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Sony’s immersive 360 Reality Audio finally has a release date

Sony has revealed that its “better-than-stereo 360 Reality Audio” will be available to download on iOS and Android in autumn.

Sony first announced 360 Reality Audio at CES back in January, and we now have a release period to look forward to.

The idea behind it is to situate individual sounds within a 360 degree spherical sound field that’s so vivid you can identify which direction every instrument is coming from. This allows the listener to experience their favourite songs in a way that resembles the omni-directional soundscape of a live performance.

360 Reality Audio will give users access to around 1000 songs with Pharrell Williams and Bob Dylan contributing, and they’ll be available across a number of popular streaming services, including Tidal, Deezer, AmazonMusic HD and on-demand live music catalogue

While 1000 songs seems pretty small, Sony is already promising more music from its own library, as well as from the Warner Music Group and the Universal Music Group along with a partnership with LiveNation to bring in 100 live concert recordings by artists such as Charli XCX and Kodaline.

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The format will initially roll out at standard streaming-level quality, though. However, audiophiles need not despair. Sony claims its tech can support Hi-res Audio too, so if you have reservations about audio quality, it might be best to hold off while Sony prepares to roll that out.

360 Reality Audio can be paired with any headphones, but Sony would prefer if you use their own. The company claims you’ll get a customised experience with Sony’s headphones, which can be properly tuned based on the app taking pictures of your ear.

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If you want to show off the new immersive tracks to friends at your next party, it’s a bit trickier as you’ll need to get your hands on a system with more than one unit and Sony’s unique decoder. However, the company has teamed up with Amazon and Google to deliver 360 Reality Audio on the Echo Studio and Chromecast.

360 Reality Audio will be available on iOS and Android devices via select streaming services this autumn.

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