TIDAL’s new wave of music is truly immersive with Dolby AC-4 and Dolby Atmos

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Lars Kempe

The Dolby name is synonymous with delivering great audio experiences. TIDAL, the service owned by Jay-Z and a host of other high-profile musicians, is known for high-quality music streaming that brings the vision of musical artists to life for the listener. To enhance that experience, Dolby would need to do something really special.

That special moment arrived late last year when TIDAL started using Dolby AC-4 to deliver Dolby Atmos Music to subscribers on its HiFi plan. TIDAL has made its mark in the competitive music-streaming space with a concentration on high-quality audio, strong links with artists and a focus on mainstream, high-profile music.

TIDAL has also pursued partnerships with streaming audio hardware companies, automakers and other brands… and now with Dolby. By adding Dolby Atmos Music with Dolby AC-4 to its service, TIDAL is bringing a new immersive experience to its listeners.This is the first time it’s entered the mainstream as part of such a high-profile, high-quality service. It places musical elements, such as instruments and vocalists, in a virtual space around the listener. This is music in three dimensions and with AC-4, an immersive experience is even available when listening using headphones, through binaural processing.

Heads up

Binaural processing for headphones carries on the Dolby tradition of enabling richer, more immersive experiences, adding detail, space and separation that surpasses normal stereo. TIDAL users with Dolby Atmos-compatible devices will hear music from the likes of Ariana Grande, The Weeknd and even The Band come alive like never before.

Dolby Atmos Music is mixed using the latest production techniques and technologies for immersive audio. Native integration with Avid’s Pro Tools and Steinberg’s Nuendo, and the plug-ins for Logic and Ableton make it easy. On speakers, it sounds amazing; on headphones, it sounds uniquely amazing. Each ear experiences subtle differences in amplitude, delay and frequency as each element of the music envelops the listener. The binaural processing of Dolby Atmos provides unique per-object control over each of these sonic elements in the mix. Because Dolby AC-4 is a flexible format that understands multiple independent channels, entities and their relationships with one another, it can efficiently carry spatial information about each component of the music. This gives the artist creative control over the final experience.

Although TIDAL is the first streaming service to take this step into the future, it won’t be the last. Dolby is committed to making the Dolby AC-4 standard a universal choice, and we’re talking to lots of content providers, streaming services, device manufacturers, and other members of the audio ecosystem.

Watch this space – or, rather, keep listening. There’s lots more to come.

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