Pure Immersion – 360 Sound is Audio’s Next Big Thing

The next transformative audio technology is almost certainly 360 degree sound. Here's why it matters.
By Ben Jackson   May 4, 2016 12:27 pm GMT-0700

The yearly Consumer Technology Association (CES) Expo brings with it a dizzying range of futuristic gadgets, and in 2019 one technology make huge waves. As outlined in News.com.au, Sony’s plans to implement true 360 degree audio would be ready by the end of 2019, and promised to revolutionize audio. What’s more, the technology behind it is relatively simple to follow, and will more than likely see a vast range of copycat efforts that will lead to a superior listening experience.


360 music is, of course, designed primarily for the earphone. Updates in technology have already driven forward the quality of in and over ear devices, leading consumers to buy noise cancelling headphones and their ilk for quality, rather than just convenience. Where headphones fall down is their inability to provide a sense of space, and this is where 360 degree sound will proves its worth. Business tech mag IT Brief have noted the fact that this new technology not only allows 360 degree sound, but the same level of noise cancellation. This basically creates absolute immersion, a wonderful thing to have when playing games or watching films.


The creation of new technology always poses questions as to the compatibility of older content. When it comes to 360 sound, this shouldn’t be an issue. According to manufacturers like Sony, current technology ‘picks out’ instruments and ‘plays’ them on a flat plane, identifying the wave for the guitar, drums, and so on, and placing them appropriately in the feed. While truly 360-degree music requires the use of sophisticated recording studios, this new audio technology promises to replicate it in near enough detail by simulating the sound of a room.


The vast range of audio devices and X.1 setups has already created a situation where speaker usage can feel immersive. 360 sound promises to overhaul this in much the same way as headphones. Currently, speakers operate through fixed placement in a room. Through clever channeling of audio through distinct parts of the speaker, 360 degree sound will create ‘virtual’ speakers that give an even greater depth of sound.

Just when audiovisual tech looked like it couldn’t innovate further, leading companies have produced 360 degree sound. Whether in headphone or speaker form, this transformative tech is set to revolutionize how media is experienced. Best of all, it won’t require new standards; instead, it will work just fine with what’s already available.

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