Netflix just announced spatial audio upgrade — you can try it now

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Certain programs may not need Dolby Atmos speakers for spatial audio sound.

Stranger Things, The Witcher, The Adam Project, the Fear Street trilogy, and Castlevania, among other famous Netflix programs, have began receiving a major audio update that will allow you to hear them in spatial audio without the need of a Dolby Atmos speaker.

As a result of some assistance from Sennheiser, Netflix is now able to provide spatial audio sound without the requirement for a surround system using normal two-channel speaker systems. A 3D sound environment is created using spatial audio, which makes sounds feel like they’re coming from above you as well as on the left and right.

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To help viewers feel immersed in the plot, Netflix says its spatial audio technology “helps adapt the cinematic experience of immersive audio to any stereo,” as the firm explains in a blog post (opens in new tab).

Simply type “spatial audio” into the Netflix search box and you’ll be presented with a list of all the films that support this feature.

Is this the death of Dolby Atmos? 

Absolutely not. While the introduction of spatial audio support on two-channel audio devices may seem to be a death sentence for higher-end systems and formats, your audio system’s power output, speaker direction, and clarity will still restrict your listening experience.

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Even if you can play spatial music from two 10W TV speakers using smart audio algorithms, it will pale in comparison to the sound quality of a complete 5.1.2 system with upfiring speakers. As a result, if you want to get the most out of the audio content’s spatial clarity, you should consider purchasing a Dolby Atmos soundbar.

That is a good thing, since it introduces people to the concept of spatial audio. As Apple has done in the past with spatial audio on Apple Music, this strategy opens the door for new developments in the audio industry in the future.

Are you in the market for a new audio system? The Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 and the Sonos Arc are two of the greatest soundbars we’ve found, so have a look at them.

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