Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos Come to Xbox One

xbox-windows-sonicThe Windows 10 Creators Update launched on PCs and the Xbox One last month. When it arrived on PCs it brought with it a new audio setting called Spatial Sound. This new feature includes two new audio processors called Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos for Headphones.

Windows Spatial Sound options attempt to create a surround sound experience using ordinary stereo headphones. The latest update for the Xbox One has brought Spatial Sound with it. It won’t be obvious that you have it, but you definitely do. This isn’t just an Insider Preview feature.

If you play games with a stereo headset, you are definitely going to want to enable Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos for Headphones. We tried it out with Overwatch, and we found that it made a significant difference when trying to locate where sounds were coming from within the game. To be successful in first-person shooters you need to quickly locate the enemies, so many gamers have been using surround-sound headsets for years to get a competitive advantage. With these new audio options you can get a similar advantage even if your headset cost a fraction of the high-end surround sound headsets. In fact, many people have reported that using Windows Sonic in place of their headsets built-in surround sound functionality actually sounds better.

Windows Sonic is completely free, and it’s simple to enable. Dolby Atmos for Headphones will set you back $15, but it is offered with a free trial. Given that they are both free, at least to try, there is absolutely no reason not to try them for yourself. Make sure to try them both out in a variety of games. Both Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos are sure to perform different across different games. Check them out, then determine which works best for you and your favorite games.

There is one thing to note with Windows Sonic. Some users have reported that they’ve experienced some crackling with system sounds. Simply disabling, and then re-enabling, Windows Sonic has temporarily alleviated the problem though.

If you decide to try out Dolby Atmos for Headphones, you will first be redirected to the Xbox Store. Again, there’s a free trial, but if you want to keep it you’ll have to fork over $15.

To enable either Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos for headphones, follow these simple instructions.

  • Click the Xbox Guide button to open the side panel.
  • From the bottom option, select All settings.
  • Select Display & Sound.
  • Click on Audio output.
  • In the middle of the page, there’s a section called Headset audio. Change it to either Windows Sonic for Headphones or Dolby Atmos for headphones.







About the author

Josh Pollard

Josh has been writing software since his parents brought home their first computer. His love for gadgets and technology eventually spurred a passion for home theater technology. After starting the DMZ, he received Microsoft’s MVP award for Windows Media Center. Even though the beloved home theater PC platform is all but dead he continues to tinker with consumer entertainment technology. He’s a life-long gamer and DIY smart home enthusiast. He co-hosts the Entertainment 2.0 podcast with Richard Gunther and the DMZ’s gaming podcast, Story Players, with Joe DeStazio.