All Xbox One consoles to get Dolby Atmos audio upmixing

A shadowy photo of the Xbox One console
Image Credit: Microsoft / Xbox

A new feature has rolled out to Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Insider ring this week that brings Dolby Atmos upmixing to all Microsoft's Xbox One consoles. 

Designed by Dolby, the upmixing feature will effectively turn non-Dolby Atmos sound into premium Dolby Atmos, or something closer to it.  Although it's not going to sound as good as encoded-at-source Dolby Atmos, it'll hopefully make the audio in games and movies sound much better and bring a greater sense of immersion to whatever you're watching because of it. 

For those new to Dolby Atmos, it's an audio format that takes recorded audio from a movie soundtrack or video game and spits it out in a more immersive way – an object based sound system that goes beyond the channels of  stereo sound or surround sound. The big difference is it delivers a more three-dimensional effect – imagine the difference between hearing a helicopter flying over a scene through speakers to your sides versus directly over your head.

According to Forbes, the feature is being tested with a select number of users right now before being rolled out to the general public.

Right now the Dolby Atmos upgrade is 'on' by default with no option to switch it off. But Steven Wilssens, the Xbox Audio Lead, told Forbes that when the feature gets a wider public release there'll be an option to toggle it off for those who want to hear non-Atmos audio in its original format. 

Becca Caddy

Becca is a contributor to TechRadar, a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than ten years, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality.