Sony 360 Reality Audio

Looks like Sony is going all the way to master studios and create 3D contents as well as distribution via streaming partners. Sounds like a new format to kill off the old fashion stereophonic.

Yeah another format for everyone to slag off.

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Another news update from Fraunhofer audio blog…

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A little bit different to the infamous one.

“the format will be compliant with MPEG-H 3D Audio, an open audio standard

“For headphones, a dedicated device will not be needed for the user to play back 360 Reality Audio compatible content and experience a sound field with a realistic feel unlike anything conventional headphones have been able to offer.”

“For headphones, in particular, it will be possible to enjoy the content simply by using apps offered by the participating music service providers. Planned to be provided via four services: Deezer, nugs, Qobuz, and TIDAL.

Some recent news on this.

Surprised there isn’t more chatter about this here.

As previously stated, you can play this format on headphones via the 360 enabled music from Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon, Deezer and Nugs. The streaming bandwidth to support is high and will be optimized to 5G, but even with that will still be compressed so will be interesting to compare agains HD stereo music.

To play in home systems with a multi-speaker setup (my understanding is 360 audio will support 10 channels), you’d need to have the codec necessary to support and as I understand it there are competing implementations from Dolby and Sony and Music Labels are taking sides as to which ones they will support (which they always do) which of course is bad. What is good is Dolby will support this capability in ATMOS – which is great if you already have an ATMOS enabled system. Sony is creating another new format (like they always do) which will not be embedded in any gear immediately. Sony has gone up against Dolby multiple times with new formats and lost all of them so IMHO ATMOS will win. However, Dolby and Sony are in discussions to make their implementations coexist (i.e. Dolby can transcode the sony enabled 360 music to work in Atmos) and vice versa so maybe this competition will not cause the kind of fragmentation that came to be with BD and HD-DVD wars…

I am super excited about this for the home.

Thanks for sharing this information. I think another difference vs. previous efforts is that Sony is making the 360 reality audio an open standard.

This is now streaming on Tidal. Starting with Miles Davis “Kind of Blue.” So far I like the effect on my headphone setup.

Got the pop-up on Tidal last week. They have a few dozen titles now. Cant find it through Roon though, only directly in the Tidal app.

I’m adding to my library using the Tidal app then tagging them in Roon so I can find them later.

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Yes, but device manufacturers have to decide to implement it and even if they do it will take time. And why do it if they already have ATMOS implemented just for a handful of niche music… I personally doubt it will happen other than in sony home gear …

I saw the 360 thing in the latest version of the Sony Headphones app. Noticed it at work, not the place to get into using an application to take photos of your ears… especially weird as I’m using in ear wf1003
Didn’t realise it needed specially modified music, no wonder I didn’t notice any difference! Duh, dumb user.
Downloaded the 360 playlist and will have a play tomorrow.

I am playing songs in the Tidal 360 reality audio playlist and hear no difference between it and non-360 titles. I am using non-Sony headphones and have premium Tidal subscription.

First impression of Tidal 360 tracks played by the Tidal app on an iPhone 11 through Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones is that the spatial placement of instruments and vocals is exciting, but the warmth of the original track is lost.
Case(s) in point: Dave Brubeck “Take Five” and Five For Fighting “Superman (It’s Not Easy)”.
Will see if things are any better with more tracks and more listening.

I am guessing the new 360 now on Tidal does not work through Roon?

The audio gear you would be using to play the 360 audio music would have to support have MPEG-H 3D Audio codec to decode the music which is what Sony is using for this format and this is highly unlikely at this point even if Roon would pass the music correctly. You’d likely have to use HDMI out from something like a Nucleus+ into an AV processor for this to work (which works correctly with 5.1 music). And I will note 360 audio is really optimized for headphones (and it’s lighter weight in stream size for mobile) while ATMOS music will be more optimized for home and is much heavier. It would be great if there was a path for Roon to properly deliver both formats of music to devices that support it.

@support – can you guys weigh in here on this? Can Roon deliver 360 audio music and/or ATMOS music properly to a device that can decode it properly?