Taking Spatial Audio for a spin

Zane Lowe, Apple:

I first got the opportunity to listen to Spatial Audio on AirPods; I was confused at first. “Does this really work on AirPods? When do I get my car and go to some kind of listening room with special speakers?” And they were like, “No, no — just press play.”

Among the first songs I listened to were Lady Gaga’s “Rain on Me” and Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.” It was hard to put into words because I’ve spent my whole life in a two-channel environment; I was born into stereo. It dawned on me that there are a lot of artists in the past and present who would have loved to be able to lean in with this kind of technology — to make their songs come to life, make them bigger, and just take them to levels no one had even thought of yet. But they only had two stereo channels to play with. Now they can go beyond that. So, to be able to hear parts of these songs coming from behind and around me? I was like, “I’m all in. I get it.” TV got HD — now music gets Spatial.

The best way to get a true sense of the change is to pop in your AirPods and jump over to this two item Apple Music playlist that Zane Lowe crafted. In it, he walks you through mono (in the first song) to stereo to Dolby Atmos so you can hear the evolution for yourself.

Then head over to this page to explore Apple’s current spatial audio offerings. Or, on your iPhone, launch the Music app, tap the Search tab, and tap the Spacial Audio category, then start exploring.