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Old 06-10-2021, 05:38 PM   #61
tomsem
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I'm a bit unsure of how Apple is thinking the AirPods Pro will be used with the ATV 4K though. Are they assuming we will connect the AirPods Pro to the ATV via BT and directly listen to the ATV audio on the AirPods Pro? Or do they think we will wear our AirPods Pro connected to our iPhone, but use them to aid our hearing of the ATV audio coming out of our TV or soundbar system speakers? I think it is the second scenario. I hope so. With that scenario we still get the great audio from the speakers and sound system, plus we would also get the assistance of the Conversation Boost feature and the Spatial Audio feature because the ATV would get a signal from the AirPods Pro indicating that we are in front of the TV and watching, and that would in turn activate the Spatial Audio feature within the ATV.

I will be looking forward to hearing what testers have to say when they beta test these features.
It seems anyone’s guess (and will surely vary by person) as to whether Conversation Boost will work effectively with whatever comes out of the sound system ATV is connected to. ATV isn’t going to know if you are sitting there using CB and do something special.
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Old 06-10-2021, 06:30 PM   #62
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It seems anyone’s guess (and will surely vary by person) as to whether Conversation Boost will work effectively with whatever comes out of the sound system ATV is connected to. ATV isn’t going to know if you are sitting there using CB and do something special.
I think as far as CB goes, that is probably standalone. The ATV likely won’t know if you are using CB or not. I think CB is designed to work on its own inside the AirPods Pro without regards to whether you are talking to another person, watching TV, listening to the radio, etc. You pretty much toggle it on/off as you need it. Hopefully it can help clarify TV dialog as well as live human dialog.

On the other hand, SA will require a handshake between the AirPods Pro and ATV 4K. Supposedly the U1 chip in the AirPods Pro will signal the ATV 4K when you are sitting in front of the TV so it can make the audio seem to be emanating from appropriate directions around you. How well that handshake works is anyone’s guess. As far as that goes, it is anyone’s guess as to whether SA will live up to the hype. However, I doubt SA will even be usable with my 2.1 soundbase, so I’m not going to get excited about it.

Last edited by OtinG; 06-10-2021 at 06:32 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 12:55 AM   #63
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I think as far as CB goes, that is probably standalone.

On the other hand, SA will require a handshake between the AirPods Pro and ATV 4K. Supposedly the U1 chip in the AirPods Pro will signal the ATV 4K when you are sitting in front of the TV so it can make the audio seem to be emanating from appropriate directions around you. How well that handshake works is anyone’s guess. As far as that goes, it is anyone’s guess as to whether SA will live up to the hype. However, I doubt SA will even be usable with my 2.1 soundbase, so I’m not going to get excited about it.
This discusses Apple Music app on Apple TV with tvOS 14.6 or later, I don’t know how much of it applies to video, but I should think it would be the same (I’ll try it when I have a chance).

https://www.cultofmac.com/744855/ena...o-apple-music/
According to the article, SA will work with:

Quote:
AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max
BeatsX, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, or Beats Solo Pro
And
Quote:
To enjoy it, you’ll need HomePod speakers set up in stereo mode, a Dolby Atmos compatible sound bar, or TV with Atmos compatible speakers, of one of the above-mentioned AirPods or Beats.
tvOS 15 adds the head tracking feature for AirPods Pro or Max. But I think that’s just for video, it doesn’t really make as much sense for Music.
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Old Yesterday, 11:14 AM   #64
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I know that Dolby Atmos doesn't require a special system and they call it "the worlds first object based sound system." I also know that even though my TV and soundbase or both capable of Dolby Atmos, as is my ATV 4K, not all streaming services are. I’ve listened to demos of it, but my hearing is so messed up on the right side that it isn't possible for me to really experience it that well. I can sometimes tell when they are pushing the sound to my left side, but with only 30% hearing on my right side I can’t tell what is going on over there. So a really cool feature is lost on me. I bet it sounds great for most people though.

I'm still confused by all the various interpretations of what Spatial Audio really is. I know it is similar to Dolby Atmos in that it should make the listener feel that the sounds are coming from all around rather than from just the front. For example, a train approaching from behind and left will be heard in that direction and move across you to the front and right as the train would have done in real life. A good SA should thus provide what is known as the doppler effect. That is, change the pitch of sounds as they approach and then pass by you. Physics tells us the sound waves compress when heading toward you making them sound lower in frequency, and they stretch out after they pass by you making them sound higher in frequency.

In theory, loud sounds in any direction should make you look in that direction to see what is happening. SA most likely will have that effect too. But here is where it gets murky. When you turn your head does the direction of sound change too. If I turn my head left to see what exploded, will the noises from the explosion now be emanating from the direction I'm looking or still emanating from my left. Seems like the U1 chip would have the ability to tell the system which direction I'm looking. (Okay, I know they said the ATV 4K can’t do that, but other systems might have that capability.) The problem with video though is that if I do turn my head to look in the direction of the explosion, I’m now looking away from the video source if it is a TV (in a fixed location). If I’m wearing a virtual reality headset this will be really cool. If I’m watching a movie on TV, not so much. So I can see why the ATV 4K doesn't really need to know which direction I’m looking in. Virtual reality, if well designed, can update video and sound directions based on where you are looking. A TV show or movie cannot do that as far as the video goes.

So I guess I’m trying to say that in my mind it only makes sense for SA on the ATV 4K to always assume you are looking at the TV and not be concerned about where your head and eyes are pointing since it cannot move the video in front of you and then adjust the direction of the sounds appropriately.

Lossless music will be wasted on my crap hearing too, unfortunately. Somehow I bet the old-timers will still claim "vinyl is better"! I'll just have to defer to others on that... I grew up listening to scratchy old worn out LPs and 45s in the 1960s, and the constantly fading AM radio stations which were broadcasting in mono. I really just don't get all the hoopla over lossless music. I'll let those who must have lossless music lose sleep over it, but I'm perfectly good with DVDs and streaming what we have now. It is ALL much better than what I listened to as child!

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Old Yesterday, 04:52 PM   #65
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I agree that interpretation of SA is confusing.

However, I’m impressed with the experience for music, it makes it easier to isolate the various elements somehow.

I rarely use headphones to watch TV (and don’t do much video on mobile devices) so whatever it offers for video isn’t that important to me. The sound system we have hooked up to the TV is at least 20 years old, just basic Dolby 5.1, and sounds okay.

Apple is highlighting SA and Lossless because Tidal, Spotify, Amazon Music have had ‘hi-def’ streaming for awhile now. Hi-def/lossless is lost on most people, especially when their equipment isn’t up to it, and hearing is as much about what is between the ears as the ears themselves. Amazingly people enjoy music even when the sound is crappy. The brain fills it all in.

There’s an app, NYA (Neil Young Archives), that lets you toggle between 320/CD/Hi-Res bit rates, and it serves as a good benchmark. Yes, I can tell the difference between the 3, and Hi-Res is ‘best’, by just a bit. Neil Young has been a long time critic of the low quality sound that everybody seems to be satisfied with, even produced a hi-res audio player for awhile. So far, on Apple Music, all of his stuff is Lossless, but not Lossless Hi-Res. It’ll be interesting to see if he takes enough interest to publish hi-res and remix for Dolby Atmos, but he seems to be busy re-mixing and publishing his archive of bootleg live recordings up in Canada, taking advantage of COVID lockdown.

But SA is really noticeable, and potentially sets Apple Music apart. The main issue is lack of content: there are 8 (5-9 hour) playlists, and maybe a few dozen albums from which those playlists draw. I’m especially disappointed with Jazz, there are no recent recordings that have SA, and only about 12 albums total. It’s not clear how quickly more content can be added, or what the incentive is for publishers to do so. If I were self-publishing, I would want to jump on the train, it might get more listeners, given how Apple is promoting it.

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Old Yesterday, 05:16 PM   #66
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The bad side of SA might be that once Apple has a sufficient amount of songs with it, being Apple they might decide to charge extra for it. We have to pay companies like Netflix more money to stream 4K. We get charged more for renting HD rather than SD, and more again for renting 4K rather than HD video on Amazon. Time will tell. Thankfully for me I won’t be tempted by SA because my ears won’t be able to really benefit from it.
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Old Yesterday, 06:22 PM   #67
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The bad side of SA might be that once Apple has a sufficient amount of songs with it, being Apple they might decide to charge extra for it. We have to pay companies like Netflix more money to stream 4K. We get charged more for renting HD rather than SD, and more again for renting 4K rather than HD video on Amazon. Time will tell. Thankfully for me I won’t be tempted by SA because my ears won’t be able to really benefit from it.
Actually it has gone the other way: Amazon and Spotify dropped their premium for hi-res streaming shortly after Apple announced theirs would remain the same price. And I think publishers will not want to put all of their eggs in the Apple basket, and the other services will start offering Dolby Atmos as well.

I don’t think SA adds much to bandwidth requirements [it turns out to be less than Lossless], and there is not nearly enough of such content now to charge extra. My sense is that it’s currently labor intensive to re-master and do a good job of it, but no doubt ML will soon do as well, and cheaply.

Here is download size difference for In The Heights album:
High Quality: 153.3 MB (AAC 256 kbps)
Lossless: 866.3 MB (ALAC up to 24-bit/48 kHz)
High-Resolution Lossless: not available for this album
Dolby Atmos: 554.1 MB (unknown bit rate etc)

The somewhat confusing part is there are 2 places in Settings for Apple Music that control what gets downloaded:

1. Audio Quality
It appears the default download quality is ‘High Quality’ AAC 256. But if you toggle Lossless Audio, you can pick between that and Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/48 kHz) or High-Resolution Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/192 kHz)

2. Download in Dolby Atmos toggle
If you select this, it overrides whatever was set in (1.)

Note that for High-Resolution Lossless, apparently you have to use an external DAC to preserve the full resolution for whatever (wired) headphones you plug in.

It surprises me that the Lightning (or USB-C) connector analog out (using whatever on board DAC there is) isn’t good enough. Evidently the chips needed are prohibitively large to put in the phone/tablet (the DAC’s I have seen are about 2/3 the size of a medium size smartphone, and thicker).

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Old Yesterday, 10:47 PM   #68
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That seems rather kluge to me, but I guess the folks who insist on lossless formatting will gladly jump through flaming hoops to get it. More power to them. Hopefully they will be happy with it. I’m glad I’m not that picky about music!
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