Can AirPods Max really simulate height with Atmos?

Daveboi7

Active Member
So I have AirPods Pro and have watched videos on Netflix / AppleTV+ & Disney. I listened to videos with height in them like See to test the height channel, I also had atmos confirmed to be active by looking at control centre. The "height" from the Pro's was completely unconvincing. Didn't sound any better imo.

So, does anyone know if AirPods Max can do it any better? Looking at reddit most people can't even distinguish the different between spatial audio and atmos, a lot of the comments say that they are the same thing lol. So I've no hope on getting reliable info there lol
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
They’re designed to work with an AppleTV4K for Spatial/Atmos movie playback via AppleTV+, Prime and Netflix.
 

Daveboi7

Active Member
Are you using them in tandem with an AppleTV4K?
What I'm using at the moment are AirPods Pro with iOS (my iPhone). When I play atmos enabled content on the iPhone using my AirPods, the effect of having the audio sound as though it is coming from above me is not good.

I don't have AppleTV4K, however it would not make a difference as both iOS and the TV do atmos.
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
i suspect that the music mix isn’t necessarily the ideal test for Atmos playback

Maybe, if your iPhone has the AppleTV+ app, you might try playing a movie (such as Greyhound) to listen to some Atmos content..
 

Daveboi7

Active Member
i suspect that the music mix isn’t necessarily the ideal test for Atmos playback

Maybe, if your iPhone has the AppleTV+ app, you might try playing a movie (such as Greyhound) to listen to some Atmos content..
Sorry I should have mentioned, I’m specifically talking about movies.

I’ve tried various movies such as Greyhound and made sure Atmos was active using Control Center, the Pro’s can’t emulate height channels from my own testing. I’m assuming the Airpods Max will be the same. I just can’t find anyone online who is testing this, most reviews of the Max are about music.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
I think @spinaltap is on the right lines

A TV show or film with an Atmos or other multichannel sound track would have been mixed for 5.1 (plus) speakers

Spatial audio is still 'only' simulated digital surround sound with two drivers. So it still needs Apple or the publisher to mix the iTunes film, TV show or music track for 'spatial audio' to maximise the effect
 

Daveboi7

Active Member
I think @spinaltap is on the right lines

A TV show or film with an Atmos or other multichannel sound track would have been mixed for 5.1 (plus) speakers

Spatial audio is still 'only' simulated digital surround sound with two drivers. So it still needs Apple or the publisher to mix the iTunes film, TV show or music track for 'spatial audio' to maximise the effect
So does 5.1 not include height channels? I'm very new to audio concepts by the way
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
So does 5.1 not include height channels?

Misread what was written?

A multichannel soundtrack for a TV show or film is mixed for physical surround sound speakers

Spatial audio is still only digital signal processing through two headphone drivers, albeit with the financial and technical backing of Apple. I am speculating an audio track or music track 'may' need to be mixed for spatial audio to maximise the simulated effect

Of course it is not feasible to do this for every content. So really it is about Apple improving the algorithm for when the surround track is pushed through Apple headphones
 

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