A brand new characteristic has rolled out to Xbox Alpha Skip Ahead rings this week that introduces yet one more nice new characteristic to Microsoft’s household of Xbox One consoles.
This time it’s the introduction of Dolby Atmos audio ‘upmixing’ for individuals utilizing residence theater techniques. In different phrases, processing that may flip non-Dolby Atmos sound into Dolby Atmos. Or, at the very least, one thing near it.
What’s extra, this new upmixing processing isn’t simply permitted by Dolby; it’s really been designed by Dolby, with all the model’s a long time of expertise behind it.
If you’re not aware of Dolby Atmos, it’s a so-called ‘object based’ sound platform that creates a three-dimensional sound area round you into which sound results are positioned, relatively than sounds simply showing at your audio system.
The additional sense of immersion this may create in contrast with non object-based sound techniques is outstanding – and notably efficient with video games.
The Xbox launched playback of true Dolby Atmos sound for video games and film discs in 2017. Since then, the sound format has delivered some unbelievable outcomes with video games which have chosen to assist the audio characteristic. Most notably Assassin’s Creed: Origins, the brand new Metro Exodus, and, maybe better of all, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider. So the prospect of having the ability to take pleasure in one thing approaching that type of immersive sound high quality with all video games on Dolby Atmos-capable residence theater techniques is mouthwatering.
Atmos in every single place
To be clear, upmixed Dolby Atmos received’t sound fairly as efficient as true, encoded-at-source Dolby Atmos. However, Dolby’s audio data and expertise ought to be sure that the Atmos upmixing will give all sport soundtracks a palpable enhance in presence and immersive impression.
If you’re an Xbox One proprietor with a house theater system who’s already been utilizing the console’s Dolby Atmos performance, you could be feeling a bit puzzled at this level. After all, you’ll doubtless have seen that whenever you’ve bought Dolby Atmos for Home Cinema activated in your Xbox One menus, your AV receiver or Atmos soundbar will at all times say that it’s receiving Dolby Atmos, even when the sport or film you’re taking part in/watching doesn’t even have a real Dolby Atmos soundtrack.
Contrary to what you would possibly assume, although, this doesn’t imply that you simply’ve already been having fun with Atmos upmixing out of your console. In truth, all that’s been occurring is that the console has been outputting non-Atmos sound codecs of their native state, however encased inside a so-called Dolby Metadata-Enhanced Audio Transmission ‘container’.
Why do that? Because when present AV receivers and soundbars have to change between non-Atmos and Atmos sound sources (and vice versa), they need to re-initialize internally – a course of that with many AVRs and receivers could cause a glitch/short-term lack of sound, and may even in some circumstances result in the audio not returning in any respect.
So Microsoft determined to have Xbox Ones ship out all audio, whether or not true Atmos or not, within the Dolby MAT container, in order that AV receivers wouldn’t hold triggering their problematic inside re-initializations. Even although this meant AVRs could not apply any upmixing options they could carry.
Fixing the repair
This method to saving Xbox customers from experiencing drop outs when utilizing Dolby Atmos for Home Theater additionally meant that the consoles couldn’t apply Atmos upmixing to non Atmos sources – since they have been primarily having to deal with all audio for output as Atmos, even when it wasn’t.
The newest replace rolled out to Xbox customers on the Alpha Insider ring, although, implies that the Dolby Atmos for Home Theater mode can now correctly acknowledge when a sport or disc isn’t delivering a real Atmos supply, and apply Dolby’s upmixing algorithms to it.
It’s true that AV Receivers usually carry related upmixing choices, after all. But getting the Xbox to do it makes glitches within the audio playback a lot much less doubtless.
The new upmixing characteristic for residence theater setups might be set to ‘on’ by default – and really, within the present construct out with Alpha Insiders, it’s set to ‘on’ completely. However, Xbox Audio Lead Steven Wilssens tells me that by the point the brand new characteristic is able to roll out to the Xbox group at giant, it can include the choice to toggle the upmixing on or off (for individuals who choose to listen to non-Atmos sources of their unique format).
The Xbox One’s Dolby Atmos for Headphones mode, in case you have been questioning, has really at all times supported Dolby Atmos upmixing. After all, headphones don’t have the re-initialization issues related to AV receivers and soundbars.
Good information for headphone customers too
The newest Xbox working system replace, although, mixed with an upcoming Dolby Access replace, will even ship a brand new characteristic for headphone customers: a number of totally different sound profiles. These embody selectable Game, Music and Movie choices that optimize the sound to go well with totally different content material.
The new Dolby upmixing characteristic comes simply weeks after we realized that the Xbox consoles are getting assist for the DTS:X object primarily based audio system on video games – and additional highlights the Sony PS4’s ongoing lack of any object primarily based audio performance for video games.
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