Apple Joining the Atmos streaming game!

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musicmemorabiliashoppellc

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It's still there in the Rock playlist.
Maybe you were trying to play a different version.

It's confusing because the Atmos version is in a compilation album by various artists, and not on the band's album.
Incidentally, this album has 5 songs in Atmos.
Ya it is ….lol been a long day… thanks😊
 

Tres Discrete

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A lot of these comments we’ve heard before:

How can surround be better than stereo? The original stereo is how it should sound, why is the music not in the front only. Blah, blah.
Plus…if I read this correctly…he only listened on headphones?
I’m thinking that alone would result in a sub-optimal experience 😒
 

jonfo

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Plus…if I read this correctly…he only listened on headphones?
I’m thinking that alone would result in a sub-optimal experience 😒
Oh boy, really.

But I can tell you, Atmos, when played back via Smyth Realizer A16 Atmos Headphone Processor, using a custom PRIR (with personalized HRTF), over good headphones lets one hear every ounce of detail in the mix. In terms of localization, it beats the Airpods Max (generic HRTF) and both my 5.4.2 and 5.4.4 (HT) setups. The HT is much more impactful but less precise as far as localization (something to do with 6' tall ESL speakers for the bed channels ;) ).
Once the Smyth (or similar) tech reaches mass adoption, listening to Atmos over headphones is how most will be enjoying these mixes.
 
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mlrocker

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Oh boy, really.

But I can tell you, Atmos, when played back via Smyth Realizer A16 Atmos Headphone Processor, using a custom PRIR (with personalized HRTF), over good headphones lets one hear every ounce of detail in the mix. In terms of localization, it beats the Airpods Max (generic HRTF) and both my 5.4.4 and 5.4.4 (HT) setups. The HT is much more impactful but less precise as far as localization (something to do with 6' tall ESL speakers for the bed channels ;) ).
Once the Smyth (or similar) tech reaches mass adoption, listening to Atmos over headphones is how most will be enjoying these mixes.
looks like fun Smyth Realiser

A16_HS_BACK.jpg



then again...4500 euros! ...is not ready for the masses.
 
Last edited:

pti

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Since Apple is really marketing this in terms of using the psychoacoustic renderer to render Atmos/multichannel audio sources to orientation-sensing headphones, there's very little -explicit- discussion of the technically simpler rendering to a static multichannel speaker array. However, as JediJoker has reasonably inferred, if multichannel Atmos content is going to be rendered on the Mac into "Spatial Audio" (multichannel presented as variable two-channel based on orientation) by the psychoacoustic renderer, it's not far-fetched at all to imagine Apple will be enabling the path for multichannel Atmos to a static multichannel speaker array.
...

UPDATE: After doing Reset Cache in the Music app and some restarting, I am getting the Atmos logo and 5.1 output from some songs in the Spatial Audio playlist on my 2015 iMac with Focusrite 18i20 with 5.1 speaker configuration. (Some songs still don't show the logo, but Apple seems to be working out the issues. The Zane Lowe "From Mono to Stereo to Spatial" demo works as a test.)

Ignore the person saying Atmos playback can't happen on the Mac because external USB audio interfaces don't understand Atmos. That's not how this works and they don't know what they are talking about.
 
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jonfo

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looks like fun Smyth Realiser

then again...4500 euros! ...is not ready for the masses.
Even at a much lower price (I paid $800USD as an early Kickstarter backer 4+ years ago), this thing is massively complex to setup and use. Creating PRIR's stretched even my skills (and I customize most audio stuff in my rig and have been in the Computer field for 40+ years).

Once it is all configured, it's not too bad: turn on, ensure right input is selected (I only use one, as the AVR is used as source selector, and in standby does pass-through)

Kind of fun to sit in the small media room, yet 'hear' the space and sound of my dedicated HT over headphones.

HT Front3qtr view 2020.jpeg


HT Front 2020.jpeg


That is a 26' x 15' x 10' custom-designed room housing a 5.4.4 system with:
5 MartinLogan Electrostatic speaker (center is behind an acoustically transparent screen, which is also why it is still a 4:3, the center is 6' tall)
Front L/R are customized Monolith IIIx with new panels and custom woofers, center, see below, rears are Sequel IIb (I'm original owner).
It's an active system using DBX DriveRack 4800 speaker processor for the XO duties
18 Channels of amplification
Atmos top speakers are JBL SCS8, same as commercial cinema
Front sub (visible below screen) is a 4x15" infinite baffle sub, as there is an equivalent room volume below the HT as the 'chamber'
Rear sub is a 9 cubic foot sealed sub with an 18" Ultimax powered by a 2500w Crown XLS.
There two ported 12" nearfield MidBass Modules right behind the main seats.
Power system is Balanced via 5Kva EquiTech and DIY sequential relay system to deal with >50A of turn-on inrush.
Preamp is a Marantz 8802A
PJ is a fauxK JVC 4810 (soon to be an RS2000)
Tons more stuff all placed in an equipment room behind the front wall. Has it's own mini-split HVAC, as that's also the telco/server room.
The room itself has a literal ton of acoustic treatments, the major one being the 14' long sidewall with ESL panel elements (decorative).

MartinLogan did not make a center that met my criteria, so I built my own, the SL3XC.
The wall behind is covered in RealTraps minitraps HF treatments now.

SL3-Final3QtrView_sml.jpg
 
Last edited:

bracelis

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UPDATE: After doing Reset Cache in the Music app and some restarting, I am getting the Atmos logo and 5.1 output from some songs in the Spatial Audio playlist on my 2015 iMac with Focusrite 18i20 with 5.1 speaker configuration. (Some songs still don't show the logo, but Apple seems to be working out the issues. The Zane Lowe "From Mono to Stereo to Spatial" demo works as a test.)

Ignore the person saying Atmos playback can't happen on the Mac because external USB audio interfaces don't understand Atmos. That's not how this works and they don't know what they are talking about.
Nice to hear.
Looks like @Franck started a thread earlier about the same topic.

Does it allow you to set up speakers as height/ceiling speakers ?
For example with a receiver I can set up 4 main channels (no center, LFE) and 2 speakers as height channels, and the receiver will render the Atmos stream properly to that speaker configuration. That would be great if it does that.

Edit: You mentioned that you're using a a 2015 iMac.
I'm also curious if there are differences in audio capabilities between that and the newer ( M1 ) mini and iMac.
 
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Tres Discrete

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Oh boy, really.

But I can tell you, Atmos, when played back via Smyth Realizer A16 Atmos Headphone Processor, using a custom PRIR (with personalized HRTF), over good headphones lets one hear every ounce of detail in the mix. In terms of localization, it beats the Airpods Max (generic HRTF) and both my 5.4.4 and 5.4.4 (HT) setups. The HT is much more impactful but less precise as far as localization (something to do with 6' tall ESL speakers for the bed channels ;) ).
Once the Smyth (or similar) tech reaches mass adoption, listening to Atmos over headphones is how most will be enjoying these mixes.
Based on his review I’m going to guess the reviewer did not have anything near that set-up…
It does sound interesting though!
 

Tres Discrete

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Sorry, but this one got me all fired up. One thing I hate is when someone tried to tell me what I should like and should not like. I could poke a thousand holes in this "respected" producer/engineer's argument. How does he know what the artist intended? How does anyone know that that artist didn't really want sound coming from all around but was limited by the technology of the time or by record company pressure? Calling these "bastardizations" is just ridiculous. Didn't Paul McCartney, RIngo Starr and the families of George and John approve the Sgt. Pepper surround mix? Some people get a little too precious with their beloved music. Yes, they are works of art, I get that. And the originals are out there, so go listen to those and be happy, no one is telling you otherwise. But don't tell me what to listen to or how I should listen.

And I know I'm not alone.
I agree. How can one say that an artist intended a song or album to be heard in stereo unless the artist was given the choice to release each in multichannel as well and turned it down?
I understand the commercial ramifications, but I would guess most artists would prefer their music to be heard in a more discrete, immersive way revealing more detail.
As you point out - look how many classic artists are approving multichannel mixes now that they have the opportunity to revisit their catalog 👍🏼
 

pti

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Messages
39
Nice to hear.
Looks like @Franck started a thread earlier about the same topic.

Does it allow you to set up speakers as height/ceiling speakers ?
For example with a receiver I can set up 4 main channels (no center, LFE) and 2 speakers as height channels, and the receiver will render the Atmos stream properly to that speaker configuration. That would be great if it does that.

Edit: You mentioned that you're using a a 2015 iMac.
I'm also curious if there are differences in audio capabilities between that and the newer ( M1 ) mini and iMac.


At present, the surround configurations in Audio/MIDI setup do -not- include height placement options. (See screenshot.)

I suspect that will change soon, though. The AV frameworks are already well-designed for varying layouts, so I don't think it will be a big leap for Apple now that demand will be driven by the availability of content.

Having enough outputs on your audio interface starts to be a challenge, though. My Focusrite has ten discrete outputs, six of which are currently used to feed my five powered JBL LSR4328s + LSR4312 sub. The 7/8 and 9/10 outputs are shared with the headphone outputs on the front, though, so compromises need to be made to go to 7.1.

I believe Apple Silicon is their baseline for support of AirPods Pro/Max orientation / spatial rendering. I wouldn't use that at my Mac, so it's not an issue for me.
 

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bracelis

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At present, the surround configurations in Audio/MIDI setup do -not- include height placement options. (See screenshot.)

I suspect that will change soon, though. The AV frameworks are already well-designed for varying layouts, so I don't think it will be a big leap for Apple now that demand will be driven by the availability of content.

Having enough outputs on your audio interface starts to be a challenge, though. My Focusrite has ten discrete outputs, six of which are currently used to feed my five powered JBL LSR4328s + LSR4312 sub. The 7/8 and 9/10 outputs are shared with the headphone outputs on the front, though, so compromises need to be made to go to 7.1.

I believe Apple Silicon is their baseline for support of AirPods Pro/Max orientation / spatial rendering. I wouldn't use that at my Mac, so it's not an issue for me.
I feed like I will be missing out on the songs with the good Atmos mixes (example Kraftwerk 3D) without the height speakers, if they will be routed to the main/floor speakers. Still, this is a 'first' / big step -- that Apple music is the first music streaming service that supports any kind of surround on a desktop to external speakers, and there are many songs available (and hopefully more), and it is available in many countries.

I currently have a 12-year old Windows desktop/tower which is still running fine for general use and music, but thinking about getting the new M1 mini as a replacement, but I guess I'll wait for new developments on this (the ability to play Atmos properly without a receiver).

For now I have to do a round trip through a Marantz processor:
Windows -> HDMI -> Marantz -> XLR analog -> RME interface -> USB/Windows --> RME interface --> Quad + height speakers
 

mkt

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UPDATE: After doing Reset Cache in the Music app and some restarting, I am getting the Atmos logo and 5.1 output from some songs in the Spatial Audio playlist on my 2015 iMac with Focusrite 18i20 with 5.1 speaker configuration. (Some songs still don't show the logo, but Apple seems to be working out the issues. The Zane Lowe "From Mono to Stereo to Spatial" demo works as a test.)

Ignore the person saying Atmos playback can't happen on the Mac because external USB audio interfaces don't understand Atmos. That's not how this works and they don't know what they are talking about.
Thanks for the info! I can confirm Mac -> USB -> multichannel DAC -> 5.1 active monitors works.

In my case I had (?) to upgrade to Big Sur, which I had been putting off. (In Catalina there was no option for lossless or Atmos in in Apple Music preferences).
EDIT: Lots of tracks in the Spatial Audio playlist don't show the Dolby symbol or get multichannel output. 🤷‍♂️
EDIT2: If I skip from one track to the next in the Spatial Audio playlist, I get the Dolby symbol and get multichannel output. If I click on a track (same play list), I lose the Atmos. A mystery.
 
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bracelis

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Thanks for the info! I can confirm Mac -> USB -> multichannel DAC -> 5.1 active monitors works.

In my case I had (?) to upgrade to Big Sur, which I had been putting off. (In Catalina there was no option for lossless or Atmos in in Apple Music preferences).
EDIT: Lots of tracks in the Spatial Audio playlist don't show the Dolby symbol or give multichannel output. 🤷‍♂️
Can you give some examples of the ones that play in multi-channel, and some that do not ?
I'm curious if some of the songs are 4.0/5.0/5.1, and you're able to play only those in multi-channel on the Mac.
For example, this album appears as 'Atmos', but this is a classical 4.0 album from the 70's, available on Blu Ray.
I doubt this is a new Atmos remix -- I'm assuming it's upmixed from 4.0 to Atmos.
 
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Glentheed

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Update : My Apple 4K TV box is being delivered on Monday. ( I actually ordered it about 10 minutes after this initial post this morning. )
I thought I’d post seeing @beerking ’s recent post….
I find my Apple 4K box plays Tidal in Dolby Atmos without any problems but Apple music plays spatial audio in stereo. The Tidal songs sound fantastic.
 

jonfo

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The Symth Realiser A16 allowed me to answer a couple of questions I had regarding the formats an AppleTV 4K uses to pass along audio to processors.

My questions were: We know it uses Dolby MAT 2.0 to pass the Atmos soundtrack to the processor, but what are the details of the MAT encode, how many channels, does it use a container (eg. TrueHD)?
For lossless audio, does it use plain vanilla LPCM over HDMI, or does it containerize the payload?

So first, this is what the A16 shows when the ATV is streaming Atmos from Apple Music to my 7.1.4 preset 'room' (XStatic 1), it includes real-time bar-meters for each channel (sub: red, Bed channels: green, Tops: purple):

ATV_Atmos.jpg


To answer question #1, we look at the details of the Input stream on this screen, which tells us the following:
  • the stream format is a TrueHD Atmos container
  • The MAT 'image' is Atmos
  • There are 15 'active' channels in the A16 (I have it decode the .1 to the headphones)
  • The 'Decode' indicates the A16 will decode to 9.1.6
  • The 'Listen' shows we will be using a 'room' that has 7.1.4 virtual speakers
  • We are going to listen "direct' (no upmixing)


ATV_AtmosDetail.jpg



Next the displays when playing an Apple Music Lossless track, in this case a 24/96 by Steven Wilson from the album 4.5.

We see it is a PCM 2ch source inside an 8ch PCM stream.
It switched 'rooms' to a 9.1.6, but only the L/R are playing anything (Upmixing is OFF)

ATV_PCM.jpg


The details show us that:

  • The inner stream is now PCM, so not containerized
  • The Image from the source is labeled as 'Atmos' which I think means the ATV continues to use MAT as the transport
  • The decode is 2.0.0 channels of PCM
So it seems the ATV uses MAT for 2ch AND for Atmos, just varying the types of inner streams. This would cut down on processor stream handshaking. Although my A16 took a few seconds to output music when going between Atmos and 2ch, whereas my Denon X3600 is super smooth.


ATV_2chPCMDetail.jpg


The real shame is that it not showing the bit-depths nor sampling rates of the streams.
 

mkt

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Can you give some examples of the ones that play in multi-channel, and some that do not ?
I'm curious if some of the songs are 4.0/5.0/5.1, and you're able to play only those in multi-channel on the Mac.
With more random experimentation, my experience is that I can "lose" the Atmos in a playlist by clicking a track, rather than skipping. Weird.
 

jonfo

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With more random experimentation, my experience is that I can "lose" the Atmos in a playlist by clicking a track, rather than skipping. Weird.
Happened to me too as I was doing the experimentation in shown in my post above. I chalk it up to what is likely handshaking confusion between the processor and the ATV over the processor's capabilities. If the pause between audio streams is >5 seconds it seems to do OK, but sometimes skipping around, or going back and forth between 2ch and Atmos, it gets confused.
 
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mlrocker

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Even at a much lower price (I paid $800USD as an early Kickstarter backer 4+ years ago), this thing is massively complex to setup and use. Creating PRIR's stretched even my skills (and I customize most audio stuff in my rig and have been in the Computer field for 40+ years).

Once it is all configured, it's not too bad: turn on, ensure right input is selected (I only use one, as the AVR is used as source selector, and in standby does pass-through)

Kind of fun to sit in the small media room, yet 'hear' the space and sound of my dedicated HT over headphones.

View attachment 67990

View attachment 67991

That is a 26' x 15' x 10' custom-designed room housing a 5.4.4 system with:
5 MartinLogan Electrostatic speaker (center is behind an acoustically transparent screen, which is also why it is still a 4:3, the center is 6' tall)
Front L/R are customized Monolith IIIx with new panels and custom woofers, center, see below, rears are Sequel IIb (I'm original owner).
It's an active system using DBX DriveRack 4800 speaker processor for the XO duties
18 Channels of amplification
Atmos top speakers are JBL SCS8, same as commercial cinema
Front sub (visible below screen) is a 4x15" infinite baffle sub, as there is an equivalent room volume below the HT as the 'chamber'
Rear sub is a 9 cubic foot sealed sub with an 18" Ultimax powered by a 2500w Crown XLS.
There two ported 12" nearfield MidBass Modules right behind the main seats.
Power system is Balanced via 5Kva EquiTech and DIY sequential relay system to deal with >50A of turn-on inrush.
Preamp is a Marantz 8802A
PJ is a fauxK JVC 4810 (soon to be an RS2000)
Tons more stuff all placed in an equipment room behind the front wall. Has it's own mini-split HVAC, as that's also the telco/server room.
The room itself has a literal ton of acoustic treatments, the major one being the 14' long sidewall with ESL panel elements (decorative).

MartinLogan did not make a center that met my criteria, so I built my own, the SL3XC.
The wall behind is covered in RealTraps minitraps HF treatments now.

View attachment 67992
I like you left room in front to dance with a couple ladies!
 
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