Google headphones offer a new function for greater immersion

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Google has started implementing spatial audio into its high-end wireless headphones, the Pixel Buds Pro. Be careful, spatial audio with Google sauce only refers to some content.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro
The Google Pixel Buds Pro // Source: Chloé Pertuis for Frandroid

During the launch of Google’s high-end wireless headphones, the Pixel Buds Pro, the manufacturer communicated about many features that will come after the launch. After the equalizer, now it’s the turn of the spatial audio, which will be displayed.

Spatial audio allows users to become more immersed in content, whether it’s movies in Dolby Atmos or DTS:X or, increasingly, music titles thanks to Dolby Atmos or Sony 360 Reality Audio within music streaming platforms like Apple. Music, Amazon Music and Tidal.

Now, Google Pixel Buds Pro users can take advantage of this feature as the firm announced on Tuesday, March 7 in a blog post. To take advantage of it, owners of the Pixel Buds Pro headphones will only have to update the firmware of their models to version 4.30. This can be downloaded directly from the Pixel Buds app on a smartphone. However, if the rollout started on March 7th, it will take some time before all users are entitled to it, as it should roll out until next week.

A feature limited to video apps only

Be warned though, spatial audio management on the Pixel Buds Pro is much more limited than it is on the Apple AirPods Pro 2, for example. It does not apply to music streaming apps and is currently only supported by some video apps, as long as the videos in question are available in Dolby Atmos or Dolby Surround. This is particularly the case with Netflix, YouTube or the HBO Max app. Therefore, it is impossible to use this spatial audio feature in music apps like Tidal or Amazon Music. It is also impossible to use this function to virtualize spatial audio from a stereo track.

Also remember that the Pixel Buds Pro are not the first headphones to integrate this function developed by Google. In fact, OnePlus had its first of this feature with its latest OnePlus Buds Pro 2, released last month.

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