Apple Music’s Spatial Audio revolutionizes how music is made and consumed

It’s only been one year since Spatial Audio introduced by Apple Music, but early believers in the technology are already converted diehards. Today, Apple’s Spatial Audio has changed how music is made and consumed.

Still from Apple's Harry Styles-fronted AirPods with Spatial Audio ad
Still from Apple’s Harry Styles-fronted AirPods with Spatial Audio ad

Will Schube for Complex:

Apple Music has succeeded with its Spatial Audio rollout, which was introduced one year ago, because it found a middle ground between the streaming era and the days of cherished physical records and CDs. People still care about the way things sound; they just want to access these sounds as conveniently as possible. “You’ll understand why such a massive company like Apple is really gambling on this as soon as you listen, because it is a true transformation that we haven’t gotten from anything before,” explains Manny Marroquin, one of the chief pioneers of the Spatial Audio format, and a world-class mixing engineer (most recently, he mixed Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers). Regarding the process of mixing Mr. Morale with Spatial in mind, he says, “I’ve been making records for over 25 years, and I have to say that it is one of the most exciting records that I’ve worked on—especially in Spatial.”

Looking forward, Marroquin sees the future of the music industry being changed by the evolution of Spatial Audio technology, and he says it’s opening up new possibilities for musicians and mixers. “We’ve been making records based on creating space within the stereo spectrum, and now that’s about to change. Mixers can create a stereo mix and then create an immersive version of that—a Spatial version of that—which is great. That’s what we’re doing now,” he explains. “But the exciting part of all this is, imagine a kid in his bedroom doing his homework with headphones, and then his mom gets him Fruity Loops and a keyboard. In the future, these creators are going to be creating based on space, in Spatial. Now that’s where it’s a game-changer, and that’s why it’s exciting for all of us.”

MacDailyNews Take: Only Apple Music offers Spatial Audio.

Spatial Audio is Apple-only. Spotify does not have, nor have they announced, anything like it. — MacDailyNews, June 8, 2021

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[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Sorry, but this article on Complex is full of factual errors and vague statements without providing at least some the important technical information:
    Here are just a few clarifications that I go into much more details in my YouTube video “Mixing in Dolby Atmos – How it Works”

    -1- “Spatial Audio” is a generic term like Immersive Audio, or 3D Audio that describes the sound reproduction of a 3 dimensional files using using speakers.
    -2- Apple uses that generic term “Spatial Audio” for their own speaker and headphone virtualization technology that can produce a 3-dimensional experience using any sound format (mono, stereo, surround, immersive).
    -3- Apple’s Spatial Audio was already introduced 2020 first for movie content and in 2021 in Apple Music as “Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos”. That means A Dolby Atmos mix could be played back through Apple’ Spatial Audio engine
    -4- Dolby Atmos is the main mixing format for Immersive Audio which was already available on other platforms like Tidal. Sony is trying hard with their format “360 Reality Audio”, currently not supported on Apple Music.
    -5- Apple’s Spatial Audio is not a mixing format, music (or movies) are mixed in Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio is just Apple’s consumer playback engine (and some mixing engineers have some concerns about that).
    -6- BTW, the mom giving their kids Fruity Loops (FL Studio), as mentioned int he article, is ill-advices because FL Studio is one of the DAWs that doesn’t allow mixing in Dolby Atmos. THe kid should use Logic Pro which the only DAW that can mix in Dolby Atmos AND monitor in real time through Apple’s Spatial Audio engine.

    BTW, the Dolby Atmos version of Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is amazing.

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