Sony announces real-time live distribution technology for full object-based spatial sound

In General XR News

December 22, 2022 – Sony Corporation has recently announced that it has created real-time live distribution technology with full object-based spatial sound. Additionally, the company has expanded the range of support for its ‘360 Reality Audio’ platform, a music experience that allows users to immerse themselves in a three-dimensional sound field.

Sony stated that it has evolved its proprietary 360 Spatial Sound technology, enabling real-time distribution of three-dimensional sound and video with 360 Reality Audio, so users can experience the reality of enjoying a live performance or concert at the same time without being there.

360 Reality Audio uses Sony’s object-based spatial sound technology to provide an immersive music experience that feels just like being at a live concert. 360 Reality Audio makes it possible for artists and music creators to create a 360-degree musical experience by mapping sound sources such as vocals, chorus and instruments with positional information to suit their creative and artistic purpose. When listeners play back the resulting content, they can enjoy a music experience that immerses them in sound from every direction as intended by the content creator, according to Sony.

The company states that 360 Reality Audio has helped to improve the production environment, with Sony developing a real-time encoder that provides both real-time performance and sound quality for artists and sound engineers. In order to create a spatial music experience, sound engineers first assign position information to each sound source such as vocals, guitars, and drums, and arrange them in a spherical space. Sony has also developed a new 360 Reality Audio production tool for real-time distribution to improve the production environment for sound engineers. With this tool, engineers can place sound sources freely and instantly, and create sound with a three-dimensional effect as intended, according to the company.

Furthermore, Sony has developed its own sound quality processing algorithm to achieve real-time performance, which is important for live distribution. The company stated that by taking advantage of the fact that 360 Reality Audio is an object-based spatial audio technology, the amount of information (bit rate) given to each sound source (object) is automatically optimized, without reducing the auditory quality. This enables real-time distribution synchronized with video by compressing audio data for a short period of time.

Sony jointly developed ‘360 Reality Audio Live’ with US software company Streamsoft Inc., an application that allows users to enjoy real-time distribution of 360 Reality Audio. The application allows users to enjoy live entertainment with immersive audio using their own headphones, and is equipped with a real-time chat function that allows for real-time communication between artists and viewers, helping to enhance a sense of virtual presence as if they were participating at the venue.

The first live event that will be distributed in real time with 360 Reality Audio will be an online event “40 Dai-Wa-Iroiro♫” by the artist Hikaru Utada, scheduled to be held around the world on January 19, 2023 at 21:00 Japan time. The first 10,000 attendees will enjoy the event with 360 Reality Audio for free, with users after that able to enjoy in normal 2-channel sound. Attendees will need the 360 Reality Audio Live application and headphones to participate.

For more information on Sony’s 360 Reality Audio solution for immersive audio, please visit the company’s website.

Image credit: Sony Corporation

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.