Sony is set to release the previously announced 360 Reality Audio for some music streaming services at the end of this fall. This technology should give the listener the impression that he is in the middle of a music performance and the sound is coming from all sides.
Sony defines 360 Reality Audio as an object-based, spatial audio technology and makes it available to listeners in the US and Europe. They get access to about a thousand music tracks from different artists and can use the streaming services Amazon Music HD, Deezer, nugs.net and Tidal.
Existing multi-track audio recordings can be converted to a format compatible with 360 Reality Audio. Sony has teamed up with European Fraunhofer IIS to create a codec for the technology based on the open MPeg-h 3d standard.
The Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer introduced 360 Reality Audio at CES in Las Vegas early this year. Sony then indicated that elements such as the position, distance and angle of, for example, instruments in the studio are included in the sound recordings. According to Sony, this results in a music experience that feels like attending a live concert. Incidentally, it is not directly an alternative to surround sound, since the music does not come from a fixed number of channels positioned around the listener; the idea is that the music comes from all kinds of different spatial positions, including from above.
According to the Japanese company, 360 Reality Audio is suitable for headphones, provided that a smartphone is also used with an app from one of the streaming services mentioned. In addition, speakers are suitable for it, but then they must be able to decode the 360 Reality Audio format, such as the Echo Studio. According to Sony, it will also work on speakers that have Amazon Alexa and Chromecast support built in, but those devices must also have a decoder. Sony says it is working with chip designers such as MediaTek, NXP and Qualcomm to bring the audio technology into devices that these companies’ socs end up in.