funny how there's a hifi boom with streaming services, people demand better audio quality but they don't care if dolby atmos is lossless.

Perhaps folks don't care that it is lossy because they cannot hear the effects of lossy compression. Also, Dolby Atmos music is not lossless, it uses lossy compression...with a higher bit rate than DVD. Atmos music is not for audiophiles as not many of them have a full Atmos setup. Atmos music is for people like me who prefer to listen to multichannel immersive sound, whether it is mixed that way, or we engage our immersive upmixers.
 

keenly

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Are atmos albums downloadable ? Is there a way for me to play them on my receiver without an Apple TV? I have Apple Music but I think I need an Apple TV, which is stupid
Atmos can be DL as MKV, MP4 or M2ts.
 

keenly

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There is not really such a thing as spatial audio. Apple have created nothing.

There is Quad
5.1
7.1
Atmos
DTS X
Auro 3D

Auro is best due to the availability of WAV encoded files at 24/96khz.
I listen to Atmos and AURO via atmos speaker set up. Great.
 

keenly

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IMO sound bars are a waste as a replacement for any descend discreet Quad or better surround setup. They do give improved sound over any TV's built in speakers as they rightfully should in any case. I bought one of the Zvox units claimed to be designed to improve dialog intelligibility and it works fairly well for that, having 3 or 4 different eq curves you can chose from to better understand the talking on TV shows. etc.
On the other hand soundbars and headphones might be the best thing that's ever happen to multich sound. The immersive techs like Atmos and Sony 3D is speaking directly to this market and it seems to be catching fire with much of the mainstream. ;)
I'm hoping to see the new techs push MQA out of the public eye to be replaced with Atmos, etc. Now here is something that really does sound different and has much "improved spatial properties" to my ears. Maybe this will take multich encoded files to the level of popularity we had always hoped for over the decades since the first 3ch and quad recordings.
Screw the mainstream.

Most people are morons, why care about them?
 

Sal1950

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keenly

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Also works as flac, just sayin. ;)


Their large numbers are good to have for support.
Mainstream= corporate= Hell no for me.

It is already bad enough Apple have cornered the market on streaming.

I like to support artists direct, like buying the llego Virbason Atmos blu ray straight from them. Jake from the band sent it to me himself. I prefer that.
 

Sal1950

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It is already bad enough Apple have cornered the market on streaming.
Humm, you sure on that?
Last I heard Spotify was still pretty far ahead?
Just a few months before Apple jumped in, everyone was screaming about Amazon taking over the world.
 

keenly

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Humm, you sure on that?
Last I heard Spotify was still pretty far ahead?
Just a few months before Apple jumped in, everyone was screaming about Amazon taking over the world.
For surround I mean. Tidal, Apple, Amazon, I do not like any of them but use them all. Soon a few coporations, and the people behind them will literally own most of the world.

''In 2020, the non-profit American Economic Liberties Project issued a report highlighting the fact that "the 'Big Three' asset management firms—BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street—manage over $15 trillion in combined global assets under management, an amount equivalent to more than three-quarters of U.S. gross domestic product."

The best bet is for artists not to sign any exclusivity, and also have the albums available for purchase, at least as a DL.
 
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