What Are Windows Sonic Headphones? (Everything You Wanted To Know)

What Are Windows Sonic Headphones? Windows 10 offers a game-changing audio feature, but you must know where to search to activate and use it. Spatial sound modifies the system’s audio profile, resulting in different audio outputs for the user.

It’s a built-in Windows 10 feature called Windows Sonic, and it’ll forever transform the way you hear things. To Tak advantage of this, we need special headphones.

Key takeaway

Windows Sonic for Headphones is a free program developed by Microsoft that artificially recreates the experience of listening to a 3D surround sound system. It improves the audio in games and movies, making it more life-like and immersive. Windows Sonic for Headphones is disabled by default but can be enabled on Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. It is Microsoft’s attempt at recreating the spatial sound experience for everyone.

What Are Windows Sonic Headphones?
What Are Windows Sonic Headphones?


So Then, What are Windows Sonic Headphones?

Windows Sonic for Headphones is Microsoft’s attempt to recreate the multidimensional sound experience for all Xbox One and Windows 10 users. It does not require any special physical equipment or hardware to function. You may listen to spatial audio with any pair of earbuds or regular stereo headphones.

Windows Sonic for Headphones works with any headphones, earbuds, or headsets and makes all of your movies and games sound more immersive, as well as allowing games to place audio with pinpoint accuracy.


Watch this: Does Windows Sonic make a difference?

What exactly are the Windows Sonic Headphones?

Windows Sonic is a platform-level audio application that simulates surround sound. However, Windows Sonic may also use spatial sound, which creates an immersive audio experience by positioning audio all around you.

Consider it this way: The audio washes over you in a single horizontal plane when you utilize standard surround sound. You have a high level of audio immersion, but all noises arrive at the same level (depending on your setup, of course).

Windows Sonic spatial sound can shift audio around your complete body, making it sound like it’s coming from above your head or below your feet.

Assume you’re watching a movie while helicopters fly overhead. The rotors are heard all around you with surround sound. However, with spatial sound, you can hear the helicopter rotors travel from behind you, overhead, and finally in front of you.

Spatial sound, on the other hand, is similar to a three-dimensional audio experience in that it allows you to hear and experience audio vertically and horizontally.

What exactly are the Windows Sonic Headphones?
What exactly are the Windows Sonic Headphones?

What is Spatial Sound?

Windows Sonic, according to Microsoft’s developer documentation, is a “platform-level solution for spatial sound support on Xbox on Windows.”

Spatial sound APIs enable application developers to “build audio objects that produce audio from positions in 3D space.”

This is applicable to all programs, including new UWP apps, old Windows desktop applications, normal PC games, and Xbox One games.

Because this is the data that Dolby Atmos-enabled receivers use to mix their spatial sound, Windows Sonic includes full Dolby Atmos support in the latest versions of Windows 10.

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When used in conjunction with a Dolby Atmos-enabled receiver and speaker system, the sounds you hear can be positioned in 3D space—vertically as well as horizontally—for a more immersive surround sound experience.

In a movie, TV show, or video game, for example, if a sound is coming from above you and to your right, the upwards-firing or ceiling-mounted speakers on the right side of your room will place the sound in that location—assuming you have Dolby Atmos.

The Dolby Access app in the Store can assist you in configuring Dolby Atmos home theater audio on a Windows 10 PC.

How Does Spatial Sound Works?

A surround sound mix (song, game, or movie) and dedicated surround software to translate the mix to your headphones are required to experience the spatial sound effect. Spatial audio simulates the experience of listening to multiple speakers while using headphones with only two speakers (left & right).
The sound mix is created by sound designers. They generate positional data for all of the sounds in a three-dimensional virtual space.

Sound designers spend a lot of time in games and movies carefully placing each sound where it should be, creating an immersive listening experience. Those sound mixes, however, usually work best with multi-speaker setups.

This is where spatial sound software, such as Windows Sonic for Headphones, comes in handy. It takes the positional data and converts it to fit standard 2-speaker stereo headphones.

As a result, you get a better audio experience, as if you’re listening to your home theater system through headphones.

How Does Spatial Sound Works?
How Does Spatial Sound Works?

How Headphones Fool You into Hearing Big Soundstage?

Despite having only two ears, we can accurately pinpoint the direction of the sound. How is that even possible?

When something emits sound waves (creates sound), one of your ears detects it first. The delay information is then used by your brain to calculate an approximate direction of the sound. This is referred to as head-related transfer functions (HRTF).

These psychoacoustic tricks are also used in audio mixing. Even headphones with two drivers can fool you into thinking the sound is moving around your head by adjusting the reverb and delays.

How Does Windows Sonic for Headphones Work?

Windows Sonic for Headphones operates in a virtual environment. Instead of the physical equipment you use, the software does the hard work. Rather than using sonic headphones or dedicated surround sound headphones, Windows Sonic is activated by simply toggling a button in your computer’s speaker settings.

It isn’t compatible with all setups, such as built-in laptop speakers, but it does support all headphones.

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What Are Its Advantages?

There are several advantages to using Windows Sonic for Headphones. Here’s a quick rundown of a few of them.

  • Space constraints: You don’t have to worry about installing large surround sound systems to get a comparable audio experience.
  • It’s less expensive: Windows Sonic for Headphones is free to use and does not require any expensive hardware.
  • Simple to configure: In general, you can configure it by toggling a single switch on your computer or Xbox One.

When Is It Most Useful?

It’s always nice to get better sound for less money, but there are a few key areas where Windows Sonic for Headphones comes in handy.

  • When gaming, the positional aspect of Windows Sonic allows you to hear the direction of footsteps or gunshots. It’s extremely useful to be able to rely on both your ears and your reaction skills in multiplayer games.
  • Movies: Movies with good picture quality and sound are always better. When you watch a movie with Windows Sonic for Headphones enabled, you have a better chance of hearing subtle nuances.
How Does Windows Sonic for Headphones Work?
How Does Windows Sonic for Headphones Work?

How can I turn on Windows Sonic for Headphones on my computer?

To enable spatial sound on your Windows 10 PC, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your headphones-capable audio-video receiver to your PC through HDMI.
  2. Right-click the volume icon in the Task Tray, and then select the spatial sound source you want to utilize. (Note: If you select Dolby Atmos for Headphones or Dolby Atmos for Home Theater, you will be directed to the Dolby Access shop to download the free Dolby Access software.) Follow the instructions from there to try or buy Dolby Atmos for Headphones or enable Dolby Atmos for Home Theater.)
  3. Start watching or playing your favorite movie or game and have fun!

How can I turn off Windows Sonic for Headphones on my computer?

Alternatively, right-click the audio icon in your system tray (bottom-right corner of the screen) and select Spatial Sound > Off.

Spatial sound choices are also available in the Sound Control Panel. Select Sound Control Panel from the Windows 10 Sound Settings window. Open the Spatial Sound tab by right-clicking your active audio device and selecting Properties.

You can turn off Windows Sonic for Headphones using the dropdown menu. Depending on your headset, you may also find toggles for turning off and on surround sound here.

How to Activate Windows Sonic on Xbox One?

  • Settings > All settings > Display & sound > Audio output > Headset format
  • There, you can choose Windows Sonic (or any other supported surround sound, for that matter).
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Should You Use Windows Sonic?

If you want to enjoy virtual surround sound but don’t want to spend money on subscriptions or additional equipment, Windows Sonic is the best option. However, not all audio content works well with it. You must understand when to use it and when to turn it off.

Conclusion On What is Windows Sonic Headphones

Since the Creators Update in 2017, Windows Sonic has been one of the spatial sound formats supported by Windows 10. Windows Sonic for Headphones is its official name, but it isn’t the only spatial sound option accessible to Windows 10 users.

Dolby Atmos for Headphones and Dolby Atmos for Home Theater are the other two alternatives.

You may utilize Windows Sonic for Headphones with any headphones or earbuds, however, Dolby Atmos requires specialist hardware that supports the format. The Dolby Atmos option also necessitates a $15 one-time payment for an app.

FAQs About Windows Sonic Headphones

What is Windows Sonic’s role in the world of headphones?

Windows Sonic for Headphones is a free program that artificially recreates the experience of listening to a 3D surround sound system. It works through virtual means, with the hard work done by software rather than physical equipment. It can be used with any pair of headphones and upmix 5.1/7.1 game audio content to spatial audio for headphone playback. Windows Sonic is also a hot topic in the audio world as it provides surround sound through headphones, known as spatial audio.

Should I enable Windows Sonic for gaming headphones?

Windows Sonic can improve the audio experience for video games and movies when using headphones. However, if you already own a good pair of headphones with a large soundstage, it may not be necessary. It should not be used at the same time as the surround sound from your headset, and if the game is outputting stereo, then Windows Sonic does nothing but ruin the sound quality. Windows Sonic only works well with headphones and should not be used with external/laptop speakers. If you don’t like it, you can toggle back to regular stereo.

How do you make use of your Windows Sonic headphones?

Select Start > Settings > System > Sound > Related settings > Sound Control Panel, then select Properties for a playback device.
Select Spatial sound in the new window that appears.
Select Windows Sonic for Headphones in the Spatial sound format, then click Apply., then select Properties for a playback device.
Select Spatial sound in the new window that appears.
Select Windows Sonic for Headphones in the Spatial sound format, then click Apply.

Trina Oralde

I'm a tech writer and contributor who covers the latest in gadgets and technology. I keep my finger on the pulse of the tech world, so you don't have to. Stay up-to-date on the latest with me!


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