"Achtung Baby" - U2

Remastered Album

Track Listing:

  • “Even Better Than The Real Thing” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (03:41)
  • “One” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (04:36)
  • “Until the End of the World” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (04:39)
  • “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (05:16)
  • “So Cruel” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (05:49)
  • “The Fly” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (04:29)
  • “Mysterious Ways” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (04:04)
  • “Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (03:52)
  • “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (05:31)
  • “Acrobat” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (04:30)
  • “Love is Blindness” (Atmos Studio Mix) – U2 (04:23)

Background Information

Achtung Baby has been reissued and remastered a few times now, with a 2011 anniversary collection receiving some tweaks in volume and editing, and a true remaster arriving in 2018 for the vinyl re-release, and later used for the 30th anniversary edition in 2021. A new remaster of the album arrived in 2024, this time newly remastered for Dolby Atmos.

Dolby Atmos is a spatial audio format, which Dolby claims creates “a more realistic and immersive audio experience” that “draws you in deeper, so you hear more.” The technology adds in height channels to an otherwise flat sound, allowing for a 3D sound to be created. Home theatre systems feature surround sound systems, plus additional systems overhead to provide height. The same type of effects can be heard through certain headphones including AirPods. You can listen to the Atmos mixes without specialized speakers or headphones, and although you will lose some of the “spatial effects” you will get to hear some of the mixing choices that have been made which are highlighted on songs like “Ultra Violet” and “Love is Blindness” even when listening in stereo.

To date, the Atmos sound files are delivered via streaming, and Tidal, Apple Music, and Amazon Music all offer tracks in Atmos. To date, the new master of Achtung Baby is only available at Apple Music and Amazon, will be delivered to Tidal on Friday. (Spotify and Qobuz, which we’ve been asked about do not support Atmos.)

The release was first announced through a exclusive listening party for the Zoo TV Cinema, at Zoo Station in Las Vegas, the pop-up exhibition U2 have curated to go along with their shows at Sphere. The announcement read, “Join us at Zoo TV Cinema for an exclusive First Listen of the newly remastered Achtung Baby album, remixed in Dolby Atmos®. Developed over 17 months across 5 different studios worldwide, this is the first major U2 album to be released in Dolby Atmos®. Presented with remarks from Award-Winning Recording Engineer, Chris Jenkins. Be the first to listen to Achtung Baby in spatial audio before its digital release on January 26. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity — reserve your seat now.” The listening session was scheduled for January 25, from 4-5pm, and quickly sold out.

Although not due to be released until January 26, Apple Music and Amazon Music both had the Atmos mix available earlier than that, with these appearing on January 25 on both services. They are not labeled as Atmos releases, but if you go into the basic version of the album, they will play in Atmos if you have the ability to play these releases.

The new mix has sounds coming at the listener from different directions, instead of just two stereo channels right and left. As such listeners are likely to hear new elements that may have previously been buried in the mix as they reach your ears in a different manner. There’s also been different choices made in the editing itself. One listener points out the chorus in “Ultra Violet” has been tweaked to more resemble how they play the song live, with Edge’s vocal starting earlier, and Bono’s sounds moved to the background. The acoustic guitar in “One” is brought to the forefront in the new mix of the song. Edge’s vocals in “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” are higher in volume in the mix. The guitar becomes the star in “Acrobat”. Overall the sound is crisp and clean, and it does bring attention to many parts that were buried in the past.

At this time no physical release has been announced. Atmos cannot be delivered on CD or vinyl, but can be done via a higher capacity disc such as Blu-ray.

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