What Is Spatial Sound in Windows 11: A Comprehensive Guide

The addition of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, etc., has made good sound quality a necessity. While one can always connect to external soundbars for an excellent experience, it is not a viable option for everyone. Hence, you can use the Spatial Sound feature in Windows 11.

A Comprehensive Guide for Using Spatial Sound in Windows 11

Your Windows devices have various settings and features to enhance the overall experience. So, if you want to enhance your audio experience specifically, you can enable Spatial Sound in Windows 11. But what is Spatial Sound? And how can we enable it on Windows 11? Let’s find out.

What Is Spatial Sound in Windows 11

Aptly referred to as 3D audio, Spatial Sound, or Spatial Audio, gives regular sound a 3-dimension-like quality, even if it is being played from your regular laptop speakers. This can not only improve the sound quality but also enhance certain parts of the playback to make the overall experience smoother. Once enabled, it will change the sound output quality to mimic the surround sound experience.

To get the full Spatial Sound experience, it is recommended to connect your Windows device to a headset.

Supported Spatial Audio Formats in Windows 11

When using Spatial Audio in Windows 11, you can choose between three supported formats: Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Audio. Let us have a quick look at them all.

Dolby Atmos
  • Windows Sonic: Microsoft’s proprietary Spatial Audio format, Sonic, comes built-in to almost all recent Windows 11 devices. No external software is required to use it, and it is available to the users for free.
  • Dolby Atmos: Well known for their immersive sound quality, most Windows devices have Dolby Atmos support. However, you must install the Dolby Access app to use it. Additionally, you will need a subscription to use the app after the free trial ends.
  • DTS Audio: More suited for when using headsets, most Windows devices also support DTS Audio. You will need to install the DTS Sound Unbound app to use it. Additionally, you might need to subscribe to certain app services, like DTS Headphone:X.

Let’s move on to enabling Spatial Sound on your Windows 11 device.

How to Turn On Spatial Audio in Windows 11

Now that we know more about what Windows Spatial Audio is and what all Spatial Audio formats are supported, let us look at 3 ways to help you turn on Spatial Audio in Windows 11.

Note: If you have any external Spatial Audio apps installed, you can also select them from the options, if available.

1. Using Windows Settings

Step 1: Open Settings using the Windows + I key.

Step 2: From the menu options, click on System.

Step 3: Then, click on Sound.

Open Windows Sound Settings

Step 4: Here, click on your audio device.

Open Sound Properties

Step 5: Once the device properties page opens, scroll down and click on the drop-down menu for Spatial audio.

Go to Spatial Audio drop down

Step 6: Select the ‘Windows Sonic for Headphones’ option.

Select Windows Sonic for Headphones

This will turn on Spatial Audio on Windows 11 for the selected device. Or, if you change your audio output device, repeat the above steps and enable Spatial Audio for the other devices as well.

2. Using Control Panel

Step 1: Go to Search and type Control Panel. Open the app from the search results.

Open Control Panel

Step 2: Then, click on ‘Hardware and Sound’.

Open Sound settings

Step 3: Click on Sound.

Click on Sound

Step 4: From this list, click on your sound device.

Step 5: Then, click on Properties.

Open sound device properties

Step 6: From the menu options, select Spatial sound.

Step 7: Click on the drop-down and select ‘Windows Sonic for Headphones’.

Enable Spatial Audio

Step 8: Then, click on Apply and OK.

Click on Apply and OK

This will save the changes and enable Spatial Audio for the selected audio device on Windows 11.

3. Using Volume Mixer

Step 1: Use the Windows + R shortcut to open Run.

Step 2: In the search bar, type sndvol.exe and press enter to open Volume Mixer.

Tip: Check other ways to open Volume Mixer in Windows 11.

Open sound settings using Run

Step 3: Once the Volume Mixer window opens, click on your sound device.

Use volume mixer

Step 4: Click on Spatial sound from the menu options.

Step 5: Then, click on the drop-down.

Step 6: From the options, select ‘Windows Sonic for Headphones’.

Enable Spatial Audio

Step 7: Click on Apply and OK to save the changes.

Click on Apply and OK

This will close the window and apply the select Windows spatial sound setting to the audio device. You can also use these steps to enable Spatial Audio for any other device.

FAQs for Using Windows Spatial Sound

1. What to do if Spatial Audio is greyed out or not working on Windows 11?

If the Spatial sound is greyed out or not working on your Windows 11 device, start by running the audio troubleshooter. Additionally, ensure your device has the latest Windows updates installed. Once done, proceed to reinstall the sound drivers on your device. Then, check again and see if the issue has been fixed.

2. Can you enable enhanced audio in Windows 11?

Yes, Windows 11 has provisions for enabling enhanced audio. To do this, use the Windows + I key to open Settings. Then, from the menu options, click on System. Here, click on Sound > your audio device. Near the Spatial audio feature, you will find the Audio enhancements drop-down. Click on it and select ‘Device Default Effects’. This will enable enhanced audio on your Windows 11 device.

Enjoy Superior Windows Sound

Enabling Spatial Sound in Windows 11 certainly creates a superior sound experience, and it shows. So, we hope this article helped you better understand Spatial Sound and how you can enable it on your device. You can also check our article to increase the audio quality on Windows 11.

Last updated on 04 September, 2023

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