Is the Spatial Audio Feature of Netflix a Gimmick?

Netflix on TV screen

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Netflix recently made big news regarding a new audio format. Although the current audio format is more than enough to watch all of the new TV shows that Netflix has to offer, this one makes big promises. 

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Apple-designed dynamic driver provides high-fidelity audio. Active Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise, so you can immerse yourself in music.

But the real question is, can the new audio format actually deliver? Can it offer a new show-watching experience? 

First, let’s talk about the format! So, it is much like the Spatial Audio Format that you will find on Apple Music. But while that one makes the music tracks more immersive and realistic, Netflix’s Spatial Audio will make the audio track from the shows offer a realistic sense of immersion. 

Netflix Spatial Audio
Source: Netflix

The format basically aims to make the scenes seem more lifelike and make the experience more immersive. However, for the Spatial Audio feature of Apple Music, you will need compatible headphones or earphones. That includes AirPods Pro and AirPods Max

But for Netflix, you can also experience the Spatial Audio format on any regular audio output device. In fact, you can even use your plain old speakers that are built right into your laptop or TV.

Want to give the Spatial Audio format a try? You just need to head to Netflix and browse the shows that integrate the feature by typing “Spatial Audio” on the search bar. 

Netflix Spatial Audio
Source: Jumpstory

You will see shows such as The Witcher, Stranger Things, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and others on the search result. That said, the real question is, how come Netflix does not even require a special audio device for the Spatial Audio feature? 

Netflix delivers the audio format through AMBEO 2-Channel. It is an audio technology that Sennheiser licenses. And it lets sound mixers adopt Dolby Atmos soundtracks to offer the Spatial Audio format over the stereo speakers.

Netflix Spatial Audio
Source: Jumpstory

The AMBEO 2-Channel procedure also provides full control over the Spatial Audio effect applied to each channel of the soundtrack. That will leave the music tracks and dialogue tracks pretty much untouched. 

Also, as the mixer gets to compare and monitor the new version with the regular one from Dolby AtmosSennheiser states that it can be adjusted with “patented granular control of the spatialization, ranging from full AMBEO effect to standard stereo mixdown.”

Nonetheless, the AMBEO 2-Channel technology does seem to work like a charm, even if the sound comes from two regular front speakers of the laptop. 

Most shows offer no loss on the music tracks’ bass and the dialogues’ clarity. And the Spatial Audio of the shows can adequately increase the sense of a height dimension for the sounds.

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Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.

This post was last updated on 2024-06-21 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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