Setting Up the Apple TV 4K for Lossless Music and Dolby Atmos with the Sonos Arc Surround Sound System: Settings After the New Installation

Overview

This is the final post in a series of four posts focused on Setting Up the Apple TV 4K for Lossless Music and Dolby Atmos with the Sonos Arc Surround Sound System. For a detailed list on each of those posts, with links to each section of their table of contents, go to the end of the post.

The Current Settings

These are the settings for each piece of hardware and the apps being used to produce reliable Dolby Atmos sound from the AppleTV using the Sonos Arc surround sound system. I’m also including a number of video settings as well.

Apple TV Video Settings

[tvOS: 15.5.1; in Settings → Video and Audio]
  • Format: 4K HDR
  • Chroma: 4:2:2
    • 4:4:4 [Not a choice]
    • 4:2:2 [Selected; 4:2:0 provides a high-quality picture that is compatible with most TVs and HDMI cables. 4:2:2 improves clarity, but requires high-speed cables.]
    • 4:2:0 [Appears when an HDR setting is selected]
  • Match Content: Off
  • Check HDMI Connections: –– [Makes certain the HDMI connection supports the current settings.]
  • Reset Video Settings: ––

Apple TV Audio Settings

[tvOS: 15.5.1; in Settings → Video and Audio]
  • Audio Output
    • Default Audio Output: TV Speakers
    • Temporary Audio Output: Select… [Nothing selected]
  • Audio Format: Auto
    • Change Format: Off; [Audio will be decoded and sent to your equipment as uncompressed multichannel LPCM.]
  • Reduce Loud Sounds: Off
  • Navigation Clicks: On
  • Sound Effects and Music: On
  • Audio Mode: Auto
  • Audio Language: Default
  • Automatic Subtitles: On
  • Subtitle Language: English

I did the Color Balance Calibration even though it was not required for my TV. After the test, which requires an iPhone, the tvOS replied that the TV did not need calibration.

Sony  XBR-65X900C TV Video Settings

[in Settings → Picture & Display]
  • External Inputs
    • Manage Inputs [Personal Preference]
    • IR Blaster Setup [Personal Preference]
    • BRAVIA Sync Settings [Personal Preference]
    • Customize TV Key [Personal Preference]
    • HDMI Signal Format:
      • HDMI 1
      • HDMI 1/MHL
      • HDMI 3
      • HDMI 4/ARC
        • Enhanced Format [Displays High-Quality HDMI signals. Select this option only if your device supports High-Quality HDMI formats such as: 4K 60p 4:2:0 10bit, 4:4:4, 4:2:2.]
  • Picture & Display
    • Picture Adjustments [Personal Preference]
    • 3D Settings [Personal Preference]
    • Screen [Personal Preference]
    • Dynamic Range:
      • HDMI 1: Auto
      • HDMI 2/MHL: Auto
      • HDMI 3: Auto
      • HDMI 4/ARC: Auto
  • Screen Mirroring: Limited [Personal Preference]

Sony  XBR-65X900C TV Audio Settings

[in Settings → Sound]
  • Sound Adjustments
    • Clear Audio+: Toggled On
    • Sound mode: Music [Personal Preference]
      • Standard
      • Cinema
      • Music [Selected for concerts]
      • Sports
    • Surround: Auto
    • Sound restoration (DSEE): Auto
    • Voice Zoom: 3 [Personal Preference]
    • Night: On (Clear sound at a low volume level)
    • Wireless Subwoofer Power: Auto
    • Advanced Setting HDMI 4/ARC: 
      • Common
        • Advanced Auto Volume: Off
        • Balance: 0
        • Digital Audio Out Volume: Max [Personal Preference]
      • Input Related
        • Volume Offset: 0
        • Dolby Dynamic Range: Standard [Compensates for audio level difference between channels (only for Dolby Digital audio).]
      • Sound Mode Related
        • Surround Effect: 6 [Personal Preference]
        • Equalizer: –– [unavailable with TV speakers]
        • Wireless Subwoofer: –– [none currently in use]
      • Reset: ––
  • Speakers: Audio System
    • TV Speakers
    • Audio System {Selected]
  • Audio System Prioritization: On
  • Headphone/Audio out: Audio Out (Variable) [Personal Preference]
    • Headphone
    • Audio Out (Fixed0
    • Audio Out (Variable) [Selected]
    • Subwoofer
  • Headphone Speaker Link: Speakers Off
  • Home Theater Control [NA]
  • System Sounds: On [Personal Preference]
  • Digital Audio Out: PCM
    • Auto 1 (Output compressed audio without change.) [Selected]
    • Auto 2 (Output compressed audio for multi-channel content without change.)
    • PCM (Always output PCM)
  • TV Position: Table-Top Stand
    • Table-Top Stand [Selected]
    • Wall Mount

iPhone Apple Music App Settings

[iOS 15.5; in iPhone Settings → Music]
  • Cellular Data: On
  • Add Playlist Songs: On
  • Show Star Rating: On
  • Sync Library: On
  • Dolby Atmos: Automatic
    • Automatic [Selected]
    • Always On
    • Off
  • Audio Quality:
    • Lossless Audio: On
    • Cellular Streaming: High Quality
      • None
      • High Efficiency
      • High Quality [Selected]
      • Lossless
      • Hi-Res Lossless
    • 5G & WiFi Streaming: Lossless
      • High Quality (AAC 256)
      • Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/48 kHz) [Selected]
      • Hi-Res Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/192kHz)
    • Downloads: Hi-Res Lossless
      • High Quality (AAC 256)
      • Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/48 kHz)
      • Hi-Res Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/192kHz) [Selected – note: Download over cellular is turned off to conserve cellular data bandwidth.]
  • EQ: Off [Numerous options from which to choose: Personal Preference]
  • Sound Check: On [Personal Preference]
  • Downloaded Music [Info upon touch this]
  • Optimized Storage: Off [Personal Preference]
  • Download over Cellular: Off [Personal Preference]
  • Download in Dolby Atmos: On
  • Automatic Downloads: On [Personal Preference]
  • Animated Cover Art: On [Personal Preference]
  • Use Listening History: On [Personal Preference]
  • Home Sharing: Not activated [Personal Preference]

Apple TV’s Music App Settings

[version: 1.2.4.3 on macOS 12.4 in the Apple TV’s Settings → Apps, → App Settings, → Music App]
  • Add Playlist Songs to Library: On [Personal preference]
  • Top Shelf: Library + Top Albums [Personal preference]
  • Dolby Atmos: Automatic [Supported songs will play in Dolby Atmos and other Dolby Audio formats whenever connected to HomePod or other compatible audio receivers or speakers.]
  • Audio Quality:
    • High Quality (AAC 256 kbps)
    • Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/48 kHz) [Selected]
  • Sound Check: On [Personal Preference] Volume will be automatically adjusted so that all songs will be played at the same volume.
  • Use Listening History: On [Personal Preference
  • See how your data is managed

Computer Apple Music App’s Settings

[version: 1.2.4.3 on macOS 12.4 (laptop and desktop computer hardware in the Music App preferences under the General and the Playback tabs)]

General Tab

(in Preferences)

  • Be sure “Download Dolby Atmos” is checked [All other settings are personal preference.]
General Tab in Preferences

I don’t have Automatic Downloads selected on my laptop, but I do on my desktop machine.

Playback Tab

(in Preferences)

  • In Audio Quality
    • Lossless Audio: Checked
    • Streaming: Lossless (ALAC up to 24bit/48kHz)
      • High Quality (AAC 256)
      • Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/48 kHz) [Selected]
      • Hi-Res Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/192kHz) [When Hi-Resolution (ALAC up to 24bit/48kHz) is selected, see the computer prompt below that appears on your screen.]
  • In Audio Quality (continued)
    • Download: Lossless
      • High Quality (AAC 256)
      • Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/48 kHz) [Selected]
      • Hi-Res Lossless (ALAC up to 24-bit/192kHz) [When Hi-Resolution (ALAC up to 24bit/48kHz) is selected, the computer prompt says the same thing as the above screenshot]
      • Dolby Atmos: Automatic
  • In Video Quality
    • Streaming: Best (Up to 4K)
      • Good
      • Better (up to 1080)
      • Best (Up to 4K) [Selected]
    • Download: Up to HD
      • Up to HD [Selected]
      • Up to SD
      • Most Compatible Format

Again, these are the laptop playback tab settings.

Arcana Settings

I used each of the default audio settings listed and explained below in the screenshot of the Arcana manual. These menu options are in the AUDIO portion of the SETUP menu.

Digital Concert Hall App by the Berlin Philharmonic

For those who use this app, the Digital Concert Hall now offers audio streams in Dolby Atmos for concerts from their more recent seasons. This is how you change the audio settings to stream Dolby Atmos audio when that audio setting is available for any specific concert.

In the Digital Concert Hall app on the AppleTV go to a concert performance that has the Dolby Atmos audio quality indicator in the concert’s description. 

Select to enlarge

Play the performance. While the concert is playing, when you move your finger down on the circular scrolling surface on the remote, the familiar timeline appears at the bottom of the screen. Using that circular scrolling surface select the gear icon to the right just above the timeline and press the center of the circular scrolling surface to display the audio quality options. Dolby Atmos is at the top of the list. Select the quality you desire.

The app will remember the setting you have chosen even across devices. So, when you listen to other performances that are streaming in Dolby Atmos, even if they are on a different device, the player will automatically choose Dolby Atmos for you. I think, at the present time, the bPhil app only provides audio streams in Dolby Atmos for concerts from the last 3 seasons (since 2019/2020). For more detailed information about this topic, including how to select audio settings on other devices, go to the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall website by visiting this link.

Important Take-Aways

  1. Use only HDMI 2.1 cables or later. Otherwise, Dolby Atmos will not work at all – period.
  2. Use tvOS 15.5.1 or later on your AppleTV. Otherwise, you will experience a great deal of frustration with your system.
  3. I don’t know if we should, but we leave the Arcana plugged in all of the time. So, it’s theoretically on 24/7. I hope it turns off automatically (goes to sleep) and wakes up when the AppleTV sends it a signal. At least the screen does this. But I honestly don’t know.
  4. Don’t forget to change the audio quality in the Digital Concert Hall app by the Berlin Philharmonic if you use that app.

Any thoughts or suggestions, let me know.

Other Posts in This Series

Post One: Setting Up the Apple TV 4K for Lossless Music and Dolby Atmos with the Sonos Arc Surround Sound System: The Hardware

This post covers an overview of the project: existing hardware, issues, goals, proposed solutions, reasons for those choices, etc. Part one of the series also contains a significant number of resources I used to learn more about these technologies and hardware solutions. The table of contents is below, and each link will take you to that section in part one of this series.

Post Two: Setting Up the Apple TV 4K for Lossless Music and Dolby Atmos with the Sonos Arc Surround Sound System: The Settings

Post Three: Setting Up the Apple TV 4K for Lossless Music and Dolby Atmos with the Sonos Arc Surround Sound System: Installing the New Hardware

Post Four: Setting Up the Apple TV 4K for Lossless Music and Dolby Atmos with the Sonos Arc Surround Sound System: Settings after the New Installation

This post


A reminder: I never have nor ever will accept any requests or payments of any kind for my endorsements or negative comments. I buy the products I write about just like everyone else, and I report my own personal experiences with them. All opinions are my own. Your opinions and experiences may vary.