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Old 06-22-2021, 06:01 PM   #95
OtinG
Old Gadget Guy
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I just tried out Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio in Apple Music. Fortunately I was able to sign up for a free 3-month trial.

HOLY CRAP it is really impressive!

My hearing is pretty much crap due to having about 30% normal hearing in my right ear. I've been stuck in mono mode for over 55 years. Music, and sounds in general, have always sounded more mono than stereo. Quite often I have no real idea in which direction a loud noise comes from, and often look in a different direction from everyone else who heard it. It is as though Iíve been stuck listening to the AM radio stations from the 1960s when I was growing up, accept with less static. I've tried various headphones and earphones over the years, and various home sound system configurations, and even tweaked them to deliver louder right channel than left channel trying to compensate. That helps a little bit, but is still rather limited and causes distortion. I even tried expensive hearing aids back in 2008, and the improvements I got certainly were NOT worth the $4000+ I paid out of pocket for them.

Today I tested out Apple Music with Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio. In the Music app, search for "Introducing Spatial Audio" and listen to the short demonstration and explanation. Then search for Spatial Audio playlists and check out some of the songs. Iím happily surprised to find that Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio is as good as it is, even for a hearing challenged person like myself. The modern headsets and earpods are way more advanced in general than they were even just a few years ago, and that helped bring out a bit more into the right channel when I adjusted the balance slide toward the R side. But I still didn't feel like it was truly stereo sounding. But when I listen to the Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio songs I can really hear in 3D. I would settle for just stereo, but it is actually 3D. It makes me look in directions all around thinking the sound emanates from there. That is really cool. It is still not as good as I would like, nor as good you will likely experience, but even with my terrible hearing it is a huge improvement. I can actually experience music much closer to the way most people do.

Unfortunately songs mastered for Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio are few and far between. I'm still not sure exactly what Spatial Audio is and Apple keeps stressing it as Dolby Atmos. Perhaps Spatial Audio is merely Apple's implementation of Dolby Atmos.

I tested Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio out on my Apple wired EarPods that ship with iPhones, on a set of over the ear BT headphones, and on my new Amazon Echo Buds 2nd gen which arrived this morning. It sounded great on all, best on the Echo Buds though. In order to get the Dolby Atmos option in Music settings you do have to have an Apple Music subscription. As soon as I got the trial subscription, the Dolby Atmos option appeared in Settings, but not before. I'm running iOS 14.6.
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