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Sony gets serious about 360 Reality Audio with first custom speakers

Two years after Sony unveiled its 360 Reality Audio format, the company has finally announced new speakers capable of handling it.

Ahead of CES 2021, Sony has revealed its own 360 RA products that could stream the room-filling musical answer to Dolby Atmos.

The Wi-Fi-enabled 360 Reality Audio compatible speakers SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 will go on sale this spring, Sony says. They will have Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support, but only by piggybacking on a compatible companion device.

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The “premium wireless speakers” will help listeners “create an immersive, room-filling 360 Reality Audio sound experience by utilising Sony’s unique Immersive Audio Enhancement algorithm,” the company says in the announcement.

The RA500 (above) has seven woofers in total, with three firing upwards, three firing to the sides and one in the centre. The RA300 (below), meanwhile, has two tweeters, two passive radiators and a full-range driver.

Black-brown Sony RA3000 speaker standing on a wooden table beside a plant pot

The speakers aren’t completely unseen. Sony also previewed similar prototypes at CES in previous years, but after a couple of years of limited adoption from third-party speaker makers, Sony is ready to take matters into its own hands.

Sony is also promising a video streaming performance at CES 2021 showcasing how 360 RA can be used to enhance the concert viewing experience. The company says it is working with major music studios on bringing more such streaming video content online later this year

The company adds: “360 Reality Audio makes it possible to create a lifelike music experience, giving listeners the impression that they are in a live concert setting. Sony hopes to leverage this spatial sound technology to create an innovative solution for music lovers who are not able to enjoy live concerts due to COVID-19.”

Sony is also growing the wider ecosystem with a new creative suite that’s designed to make creation of 360 RA content. The company hasn’t revealed when the new speakers will go on sale and for how much. Perhaps we’ll hear more from Sony once the virtual CES 2021 festivities kick-off next week.

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