From Patti Smith’s punk rock and the Doo-wop groups of Harlem and Brooklyn to the legendary concerts held at Carnegie Hall, New York City is a musical melting pot like no other.
So what better place for Sony to make a major musical announcement this week, with leading musicians, industry figures, media and consumers gathered to experience 360 Reality Audio: an immersive audio experience using object-based spatial audio technology.
Needless to say, Sony Mobile’s flagship smartphone Xperia 1 was on hand to help showcase this innovation to its best effect.
But just what is 360 Reality Audio?
Object-based spatial audio technology makes it possible for artists to create the ultimate music experience by mapping sound sources such as vocals, choruses and instruments with positional information and placing them within a spherical space. When listeners hear content produced in the 360 Reality Audio music format, they experience an immersion into sound that closely mimics the omni-directional soundscape of a live musical performance.
The concept was revealed at this year’s CES, however this week Sony Corp announced that around 1,000 songs will be available in this brand-new format – including tunes from artists such as Mark Ronson and Pharrell Williams – via Amazon Music HD, Deezer, nugs.net and Jay Z’s TIDAL streaming services. You can view artists experiencing 360 Reality Audio for themselves here, featuring artists such as mark Ronson and Zara Larson.
If that’s not already cool enough, Sony took this one step further at the event by partnering Xperia 1 with the award-winning WH-X1000M3 headphones, creating a custom immersive musical field that perfectly fits each individual user.
By using Xperia 1 to take pictures of the inside of your ear, the “Sony | Headphones Connect” app* maps the user’s ear dimension, analysing the listener’s hearing characteristics to leverage Sony’s unique algorithm.
This isn’t just a nifty trick on display at the event. Sony users are able to map their ear at home and create their own music algorithm using a pair of Sony headphones** and the “Sony Headphones Connect” app.
More music in this incredible new format is scheduled to arrive from major record labels such as Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The planned 1,000 songs coming this autumn will include both leading contemporary artists and timeless classics from the likes of Billy Joel and Jeff Beck. The service will also feature more than 100 songs recorded at an array of concerts by performers such as CHARLI XCX and Kodaline, captured through a partnership with select Live Nation Clubs & Theaters.
You can watch Xperia 1 in action from the New York announcement via Sony’s YouTube channel here.