Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos comes to Audible for seriously immersive storytelling

A woman listening to an Audible podcast in Dolby Atmos on her earbuds, on purple background
(Image credit: Audible, Dolby Atmos)

Dolby Labs has further extended its reach by partnering with Amazon's Audible, to introduce Dolby Atmos content to its library.

Want specifics? Audible (which still offers a seven-day free trial) is debuting more than 40 titles mixed in Dolby Atmos' excellent immersive spatial audio, including The Little MermaidThe Sandman Act III and the music-oriented podcast, Maejor Frequency. 

Audible in Dolby Atmos is another emphatic reason to invite a Dolby Atmos soundbar into your life – particularly if you're considering one of Amazon's new Fire TV Omni QLEDs with eARC for Dolby Atmos passthrough. 

The move also follows the launch of Atmos podcasts on also-owned-by-Amazon Wondery last year, and is irrefutable proof that Dolby is seeking to propagate not just the music and movie streaming markets, but audiobooks and podcasts, too.

According to both companies, the Dolby Atmos Audible collection includes feature-length productions, soundscapes, podcasts and live performances. 

Opinion: hard to explain, but so easy to enjoy 

A cinema screen showing the Dolby Atmos logo

(Image credit: Dolby)

What exactly does Dolby Atmos do for the listener? It does plenty. With Dolby Atmos, sound stems in the mixing process can actually be placed in a three-dimensional space. 

You can read about the time I visited Dolby's flagship London Atmos mixing suite (a 9.1.7 delight, where sonic articles in Elton John's Rocket Man both tickled the back of my skull and presented themselves as tangible green spheres in the room) for more information if you like… but that's another story. 

With this in mind, consider The Little Mermaid, which will include a "magical underwater soundscape and original music," on Audible, said Dolby's vice president John Couling, adding that "sound placement can now be used as a new element to draw audiences even closer to their favorite podcasts, audio narratives, and stories with Dolby Atmos." 

I believe that, as with Apple Music Sessions in spatial audio, Dolby Atmos has huge potential in the audio-only realm. One of the reasons for this is that when one of our senses is no longer needed (in this case, sight) we can close our eyes to find our other senses hone in, becoming more focused and finely tuned – as I learned during a blindfolded Pitchblack Playback session at L-Acoustics' fantastic 18.1.12 system last year. 

And if you're an audiophile who's never given Ammersive a go for stunning spatial audio story curations, I'd thoroughly recommend it – just give Buried Alive a miss if you're of a nervous disposition.

Ultimately, Amazon's adoption of the Dolby Atmos spatial audio special sauce in Audible is both exciting and further proof that immersive overhead audio is not going anywhere.

Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.