AudioAudio: Guides

Windows Sonic vs. Dolby Atmos

windows sonic vs dolby atmos

Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos are two separate technologies that handle spatial audio rendering processes differently. To improve the audio experience, most users are offered the choice between the two.

For years, the argument between Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS has perplexed millions of users. Many customers usually opt for one over the other; it isn’t because they know better, but mostly because they can’t understand the difference.

It’s critical to think about surround sound capabilities if you want to get the most out of your movies and games. However, there are a variety of spatial sound systems accessible today. It’s also difficult to figure out which one is the best for your setup.

This post is for those who are interested in the differences between the Windows Sonic vs. Dolby Atmos.

What Is Windows Sonic for Headphones?

Microsoft’s bid to recreate the spatial sound experience for everyone on the Xbox One and Windows 10 is called Windows Sonic for Headphones. It does not require any special physical equipment or hardware to function. Instead, it operates through software.

You may listen to spatial audio with any pair of earbuds or regular stereo headphones. As a result, sound may seem to have more depth and be three-dimensional, allowing you to hear everything that is going on around you.

With the Creators Update, Microsoft added Windows Sonic spatial sound to Windows 10. The option, which is completely free, is turned off by default but may easily be enabled.

How to Activate it?

The simplest way to turn it on is to go to your audio settings in the taskbar’s bottom right corner and select Spatial Sound.

Now all you have to do is select Windows Sonic for Headphones, and you’re ready to go. You can read the step-by-step guide for Windows 10 here.

Alternatively, you can use the control panel to access the sound menu and then pick the audio device. Then go to properties, select the spatial sound tab, and then Windows Sonic for Headphones.

Pros and Cons of Windows Sonic for Headphones

Using Windows Sonic for Headphones has a lot of pros. Some of them are listed below:

  • You may enjoy spatial sound at the bargain price of $0 as it is free. You also don’t need to worry about spending a lot of money on equipment because any set of stereo headphones would suffice.
  • Its setup is easy. You simply need to toggle the function on your computer or Xbox One. That is all there is to it.
  • There’s no need to download it manually. Every Windows 10 and Xbox One comes with Windows Sonic for Headphones pre-installed.

Despite the pros of Windows Sonic for Headphones, there are certain cons that you should know. Here are some of them listed:

  • This spatial sound software only works effectively in specific situations; therefore, it can be inaccurate. Although it might cause audio to seem incorrect when utilised primarily for music, it works great for gaming and movies.
  • Windows Sonic for Headphones, as expected, only works with headphones and not with speakers. With this software active and no headphones hooked in, using external/laptop speakers can create audio distortions.

What Is Dolby Atmos for Headphones?

Dolby Atmos is a spatial sound software technique developed by Dolby Laboratories that is accessible on a variety of platforms, including Windows 10 and Xbox One. It works with any TV, soundbar, or home theater system.

Dolby Atmos is slightly more effective than Windows Sonic since it adds height to spatial sound, making for a more realistic and better surround sound experience.

How to Activate it?

On a PC, activating Dolby Atmos is relatively simple. While accessing the settings, Dolby Atmos should be used instead of the Window Sonic for Headphones option.

If you have the Creators Update installed on your Windows 10 PC, it should support Dolby Atmos. If you have a good surround sound speaker system, the choice is clear: Dolby Atmos is the route to go.

Dolby Atmos demands a unique setup that includes a hardware receiver and specially calibrated speakers for sound positioning. The Dolby speaker may have ceiling-mounted speakers above you in some circumstances.

Download and run the Dolby Access app from the Windows Store to enable Dolby Atmos on Windows 10. To set it up, follow the on-screen guidelines. However, you will have to spend $14.99 to obtain a license for the software from the Microsoft store.

You have a choice of two options: a home theater system or headphones.

Pros and Cons of Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos has a number of pros that make it a viable option for spatial audio software. Take the following into consideration:

  • Some people believe that Dolby Atmos gives a more immersive hearing experience than Windows Sonic. It is mostly due to enhanced spatial sound height, which gives a more realistic sound experience.
  • This software is not just about headphones; it can also be used for home theater. It can be used with any other sound system, such as your home theater system. However, to get the most out of your experience, you’ll need the correct speakers and gear.
  • More platforms and devices are supported: Dolby Atmos is supported by several major streaming platforms, including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Music, etc. It also works with a variety of devices/brands, including smartphones.

However, there are several pitfalls to Dolby Atmos that you should know. Here are some things you should think about before buying it.

  • Although Dolby Atmos comes with a 30-day free trial, you’ll have to pay $14.99 to purchase a license and continue using the software after that.
  • For a better experience, use headphones with built-in Dolby Atmos support. Although Dolby Atmos can function with any standard pair of headphones by downloading the software, you can get a better experience by using headphones with built-in Dolby Atmos compatibility. Multi-drivers that simulate the Dolby home theater experience are commonly used.
  • Dolby Atmos is a lot more difficult to set up than Windows Sonic. To get it operating properly, a lot of tweaking is required, from installing the software to customizing the PC settings.

Windows Sonic vs. Dolby Atmos: What Should You Choose?

Both Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos are spatial sound technologies that are remotely similar. When it comes to sound quality, Dolby Atmos has the edge, but it comes at a cost.

Much of your selection should be based on whether you want to spend $14.99 for the Dolby Atmos app or if you want to remain with Windows Sonic’s plug-and-play style.

Although the variations between the two technologies are small for many people, it’s worth trying the Dolby Atmos 30-day trial to see if your ears can pick up on them. When you’re not on a tight budget, Dolby Atmos makes sense for the added benefit.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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