Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos - immersive audio in the home

Spatial Audio from Apple Music

Guy Singleton’s take on Spatial Audio from Apple Music.

Guy Singleton MIET LCGI MInstLM (our principal engineer) is a fully qualified and registered electrical and electronics engineer. He teaches and lectures internationally and is a subject matter expert for CEDIA’s education council, specialising in lighting, HVAC, home theatre design, fundamental electrical theories, electrical maths and control systems and programming. Guy has been at the helm of Imagine This for over 20 years.

Spatial Audio, Apple Music and Dolby Atmos

It’s been many years since I’ve had one of those moments that take my breath away. I remember the first time that I saw an EPG guide from Sky. It was a brief insight into a future VOD (video on demand) world that excited me. For me, Kaleidescape was another of those moments. It was album and movie cover art, with a UI that was, at the time, unparalleled; and probably still is. Even after all of these years.

My first experience of Spatial Audio from Apple Music is one of those defining moments for me. In fact, it simply took my breath away.

Lossless audio with high spatial resolution allows Marvin Gaye to envelop you like never before. Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ will immerse you in the arrangement. It will make you feel that you’re not just in the audience, but right there on the stage with him, Wendy and Lisa.

This for me was absolutely breathtaking!

Spatial Audio install for the home - Apple Music and Dolby Atmos
Lossless spatial audio from Apple Music and Dolby Atmos

Our team recently delivered a small immersive media room with PMC loudspeakers and a Bryston processor. We added Spatial Audio by running the Dolby Atmos audio output from the newest Apple TV (2021) through a Bryston SP4, coupled with JBL power amps and the Ci range of the PMC loudspeakers delivering it all. It was sublime! The immersive experience, the performance from the components and the client’s face when he first heard it. These are the moments that drive us – the love of the technical elements and the knowledge that our clients will have so many brilliant experiences in the room.

Multi-channel spatial audio evolution

I remember Dr Floyd Toole writing in an email once about the best way to improve the listening experience of a two-channel stereo / HiFi. His simple reply was “add more speakers”. He then went on to say that stereo was flawed. HiFi was flawed. I think that multi-channel spatial audio is that much needed evolution and ultimately where the best listening experience resides.

To hear that experience ‘open up’ and ‘envelope’ you is simply staggering. It makes the good great, and the superb, exceptional. Coupled with a low noise floor, the dynamic range of the ‘full fat’ lossless audio will blow you away. Bass extension and immersion being the primary benefactors of this particular means of delivery.

Apple Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos
Apple Music delivers spatial audio

High Performance Audio-Visual Spaces

I thought at one point I was building home cinemas and that has always been a great passion of ours. But this… this has given those high-performance audio-visual spaces a whole new value. They have become listening rooms for the traditional “HiFi guy” and the audiophile. These spaces will inevitably transform the way we listen to music and that, in itself, will light a fire under the producers of music to quench that thirst. Content is King in any format. Who better to backfill the 70 million historical tracks available on Apple Music to force this revolution into the mainstream?

If you’d like to know more about immersive audio and video high-performance rooms then drop us a line. We at Imagine This are always excited and enthusiastic to help our clients both new and old to make the most of these developments.

For further reading, please see our article on acoustic treatments or perhaps this immersive media room project? Alternatively, here is Guy’s article about Circadian Rhythm Lighting Systems and here is La Puerta, a Lutron Homeworks lighting project.

If you would like help with your own Spatial Audio install, please do contact us…

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