Can't get 5.1 audio to play over Homepods on 6.6 or 7

Hi!

I have 2 original Homepods set up as stereo pair on my Apple TV4K (2nd GEN). I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get 5.1 or a higher channel count to play correctly (Atmos nor old school DD).

I have tried several 5.1 channel test video’s (Most of them downloaded from Dolby itself). Everything just outputs as stereo. I am pretty sure it is not outputting correctly, because when the Subwoofer channel is playing, I hear no sound at all.

I have bought Infuse 6 Lifetime and am on the latest version (6.6). I have not been able to try it out on Infuse 7 because I would need to subscribe to gain Atmos support and perhaps want to avoid this because I already bought 6. It would not be cool to buy 7 and be disappointed if it also won’t work on that version of Infuse.


EDIT: Just tried it on a trial subscription for Infuse 7, Same problem occurs. I have since tested the test videos via local library sharing and the audio plays as expected, including the LFE channel. So Infuse basicly just downmixes to plain old stereo when using Theatre Mode… How is this even possible. I bought the app since the promise was to support advanced sound formats.


Thanks in advance for some who can explain to me what is happening!

2 Likes

Go over past release notes for 7. I believe there were improvements to HomePod output.

Hi JarvisMeier,

I have tried it on the latest version of v7 by now, and also via local library sharing. Infuse just downmixes everything to stereo…

A HomePods stereo pair is technically stereo output. Apple does add some spatial audio effects to make the experience more immersive.

Per Dolby and DTS specs, the LFE channel is not included in the stereo mix. There is a thread about this here.

Hi James,

Thanks to step in. Technically Homepods are a stereo pair, as in “2 speakers”. However, they do effectively output LFE & Rear channels trough reflective sound and computational audio.

The surround L+R channels especially are very pronounced when listening to the same content in other media players, such as the native ATV player (You can test this via Home Library Sharing).

I have been testing for the last 2 days with content downloaded from Dolby, I downloaded Atmos trailers and 5.1 channel test videos, coded in Dolby Digital Plus 6ch. The lack of LFE & rear channel output is instantly noticeable when viewing the same content in Infuse vs the native ATV player. So as I stated above, Infuse downsamples everything to a 2.0 mix, thus not profiting from the full potential of the Homepods in theatre mode. They are treated as stereo speakers in the Infuse app, while they actually should be treated as a 5.1 or even 7.1 setup.

Has anyone of the devs had the time to look in to this?

We will look into this. Thanks.

Today’s 7.3.4 update has a number of improvements here.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes. :slight_smile:

Hi James, thank you so much for looking in to this! I think it must be said that Infuse has one of the best support forum’s i’ve ever come across in app development!

I just tested this on Infuse 7.3.4, but I don’t hear much difference. To make it easier for you guys, I have uploaded my “collection” of Dolby Trailers to Dropbox, so you can compare.

These trailers really helped me to nail down why movies sounded duller and less ‘surround-y’ in Infuse and other media players.

You can try to play these trailers via the “home sharing” app that is coming with tvOS. Just drag the trailers to your “TV” app on the Mac, enable home sharing in the Mac’s settings and then they will appear on the ‘Home Sharing’ app on the Apple TV.

You will be able to hear that the sound is ‘richer’ in the Home Sharing media player. Also notice that the LFE channel is in fact playing in the speaker test trailers (Infuse does not play the LFE channel at all) and rear channels are really defined compared to Infuse.

I hope this will get you on the way, because it’s difficult to nail it down without actually hearing what’s missing.

I also have a stereo pair of the original HomePods. I did the the same test and with the same files Midifreakz provided.

‘Home Sharing’ App:

  • All the 5.1/7.1 files create a ‘surround sound’ for all the back and height channels and the Bass channel is working
  • All the Atmos files sound rich and bass heavy

Infuse 7.3.5:

  • All the 5.1/7.1 files all the back and height channels are just playing through the left or right speaker (no fake surround) and the Bass channel is not playing any sound
  • All the Atmos files sound less (no) bass heavy and rich. It is ‘surround sound’, but less then played through the ‘Home sharing’ app. Could be because of the lack of bass.

Just my 2 cents. Would be great if this can be solved!

Any update on this please? If I can be of any help and/or test things through TestFlight I would love to help.

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