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The 5 best headphones with spatial audio let you bathe in all the sounds

The 5 best headphones that support spatial audio in 2024
Bose, Beats

The best wireless headphones are comfy for extended listening sessions and offer a mobile app that lets you to customize your listening. They also offer two other key features -- noise canceling technology and spatial audio support. While noise cancellation allows you to reduce or eliminate ambient noise from the real world, it's the spatial audio that makes music, audio from TV shows and movies, as well as sound from games, truly immersive -- as if the audio is surrounding you.

Spatial audio will make you feel like you have the best seat in the house at a live concert, as opposed to just hearing that music in basic stereo. Some audio brands have made spatial audio even richer by supporting dynamic head tracking and Hi-Res Audio. With dynamic head tracking, the spatial audio automatically adjusts whenever you move your head. And Hi-Res audio makes whatever you're listening to sound even clearer. In fact, what you're listening to will sound better than CD-quality audio.

Are headphones with spatial audio capabilities worth it?

If you listen to music -- or use the headphones to watch TV or movies -- the answer is unequivocally yes! Headphones with spatial audio (or spatial audio with dynamic head tracking) make the content sound more immersive, as if whatever you're listening to is emanating from all around you. 

Our in-house team of tech experts has curated this roundup of what are currently the best wireless headphones that support spatial audio. For those who'd prefer wireless earbuds that provide spatial audio and noise cancelation, be sure to check out our coverage of the six best wireless earbuds with spatial audio in 2024. We've also curated roundups of the six best wireless earbuds for 2024 and the six best noise canceling headphones of 2024, so whatever your audio listening needs and budget, we've got you covered with the latest headphone information you need.

Best spatial audio headphones overall: Bose QuietComfort Ultra

Bose QuietComfort Ultra

Battery Life: Up to 24 hours | Weight: 0.56 pounds | Driver Size: Not disclosed by Bose | Microphones: 12 | Case: Included | Special Features: Supports Bluetooth 5.3; Features superior noice cancellation; Customizable sound via Bose Music app 

With the launch of its QuietComfort Ultra headphones, Bose has raised the bar on its already-impressive noise cancellation technology. This model also makes audio more customizable via the Bose Music mobile app. And now, for the first time, Bose headphones now support spatial audio. 

We also like how the plush ear cups and headband make these headphones very comfy, even for extended listening sessions. Battery life is up to 24 hours. Plus, there's a quick-charge feature, so a 15-minute charge adds up to two hours of listening time with the immersive audio feature turned on. 

The QuietComfort Ultra headphones work with any Bluetooth-compatible smartphone, tablet or computer. It will also pair with any of Bose's TV soundbars and allow for private TV viewing or listening. Bose's proprietary noise-cancellation technology has been combined with spatial audio support to create more immersive and lifelike listening.

These headphones fold up and fit into a custom-made hardshell case that's included. The QuietComfort Ultras come in your choice of three colors -- black, sandstone or white smoke.

Best spacial audio headphones for Apple users: AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max

Battery Life: Up to 20 hours | Weight: 13.6 ounces | Driver Size: 40mm | Microphones: 8 | Case: Covers just the ear cups | Special Features: Auto pairs with all Apple devices; Supports spatial audio with dynamic head tracking; Can be located using Apple's Find My service 

If you can get past the hefty price tag, you'll be rewarded with superior audio that takes full advantage of adaptive noise cancellation and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. This allows for a very impressive and immersive listening experience. The spatial audio automatically adjusts whenever your move your head.

Whether you use these headphones to hear Apple Music tunes, watch Apple TV+ shows, listen to podcasts via Apple Podcasts, or play games via Apple Arcade, your audio will be clear and robust. In fact, this is the case with any audio you listen to using these headphones (from virtually any source).

The AirPods Max are relatively lightweight and comfortable. But it's the spatial audio with dynamic head tracking -- when supported -- that makes these headphones truly stand out. It works particularly well for movies or TV shows. These headphones also support Apple's Find My feature and will automatically pair with whichever Apple device you're using, such as an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook, or iMac.

The AirPods Max headphones offer a wide range of features exclusively for Apple users, while providing high-quality audio, excellent noise cancellation and spatial audio that makes what you're listening to sound very lifelike. We also like how well they handle hands-free phone calls. These headphones typically cost $549, but they go on sale often, so don't pay full price for them.

For additional help deciding which AirPods model is best for you, check out our comprehensive Apple AirPods buyer's guide.

Best spatial audio headphones from Sony: WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

Battery Life: Up to 30 hours | Weight: 8.82 ounces | Driver Size: 30mm | Microphones: 8 | Case: Included | Special Features: Supports Bluetooth 5.2; DSEE Extreme support; Hi-Res Audio support; Integrated touch sensors for volume control

The WH-1000XM5s are currently Sony's top-of-the-line consumer headphones, providing superior noise cancellation and up to a 30-hour battery life. They can also generate Hi-Res Audio and make hands-free calls sound crystal clear.

Keep in mind, while the WH-1000XM5 headphones support spatial audio (which the company calls "360 Reality Audio"), this feature works only with a supported streaming service (such as Amazon Music Unlimited or Tidal); Sony PlayStation games; a "360 Reality Audio Certified Smartphone" (like the Sony Xperia 1 V), or a compatible Sony TV. You also need to use a Sony app to customize your listening.

One feature we love about these headphones is their support for DSEE Extreme. This tech upscales compressed digital audio files in real time to restore sounds that would otherwise be lost to compression. These headphones also support multipoint connectivity and Google's Fast Pair feature. 

The WH-1000XM5 headphones offer superior sound quality and use the company's own noise-cancellation technology to eliminate unwanted ambient noise. When supported, the "360 Reality Audio" sounds incredible.

Best spatial audio headphones for gaming: SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4

SteelSeries New Arctis Nova 4

Battery Life: Up to 36 hours | Weight: 0.55 pounds | Driver Size: 40mm | Microphones: 1 | Case: Not included | Special Features: AI powered noise cancellation; Easy access onboard controls; Low latency support when used for PC gaming or with a console gaming system; Integrated RGB lighting; Customize audio when gaming using Parametric EQ

These relatively low-cost gaming headphones offer impressive noise cancellation and 360-degree spatial audio, along with integrated RGB lighting. They're compatible with all popular gaming systems, including Windows PCs, Macs, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, and most smartphones.

One unique feature: "Sonar," which allows you to pinpoint an enemy's location using sound -- before you can see them on the screen. This feature requires a free software download and only works with supported games.

You also get a retractible, ClearCast Gen 2 boom microphone that takes advantage of bidirectional noise cancelling. And from the headphone's onboard controls, it's easy to adjust the volume, mute the microphone and turn on the RGB lighting. 

These headsets make audio much more immersive for gamers -- as if the action is happening all around them. You get a lot of audio technology packed into headphones that are very affordable.

Best spatial audio headphones for everyday use: Beats Studio Pro

Beats Studio Pro

Battery Life: Up to 40 hours | Weight: 9.17 ounces | Driver Size: 40mm | Microphones: 1 | Case: Included | Special Features: Enhanced drivers (compared to previous models); Integrated active noise cancellation; Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) offers high-fidelity lossless audio via a USB Type-C wired connection; Supports Apple's Find My service

One impressive feature of the Beats Studio Pro is their personalized 360-degree spatial audio function that supports Dolby Atmos. The folks at Beats describe the listening experience as "like being surrounded by 64 speakers at once."

The Studio Pro headphones are available in four colors. They typically cost $350, but we've been seeing them on sale for as low as $200 on Amazon. They offer all of the features you could want from headphones, including excellent noise cancellation, high-end sound and the ability to use them wired or wirelessly. You also get up to 40 hours of continuous listening per battery charge, as well as Lossless Audio when the headphones are connected via the supplied USB cable.

When you use them with an Apple device, you get integrated Siri support and automatic pairing, but these headphones work nicely with a Windows PC or Android mobile device as well. They come with a six-month subscription to Apple Music.

Thanks to the combination of features, the Beats Studio Pros can be used for enjoying any type of audio content. They also do a nice job handling hands-free phone calls.

What is spatial audio?

Spatial audio creates an immersive, theater-like listening experience that makes sound seem like it's coming from all around your head. Music, audio from TV shows and movies, sound from games, podcasts and audiobooks are all starting to adopt spatial audio to make sound more lifelike. 

If you're listening to a live recording of a concert, spatial audio makes you feel as if you're sitting in the middle of a theater or arena. Likewise, if you're watching an action movie or playing a video game with a fight scene, it sounds like you're in the middle of that battle, with the lifelike fighting happening all around you.

Does spatial audio cost extra in headphones or earbuds?

When you're shopping for wireless headphones or earbuds with an active or adaptive noise-canceling feature, you'll often find the latest models also support spatial audio. This does not typically impact price. While not all audio supports spatial audio and this feature does not work with hands-free calling, it does create a more compelling listening experience.

For even more advice on choosing the best tabletAndroid tabletApple iPadtablet for kidsdesktop computerlaptop computerbudget-friendly laptop computerChromebookAndroid smartphone or cell phone, be sure to check out our extensive and continuously updated tech coverage.

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