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What Is Spatial Audio, and How Does It Work?

Spatial audio is 3D audio effects which are a sound effects group that manipulates the produced sound by speaker-arrays, surround-sound speakers, speakers, and headphones. This mainly includes the virtual situation of sound bases everyplace in three-dimensional space, involving behind, below, or above the listener.

What is Spatial Audio?

With the advent of virtual reality and augmented reality, sound is becoming more and more important. But while virtual reality can be immersive, it doesn’t realistically recreate the sense of space in which you find yourself. Spatial audio accomplishes this feat by not only generating sounds from different positions but also with varying volumes based on distance. Here’s a look at how this works!

Let’s take a simple example: you’re driving a car down a highway in your favorite video game. The sounds of your car’s engine, wheels rolling over the pavement, and other various brand-new vehicle noises are all making a mess of your ears. You’re not constantly distracted from the experience by harsh noises like this one, but at times when you’re slowing down or speeding up, it seems as if their volume is getting louder and quieter, respectively.

This is all because the game is matching sounds to those physical locations and positions. By taking the audio from a particular place and mixing it with an effect like reverb, you can make that sound seem like it’s originating from anywhere in the space. As you move around and your point of view changes, your ear picks up on these differences and is able to tell where sounds are coming from.

For example, inside a game, there are tons of different audio sources that create sounds based on their positions or locations. Some of these sounds have specific functions and are used to help move the gamer around, like a doorbell that sounds when you walk through it. Other sounds are more generic because they don’t really have any context in the game, but they can help create a feeling of realism: engines that get louder as you approach them and noisy trucks driving by on the highway. Spatial audio takes all of these sources and mixes them together in real-time so that these separate sources sound convincing as if they’re coming from different positions in space.

How do Spatial Audio works?

The main work of spatial audio is to enable you to experience three-dimensional audio from videos and audio that supports it and follows the movements of iPad or iPhone. Spatial audio very nicely recreates the experience for you just like cinema. In cinema, you are able to observe and enjoy a sound quality that seems to appear from all around you like the front, from the side, behind, and even above the head, Spatial audio will provide you with the same experience at your home.

In order to provide this experience to the listeners, spatial audio works with the 7.1, 5.1, and Dolby Atmos mixes deriving from a companionable video or film, put on directional filters for audio, and regulates the frequencies imparted to each ear. By applying this technique and procedure, spatial audio creates the 3-dimensional effects for audio for the listeners which provides a special experience for listening to music, watching movies, and playing video games. However, even though spatial audio works like Dolby Atmos for devices like headphones, it works quite differently from it in the context of the tracking.

Spatial audio does not work on every headphone or device. It specifically works on AirPods Pro, AirPods (3rd Generation), AirPods Max, or any latest Beats headphones. Mainly it works with Apple music. The gyroscopes and accelerometers within AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and AirPods (3rd generation) are utilized to track the head of the listener and position the sound accordingly. It is a unique technology that spatial audio works with and offers mesmerizing music experience. It is also able to track iPad or iPhone, so the sound the listener is hearing is also compared to the screen where any video or movie is playing. Due to this, when the spatial audio is turned on in a device, and you are watching a video or listening to an audio that supports spatial audio, with movements of your head, the sound quality and music beats will match and provide an excellent effect.

How to use Spatial Audio?

As stated, in order to experience spatial audio, users need to sustain AirPods Pro, AirPods (3rd Generation), AirPods Max, or any latest Beats headphones. Along with that, users need to have an iPhone 7 and the later models as well as the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd gen) or later, iPad (6th gen) and later, iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Air (3rd gen) and later, iPad mini (5th gen and later). And not only these devices, but iPadOS 14 or iOS 14 or later and AV content is also required from a supported app. It is like if an application supports 7.1, 5.1 and Dolby Atmos mixes then it will also support spatial audio. Here are the steps that need to be followed to turn on and off the spatial audio.

  • Go to the settings of your iPhone
  • Click on Bluetooth
  • Then tap on ‘i’ on your headphones [AirPods Pro, AirPods (3rd Generation) or AirPods Max]
  • Then on iPhone, scroll down and toggle on the option spatial audio
  • Also, you can click on ‘See & Hear How It Works’ for the demo

Technology has made everything extraordinary and innovative for us. With the help of advanced and innovative technology, nowadays we can live our lives with extra comfort and digitalized way. Starting from communication to education, in every aspect of our life technology has its contribution. Just like that, Spatial Audio is a technology that enhances our hearing experiences by improving and taking the experience of listening to music and watching movies to another extended level.

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