Some Apple Music users on Mac report Spatial Audio & Dolby Atmos aren’t working with external DACs
Apple has got its users excited after the introduction of immersive Dolby Atmos spatial audio and lossless-quality streaming in Apple Music.
These features have, however, been inconsistent for some users. Reports suggest that it keeps disappearing after making appearance.
It is quite evident that Apple either didn’t put enough emphasis on it or it is still being worked upon.
Also, Apple doesn’t like to talk about numbers and has instead only said that thousands of tracks with spacial audio are available. Many of them are on their way.
There is also a set of users that are finding it difficult to play Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos tracks when using external DAC.
So, uh, does anybody have Dolby Atmos working in Apple Music with an external DAC on Mac? I can’t get any of my DACs to work in anything but lossless on either macOS 11 or 12
In Music on Mac, Spatial Atmos mixes do play through my other headphones — but only through the Mac’s headphone port, not external DACs.
There’s only one way the Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos work and that is when the headphones are directly plugged into the Mac, and not through an external DAC.
What’s weird is that these featuers work absolutely fine with iPads and the issue is only spotted on Macs.
Here’s a possible explanation for this by a user who digged a little deeper to understand how sample rates have been operating.
There are a couple of ways in which Spatial Audio & Dolby Atmos can still be enjoyed using an external DAC on Mac.
Workarounds to get Spatial Audio on Mac using DAC
Use Focusrite Scarlett 8i6
A user got these features to work on his M1 Mac mini with Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 but this is accompanied by regular Dolby Atmos dropouts, forcing users to restart the Apple Music app over and over.
Manually select sample rates in Audio MIDI setup
Apple Music doesn’t auto switch sample rates as per Tidal/Qobuz therefore, you have to manually select that otherwise it up- or down-samples on its own.
Apple has moved a leap ahead in this domain with the introduction of these features but being variably incompatible kills the excitement.
Apple really need to fix things up and present to users a stable and consistent music experience.
We hope this picks up enough traction to reach Apple’s ears so that they can immediately address this weirdness that’s going around.
Note: We have more such stories in our dedicated Apple Section so be sure to follow them as well.
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