Sony doesn't let Dolby dominate the music market. Today, the electronics giant has announced the official launch this autumn of 360 Reality Audio, the virtual audio system, which had its debut at CES. There are nearly 1,000 songs starting with Billy Joel and Bob Dylan. You can access 360 reality songs on your respective iOS and Android applications via Tidal, Amazon Music HD, Deezer and (a real service, we checked).

Sony is trying essentially to replicate live music with 360 Reality Audio experiences. Think of it like a leap outside of stereo, hopefully you can choose where an instrument is played on a sound field that covers you entirely. The technologies at CES amazed us, but we had doubts about Sony's ability to deliver a new audio format (particularly as high resolution languished over the years). And while Sony says the format supports high resonance audio, it will be streamed first (we can't get it to list certain numbers).


Although Sony's move to launch 360 Reality Audio officially remains far from a sure bet. The initial line-up of around 1000 songs seems very low, even though Sony's (natural) music label, Warner and Universal, say that more. Sony also worked together with LiveNation to produce 100 concert recordings from CHARLI XCX and Kodaline.

Sony says you're going to be able to listen to 360 audio realities on all headsets and participating Android and iOS streaming apps. Tidal officials tell us that on October 28th their request will get 360 aid. Sony's headphones can also be used for a personalized experience, because it can tap into your ears via its mobile app. Just take a photo of your eyes and you will provide a special audio path from Sony's cloud-based algorithms within less than a minute. As for the speakers, you will need a multi-unit package and a custom decoder from Sony.

The business has worked strangely with Amazon and Google to provide 360 Echo Studio and Chromecast products on fact. It's interesting, but I wonder how these interactions vary from the more traditional Sony speaker system, said Tapas Roy, Amazon's head of engineering for the Echo Studio, at Sony's launch event today

"The first time we heard a demo [of 360 Reality Audio], we were very impressed.It was truly immersive, with music coming from every direction. And we we realized it was replaying the intent that content creators had."

360 Reality Audio files, as previously covered, adhere to the open standard MPEG-H 3D Audio. Sony also cooperates with Fraunhofer IIS to ensure its compatibility, which also helped develop Ambeo 3D audio from Sennheiser. Luckily, the MiniDisk won't be the same again-Sony will make it more appealing for customers by opening the norm.

Many issues remain, of course. It is not clear how well 360 Reality Audio fits on various types of headphones and we are looking forward to pressing Sony to find out what is recommended. And we do not know, of course, when and if the company manages to produce more tracks. Sony at least seems to do more than just try to deliver high-resolution audio, which hasn't achieved a lot of traction over compressed files and streaming music. Perhaps adding some positional magic will distinguish things from 360 audio reality.