James Shields, Global Product Marketing Manager at Xbox, discusses Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos Spatial Sound.
This holiday, not only can you play your games on Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console, but you also have a broad and diverse lineup of new games to experience – including Forza Motorsport 7, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Assassins’s Creed Origins, Super Lucky’s Tale, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. While the power of Xbox One X will immerse you in the beautiful visuals of your games, you can take that immersion even further by simply enabling spatial sound for your headphones or compatible home theater system. By using Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos spatial sound, you’ll hear your games in a whole new way.
What is Spatial Sound?
Spatial sound is an enhanced audio experience where sounds can flow around, above, and below you in a three-dimensional virtual space that simulates a more realistic environment. Spatial sound provides an immersive atmosphere that traditional channel-based surround sound formats cannot replicate. Imagine playing Gears of War 4 and a Raven helicopter flies overhead. With surround sound, you’d hear the helicopter flying around you, but with spatial sound, you’ll hear it flying directly above you.
What is Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos?
Both Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos are technologies that enable spatial sound on your Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. They both provide support for immersive surround and elevation audio cues. Windows Sonic is Microsoft’s platform-level solution for spatial sound. As the platform evolves, it will support more endpoints and different technologies.
How do I enable them on Xbox One?
Windows Sonic for Headphones, Dolby Atmos for Headphones, and Dolby Atmos for home theater are the three audio formats available on your Xbox One to experience the immersion benefits mentioned above.
Windows Sonic for Headphones and Dolby Atmos for Headphones both enable spatial sound for all headphones, earbuds, and audio headsets. Windows Sonic for Headphones is available out of the box, while Dolby Atmos for Headphones is $14.99 USD and provides additional support for Dolby Atmos movies. To enable either of these on your Xbox One, navigate to [Settings > All settings > Display & sound > Audio output > Headset format] and select either Windows Sonic for Headphones or Dolby Atmos for Headphones. If you select Dolby Atmos for Headphones, you will be prompted to install the Dolby Access app and either purchase Dolby Atmos for Headphones or start a free 30-day trial.
Dolby Atmos for home theater can be experienced for free through your Dolby Atmos supported home theater system, sound bar, or TV. To enable on your Xbox One, install and open the Dolby Access app, and follow the instructions provided.
Which headsets work with Spatial Sound on Xbox One?
Xbox gamers can use any Xbox supported headset to take advantage of spatial sound. If your headphones support other virtualization or equalization audio technologies, it is important you turn these features off to avoid double processing.
If you’re picking up a new headset, we recommend checking out the latest Xbox Wireless headsets such as Turtle Beach STEALTH 700 or Razer Thresher, which will connect directly to your Xbox One without the need for wires, a base station, or an adapter. For Dolby fans, it’s worth noting that the Plantronics RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX, and RIG 800LX each come with a Dolby Atmos for Headphones Xbox activation code in the box.
What games and movies support Spatial Sound?
Any traditional surround sound content is automatically upscaled with Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos to provide an enhanced audio experience – making that content more immersive than before. Games that natively support Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos offer the highest level of audio immersion and location accuracy, including Gears of War 4, Super Lucky’s Tale, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Assassin’s Creed Origins. Additionally, there are over 250 movies for Dolby Atmos that you can watch on Blu-ray, UHD Blu-ray, or on major streaming services such as Netflix, Vudu, and Microsoft’s own Movies & TV app.
This holiday, experience your games and movies in full audio immersion by enabling spatial sound with Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos on your Xbox One or Windows 10 PC.