Dolby Access app - Dolby Atmos for (Headphones | home theater) - Active Spatial Sound = On (3D surround sound)

The free Dolby Access app allows you to use Dolby Atmos with Microsoft Flight Simulator. Dolby Atmos is a 3D surround sound technology. If you use headphones there is an in-app purchase called Dolby Atmos for Headphones that comes with a free 7-day trial so that you can test it out first and after the trial it will cost you AUD$22.45. If you use an AV receiver then it is free to use Dolby Atmos for home theater.

While the Dolby Access app is available for the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One this guide only covers how to set it up for the PC.

Dolby Atmos for Headphones Setup:

Make sure you have your headphone selected by clicking on the speaker icon on the taskbar and clicking on your headphone device e.g.:

AudioDevice

Visit this link to get Dolby Access:

Click the Get button, this will open up the Microsoft Store:

Click the Get button. If you are not signed into the Microsoft Store then a Sign in popup will appear. You should already have a Microsoft account that you use with MSFS so sign in with that account. Please note that if you are signing into the Microsoft Store using a different Microsoft account than the one you use with your PC (Click Start → Settings → Accounts to find out which Microsoft account that you are using with your PC) then when you are prompted for a PIN or password you will need to use the PIN or password for the Microsoft account that you use with your PC (it will be the PIN/password you use to log into your PC when you first turn your PC on):

Click the Open button. Now the Dolby Access app will open. Click Next which is located down the bottom:

Click Get started which is located down the bottom:

Click the Try for 7 days button:

Window Security might popup, type in the PIN or password for the Microsoft account that you use with your PC (it will be the PIN/password you use to log into your PC when you first turn your PC on). Click the Get button:
Free

Click the Play test sound button and make sure you can hear the sound in your headphones:

Click the Continue button. Click the Experience now button:

It should now say Ready to use along with how many days left in your free trial:

Click the X to close Dolby Access.

Click in the Windows Search Bar and type in Control Panel and click on it. Click Sound, click on Headphones and then click the Properties button. Click the Spatial sound tab and under Spatial sound format make sure that it says:
Dolby Atmos for Headphones


click OK, click OK and then click the X to close off Control Panel.

Launch Microsoft Flight Simulator, click OPTIONS, click GENERAL OPTIONS, click SOUND, make sure you can hear the background music playing, change ACTIVE SPATIAL SOUND from OFF to ON:


if you can still hear the background music playing then everything is setup correctly so click the home icon, click on “APPLY AND SAVE”, go for a flight and enjoy Dolby Atmos in your headphones while flying in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

If you decide you like Dolby Atmos for Headphones and you want to purchase it then click in the Windows Search Bar and type in Dolby Access and click on it. Click on the Buy for [$price] button:

Window Security might popup, type in the PIN or password for the Microsoft account that you use with your PC. Click the Next button:
BuyNext

Choose a payment method:
payment

Follow all the prompts related to purchasing. Click the Buy button. With a successful purchase the Buy for [$price] button will disappear and be replaced with a Skip button:

Click the Skip button. Click the X to close off Dolby Access. Reboot. Click in the Windows Search Bar and type in Microsoft Store and click on it. Click on Library. Click on the cloud download button next to Dolby Atmos for Headphones:


After it has finished downloading the cloud download button will change into an Open button:

Click the X to close off Microsoft Store.

There is a bug with windows where it loses your Dolby Atmos settings and so you need to set it up again. If you launch MSFS and you notice that the background music is missing then exit MSFS and setup Dolby Atmos for Headphones again by following the instructions above. Then please install the Feedback Hub and do a search for Dolby Atmos and please Upvote the following reports:

  • system doesn’t keep my sound setting (dolby atmos for home theater ) I need to set it again nearly every booting
  • Sound output format is reset on each boot and I have to manually change it back to output in Dolby Atmos which is annoying.
  • Dolby Atmos for Headphones (Dolby Access) keeps getting removed from Spatial Sound

Dolby Atmos for home theater Setup:

Make sure you have your AV receiver selected by clicking on the speaker icon on the taskbar and clicking on your AV receiver e.g.:

AudioSelection

After installing Dolby Access, click in the Windows Search Bar and type in Dolby Access and click on it. Click on PRODUCTS, click on the AV receiver(home theater) icon:


and click the Setup button and follow the prompts. When it says Ready to use:

click the X to close Dolby Access.

Click in the Windows Search Bar and type in Control Panel and click on it. Click Sound, click on your AV receiver and then click the Properties button. Click the Advanced tab and under Default Format make sure that it says:
Dolby Atmos for home theater


Click the Spatial sound tab and under Spatial sound format make sure that it says:
Dolby Atmos for home theater

click OK. Click the Configure button and make sure Dolby Atmos for home theater is selected
Configure
and click Next. Untick any speakers that you do not have with your AV receiver, for me I don’t have a side pair of speakers so I have unticked Side pair:
SpeakerSelection
and click Next. If you use a subwoofer then leave all the Full-range speakers unticked:
LimitedDynamicRange
and click Next. Click Finish:
Finish
click OK and then click the X to close off Control Panel.

Launch Microsoft Flight Simulator, click OPTIONS, click GENERAL OPTIONS, click SOUND, make sure you can hear the background music playing, change ACTIVE SPATIAL SOUND from OFF to ON:


if you can still hear the background music playing then everything is setup correctly so click the home icon, click on “APPLY AND SAVE”, go for a flight and enjoy Dolby Atmos in your AV receiver while flying in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

There is a bug with windows where it loses your Dolby Atmos settings and so you need to set it up again. If you launch MSFS and you notice that the background music is missing then exit MSFS and setup Dolby Atmos for home theater by following the instructions above. Then please install the Feedback Hub and do a search for Dolby Atmos and please Upvote the following reports:

  • system doesn’t keep my sound setting (dolby atmos for home theater ) I need to set it again nearly every booting
  • Sound output format is reset on each boot and I have to manually change it back to output in Dolby Atmos which is annoying.
  • Dolby Atmos for Headphones (Dolby Access) keeps getting removed from Spatial Sound

Dolby Atmos for Headphones & home theater Testing:

To hear Dolby Atmos in action, when you have it all setup launch the Dolby Access app again scroll down and click on one of the 4 Dolby demo content files:


This is a screenshot from Nature’s Fury:

3 Likes

But does it make any significant difference when using headphones?

Yes it does.

@TheAviator3506 had this to say about Dolby Atmos:

@Neo4316 had this to say about Dolby Atmos:

1 Like

Read the other thread as well and I’m intrigued to try it with a 2.1 system first and then we’ll see. But does it specifically need 7.1 headphones or would it also make a difference (albeit smaller) with standard stereo headphones?

Also would be nice to know if it works best with an external sound card, as I assume the standard motherboard sound cards would task the CPU for all this real-time dolby processing.

It works with almost any headphones including your standard 2 channel stereo headphones. See these articles for further information:
Dolby Atmos for Headphones
Will some types of headphones work better than others?
Dolby Atmos for Headphones – Is It Worth It?

2 Likes

Gave it a first brief try with 2.1 speakers and also a very cheap USB headset, leaving EQ settings at default. It’s not mind-blowing but the audio difference is indeed significant when you switch Dolby Atmos on/off, especially with headset on and even more so if additional enhancements are introduced in the mix (such as FS Realistic).

Whether this justifies the 18+ EUR I have to pay for the full app license and/or the 80+ EUR headset I’ll potentially have to buy, that’s another story. I’d say probably yes, but then I never like wearing headsets when playing so I’ll pass on the latter. I’ll give it a few more tries with the 2.1 speakers though.

Definitely something that needs to be tried by everyone.

I forgot to mention that Dolby Atmos for Headphones comes with a free 7-day trial so that makes trying it even easier.

Just to be clear, hypothetically speaking i can plug my computer into my home theater system with 2 front, 2 rear, two side, a center, a subwoofer and two ceiling speakers (9 total + sub) and this app will properly make it seem as if a jumbo jet was flying directly over head?

You would probably need a home theater system that has Dolby Atmos supported. I’ve got a JBL BAR 9.1 True Wireless Surround with Dolby Atmos soundbar and it has upward firing drivers on the front left and right & rear left and right. When it is all setup and when I’m running MSFS then “DOLBY ATMOS MULTI-CH PCM” is displayed on my soundbar. Dolby Access app using Dolby Atmos is completely free for home theater use. Then it sounds like a jumbo jet is flying directly overhead.

To hear Dolby Atmos in action, when you have it all setup launch the Dolby Access app again scroll down and click on one of the 4 Dolby demo content files:


This is a screenshot from Nature’s Fury:

Thank you for this. This is very interesting!
Does that imply that MSFS has some kind of surround sound positioning built into it for the Dolby Atmos app to ingest? Or is it somehow taking the sound information and making inferences about it?

Dolby Atmos for Headphones:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Atmos

They work by using audio processing algorithms to convert the Atmos object metadata into a binaural 360° output using the usual two headphone speakers. This technique is an improvement on the previous Dolby Headphone technology, allowing infinite channels of sound to be processed into a virtual surround experience.

^ When you are using Dolby Atmos for Headphones it is the Dolby Access app which is processing the output from MSFS when Active Spatial Sound is set to On.

Dolby Atmos for home theater:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Atmos

Because of limited bandwidth and lack of processing power, Atmos in home theaters is different from cinemas. A spatially-coded sub-stream is added to Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus or is present as metadata in Dolby MAT 2.0, LPCM like format. This sub-stream is an efficient representation of the full, original object-based mix. This is not a matrix-encoded channel, but a spatially-encoded digital signal with panning metadata. Atmos in home theaters can support 24.1.10 channels and uses the spatially-encoded object audio sub-stream to mix the audio presentation to match the installed speaker configuration.

^ When you are using Dolby Atmos for home theater the Dolby Access app passes through the audio stream straight to your AV receiver without doing any processing and it will be your AV receiver which will process the output from MSFS when Active Spatial Sound is set to On.

2 Likes

Thanks and sorry for the delay in writing back.

I guess what I am trying to say is, either the app or your receiver must know that the jumbo jet is flying overhead in order to put the sound (obviously, it’s not using the API). But I did not think that MSFS supported surround sound at this time. That’s cool to know that it does!

OPs directions do not work for me. Logged into store, try to get 7-day free trial, store asks me to login, then rejects exact password using to be logged into store. MS Store is a mess, X-Box app is a mess, this whole game approaches a mess. Almost every single tip someone puts up here never works., although the one “Nvidia Settings One-YouTube video” worked excellent as far as I could take it. Seriously thinking about removing game and just using XP-11, since most everything in it WORKS. I do have trouble with one plane, but again, that is because first it was redone by vendor from FSX to XP10, then modified to 11, with some errors in it, those other folks say to do this or that, which work mostly. Plane needs serious rework. I wrote Laminar and asked them to buy the plane from vendor and fix it for 12. That is difference, you can talk almost directly with developers and at least make suggestion. Here it’s like we are talking to a well. Alpha testers said the same thing two years ago.

I’ve updated my instructions above to address this, please re-read the opening post.

The problem is if you are using a different Microsoft account for the Microsoft Store to the Microsoft account that you use for your PC. Even though the login box clearly asks for a PIN/password for the Microsoft account that you used to sign into the Microsoft Store with, it will only accept the PIN/password for the Microsoft account that you use for your PC (it will be the PIN/password you use to log into your PC when you first turn your PC on).

You can use a different Microsoft account to sign into the Microsoft Store to the Microsoft account that you use for your PC. It will work when you enter the PIN/password to the Microsoft account that you use for your PC, I have tested this to confirm that it works this way.

This article explains it quite well: Dolby Atmos explained: What it is and how to get it

Utilizing Atmos, content creators like sound mixers, cinematographers and broadcasters can place specific sounds precisely in the soundscape, so you can hear the action as it was intended.
You can even hear sounds that are coming from overhead.

The Atmos-optimized tech analyzes all the audio data, and based on the number speakers you have and their placement, it determines optimal playback in real time. That means that when an airplane flies overhead in your favorite movie, it will sound like there’s an actual plane moving above you. The more speakers you have, the better the audio positioning as well as detail and overall audio richness and depth.

The biggest difference between Dolby Atmos and traditional surround sound is the use of channels. Audio over conventional surround sound is confined to 5.1 (five speakers, one subwoofer) or 7.1 (seven speakers, one subwoofer) channels. In this kind of setup, you can hear a helicopter moving from right to left or vice versa, but the system can’t reproduce the sound of something flying above you. The lack of positional freedom takes away from the overall immersion factor.
Dolby Atmos ditches the channels and assigns the sound objects to a place. That means that if a sound occurs in the top right corner of the room, the audio will have spatial accuracy instead of being relegated to the right speaker. And because Atmos-compatible speakers have integrated upward-firing drivers, you have the added benefit of height.

All - First, I keep my login to my PC LOCAL, I do NOT WANT Microsoft Having Access to my device. My login is my business.
Yes, Second, have outlook.com account, and it is primary for this discussion, but MS has another account on me using my primary e-mail, which is NOT outlook.
No, Third, MS and in all their sites, will not allow me to access that other account, because it takes me to the OUTLOOK account settings.
Bad, Forth, when using the OUTLOOK one, it shows Profile for X-Box and Skype (don’t use) at bottom of screen, clicking on x-box one, opens up a NEW ACCOUNT PORTAL FOR X-BOX, but is clearly shows my current avatar that I am using.
TRUST ME, it takes a computer to screw up things, and MS has gotten things so screwed up now, believe, really LINUX might be answer to get out of their system for good. In their defense, the “autonomous” systems they have created to make it easy, actually screws up the whole thing, because you end up going in circles trying to figure out what they have now, and what they are trying to setup. I might have inadvertently created a new x-box profile, thinking I was “editing my current one”. Now think, everything is more hosed up than before, and the tangles will never get cleared up.
TECH-ALL OF THEM, HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO GET TOO BIG, AND INTRUSIVE INTO EVERYONES LIFE, SOON, YOU WILL BE TAKEN OVER BY THEM AND CONTROLED. “I’M BACK” may be watch word.

UPDATE-03-12-2022@1332 EST - Ok, went to store again, checked login, hmm my “other account” this is AFTER I went to MS.com and logged in with my other account, having again to change PW. Ok the tech gods seemed to be working. Took my new pw, logged out, opened store, it had me logged in with my other account, so now going to attempt again. Anyway going to try this again and see if it works. I really would like better sound in my ear buds/headphones so the thread sounds like something I might buy.

As aside-Gaming Services had another update or a new one, did the game get an update? Have not opened it in several days, doing some training in XP 11 for FMS system used there.

It sounds like you have multiple Microsoft accounts. You want the one that is associated with your gamertag. Launch MSFS and your gamertag will be displayed in the top right hand corner:

If you don’t remember the email address that is associated with your gamertag you can call Xbox support, they have a US and a UK call center. Try visiting the US support page first:
https://support.xbox.com/en-US/contact-us
Pay attention to the Phone support contact days and hours which are listed in Pacific Time. You can find out what the current time in Pacific Time is by visiting this link: https://www.timeanddate.com/time/zones/pt

If you are outside of the phone support hours for the US call center then visit the UK call center by visiting this link: https://support.xbox.com/en-GB/contact-us
Pay attention to the Phone support contact days and hours which are listed in Greenwich Mean Time. You can find out what the current time in Greenwich Mean Time is by visiting this link: https://www.timeanddate.com/time/zones/gmt

Click the Contact us button:

For the What are you having trouble with? drop down box choose Account & Profile. For the What’s the issue? drop down box choose I forgot my username or email then click Next:

Click Skip. Click Request a call. In the Your question text box type this in:
I remember my gamertag but I have forgotten the email address that it is associated with:
Then click Next:


Click Request a call. Complete the CAPTCHA. In the Country/region drop down box choose your country, in the Phone Number text box type in your mobile number and then press Confirm:

When they call you explain to them that you remember your gamertag but you have forgotten the email address that it is associated with. After answering some security questions they should supply you with the email address.

Once you have the email address associated with your gamertag try logging into that account to see if you remember the password by visiting this website: https://www.xbox.com/. Click Sign in which is located on the top right hand corner:


If it signs you straight in without prompting you to type in an email address and password then your avatar will appear in the top right hand corner next to Sign in, click on your avatar and then click on Sign out. Now click Sign in again.

Type in your email address and click Next:


Enter your password and click Sign in. If you get it wrong try a few other passwords and if that fails follow the link to reset your password.

Once your have confirmed the email address and password associated with your gamertag use those details to sign into the Microsoft Store. Click in the Windows Search Bar and type in Microsoft Store and click on it. If you see some initials located between the magnifying glass and the minimise button then click on those initials:


Then click Sign out. Where the initials used to be, click on the person icon, then click on Sign in:

Click on Microsoft account which is located underneath Use a different account. Use the email address and password associated with your gamertag.

Once you have signed into the Microsoft Store click the X to close off Microsoft Store and then follow the instructions in my first post for installing the Dolby Access app.

All - was able to finally download and get it to work. It will NOT work using my Samsung ear buds but does work with my Bose Blue Tooth headphones just fine. I need to play with it more, because I don’t hear a lot of difference between regular and Atmos field of sound. The demos on Store, yes, they highlight the sound field better, not sure the game does that much. More testing. IF, the price is a onetime fee, might be worth it, if it is a recurring fee, then not so much. This may be aimed at VR, and I do not do that, so maybe not going to pencil out so to speak.

Dolby Atmos for Headphones is a once off purchase, not a subscription.

If you have a thx spatial capable Headset like the ones from Razer, you have spartial Sound without paying extra