RIP, stereo. You’ll be missed. But the audio world has moved on and now we’re ready for something more than two channels of audio. But how far can this brave new world of audio tech take us? Well, if Sony’s recently announced 360 Reality Audio format is anything to go by, it’s around 24 object-based channels arranged in a 360-degree soundstage. 360 Reality Audio is an ambitious attempt to create a new immersive music format designed to be streamed over mobile music streaming services and played through compatible headphones. However, it also works through speakers, from complex rigs to one-box speakers that we’re pretty sure Sony is on the cusp of launching. Sony specifically told us that 360 Reality Audio is aimed at streaming services, and it’s actually already got support for the launch from Tidal, Deezer, nugs.net and Qobuz. Expect to see 360 Reality Audio on those services’ premium plans soon or, at the very least, in some kind of opt-in beta-only trial. However, creating object-based audio – so-called 360-degree sphere-mapping where each individual instrument, vocals and effect needs to be specifically placed in a sphere – is something Sony will need to persuade music producers to do before 360 Reality Audio can stand a chance of becoming an actual reality. Design While Sony hosted a demo of 360 Reality Audio at its vast booth on the CES show floor, we were treated to a run-through of the tech away from the hubbub in the Mirage Hotel… on the… [Read full story]
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