Apple on its WWDC announced that it would be rolling out spatial audio with Dolby Atmos along with 24-bit lossless audio to its entire catalog. Here’s what you’ll need to take advantage of lossless audio and Dolby Atmos tracks in Apple Music. If you are interested in learning if Dolby Atmos on Apple really makes a difference, the review is at the end of this article.
What’s Dolby Atmos ?
Dolby Atmos is a more immersive 3D way of listening to music, bringing new dimensions to your favorite tracks. Apple through its spatial audio technology is bringing Atmos to thousands of soundtracks in its audio library.
All you need to do is to update your iPhone/iPad to latest version of iOS ( iOS 14.6 ) to enjoy Dolby Atmos on supported headsets. Currently, all of Apple’s headphones with W1 or H1 chipset would support Dolby Atmos. Meaning, if you are using any of Apple’s AirPods or recent Beats headphones such as Beats Flex, it should support Dolby Atmos automatically.
Though you can force turn on Dolby Atmos on other headsets, the ability of the headphones to play the sound tracks in Atmos is doubtful. By default, Apple Music would turn on Atmos automatically on supported headsets.
Along with Dolby Atmos, Apple has announced the release of lossless audio streaming.
Apple Lossless Audio
ALAC or Apple Lossless Audio Codec is the file format used by Apple for its lossless audio streaming. For long Apple has been using AAC – Apple Audio Codec, a lossy audio codec for its streaming. Most audio that we download as MP3 or stream in YouTube or Ganna is compressed to reduce file size. Compression algorithms removes frequencies that cannot be heard easily. But, depending on the headphones and mainly the listener, lossless audio can mean a significant boost to audio listening experience. There is no quality loss in lossless audio, and the music you hear sounds exactly as the audio recorded by the creator.
Okay enough of the technicalities,
How good is Dolby Atmos on Apple Music?
Currently on supported tracks, Dolby Atmos sounds better. Blind testing Apple Music with Spotify, 90% of the time, listeners responded that Apple Music with Dolby Atmos sounded better.
I tried to force turn on Dolby Atmos with my Bose QC II headphones, but the effect is not as dramatic as it was when compared to using my Beats Flex headphones. Well, if you are in the market looking for some new headphones, Apple’s headphone catalog is now looking far more convincing. You can grab a pair of Beats Flex supporting Atmos for INR 4499.
Here is the entire list of Apple headphones supporting Atmos in Apple Music.
Spotify has recently announced that it would be upgrading its catalog to support Hi-Fi Atmos audio streaming. But the exact date of release is not known. At time of writing this article, Apple Music has not yet officially rolled out Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio in India. We have reached Apple to comment on the launch date, but there is no response. We would update this article when Apple rolls out Spatial Audio in India.