Google may be late to the spatial audio party but never late than never. With the January update for Pixels 6, 6 Pro, 7 and 7 Pro, Google has enabled the spatial audio feature in the form of a simple toggle.
Apple and Samsung already have spatial audio in their respective headphones and last year Google signalled they were set to enable it in the January Pixel update for supported devices. Well, the January update is here, and Google has been true to their word with the first version of spatial audio, with another set to arrive “in the coming weeks.”
The January update spatial audio supports the less-advanced version where it doesn’t adjust when you turn your head. The next version arriving in the coming weeks will be the type where the head direction is tracked, and the speakers adjust as required. For example, if you move your head to the left the centre speaker will adjust to still sound like it is still in front of you.
To enable spatial audio on your supported Pixel smartphone head into the Settings app –> Sound & Vibration –> toggle on Spatial Audio.
At this stage there aren’t many headphones which support this spatial audio from Google with of course their Pixel Buds Pro supporting it (along with the next, more advanced version). One of the few others supporting it are from OnePlus – the OnePlus Buds Pro 2.
“With Android 13, we added spatial audio functionality with the opportunity for partners to use it within their own devices,” said Erik Kay, VP of Engineering at Android. “With OnePlus integrating this new framework alongside support for Fast Pair and audio switching, we’re looking forward to adding their Buds 2 Pro Series to the Android ecosystem of connected devices that all work better together.”
The OnePlus Buds 2 Pro include an algorithm that enable the sound to be up mixed to multiple channels giving a 3D audio experience in a tiny earbud. The Buds Pro 2 support Google’s Fast Pair and will be launched “globally” on February 7. The Pixel Buds Pro are available now from the Google online store or at all good electronics retailers.