The mystery that is Dolby Atmos for Headphones
Apr 14, 2020 at 4:54 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

Avean

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I have been trying to figure out what this spatial audio in Windows 10 actually does but the documentation on this is very lacking. From reading the FAQ you could get the idea that it only supports supported titles. But i've been using this for several games that is not supported and it clearly applies virtual surround. Even with the volume icon you can see "Dolby Atmos for Headphones in use".

So i reached out to Dolby and asked and after 8-9 emails im more clueless than before. First answer gave me hope where they said it works best with Atmos enabled games but where Atmos is not supported it will upmix any game, even stereo to Atmos frequencies. Now that is in line with what i have experienced. But in Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord i can see its clearly not working, its outputting stereo only and volume icon is not saying its in use. So i asked more and then i got a different answer again.
That it will only be in use for Atmos enabled games and for other games it will simply be stereo but upscaled. Had no idea what they meant by upscaled so i asked again and then i got a different answer. Atmos for Headphones is only for supported titles, other games will only output pure stereo.

So i give up getting answer from Dolby, clearly Dolby Atmos for Headphones does something for games that is not supported. You could fire up Escape from Tarkov which is stereo only and you suddenly got 3d positional sound with Atmos for Headphones enabled.
I really hate that Microsoft and Dolby dont give out more info on how this actually works. What makes this worse is that through Dolby Access settings you can see it also applies some EQ automaticly, but you dont get to see what. Its an "Intelligent Equalizer". So after all this i think the first answer i got from Dolby is the correct one but wish they could explain more what it actually does compared to dedicated sound cards. Cause Win10 Spatial Audio forces stereo, so i think it tries to upmix content while sound cards work differently where you assign your card as a 7.1 device and then downmixes the surround for your headset. Would be interesting to see what is actually best. Downmixing should in reality be better.
 
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Apr 15, 2020 at 2:49 AM Post #3 of 6

Avean

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FUnny that I just came here for this same thing.


I am looking to get some high quality cans for atmos gaming but need the advice. Anyone know of good cans(preferably wireless) that have atmos

I think its better to find a pair of cans that is comfortable and have a big open soundstage since that works best with virtual surround. I dont know any wireless sets with built-in atmos but you really dont need that since you can just run it off Windows 10.

Mad Envy have a huge thread where he reviewed almost every headset out there for gaming.
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/mad...eze-lcd-1-mobius-fixed-missing-images.534479/
 
Dec 2, 2020 at 11:14 AM Post #4 of 6

vincemeister55

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Dolby Atmos for Headphones is buggy when playing games. I've tested it for Batman Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3. When you launch the game for the first time, the Spatial Sound reverts to Windows Sonic. Sometimes reverts to "off". The workaround is to exit the game to desktop (ALT+TAB won't work, it would just freeze the game), then switch back the spatial sound to Dolby atmos for Headphones, then launch the game.
 
Dec 2, 2020 at 3:33 PM Post #5 of 6

Jumbotron

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Dolby Atmos for Headphones is buggy when playing games. I've tested it for Batman Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3. When you launch the game for the first time, the Spatial Sound reverts to Windows Sonic. Sometimes reverts to "off". The workaround is to exit the game to desktop (ALT+TAB won't work, it would just freeze the game), then switch back the spatial sound to Dolby atmos for Headphones, then launch the game.
And how does it work? Is the effect noticeable in games? For a short time I tried Atmos and DTS for headphones in Windows 10 long ago, but I did not find any of them noticeable enough back then. Perhaps it was an issue with my personal system, I don't know for sure.
 
Dec 2, 2020 at 9:45 PM Post #6 of 6

vincemeister55

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I only play 3rd person single-player games. And for me, the audio really improves with Dolby Atmos for Headphones with the settings of Movie - Balanced. I'm a basshead, and I really like the bass-boost of it. It will really shine on games that officially support Dolby Atmos like Resident Evil 2 Remake and Shadow of the Tomb Raider for examples. For games like Batman Arkham Knight and Witcher 3 that don't have official Dolby Atmos support, I think it'll just improve the audio a bit. More like an amp. But definitely better than the default audio.

Like I've said, some games at first launch will revert the spatial sound to windows sonic. Maybe that causes gamers to think that Dolby atmos is already enabled but in fact, not! And it will sound horrible.
 
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