There are numerous spatial sound technologies available today, but Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS are the leading spatial sound software technology. Spatial sound is an enhanced audio experience that lets you perceive sound from all directions. You have to consider surround sound capabilities if you want to enjoy music, games, and movies at their full potential. In this article, I will describe and compare these spatial sound software to find the best for specific uses.
The major difference between both software is that Dolby Atmos compresses audio metadata to a 10-12:1 ratio, while DTS does so to a 4:1 ratio. This means that DTS can produce higher quality sounds than Dolby Atmos.
Microsoft developed Windows Sonic for Headphones to recreate the spatial sound experience for Windows 10 and Xbox One users. Windows Sonic does not have any specified hardware requirements and physical equipment to work. It uses virtual and software means to function. You can enjoy spatial audio through ordinary stereo headphones or any pair of earphones.
Pros of Windows Sonic for Headphones
Windows Sonic for Headphones has a lot of benefits for its users. These advantages are:
- Free: You may be excited to find out that window Sonic is free. You can experience spatial sound with $0. Another good thing about windows sonic for Headphones is that you can use it with any pair of headphones, so you don’t have to buy expensive equipment.
- Simple setup: To set up windows Sonic, toggle the function on your Xbox One or computer, and you are good to go.
- No separate download needed: Another advantage of Windows Sonic for Headphones is that it comes pre-installed on every Xbox One and Windows 10, so you don’t have to download it separately.
Cons of Windows Sonic for Headphones
Windows Sonic for Headphones has many advantages, but it also has some disadvantages that you should consider if you are thinking of purchasing it.
- Windows Sonic for headphones works well in most situations but does not work well in some situations: It works well with movies and gaming but doesn’t work well when used for music. It causes audio to sound inaccurate.
- Does not work for speakers: Windows Sonic for Headphones only works well with headphones. Your audio sounds would be distorted if you use your speakers without any headphones plugged in when using this software.
Dolby Atmos was developed by Dolby Laboratories. It is a spatial sound software technology available on Xbox One, Windows 10, and several other platforms. This software can also be used on any home theater setup, soundbar, or TV.
Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic work very similarly in their method when providing a spatial sound experience. The difference between these two spatial sound software technologies is that you have to buy the specific supported hardware and the software license to use Dolby Atmos.
Pros of Dolby Atmos for Headphones
Dolby Atmos has a lot of advantages that make it one of the best spatial sound software technology. These include:
- Dolby Atmos can also work for Home Theaters: Unlike Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos works for both speakers and headphones. Dolby Atmos works on other sound system setups. For the best experience, make sure you have the right hardware/speakers when using this software technology.
- More immersive than Windows Sonic: Dolby Atmos provides a more immersive listening experience than Windows Sonic. This fact maybe because of the increased height of spatial sounds found in Dolby Atmos. This increased height allows for a more realistic spatial sound experience.
- Works with more devices and platforms: Many streaming platforms such as Disney+, Amazon Music, Netflix, and more, support Dolby Atmos. You can also use this software on several devices including smartphones.
Cons of Dolby Atmos for Headphones
Dolby Atmos also has some disadvantages you can factor in when choosing the spatial sound software technology to buy. These disadvantages include:
- Not Free/Costs $15: Unlike Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos is not free. It offers a free trial to use Dolby Atmos for thirty days, but you will be required to pay a sum of $14.99 when the free trial is over if you want to continue using the software.
- Requires supported software and hardware for better experience: Unlike Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos needs to be downloaded. Generally, Dolby Atmos can work with any regular pair of headphones once you download the software, but you can improve the user experience by using headphones with built-in Dolby Atmos support.
- Complex Setup: Compared to Windows Sonic, setting up Dolby Atmos is more complex. You have to download the apps configure the PC settings, and do many other things to get the software running properly.
DTS for Headphones
This spatial sound software technology is sometimes called DTS:X or in full, DTS Headphone X. It is an object-based audio codec that provides spatial sound. This spatial sound software is similar to Dolby Atmos. The major difference between both software is that Dolby Atmos compresses audio metadata to a 10-12:1 ratio, while DTS does so to a 4:1 ratio. This means that DTS can produce higher quality sounds than Dolby Atmos.
Pros of DTS for Headphones
DTS for headphones is a major player in the spatial sound software market. It has many advantages that you should know. These advantages include:
- Extra realistic sound quality: The technology offered by DTS has a high data encoding rate and uses multi-channel speaker setups effectively. This effective use of multi-channel speaker setups and high data encoding rate gives DTS technology the most realistic and highest quality sounds among other spatial sound software such as Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic.
- Works great with any speaker setup and headphones: Unlike the overhead channel requirements of Dolby Atmos and the limited platform availability of Windows Sonic, DTS works great with any multi-speaker setup and headphones.
- Customizable sound: With DTS, you can fully customize the volume range of voices in games and movies. You can boost the volume in dialogue scenes at a cut-scene of a video game or an important part of the movie.
Cons of DTS for Headphones
DTS for Headphones also has disadvantages that you should note. These disadvantages are:
- Most expensive of the three: DTS offers a two-week free trial, but you have to make a one-time payment of $19.99 at the end of the free trial to make use of DTS:X.
- Works best with DTS-supported media: DTS is new, which means that not all mainstream applications and media support the DTS audio codec as of now. It is mostly some mainstream 4k Blue-ray movies and video games and 4K that support it.
- Almost similar sound to Dolby Atmos: In theory, DTS can encode audio for better sound quality that is way higher and above that of Dolby Atmos. But some users find it hard, difficult, and impossible to separate and differentiate between these two spatial sound software technologies. The only thing that makes this one of DTS’s disadvantages is the fact that it is more expensive than the two so should have a distinguishable sound. Casual users should go for Dolby Atmos if they are looking for a cheaper option with a similar sound.
Windows Sonic vs. Dolby Atmos vs. DTS
Determining the best spatial sound software technology is subjective and requires considering factors. There are many contradicting opinions about the best, so the best way for you to determine the best for you is to listen to the audio. You can make an informed decision after listening to the audio. Deciding the best spatial sound software technology for you depends on these factors:
- Whether you are on a budget: Windows Sonic is the winner when it comes to the general cost. This software comes pre-installed and can be accessed on every Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. If you want 3D sound outside of Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, then purchase Dolby Atmos. You will have to make a one-time payment of $14.99 to use Dolby Atmos on your home theatre setup or headphones.
- Whether you need it for gaming: Dolby Atmos and DTS can make your gaming experience a lot more fun by providing more immersive 3D audio. Most users go back and forth between both spatial sound software technology due to how similar they sound. Whatever software you choose will improve your gameplay.
- However, the spacious profile and expanded sound DTS provides makes it the best for gaming. Both Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos can achieve this, but the effects are more noticeable with DTS.
- Many gamers agree that DTS headphones prove more immersive sound experience than other spatial sound software technologies. However, many players agreeing that DTS is the best does not mean that it is the best for you. Remember, the best is subjective in this situation.
- Whether you want to use it for movies: Many streaming platforms support Dolby Atmos. Some of these platforms are Disney+, Apple TV, Amazon Music, Netflix, and more. It is best to fo for Dolby Atmos because that has been a staple standard in the spatial sound software technology industry for a long time. Dolby Atmos has a large collection of supported shows and movies you can enjoy.