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Apple spatial audio now in mercedes benz

Apple Spatial Audio in Mercedes-Benz Conquers the Next Audio Frontier

If you’ve been lucky enough to try Dolby Atmos with Apple’s next-level Spatial Audio devices you’ll understand our excitement for this exclusive partnership with Mercedes-Benz. If you haven’t, it’s time you get acquainted with one of the biggest audio technology advancements since the iPod.

Taking advantage of the speakers in Mercedes-Maybach models, EQS and EQS SUV, as well as the EQE and the S-Class, Spatial Audio offers a fully immersive listening experience in these cars with multidimensional sound and clarity that you rarely get to experience outside of wearing the Apple products themselves.

It’s so good, a Mercedes-Benz representative once told that the system made someone cry… but how does it work and did we get teary-eyed after trying it? Let’s take a closer look.

Mercedes benz eqs
We tested Apple Spatial Audio in this Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

How Does it Work?

To get the most out of Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos you have to have good hardware, and Mercedes-Benz vehicles have some of the best sound systems in any new cars we’ve ever tested. Utilising premium Burmester speakers throughout the cabin they have the benefit of multiple channels to play with from the rear seats to the front tweeters.

Thanks to this vast array of speakers, the system goes above and beyond the Spatial Audio setup in the new Apple HomePod 2nd Generation and Apple AirPods Pro. This is the first time we’ve seen Spatial Audio on a non-Apple device, and in all honesty, it’s the best application we’ve heard yet thanks to the hardware supplied in the vehicles.

Our test vehicles for the day consisted of the new all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and EQS SUV with standard Burmester 3D surround sound produced across 15 speakers. We missed out on the Mercedes S-Class ($242,361 plus on-road costs) that houses the cry-inducing top-of-the-range Burmester 4D sound system with 31 speakers and 1750 watts of power, including speakers in the headrests and sound transducers or “exciters” in the seats.

Apple spatial audio now in mercedes benz listening to the music
You can see the smile Apple Spatial Audio put on our face | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

How Does Spatial Audio in Mercedes-Benz Sound?

We worked our way through the provided Apple Music playlist and had a chance to sample music from all genres, here’s what we listened to:

  • Blinding Lights by The Weeknd: This is our go-to track when we’re testing Dolby Atmos or Spatial Audio and in the Mercedes EQS SUV it offered the best experience out of all the songs we tested. Airy but crystal clear, accurate bass without excessive thump, and vocals that sit perfectly amongst the array of synths and drums. It’s not something that’s going to test the system by any means, but it’s a great way to start and demonstrate the full experience.
  • The Kind of Love We Make by Luke Combs: Time for a genre change and we chucked on a bit of country by way of Luke Combs and his smash-hit ‘The Kind of Love We Make’ track. If you want to test the fidelity of Spatial Audio, this is a great example of how the software balances strong vocals and powerful string and percussion instruments. You’ll find the importance of smaller percussion instruments, tambourine predominately, bringing the track to life.
  • Is This Love by Bob Marley & The Wailers: If you’re a Spatial Audio sceptic and prefer a traditional stereo sound, we suggest throwing on this classic by Bob Marley & The Wailers. One of the best examples of how Spatial Audio not only moves the sound from left to right throughout the cabin, but also up, down, and forwards and backwards to provide unmatched depth. At points, it moves the vocals around, but it mostly manipulates the backing instruments, firing off certain percussion instruments individually to specific areas of the cabin.

If we had to sum up the experience in one word: incredible. It’s like sitting in a concert hall, and although it wasn’t enough to make us cry, the way the audio fills the cabin from all angles is nothing short of amazing.

What’s the Catch?

You’ll find a few things to get your head around before you start crying with Spatial Audio in your Mercedes-Benz vehicle. First, this experience is only available on Apple Music and through the vehicles listed above with prices starting from $133,575 plus on-road costs for the cheapest Mercedes-Benz EQE.

More importantly, Spatial Audio doesn’t work with Apple CarPlay and is only accessible through a dedicated ‘app’ on the native MBUX infotainment system.

To make it work you use your phone as a hotspot by plugging it into the car and then logging into the app through the infotainment system. Unfortunately, that means you miss out on all of the features available through Apple CarPlay.

What you gain, however, could be the best surround sound in any car we’ve tested. In fact, it could be the best place to experience music outside the studio itself, backing up Mercedes-Benz data that says more than 70 per cent of music consumers listen to music mostly in a car.

You can find out more about Apple Spatial Audio in Mercedes-Benz at the link below.

Ben McKimm travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Apple.

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