Sceptical at first, but spatial audio is a game changer
Thought I’d finally give it a go, so I loaded up “Long Way Up” on my iPad.
Turned on ANC and spatial audio on my AirPods Pro and hit play.
Immediately I’m hit by the bizarre feeling that I’m not actually wearing the AirPods; that the audio is being routed through the iPad. About five times now, I’ve covered the speaker grilles with my hands to make sure the sound is actually coming through the AirPods. The directional stuff with the accelerometer is that good. It’s so good, and the AirPods Pro are so light and comfortable that it feels like the sound is coming from the iPad and somehow cancelling out the outside world.
*I’ve just done the grille-covering thing again while typing this btw, it’s late where I am and I keep getting paranoid that the sound is coming through the iPad speakers.*
Now I’ll talk about the surround-sound system replication. It’s amazing. Now, I don’t have a surround-sound system at home, so I’ve only experienced it a few times at friends’ houses and at cinemas, but to my philistine ears, it sounds as good as anything I’ve heard. There’s a scene in “Long Way Up” where the camera is aimed about 45º off parallel to the road. As the motorbike drives towards the camera, it doesn’t just pan from right to left, it pans from right-front to front, to left-front, to left-back. I had to rewind and watch the scene a couple of times, the effect was amazing.
One final thing: they need this for Apple TV, and it needs to allow spatial audio on several sets of AirPods at once. Imagine, instead of spending thousands on a surround sound system, you spend a few hundred each on AirPods for your family and watch a movie together in transparency mode. You can still hear each other, and you get this fantastic experience.
I just can’t wait for it to be released system-wide.