Dolby Atmos Car Play

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Hawkeye_Mo

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The additional item I left off, unfortunately, is CarPlay only outputs in stereo, not multichannel. That piece has not been added...yet. Spatial audio is different than Dolby Atmos, I think we all agree. Also, the lightning cable only has transfer rates of USB 2.0 (upto 480kbs). While they have added a usb-c port to the other end of the cable that is for increased power delivery, but does not affect the data transfer rates. I find no mention of gigabit transfers using a lightning cable in my searches.

I don't disagree that the phones should be able to handle it, but the data transfer rate of the port is the current bottleneck.
 

HomerJAU

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I read on the web a couple of users that say they can hear Apple Atmos in multichannel using CarPlay. Maybe they just heard stereo being upmixed? Also an Apple bug report that says Apple Atmos was working but was ‘broken’ in a recent iOS update. I figured that was enough to think CarPlay could support Atmos.

Lightning data rate is bandwidth limited to USB 2.0 in earlier versions. I can’t find specific Lighting to USB-C data rate but I assumed It was USB-C data rate, which is probably wrong.
 

Hawkeye_Mo

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I think it all comes down to who is doing the "heavy lifting" with the audio processing. We can listen to 5.1 surround in most cars nowadays (from FLAC or other file format) via USB because the car headunit is doing the processing. With CarPlay the phone is doing the processing and just passing the audio to the headunit much like a line level aux port so the headunit only receives a stereo signal versus actual multi-channel surround assignments. The headunit would have to become active and decode the channels after CarPlay passes them and the software is not doing that…yet. Here is what Eddy Cue (CarPlay guy at Apple, amongst other duties) said in a Jan 2021 Billboard interview:

One interesting tidbit in the interview is Cue talking about bringing Spatial Audio to CarPlay. He explains that it’s not as easy as simply adding Spatial Audio to CarPlay, because the car itself also needs to support the necessary hardware. Cue says that he has listened to Spatial Audio in cars using modified hardware, and it sounds “incredible."

"On cars, it’s not just the simple thing of putting it into CarPlay. The car has got to have the right systems because CarPlay plays back to the stereo in the car around it. But there’s no doubt. I’ve listened to cars already with Spatial Audio — not from a factory, but modified — and it’s incredible. To me, when I look at Dolby Atmos, I think it’s going to do for music what HD did for television. Today, where can you watch television that’s not in HD?"

Source: Eddy Cue talks Apple Music Spatial Audio, addresses lossless audio debate in interview
This is cited from 9to5mac as the original article is behind a paywall at Billboard.com
 

HomerJAU

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Eddy is also thinking about the average car having stereo only hardware and these can’t play Atmos in surround. For true Atmos playback cars would also need ceiling/roof speakers (some now do).

But as we know there are now many cars with multichannel amplifiers and speaker systems that could play the 5.1 DD+ core in Atmos. Hopefully this will get sorted fairly soon for CarPlay or new head units will include spacial streaming support directly.

Interesting reading that linked article. Apple adds to consumer confusion by including ‘Lossless’ in their spacial audio discussions. Apple/Tidal spacial music streaming is not lossless. Lossless streaming is limited to stereo only.
 

marpow

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I listened to John Mellencamp from my iPad with my headphones last night in the spatial audio section and I was quite amazed. I could hear the music in a solid connection between right and left ears and like a Halo at the top of my head, it was cool.
 

LennonCobain

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Online I have also seen some claims that people are able to listen to Dolby Atmos in the car using Bluetooth rather than CarPlay. The trick is to change your vehicle’s Bluetooth device setting to Headphones.

I did this in my Acura and the iPhone does show Dolby Atmos tags. However, the music itself doesn’t sound like Atmos to me. Curious if anyone else has tried this approach?
 

Cheezmo

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Online I have also seen some claims that people are able to listen to Dolby Atmos in the car using Bluetooth rather than CarPlay. The trick is to change your vehicle’s Bluetooth device setting to Headphones.

I did this in my Acura and the iPhone does show Dolby Atmos tags. However, the music itself doesn’t sound like Atmos to me. Curious if anyone else has tried this approach?

All this does is send "headphone spatial audio" to your car speakers. It is processed in a way that is supposed to try to recreate the Atmos sound field using headphones. It was never intended to provide anything resembling surround from speakers (unless you put one up against each ear, I guess).
 

J. PUPSTER

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* just a little tid-bit I found, and thought might be interesting info; but read that Dirac was more about headphone software...

Dolby team-up promises more immersive car audio

 
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