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Sony’s 360 Reality Audio: 360-degree sound by headphone or speaker

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio: 360-degree sound by headphone or speaker
(Image credit: Sony )

Ever since the invention of the phonograph in the 19th century, technology innovators have been trying to recreate musicians’ recordings in the most accurate way possible. It’s been a long and winding road, incorporating many different mediums and formats, but Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is the next step on this musical odyssey.

In a nutshell, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio creates a 360-degree sound field, immersing the listener in music. Even more impressively, it doesn’t rely on a complicated setup of separate speakers that take over the room – it fills the room with music, not speakers. Instead, just one speaker, or even a pair of headphones can create the effect, enveloping the listener in sound and making them feel closer to being right there at the live concert or actually in the recording studio with the musician.

Hence Sony 360 Reality Audio unlocks a true next level of innovation for music creators and listeners alike. Let’s take a look at how it works.

A truly 3D soundscape

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio creates an immersive sound bubble. It’s based on object audio tech, which incorporates height into the sound field, creating a truly 3D soundscape.

Elements like bass, vocals, guitar, piano, and even the screams and whoops of a live audience are all mapped in a 360-degree spherical space. Using precise information like distance and angle, it’s able to reproduce the music in a way that supports even greater creativity from artists and engineers.

Whether you listen through headphones or compatible sound systems with multiple speaker units, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is the ultimate immersive music experience.

Concert sound in a headphone

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio: 360-degree sound by headphone or speaker

(Image credit: Sony )

By piping audio directly into your ears, headphones provide the most intimate listening experience possible. Sony’s 360 Reality Audio keeps this intimacy while widening the soundstage considerably, making for a more airy, spacious, enveloping listen.

Most headphones use a conventional stereo setup, which delivers a left-right sound field which is narrowed to the listener’s head. This has been the case for so long we just accept it as the natural way of things. But what if headphones could be just as immersive as speakers? That’s the aim of Sony’s 360 Reality Audio.

Because while stereo sound is fine, it’s not very realistic. In the real world, sounds arrive from all different angles and distances – a good producer will recognise this and incorporate it into a recording. Even subtle delays and reflections off surfaces can make a big difference, making it more engaging. Miss these details, and you’re only hearing half the track. We all experience music slightly differently too, due to the unique shapes of our ears. Sony 360’s Reality Audio recognises this and takes it into account.

By considering factors like distance and angle, reflection and delay, and even, with certified headphones models from Sony, the shape of a listener’s ears, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio puts you right in the room where the recording was made. It’s intimacy, upgraded.

Drop into a bubble of sound

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio: 360-degree sound by headphone or speaker

(Image credit: Sony)

But it’s not just headphones that benefit from Sony 360 Reality Audio. Speakers do too.

Positioned correctly, standard surround sound speakers provide a wraparound sound field, but it’s only 2D – audio might come from all directions, but only ever horizontally. Sony’s 360 Reality Audio improves on this by adding a third dimension – sound is reproduced not only horizontally but vertically too. With both y and x axes in play, it can even create a ‘bubble’ of sound around the listener.

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio allows each sound to be clearly identified at its intended angle and distance, dropping you right into the room with the musician or into a scene in a movie. The same type, or similar effect can be achieved in systems with fewer speakers too, thanks to powerful virtualisation, meaning less clutter in your living space.

Whether you listen via headphones or speakers, Sony 360 Reality Audio will give you an inspirational spatial listening experience.

Experience Sony 360 Reality Audio for yourself

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