Pixel Buds Pro Gets Spatial Audio with the Latest Update: A Comprehensive Review
Google’s Pixel Buds Pro has received a major update, which brings support for spatial audio. This feature was previously exclusive to Apple’s AirPods Pro and AirPods Max but is now available on Google’s latest earbuds. Spatial audio provides an immersive listening experience that simulates a 3D soundstage, making it feel like the sound is coming from all around you. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Pixel Buds Pro and the new spatial audio feature.
Pixel Buds Pro Overview
The Pixel Buds Pro is Google’s latest wireless earbuds, released in August 2021. It features a sleek and modern design, with a premium finish and a comfortable fit. The earbuds come in a compact charging case that supports wireless charging and USB-C charging. The earbuds also offer touch controls for playback and volume, as well as hands-free Google Assistant and real-time translation.
The Pixel Buds Pro features Adaptive Sound, which adjusts the volume of the earbuds based on the surrounding noise level. It also has a long battery life, with up to 5 hours of continuous playback and up to 24 hours with the charging case.
Spatial Audio Feature
Spatial audio is a feature that simulates a 3D soundstage, creating a more immersive listening experience. The technology uses directional audio filters and dynamic head tracking to create the illusion that the sound is coming from all around you, as if it were in a physical space.
The Pixel Buds Pro supports spatial audio through Dolby Atmos, a surround sound technology that adds height channels to traditional surround sound. With spatial audio, users can enjoy a more realistic and immersive listening experience when watching movies or TV shows with Dolby Atmos support.
To enable spatial audio on the Pixel Buds Pro, users need to ensure they have the latest firmware update installed and be using a device that supports Dolby Atmos. Once these requirements are met, spatial audio is enabled by default for all compatible content. Users can manually enable or disable spatial audio from the Pixel Buds app on their phone.
Performance Comparison: Pixel Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro
The Pixel Buds Pro is the first Android earbuds to support spatial audio, putting them in direct competition with Apple’s AirPods Pro. In terms of sound quality, both earbuds offer excellent performance, with crisp and clear audio and powerful bass.
However, there are some key differences between the two earbuds. The AirPods Pro offers a more customizable fit, with three sizes of ear tips included to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. The Pixel Buds Pro, on the other hand, offers a more minimalist and streamlined design, with a stabilizer arc that helps keep the earbuds in place.
In terms of battery life, the Pixel Buds Pro offers longer playback time, with up to 5 hours of continuous playback and up to 24 hours with the charging case. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, offers up to 4.5 hours of continuous playback and up to 24 hours with the charging case.
When it comes to price, the Pixel Buds Pro is slightly more expensive than the AirPods Pro. However, it offers a range of features that make it a compelling option for anyone looking for high-end earbuds.
How Does Spatial Audio Work?
Spatial audio works by taking advantage of the unique properties of human hearing. Our ears and brains are capable of distinguishing the location of sounds based on a variety of cues, including the differences in arrival time, loudness, and frequency content between the sounds that reach each ear. Spatial audio uses these cues to create a virtual soundstage that simulates the experience of being in a three-dimensional environment.
To create this effect, spatial audio systems typically use a combination of signal processing and psychoacoustic modeling. Signal processing algorithms analyze the audio signals and extract information about their spatial characteristics, such as their direction and distance from the listener. Psychoacoustic modeling takes this information and uses it to create a virtual soundstage that simulates the experience of being in a particular acoustic environment.
What Are the Benefits of Spatial Audio?
Spatial audio offers several benefits to users. One of the primary benefits is an enhanced sense of immersion and realism. By simulating a 3D soundstage, spatial audio creates a more natural and dynamic listening experience that can make music, movies, and other content feel more lifelike.
Another benefit of spatial audio is improved localization. By providing more accurate spatial information, spatial audio makes it easier for users to locate and identify sounds within the audio mix. This can be particularly useful in gaming and virtual reality applications, where accurate spatial information is essential for an immersive experience.
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Q: Can I use spatial audio on all types of content with the Pixel Buds Pro?
A: No, spatial audio is only available for content that has been specifically mixed in Dolby Atmos.
Q: How do I know if a piece of content supports spatial audio?
A: Look for the Dolby Atmos logo on the content’s packaging or in the streaming app’s description.
Q: How do I update my Pixel Buds Pro firmware?
A: To update your Pixel Buds Pro firmware, open the Pixel Buds app on your phone and tap on the gear icon in the top right corner. From there, select “More settings” and then “Firmware update.” If an update is available, follow the on-screen instructions to download and install it.
Q: Can I use the Pixel Buds Pro with non-Google devices?
A: Yes, the Pixel Buds Pro can be used with any Bluetooth-enabled device, including iPhones and other Android phones.
Q: How long does it take to charge the Pixel Buds Pro?
A: The Pixel Buds Pro takes about 2 hours to fully charge when using the USB-C cable and charging case. It also supports wireless charging for added convenience.
Q: Are the Pixel Buds Pro good for workouts?
A: Yes, the Pixel Buds Pro is IPX4-rated for water resistance, making them resistant to sweat and splashes of water. They also have a stabilizer arc to help keep them in place during workouts.
Q: What is the difference between spatial audio and surround sound?
A: Spatial audio is a technology that simulates a 3D soundstage, while surround sound refers to a specific type of audio mix that uses multiple channels to create a more immersive listening experience. Spatial audio can be used with a variety of audio formats, including stereo and surround sound.
Q: Are the Pixel Buds Pro water-resistant?
A: Yes, the Pixel Buds Pro is IPX4-rated for water resistance, which means it can withstand splashes of water and sweat. However, it is not recommended to use the earbuds in the shower or while swimming.
The Pixel Buds Pro is a high-end pair of wireless earbuds that offer excellent sound quality and a range of features, including Adaptive Sound and hands-free Google Assistant. With the latest firmware update, the earbuds now also support spatial audio through Dolby Atmos, providing an immersive listening experience.
While they are slightly more expensive than the AirPods Pro, the Pixel Buds Pro offers a sleek and modern design, longer battery life, and compatibility with both Google and non-Google devices. Overall, the Pixel Buds Pro is a great choice for anyone looking for a premium pair of earbuds with cutting-edge features.