Apple Music - Dolby Atmos Playback From Mac

QuadraphonicQuad

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I stumbled on a way to play Apple Music Atmos in 5.1 from my 2017 iMac to the trusty old Yamaha AVR using HDMI from a display port adapter connected to a thunderbolt port.
No Apple TV box required!

I there's a more appropriate thread to post this info to, please let me know.

I've always used the display port to send video to the tv connected to the AVR.
This allows display mirroring and watching internet browser streaming movies on the bigger screen.
In system preferences, the sound device displayed as a tv and could only play stereo.

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 1.39.25 PM.png


Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 2.11.35 PM.png


After signing up for a free trial of Apple Music, I discovered a hack to get the receiver to show up as sound option.
Power off the TV connected to AVR HDMI out!
Now the Yamaha RX-V375 displays on the menu as a destination for sound output.

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 2.12.41 PM.png


Voilá!
Johnny Winter in Quad!

I'm a tickled-pink retiree with so much surround music available free for the next three months I'll never get to it all.
:51QQ

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 1.28.30 PM.png
 

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humprof

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I stumbled on a way to play Apple Music Atmos in 5.1 from my 2017 iMac to the trusty old Yamaha AVR using HDMI from a display port adapter connected to a thunderbolt port.
No Apple TV box required!

I there's a more appropriate thread to post this info to, please let me know.

I've always used the display port to send video to the tv connected to the AVR.
This allows display mirroring and watching internet browser streaming movies on the bigger screen.
In system preferences, the sound device displayed as a tv and could only play stereo.

View attachment 75306

View attachment 75307

After signing up for a free trial of Apple Music, I discovered a hack to get the receiver to show up as sound option.
Power off the TV connected to AVR HDMI out!
Now the Yamaha RX-V375 displays on the menu as a destination for sound output.

View attachment 75308

Voilá!
Johnny Winter in Quad!

I'm a tickled-pink retiree with so much surround music available free for the next three months I'll never get to it all.
:51QQ

View attachment 75305

Wow--I wonder if there's a comparable workaround for Windows...
 

beerking

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I stumbled on a way to play Apple Music Atmos in 5.1 from my 2017 iMac to the trusty old Yamaha AVR using HDMI from a display port adapter connected to a thunderbolt port.
No Apple TV box required!

I there's a more appropriate thread to post this info to, please let me know.

I've always used the display port to send video to the tv connected to the AVR.
This allows display mirroring and watching internet browser streaming movies on the bigger screen.
In system preferences, the sound device displayed as a tv and could only play stereo.

View attachment 75306

View attachment 75307

After signing up for a free trial of Apple Music, I discovered a hack to get the receiver to show up as sound option.
Power off the TV connected to AVR HDMI out!
Now the Yamaha RX-V375 displays on the menu as a destination for sound output.

View attachment 75308

Voilá!
Johnny Winter in Quad!

I'm a tickled-pink retiree with so much surround music available free for the next three months I'll never get to it all.
:51QQ

View attachment 75305
What a result....take that Apple 🍎

Er please.....not Take That. :D
 

JediJoker

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Wow--I wonder if there's a comparable workaround for Windows...
I don't think so. Pretty sure Atmos/Dolby Audio is exclusive to Apple devices (for now).

And this isn't really a "workaround" on macOS. It's an officially supported playback method.
 

humprof

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I don't think so. Pretty sure Atmos/Dolby Audio is exclusive to Apple devices (for now).

And this isn't really a "workaround" on macOS. It's an officially supported playback method.

Check.

Still, Windows has supported Atmos playback (via HDMI) for a couple of years now. For instance: with Kodi, VLC, Windows TV and Movies, and a few other media players, I can play Atmos mp4 or mkv files over a Windows laptop connected to my AVR.

I guess the question now is whether Apple will ever support Atmos playback on a non-Apple device. It's great that they've belatedly added MacBooks to their list of supported devices. But when I can use iTunes to stream Atmos files from my Apple Music account directly to my AVR, bypassing the ATV4K altogether, I'll be really happy.
 

humprof

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I don't think so. Pretty sure Atmos/Dolby Audio is exclusive to Apple devices (for now).

And this isn't really a "workaround" on macOS. It's an officially supported playback method.

I can verify the same result from my 2020 MacBook Pro. Great find!

Well, I wonder if any of you guys (including @Franck and/or @mkt) can help me get this working with my brand-spanking-new MacBook Pro (running OS 12.4), going into my Marantz SR6014 via HDMI. (And I'd be happy to move this whole discussion to another thread or to PMs.) I'm not having any luck, and the nice Mac support person I spoke to this morning told me, regretfully, that she was helpless to suggest anything, since so far the only officially supported Atmos playback methods are a) the built-in MacBook speakers and b) AirPods Pro. (And yes, she understood that you only get pseudo-Atmos with those. . . .)

Anyway, here's what I've done:
  • In Apple Music Preferences > Playback > Audio Quality, I've selected "Lossless audio (Hi-Res Lossless [ALAC to 24-bit/192 kHz])" and "Dolby Atmos: Always On."
  • In Audio MIDI Setup, I select "marantz-AVR" as the Audio Device. Then, in the "Configure Speakers" sub-menu, I look for a "5.1.4 Atmos Surround" option (that's my setup)--only the best option on offer is "5.1.2 Atmos Surround." That's the first problem. So for lack of anything better, I choose that option anyway. And with the "Configure Speakers" window still open, I test each speaker, and get a signal from each one--except for "Left Top Middle" and "Right Top Middle," which get routed to Left Surround and Right Surround, respectively. And then it gets even hinkier. Namely:
If I play a known Atmos stream from Apple Music:
  • The playback I get is not even Atmos 5.1.2 (or 5.1); it's stereo! Weirder still:
  • When I press the "Info" button on my Marantz, it shows the Music Sound Mode as "Multi-Channel In" (not stereo, but also Atmos), with 5.1 channels engaged. (But even so, as I said: I'm actually only getting music in stereo, out of the front L & R channels.) And if I try to change the sound mode on the Marantz, it doesn't give me an Atmos option there, either--which tells me that whatever signal the MacBook thinks it's sending to the Marantz, the Marantz is not seeing it as Atmos.
I'm reasonably certain my HDMI cable isn't at fault here, as I've long used the same cable to send Atmos mp4 & mka files from a Windows laptop to the Marantz. (Maybe Thunderbolt to HDMI would be better?)

The Apple Support person said she had no further resources to draw on, but that she would report my issue, and encouraged me to do the same on the Feedback site. She gave me the standard assurance that the engineers read that feedback, but she also allowed as it was impossible to know whether and when anyone would respond with a fix.

So anyway: if y'all have truly managed to get Atmos--or even 5.1--playback from your MacBook directly to your AVR, I'd be grateful to hear details! I've done some Googling, ultimately to no avail.
 
Last edited:

adamschoales

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Well, I wonder if any of you guys (including @Franck and/or @mkt) can help me get this working with my brand-spanking-new MacBook Pro (running OS 12.4), going into my Marantz SR6014 via HDMI. (And I'd be happy to move this whole discussion to another thread or to PMs.) I'm not having any luck, and the nice Mac support person I spoke to this morning told me, regretfully, that she was helpless to suggest anything, since so far the only officially supported Atmos playback methods are a) the built-in MacBook speakers and b) AirPods Pro. (And yes, she understood that you only get pseudo-Atmos with those. . . .)

Anyway, here's what I've done:
  • In Apple Music Preferences > Playback > Audio Quality, I've selected "Lossless audio (Hi-Res Lossless [ALAC to 24-bit/192 kHz])" and "Dolby Atmos: Always On."
  • In Audio MIDI Setup, I select "marantz-AVR" as the Audio Device. Then, in the "Configure Speakers" sub-menu, I look for a "5.1.4 Atmos Surround" option (that's my setup)--only the best option on offer is "5.1.2 Atmos Surround." That's the first problem. So for lack of anything better, I choose that option anyway. And with the "Configure Speakers" window still open, I test each speaker, and get a signal from each one--except for "Left Top Middle" and "Right Top Middle," which get routed to Left Surround and Right Surround, respectively. And then it gets even hinkier. Namely:
If I play a known Atmos stream from Apple Music:
  • The playback I get is not even Atmos 5.1.2 (or 5.1); it's stereo! Weirder still:
  • When I press the "Info" button on my Marantz, it shows the Music Sound Mode as "Multi-Channel In" (not stereo, but also Atmos), with 5.1 channels engaged. (But even so, as I said: I'm actually only getting music in stereo, out of the front L & R channels.) And if I try to change the sound mode on the Marantz, it doesn't give me an Atmos option there, either--which tells me that whatever signal the MacBook thinks it's sending to the Marantz, the Marantz is not seeing it as Atmos.
I'm reasonably certain my HDMI cable isn't at fault here, as I've long used the same cable to send Atmos mp4 & mka files from a Windows laptop to the Marantz. (Maybe Thunderbolt to HDMI would be better?)

The Apple Support person said she had no further resources to draw on, but that she would report my issue, and encouraged me to do the same on the Feedback site. She gave me the standard assurance that the engineers read that feedback, but she also allowed as it was impossible to know whether and when anyone would respond with a fix.

So anyway: if y'all have truly managed to get Atmos--or even 5.1--playback from your MacBook directly to your AVR, I'd be grateful to hear details! I've done some Googling, ultimately to no avail.

Can you get Non-Apple music surround out of the MacBook?

I can playback surround FLAC/Wav/AC3 from my older MacBook Pro (that had a built in HDMI port) no problem, though it can be kind of finicky, mostly because I'm going into a surround soundbar and it's very fussy about its inputs.

I haven't tried doing Atmos/Surround over HDMI with my newer MacBook Pro that supports Atmos, mostly because it would require a Dongle, and also because I just use my Apple TV for Apple Music.

If you've ruled out surround from other sources then at least you know it's an issue from Apple Music itself.
 

humprof

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Can you get Non-Apple music surround out of the MacBook?

I can playback surround FLAC/Wav/AC3 from my older MacBook Pro (that had a built in HDMI port) no problem, though it can be kind of finicky, mostly because I'm going into a surround soundbar and it's very fussy about its inputs.

I haven't tried doing Atmos/Surround over HDMI with my newer MacBook Pro that supports Atmos, mostly because it would require a Dongle, and also because I just use my Apple TV for Apple Music.

If you've ruled out surround from other sources then at least you know it's an issue from Apple Music itself.

I haven't tried playing a local file--but given the weirdness with Audio MIDI Setup, I'm more inclined to see this as an Audio Settings/Features problem rather than an Apple Music problem. And the most recent posts in this Developer Thread (which @mkt seems to have contributed to?) suggest that through OS 12.2, playback was in practice limited to 5.1--and then even that shrank to stereo starting with OS 12.3. Yeesh.

Still doesn't explain why Audio MIDI Setup nominally (but glitchily) supports 8 channels at 5.1.2 when connected to an AVR via HDMI--even if then only plays in stereo.
 
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sjcorne

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@humprof I just gave this a shot with my mid-2020 MacBook Pro (updated to 12.4) and Denon S750H receiver - you're right, Audio MIDI Setup detects it as an 8-channel output and sends decoded 7.1 PCM to the receiver. The option to send an encoded digital bitstream is greyed out. Some discussion over at reddit:
 

humprof

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@humprof I just gave this a shot with my mid-2020 MacBook Pro (updated to 12.4) and Denon S750H receiver - you're right, Audio MIDI Setup detects it as an 8-channel output and sends decoded 7.1 PCM to the receiver. The option to send an encoded digital bitstream is greyed out. Some discussion over at reddit:


Yeah, thanks--I found that Reddit thread, too. In my last post I forgot to link to this Developer Thread where the final post complains about Apple Music output shrinking to two channels--not 7.1 or 5.1--when streamed from a MacBook, as of OS 12.3.1:

Again: sorry to derail this thread. These posts should probably get moved to a new thread.
 
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EricKalet

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I haven't tried playing a local file--but given the weirdness with Audio MIDI Setup, I'm more inclined to see this as an Audio Settings/Features problem rather than an Apple Music problem. And the most recent posts in this Developer Thread (which @mkt seems to have contributed to?) suggest that through OS 12.2 playback was in practice limited to 5.1--and then even that shrank to stereo starting with OS 12.3. Yeesh.

Still doesn't explain why Audio MIDI Setup nominally (but glitchily) supports 8 channels at 5.1.2 when connected to an AVR via HDMI--even if then only plays in stereo.
So when I connect my HDMI to MBPro, I can get 7.1 but not Atmos. I'm under the impression that the software in MBP's is not able to recognize Atmos.

Screen Shot 2022-06-02 at 6.51.00 PM.png

Screen Shot 2022-06-02 at 6.53.10 PM.png
 

humprof

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Yeah, thanks--I found that Reddit thread, too. In my last post I forgot to link to this Developer Thread where the final post complains about Apple Music output shrinking to two channels--not 7.1 or 5.1--when streamed from a MacBook, as of OS 12.3.1:

Again: sorry to derail this thread. These posts should probably get moved to a new thread.

Partial progress: in this tutorial, mixer David Stagl explains how to configure a Dante Virtual Soundcard as a 7.1.4 Atmos Surround output device on a MacBook Pro running MacOS 12.3.1, connecting to an MTRX Studio unit with a Cat5 cable. (He thinks this should work with other output devices/connectors, as well.) In his troubleshooting section, he mentions this:

If you are getting stereo/binaural then it seems that the Music app needs to be set to Auto on the Dolby Atmos dropdown menu. If it is set to Always On, people are reporting that they get binaural and not Atmos.
Indeed: I had set Atmos to "Always On," and I was getting stereo playback only (even though my AVR read the incoming signal from the MacBook as "Multi-Channel"--not Atmos). When I switch the setting to "Auto," I finally get 5.1 playback, whereas before I was only getting 2.0.

This still doesn't explain why I'm getting nothing in the overheads, even though the output device is configured as 5.1.2 Atmos Surround. (Also doesn't explain why a 7.1.4 Atmos Surround Option, which was apparently present in MacOS Monterey versions pre-12.4, is no longer available.)
 
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sjcorne

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Partial progress: in this tutorial, mixer David Stagl explains how to configure a Dante Virtual Soundcard as a 7.1.4 Atmos Surround output device on a MacBook Pro running MacOS 12.3.1, connecting to an MTRX Studio unit with a Cat5 cable. (He thinks this should work with other output devices/connectors, as well.)
Wow, I never would have guessed that was possible! I always thought Apple Music sent an encoded bitstream (DD+/JOC) that could only be fully unlocked with an Atmos-equipped AVR on the other end, but this proves that the decoder is actually built into the software. I just tried a variation of what he suggested using Blackhole 16ch and my Behringer UMC1820 interface and it does work, you can get 7.1.4 Atmos playback out of Apple Music without an AVR or HDMI connection.
 

humprof

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Wow, I never would have guessed that was possible! I always thought Apple Music sent an encoded bitstream (DD+/JOC) that could only be fully unlocked with an Atmos-equipped AVR on the other end, but this proves that the decoder is actually built into the software. I just tried a variation of what he suggested using Blackhole 16ch and my Behringer UMC1820 interface and it does work, you can get 7.1.4 Atmos playback out of Apple Music without an AVR or HDMI connection.

Very cool that you got that to work!

(Now if only I could figure out how to get Atmos playback out of Apple Music with an AVR and an HDMI connection. . . .)
 

sjcorne

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(Now if only I could figure out how to get Atmos playback out of Apple Music with an AVR and an HDMI connection. . . .)
I think the issue is that it's decoding internally (and thus defaulting to 5.1) instead of passing the bitstream along. In the article, they mention that the Apple TV app for Mac has a "prefer AC3 passthrough" audio output option - maybe there's something similar hidden in the Apple Music interface?
 

humprof

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I think the issue is that it's decoding internally (and thus defaulting to 5.1) instead of passing the bitstream along. In the article, they mention that the Apple TV app for Mac has a "prefer AC3 passthrough" audio output option - maybe there's something similar hidden in the Apple Music interface?

Sadly, I don't think so. (Though I wonder if there's a command-line hack somewhere. This one is from 2009, and I'm not sure it would apply to newer OS's.)

This now rather dated page at Dolby Developer touts Apple’s support for Dolby Atmos/Dolby Audio, starting with MacOS 10.15 in October 2019. Mac’s native Core Audio decoders, it says, will handle all major Dolby formats (including Atmos, as DD+/JOC) for playback “over the device speakers.” (It says nothing about connecting to an AVR. And indeed, in accord with what I was told by an Apple Support advisor yesterday, the official list of supported listening options includes only AirPods & AirPods Pro, selected Beats Audio cans, and built-in speakers. But surely those devices are using either Atmos-for-Headphones or the binaural render?)
 

bookofsaturdays

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Ok wow I just stumbled upon this thread and am super excited to try this to see if it works. I have a newer MacBook Pro that only has USB-C ports. If I use a USB-C with HDMI would that work? How does the regular USB option work?
 
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