Windows Sonic for Headphones is Microsoft’s take on the spatial sound, attempting to build a surround sound experience for everyone, even with ordinary stereo headphones.
What Is Windows Sonic?
Windows Sonic was attached to Windows 10 in 2017 as part of an update and immediately rolled out in an update for Xbox One keepers. While there’s forever the option to also apply Dolby Atmos headphones for a surround sound experience (with pros and cons to both), there are many reasons to stick with sonic audio through Windows Sonic for Headphones.
What Is Spatial Sound?
The spatial sound makes the basis of Windows Sonic for Headphones and is required as a way in which to ‘create audio objects that emit audio from positions in 3D space. Essentially, it’s as if Windows has made many speakers scattered around your room then emulated the results through your headphones. It’s a simple approach to experiencing surround sound but with less physical equipment.
It mixes sounds before they’re given to your headphones. So, for instance, a gunshot in a game coming from the right corner is ‘repositioned,’ so you hear it coming from that direction through your headphones.
How Does Windows Sonic for Headphones Work?
Windows Sonic for Headphones works through virtual means. The hard work is performed by software rather than the physical equipment you work on. Rather than utilizing sonic headphones or dedicated surround sound headphones, Windows Sonic is activated simply by toggling a button on your speaker settings on your computer.
It doesn’t work with all setups, such as with built-in laptop speakers, but all headphones support it.
Windows Sonic for Headphones only works with applications, games, or movies capable of rendering to 7.1 channel formats. Some games and applications may not profit from activating it.
What Is Windows Sonic for Headphones in Windows 10?
There are a significant number of low, poor-quality headphones on the market today. They can make you frustrated, with tinny sound, audio crackling, and low bass building an underwhelming audio sense.
While you can’t improve the original hardware components in headphones like this, you can work on the software. This is precisely what Microsoft gives with Windows Sonic for Headphones, a spatial sound solution introduced into Windows with the Creators Update in 2017.
Spatial sound is an attempt to build a 3D-style audio experience that doesn’t rely on speakers or headphones’ positioning. Rather than front and back audio on a 2D level, Windows Sonic supports a spatial sound resolution that will mix the audio to affect where that audio might be coming from.
For example, if you’re playing a game and an explosion takes place above your character, then the audio will be mixed to make it sound and feel really like you’ve heard it from above. Windows Sonic simulates 7.1 surrounds audio sound channels across your headphones.
Rather than losing some of those audio channels (and certain noises and sounds as a result), they’re mixed into the two channels (left and right) that you’ll get in your headphones.
Windows Sonic for Headphones is available on Windows 10, but it’s disabled by default, so you’ll require to enable it first. It can also be allowed for Xbox users in your Xbox Settings menu.
What Are Its Advantages?
Using Windows Sonic for Headphones has several advantages. Here’s a brief look at some of them.
- Space constraints: You don’t have to worry about setting up large surround sound systems to gain a similar audio experience.
- It’s cheaper: Windows Sonic for Headphones is free to utilize and doesn’t require expensive equipment.
- Simple to setup: Generally, you can set it up by toggling one switch on your system or Xbox One.
When Is It Most Useful?
It’s always great to enjoy the more excellent quality sound for less, but there are a couple of key areas where Windows Sonic for Headphones is extra helpful.
- Gaming: When gaming, the positional features of Windows Sonic means that you can hear the direction that footsteps or gunshots come from. In multiplayer games, in special, it’s hugely helpful to be able to rely on your ears as well as your reaction skills.
- Movies: Movies are forever better with good picture quality and great sound. You have a greater chance of hearing subtle nuances when watching a film with Windows Sonic for Headphones activated.
Is It Worth Using Windows Sonic for Headphones?
Windows Sonic is absolutely free to use, so there’s no cause not to activate it on your computer or Xbox One. It provides better sound quality via spatial sound technology and is a great inexpensive way of enjoying a form of surround sound without having to buy extra equipment.