Sonos and Apple Music are partnering up to bring Dolby Atmos support to some of the best wireless speakers and best soundbars on the market right now.
Sonos' announcement means that the Sonos Arc soundbar, the more budget-friendly Sonos Beam (Gen 2), and the newly unveiled Sonos Era 300 speaker will all support spatial audio through Apple Music, which is powered by Dolby Atmos, in the Sonos app. When you use one of these Sonos speakers to listen to an Apple Music track that has an Atmos version available, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the more immersive format.
Technically, you could use an Apple TV 4K (2022) to listen to Dolby Atmos music on the Sonos Arc or Beam before via an HDMI port, but this is the first time you've been able to beam it there from your phone – until now, that was reserved for the Apple HomePod 2 (and original HomePod, though you can't buy that any more).
Sonos' announcement doesn't come with an expected date for this to be available, but the Sonos Era 300 launches on March 28, 2023, so we hope right around then. When TechRadar asked Sonos about this, it simply told us that support was coming, but was unable to say when.
When you're listening to Spatial Audio-supported tracks on Apple Music, it will sound like the music is enveloping you, with different instruments placed at different points in space, rather than simply blasting out of your speakers or earbuds.
To take advantage of the support, you’ll just need one of those speakers, an active Apple Music subscription that’s connected to your Sonos account, and a track that has a Dolby Atmos mix. Apple Music offers playlists of compatible songs and albums, or you can rely on apps like Music Library Tracker on iOS.
Tools such as Music Library Tracker, mentioned in the article above, can scan your Apple Music library to find songs that support Dolby Atmos, and can even create a playlist of exclusively immersive tracks. Considering that Apple’s in-app system isn’t always the best at highlighting which songs do or don’t support spatial sound, Music Library Tracker can be a massive time saver, and in our experience is well worth the small ($2.99 / £2.99 / AU$5.99) outlay.