Curiously, the company also partnered with Amazon and Google to deliver 360 Reality content on the Echo Studio and Chromecast. That makes sense, but it makes me wonder how those experiences will differ from the more complex speaker setup Sony demands.
"The first time we heard a demo [of 360 Reality Audio], we were very impressed," said Tapas Roy, Amazon's head of engineering for the Echo Studio, at Sony's launch event today. "It was truly immersive, with music coming from every direction. And we we realized it was replaying the intent that content creators had."
As we previously covered, 360 Reality Audio files will be compliant with the open MPEG-H 3D Audio standard. Sony is also working together with Fraunhofer IIS, which also helped develop Sennheiser's Ambeo 3D audio, to ensure compatibility. Thankfully, this won't be like the MiniDisc all over again -- by opening up the standard, Sony is making it more compelling to partners.
Obviously, many questions remain. It's unclear how well 360 Reality Audio will work across different types of headphones, and we're eager to press Sony about recommended specs. And of course, we don't know when and if the company will manage to get more tracks produced. At the very least, Sony seems to be doing something more than just trying to deliver high resolution audio, which has failed to gain much traction compared to compressed files and streaming music. Maybe adding a bit of positional magic will make things different for 360 Reality Audio.