Apple Music is obsessed with sound quality. Since its launch of the iPod in 2001, the music streaming giant has enlisted equally passionate engineers to push boundaries within accurate and detailed sound.

In 2021, Apple Music became the first major streaming service to offer lossless and Spatial Audio, pushing the boundaries of music streaming even further.

Apple even works with local acts like Rüfüs Du Sol, Flume, Powderfinger, BENEE and Kylie Minogue to ensure their sound moves around you in different directions thanks to Spatial Audio technology. Most millennials grew up in a two-channel environment (aka Stereo), so to hear songs come to life in this way has lifted the gold standard of sound.

Now, with support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio is now available as a native experience in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

As the only non-Apple product that can play Spatial Audio, Mercedes becomes the first to offer an immersive audio experience, transporting you into the studio with your favourite songs

We recently had the privilege of blasting J. Cole’s “Neighbors” while on a drive around the Mornington countryside in the EQS SUV.

The track’s instrumental washes over you in a way Cole intended when he was in the studio adding a reversed sample of his 2013 single, “Forbidden Fruit”. Elsewhere, parts of the song — like the laidback kick and snare — feel like they’re coming from behind you.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The BRAG (@thebragmag)

Much of the success of the partnership is thanks to the way Spatial Audio interacts with the car’s Burmester high-end 4D sound system.

The system includes 31 speakers, including six 3D speakers that emit their sound from above, four near-ear speakers in the front seats, and an 18.5-litre subwoofer; eight sound transducers (two per seat); two amplifiers; and 1,750 watts of power.

Apple Music with Spatial Audio comes fully integrated through the MBUX infotainment system in Mercedes-Maybach models, the EQS and EQS SUV, as well as the EQE and the S-Class. The technology is set to be rolled out to other models soon.

Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said of the partnership:

“Sound quality is incredibly important to Apple Music, which is why we are so excited to be working with Mercedes-Benz to make Spatial Audio on Apple Music available natively in the car for the first time.

“Spatial Audio is revolutionising the way artists create and fans listen to music, and it’s an experience that is impossible to explain in words; you have to hear it for yourself to appreciate it. Together with Mercedes-Benz, we now have even more opportunities to bring wholly immersive music to our subscribers all over the world.”

Driving in Spatial Audio playlist on Apple Music

Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s chief technology officer added:

“We’re joining forces to offer our customers a benchmark music experience unparalleled in the industry.

“We are proud that our vehicles will be the first-ever non-Apple devices to feature immersive Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. This seamless experience shows how in-car entertainment can reach exciting new levels by perfectly integrating hardware and software.”

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine