Fixed vs Head Tracked Spatial Audio

Spatial audio technology is growing rapidly these days as it is evolving how audio equipment projects sound and how we hear it. There are two different types of audio: fixed and head tracked. Each method has its technique for producing 3D soundscapes, but what makes them different is interesting to figure out. 

Fixed spatial audio works just like its name, which means it turns on spatial audio without head tracking whereas in head tracked both spatial audio and head tracking are turned on. 

Still confused? Don’t worry! In this article, you will learn about both techniques and the differences and similarities that help you make the best decision. 

So, let’s get going! 

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What does fixed spatial audio mean?

Fixed Spatial audio is an initial step into the realm of 3D soundscapes. This includes placing audio sources in a fixed position within a virtual environment. For example, you can hear birds chirping from a single spot no matter how you turn. In other words, fixed capital audio provides a basic sense of directionality, which means you can identify where the sound comes from. But the drawback of fixed spatial audio is you can’t enjoy the quality of real-world sound. 

What does head tracked spatial audio mean?

Head tracked spatial audio is designed to imitate the natural way we hear sound in the real world. Suppose you wear the VR headset; you will feel the sound shifting as per your head movements. This makes your sound experience awesome and matches your expectations; you can learn how the world is changing. 

In AR and VR, head tracked spatial audio works as a game-changer since it adjusts the position of audio sources based on your head location. For example, if you enjoy VR and suddenly turn your head to the left, the audio will automatically shift to the left. 

Fixed vs. Head tracked Spatial Audio

As you can see, both fixed and head tracked spatial audio are different from each other, but the basic similarity is they both are designed to give the ultimate user experience. Fixed spatial audio is a fantastic audio technology that is used to enhance the enjoyment of audio from any virtual source. In addition, it can increase the fidelity of the audio. On the other side, head tracked spatial audio has recently emerged. 

When selecting an audio system, it is crucial to understand the difference between both, especially its uses or benefits. 

Fixed spatial audio works exactly as it is named. This sound is fixed in its place and is not dynamic within 3D space. This means that no matter where you are when listening to fixed spatial audio, the sound will always emanate from the same direction. In contrast, in three dimensions, head tracked spatial audio adjusts its direction depending on where your head is. 

Spatial audio uses spatial awareness technology to locate your ears to adapt the sounds you hear based on your ears’ position in 3D space. For instance, if you are listening to music from the left-hand side and turn around, the sound will shift to the right-hand side, whereas in fixed spatial audio, it will remain fixed, meaning there will be no shifts. 

So, which one is better? Your answer might be Head tracked as it offers you a realistic music experience within 3D space. 

However, if you need to choose one, let us dig deeper into it. 

Is head tracked spatial audio better?

Undoubtedly, head tracked spatial audio is best after all it changes the experience of audio. Many users use this for video games, movies, shows, videos, audiobooks, and music because, with head tracked spatial audio, the sound becomes completely immersive. You will feel like it’s coming from all around you and you’ll be surrounded by sound.

No digital audio experience is more immersive, realistic, or spectacular than head tracked spatial audio, even though not all spatial audio systems can achieve it. It typically necessitates the use of high-end wireless earbuds.

Is fixed spatial audio is reliable than head tracked spatial audio?

Fixed spatial audio is also reliable as it provides a consistent 3D audio experience optimized for a specific listening area. This is beneficial for listeners who are not expected to move around. For instance, you are in a calling job and need to sit on the chair consistently to listen to your customers. At this condition, fixed spatial audio is reliable than head tracked spatial audio. 

Head-tracked spatial audio is limited to content created for this audio format. In contrast, fixed spatial audio recreates the audio in 3D space flawlessly while unable to move the digital sound source about your head. 

Accordingly, fixed spatial audio is more dependable, consistent, and accessible than head-tracked spatial audio.

Which spatial audio should you use?

Fixed and head tracked audio are both becoming popular and readily available for everyone. However, the major drawback is that only specific devices can produce this type of audio. Is it better to obtain a headset that can only do one type of spatial audio, or if you looking for a set of earphones or a headset that can perform both types of spatial audio?

Fixed Spatial audio can be used with a pair of soundstage headphones, whereas head tracked spatial audio is only compatible with earbuds or headphones that can track your ear’s position in 3D space.

For instance, opt for the head-tracked spatial audio system if you want to listen to music while walking or doing something else. On the other hand, if you want to use the headset while using a computer to play games, then fixed spatial audio can be a good fit.

I suggest you spend some time learning about the two types of spatial audio to decide which appeals to you more, then base your choice on the audio you enjoy listening to the most.

Note- When employing head tracked spatial audio, not everyone feels comfortable, especially those who have vertigo or easily get sick. If this applies to you, fixed spatial audio is always preferable to head tracked audio.


Spatial audio is an excellent way to enhance audio in all ways. Both fixed and head tracked spatial audio are very effective and immersive, but head tracked spatial audio is the best option as it allows you to listen to music freely within 3D space. 

Fixed spatial audio has a significantly lower entrance barrier and is more dependable and constant. While enjoying spatial audio in both forms, the head tracked version offers a more immersive experience. Lastly, the choice depends on your choice or audio requirements. 


Q1. What is the spatial audio mode?

DTS for headphones is regarded as the greatest spatial sound technique for gaming. Most players concur that it offers an immersive audio experience unlike any other. But remember that just because most players think DTS is the greatest doesn’t imply it is for you.

Q2. What is Spatial Audio?

With Spatial audio, different sounds can emanate from different directions and heights concerning the listener. Watching a movie or television show can assist in immersing the viewer in the action and improve the listening experience when listening to music. 

Q3. Does head tracking require extra battery power?

Your battery can only last for an hour while head tracking. It turns out that the new AirPods battery life is drained for up to an hour by the head tracking features of Spatial Audio. Apple says the earphones last about six hours when the capability is disabled.


John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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