You can use Dolby Atmos, the world’s first object-based cinematic audio, on Windows 10 to experience sound in a whole new way. Developed by Dolby Laboratories, it allows sound to be perceived as a three-dimensional object, placing you right inside of it, and ensuring that you enjoy a truly immersive cinematic experience. Read on to find out how you can use Dolby Atmos on Windows.
What Is Dolby Atmos? Dolby Atmos 3D Audio Solution Explained
There are three essential types of sound formats available in audio systems: stereo sound, surround sound, and spatial sound (also referred to as 3D audio).
- Stereo sound is used by your typical earphone, with the sound coming from the left and the right. This is very basic and lacks in detail.
- Surround sound takes it a notch higher, bringing sound from all around you (left, right, front, and back), creating the feeling of being surrounded by sound. 5.1 and 7.1 home theater systems use this technology.
- Spatial sound or 3D audio (used in Dolby Atmos) raises the bar even further. It adds a spatial vertical component to surround sound that you can hear above and beneath you, using specialized speakers as in a cinema. It unlocks hidden sounds you’d normally not hear.
Spatial sound can enable you to hear the sound of a bird chirping overhead as if it was actually perched above you or the sound of water running underneath a bridge as though you were standing on the bridge.
Microsoft Sonic: Another Way to Experience Spatial Sound in Windows 10
You can also experience spatial sound on Windows 10 with Microsoft Sonic. Unlike Dolby Atmos and DTS (another 3D audio provider), Microsoft Sonic is free to use. It is easier to set up, as it doesn’t require any external hardware besides your earphone. And yes, it works with any earphone/headphone. However, it lacks the depth and detail you’d get from Dolby Atmos or DTS.
To enable Microsoft Sonic, right-click the speaker icon in the system tray, hover your mouse over “Spatial sound,” and click “Windows Sonic for Headphones.”
To revert back to Dolby Atmos at any time, simply repeat the process above and select “Dolby Atmos for Headphones.”
What Do You Need to Use Dolby Atmos on Windows 10?
Unlike Microsoft Sonic, true Dolby Atmos requires specialized hardware and speakers to produce stunning detail, precision, and realism in your sounds. This may include ceiling and floor-mounted speakers. However, Dolby Atmos for Headphones is a digital signal processor (DSP) that allows you to experience spatial sound on Windows 10 with any headphones.
For this, you’ll need a Windows 10 PC or later, Dolby Access, and earphones or headphones. You’ll also need to enable Dolby Atmos for Headphones in your game or app settings.
Once enabled, click the sound icon in the system tray and select “Spatial Sound -> Dolby Atmos for Headphones.” This way, when the app or device produces sound, it will be converted to spatial sound.
How to Sample the Dolby Atmos 3D Audio Effect
To better appreciate the Dolby Atmos effect, you’ll need to experience it for yourself.
Visit the Dolby Atmos experience page on your desktop or mobile device. Next, plug in your earpiece or headphones in the audio jack, sit back, relax, and click the “Hear Dolby Atmos” play button. Remember to unmute the media player.
This will play an audio track in stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos so that you can notice the difference. You can try this even without installing it or enabling Dolby Atmos for Headphones.
We recommend trying it in a quiet environment with your eyes closed for maximum enjoyment. You can also hook up your smart TV or smartphone to your Dolby-supported home theater (via Bluetooth) and visit the experience page to experience it in even greater detail.
Which Games Currently Support Dolby Atmos for Headphones?
You can also experience it on CyberPunk 2077 as you build your legend on the streets of Night City.
Other titles with Dolby Atmos sound include:
- Borderlands 3
- Call of Duty: Warzone
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears 5
- Metro Exodus
- Resident Evil 2
- Tom Clancy’s The Division® 2
Which Movies and TV Shows Come with Dolby Atmos Support?
You can also enjoy next-level audio with your favorite TV shows and movies on Netflix, Disney+, Microsoft Movies and TV, Amazon Prime Video, iQiyi, and VUDU, among others. Dolby Atmos also works on speakers, soundbars, and home theater systems.
How to Enable Dolby Atmos on Windows 10
Now that you’ve tried it, here’s how to enable and use Dolby Atmos on Windows 10, should you choose to. It uses the Dolby Access app as its UI and setting it up is easy if you have a modern computer.
Firstly, you’ll need to download and install the Dolby Access app. Dolby Access allows you to personalize your audio with custom profiles so that you can discover exclusive content and game trailers.
When done, you’ll receive a push notification informing you that Dolby Access was installed. Launch it either from the push notification or the app’s download page.
Connect your device and click the forward arrow if you already have a supported headset, then click “SETTINGS.” Dolby Atmos for Headphones is required to enable sound settings.
Dolby Access currently costs $11.24. To try it for free, click “Try for 7 days.” You can use this on up to ten Xbox consoles and Windows PCs to enjoy immersive audio using any headphones.
Now, sign in to your Microsoft account if prompted. Review the information in the dialog box and click “Get.” On the next dialog box, click “Continue” to enable your default audio device.
Dolby Atmos for Headphones is now ready for use on your Windows 10 PC. Click “Experience now -> HOME” and select from the collection of game and movie clips and Dolby demo content to experience the detail-rich sound.
Relaunch the Dolby Access app and click on “SETTINGS” to see it now enabled.
Dolby Atmos for Windows supports the following configurations
- Dolby Atmos (default and power optimized implementations)
- Dolby Atmos for Gaming
- Dolby Atmos Speakers System (default and power optimized implementations)
- Dolby Atmos Speakers System for Gaming
You can also experience Dolby Atmos on the Xbox wireless headset, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, X Box Series S, Xbox Series X, Lenovo Yoga C940, TCL 5-Series TV, VIZIO P-Series Quantum TV, and other devices that support Dolby Atmos.
Dolby Atmos is better heard than told. Take it out for a spin and see if you notice any difference in sound. If you’re an Apple user, read on to learn about Apple Lossless Music and which devices are supported, then find out how to set up home theater audio using a HomePod and Apple TV.