Do you have headphones? Discover THX Spatial Audio on Qobuz
As you might guess from the name, THX Spatial Audio aims to deliver a “spatialized” audio experience by placing you in the middle of your favorite tracks (or video content or podcasts), enhancing subtle details while creating a ” live”. with more immediacy and immersion. THX says the listening experience is both more nuanced and more engaging with vocals and instruments coming to life all around you in a realistic acoustic environment that “mimics the sound of music in a live room” . So how does it work and what sets it apart from other spatial audio technologies, like Dolby Atmos? The first thing to know is that THX Spatial Audio is best experienced via headphones.
There are currently three different ways to hear it for yourself. First, there are some consumer electronics (such as headphones, soundbars, and gaming laptops) with built-in THX Spatial Audio through built-in software, but that’s probably not how most people benefit. of technology. Second, there is a Windows PC application that allows the user to enjoy THX Spatial Audio with virtually any stereo or multi-channel audio source, through any pair of connected headphones. THX says the app “intensifies 3D soundscapes in all forms of entertainment” by applying unique signal processing techniques to turn normal audio into something more like a binaural recording. The third way to experience this “spatialized” audio is to use content mixed specifically for THX Spatial Audio using the company’s proprietary rendering engine. THX works directly with musicians, content creators, and music festivals to mix (or remix) recorded music and live concerts into “fully immersive 3D audio experiences” that create a “360-degree soundstage around from you”. Content mixed specifically for THX Spatial Audio can be enjoyed on any device, on any pair of headphones without
special hardware or software.
THX Spatial Audio demo video on YouTube
Flipping the switch in the THX app from stereo audio to spatial audio produces an instantly wider soundstage. It allows sounds to move around you in virtual space while allowing you to control the size of that space through a distance adjustment.
— Simon Cohen of Digital Trends
Of the three ways to experience THX Spatial Audio, this article focuses on the last: original content mixed specifically for THX, using advanced signal processing to place sounds ‘out of your head’. Audiophile music streaming service Qobuz recently asked THX to work with a handful of artists to collaborate on new mixes, transforming what would otherwise be conventional audio into “incredible 360-degree sound” with “realistic acoustics ensuring a unique listening experience, whether by simulating a recording studio or an authentic virtual environment.These mixes combine the high-quality 24-bit audio that Qobuz is known for with the unique “live” feel of THX Spatial Audio.
The ease with which Qobuz users can discover THX Spatial Audio music tracks, and the fact that it is lossless, even Hi-Res, makes the format a natural choice for our platform. The artists who offer these THX Spatial Audio mixes on Qobuz are eclectic and acclaimed, and are perfectly suited to our audience of true music enthusiasts.
— Dan Mackta, General Manager of Qobuz USA
Interested? Skeptical? Curious? To hear them, discover these three exclusive tracks on Qobuz with your favorite headphones:
(originally performed by the Bauhaus)
(originally performed by The Zombies)
According to THX, these tracks were created to give listeners “the feeling of literally being in a space with the performers”, with “a dramatic realism (and) immersion…allowing musical artists to enjoy the connection between technology and music in new and unique ways to enjoy digital. In particular, the THX Spatial Audio mix of Circuit des Yeux’s “Double Dare” promises enveloping, concert hall-worthy immersive drama.” Calling Vic Juris” by Anat Cohen takes a very different approach, aiming instead to provide “an extreme sense of intimacy and accessibility”. THX Spatial Audio isn’t about making everything sound the same; it’s rather a tool that gives artists more flexibility to create the soundscape that best suits their music.These new THX Spatial Audio tracks follow other exclusive Qobuz releases from Christian McBride, Zappa Records, Mercury KX, Tower of power r, and more.
Double Dare’ is a song filled with immense power. Listening to him helps decimate my fear. My favorite part of CdY’s rendition of ‘Double Dare’ is how Whitney (Johnson) reps the strident guitar part with a viola and overdrive pedal. The way harmonics and feedback bounce and resonate in THX Spatial Audio feels like being in the eye of a tornado. If ‘Double Dare’ is an anecdote to be dreaded, this cover of ‘Double Dare’ in THX Spatial Audio increases the dosage.
— Haley Fohr of Eye Circuit
We recorded the song (‘Calling Vic Juris’) as an acoustic duet and then added layers of clarinet and guitar. The THX Spatial Audio format amplifies the building momentum heard as the track progresses, particularly around 3.5 minutes when the clarinet leads soar along with and above the multiple layers of guitars. With this audio format, I was able to express the influences of the acoustic and electric worlds that we breathe. I was grateful to work on this project alongside THX and Qobuz, two companies committed to providing a high-quality music listening experience, allowing us to bring our intimate studio experience directly to listeners’ ears.
Qobuz and THX Ltd. have already teamed up to improve consumer access to 24-bit high-resolution audio by bundling a free three-month subscription to Qobuz with the purchase of thea $200 dongle-style DAC and headphone amp – and the first consumer product ever offered by THX.
THX is happy to work with these talented Qobuz musicians to bring the artists’ vision of deep and true audio immersion to fans. As an artist and engineer, I’m always interested in exploring the experiences that music can evoke. THX Spatial Audio is phenomenal immersive technology that we are excited to bring to these creative musicians to help them increase their creativity and connection with their audience.
Kasson Crooker, musician and engineer THX Spatial Audio
To learn more about THX Spatial Audio, visit: