A new Spatial Audio ad (embedded below) has just been posted to the Apple Music YouTube channel, featuring the Masego & Don Toliver track Mystery Lady.

Update: Bizarrely, the ad itself doesn’t use Spatial Audio, just a lot of stereo channel separation. You need to listen to the separate Behind the Sound video in the Apple Music app to hear the real thing …

With both videos, you’ll hear very clear stereo effects, with particular sounds obviously coming from either left, right or center. The effect is particularly pronounced when listening on headphones.

But on devices that support Spatial Audio, the second video will give you a better sense of where every element of the sound is coming from, especially when you turn your head.

To automatically get the full Spatial Audio effect, you’ll need to be on iOS 14.6 or later and listening on specific devices:

  • AirPods Pro or AirPods Max with spatial audio turned on. Go to Control Center, touch and hold the volume button, then tap Spatial Audio.
  • AirPods
  • BeatsX, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, or Beats Solo Pro
  • The built-in speakers on an iPhone XR or later (except iPhone SE), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later), iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad (6th generation or later), iPad Air (3rd generation or later), or iPad mini (5th generation)

If you have other headphones or speakers that support Dolby Atmos but don’t automatically detect Apple’s implementation, you can enable it in the Settings app: Settings > Music > Audio > Dolby Atmos > Always On. You can learn more here.

If you like Spatial Audio so much you wish all music tracks and streaming video supported it, iOS 15 and macOS Monterey will bring the ability to simulate the effect so far as head movement is concerned.

With this new Spatialize Stereo option, you can listen to pretty much any song or video with Spatial Audio using AirPods Pro or AirPods Max. This, of course, won’t bring the three-dimensional sound experience that Dolby content offers, but it does a good job of simulating the audio coming from different directions as you move your head with AirPods.

To enable Spatialize Stereo in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, just connect your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max and start playing any content. Then go to the Control Center, press and hold on the volume slider, and you will see the new option there. 

As expected, Apple is majoring on Spatial Audio while remaining low key when it comes to Lossless Audio.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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