If you are wondering what is Windows sonic Dolby Atmos, then you are not alone, many users are unable to identify the difference between Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos. To make it easy to understand between Windows Sonic vs Dolby Atmos, the two use different technologies, and each handles spatial audio rendering uniquely. So, if you are looking to learn more about Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic, then this article covers all you need to know.
Windows Sonic for headphones is used to create a surround sound experience for the user regardless of what headphone you are using, Dolby Atmos experience uses audio object metadata to position audio correctly around a complete 360-degree space. They both handles sound different, Windows sonic and Dolby Atmos plays a trick on the brain, same as any virtual surround sound, they imitate HRTF making the brain think that sound is not just coming from earpads but from all directions.
What is Windows Sonic for headphones?
Windows Sonic for headphones is Microsoft’s way of creating spatial sound, it is used to create a surround sound experience for the user regardless of what headphones you are using. It starts once it detects a surround sound and you can easily toggle the sonic feature on and off through the sound icon that appears in your notification.
What is Dolby Atmos for headphones?
Dolby Atmos for headphones gives you a Dolby Atmos experience when listening to sound, it uses audio object metadata to position audio correctly around a complete 360-degree space. Dolby Atmos works on Xbox and Windows 10, and also on any headphones.
These two handles sound different, but first, you have to better understand how sound works. Sound passes through the body before it enters the ear, and the brain, while the brain interprets difference in timing from when the sound arrives in the ear, earlobes torso, and then gets modified by the head. This is how we can pinpoint sound origins. This is known as HRTF (head-related transfer functions), or how sound changes when it goes through the body.
Remember that the way we listening to sound from a speaker is different from the way we listen to sound from headphones. The headphone is close to the ears and is not modified the same way as to when you are listening from a speaker. This is where the Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos play a trick on the brain, same as any virtual surround sound, they imitate HRTF making the brain think that sound is not just coming from earpads but from all directions.
To better understand this, the technology uses an object-based mapping approach making it possible to configure speaker output on the fly. Lets us take the case of the 7.1 vs 5.1 surround systems, the sounds are restricted to fixed channels and positioning, and if you want to experience spatial sound then you will need to set up a dedicated theater, this is the kind of experience you get with Windows sonic and Dolby Atmos.
Following the release of Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos, the Dolby Atmos cost $15 while Windows Sonic is free to use, they are both able to render 7.1 channel formats on headphones.
Similarities between Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos
- They both use virtualized approach to produce quality audio.
- They both have spatial surround sound and acoustic space just as characters in a movie.
- They both offer an extra layer of immersion and depth.
- They both create an immersive sound effect.
- They create positional sounds especially in video games when enemies are spread out.
- They adjust to set up automatically.
Difference between Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos
- The Windows Sonic is free, while Dolby Atmos requires a license.
- The Dolby Atmos does well with added propriety audio data, while Windows Sonic does well when listening to music.
- The spatial awareness difference can be noticed when watching movies or playing games.
- Titles optimized for Sonic sounds better on Sonic and titles optimized for Dolby Atmos perform better on Dolby Atmos.
- They both have different models for HRTF.
- They both use different virtual speaker placements.
- Windows sonic does not offer virtual overhead for games that have no Atmos.
- Dolby Atmos uses spatial surround to process ambient sounds for virtual overhead.
- Atmos uses a rectangular room with narrow angles speaker placements, while Sonic uses square room virtual speaker placement.
How to enable Windows Sonic on Windows 10
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to enable Windows Sonic.
Select the “start menu” on your bottom left-hand side of your PC, then select “settings”, then “system”, then “sound”, then select “related settings”, then select “sound control panel”, then choose the playback device, and then select “properties”.
When the windows open, select “spatial sound”, in the spatial sound format, select “Windows Sonic headphones”, then select “apply”. This will enable Windows sonic and enable you to listen to immersive surround sound.
Will the spatial surround affect music?
No, spatial surround will not affect music, it will not activate unless it detects any surround sound.
How to install Dolby atmos in windows 10
Here is the step-by-step guide on how to install Dolby atmos in windows 10.
You have to disable the “driver signature enforcement”. This is how to this. First, you should restart your PC using the “shift key” and “restart button”, you should press and hold the shift key while selecting restart.
Then select “troubleshoot”, then “advance options”, then “start-up settings”, then “restart”. After the restart, then press “F7 key”, this will disable driver signature enforcement.
You should enable “developer mode” on Windows 10, you can do this by pressing “Windows key+1”, this is to open the settings. Then click on “update & settings”, then select “for developer”, this can be seen on the left side pane, then under “developer mode” turn on the developer mode option, this is to enable you to install apps from any source. Then select “yes” to confirm.
You can download Dobly Atmos for free here.
Now you can “download Dolby Atmos”, then extract the file after downloading is complete. Once you are done downloading, open the “Dolby access file”, the open “driver” folder.
The next is to “update the sound driver from driver manager”. You should “right-click” on “start menu”, then select “device manager”, then double click on “sound, video, and game controllers”, then right-click on “high definition audio device”, then select “update driver”.
The next is to select “Browse my computer for drivers”, you will be giving an option to “let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer”, then select “have disk”. Click “Next”, then click on “browse”, then select the file name where your Dolby Atmos was saved, click “open” and then “ok”. On the next window select “Dolby Atmos” and then “next”, then “ok”. Then click “Install this driver software anyway”, once installed, click on “ok”.
After it has successfully installed, next is to install the file, “install Dolby Atmos” to do this, open “Dolby Atmos file”, the open “app” folder. Then double click on the “Windows 10x64control panel basic app” file name, then click “install”, now Dolby Atmos has been installed on the PC. You have to restart the PC so Dolby Atmos can start working.
Does Dolby Atmos make a difference?
Dolby Atmos does make a difference, the surround sound uses channels to create immersive sound while Dolby atmos bounce sound and use overhead sound and replicate the sound. It imitates HRTF making the brain think that sound is not just coming from earpads but all directions
Is Windows sonic surround sound good?
Firstly, Windows provides better sound quality through spatial sound technology, it allows you to experience quality surround sound without buying expensive tech to achieve this. Secondly, Windows Sonic is free, you only just need to enable it on your PC.
Is 7.1 better than Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos can be better than 7.1 surrounds because it adds overhead sound, improves software calibration, makes sound precise and deeper, it does it better than 7.1 surround sound.
How many speakers do you need for Dolby Atmos?
If you need to get the Dolby Atmos experience from your speakers, you will need at least either 9.1, 7.1, or 5.1 surrounds sound speaker setup, and a few overheads mounted ceiling speakers.