Tidal drops support for Sony’s 360 Reality audio format – channelnews

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format was only released a few years ago, and support for it has now been discontinued on one of the two major music streaming platforms that supported it, Tidal.

Tidal announced that it would stop supporting the format this month, on July 24, 2024. The only remaining major streaming service that still supports the format is Amazon Music.

Specialized streaming services, such as Nugs.net and Artist Connection, also support this format. Deezer removed this support in 2022.

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is an object-based audio format that allows music to be recorded, mixed and delivered to consumers in full surround sound.

It offers an alternative to Dolby Atmos when it comes to multichannel music recordings.

With the discontinuation of Tidal support, artists will now only have one option to deliver spatial audio tracks to fans across a wide range of music streaming platforms: Dolby Atmos.

Sony has yet to comment on the decision, but Tidal said: “After carefully considering relative catalog coverage, distribution frequency, and subscriber listening experiences, we have decided to cease hosting MQA, 360 Reality Audio, and all podcasts on TIDAL. Music fans can continue to access over 110 million songs available in HiRes FLAC, FLAC, and Dolby Atmos on TIDAL for $10.99/month (or local equivalent) with an individual plan.”

The individual plan in Australia costs AUD 12.99 per month.

Tidal’s MQA abandonment was expected, and the platform’s podcast selection has always been limited.

The song selection in 360RA has also always been limited. Sony has claimed that there are currently over 7,000 music tracks available in 360 Reality Audio, but Dolby Atmos is available in tens of thousands of music tracks.

Hardware support for 360 Reality Audio has also been limited, with few devices able to play music in the format through speakers.

On some Sony products, the only way to support the format is via Chromecast Built-In or Google Cast. The listener will need to load a compatible music streaming app onto their phone, then stream the 360RA tracks to a receiver or soundbar via Google Cast.

But when it comes to the new BRAVIA Theatre Quad, BRAVIA Theatre Bar 8 and Theatre Bar 9 products, Chromecast Built-in support has been dropped.

This means that the listener will need to connect a third-party streaming device to the soundbar or speaker system.

The only compatible playback devices are Amazon’s FireTV Stick 4K, 4K Max, or FireTV Cube, and the only music app supported for streaming tracks in 360RA is Amazon Music.

None of the music streaming apps on Sony 2024 TVs support 360RA output via the HDMI eARC output. This connection is used to connect the TV to a home theater receiver, speaker system, or soundbar.

Dolby Atmos music tracks are available on Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Tidal across multiple devices and platforms.

Dolby Atmos music tracks are also supported on the TIDAL app on Sony BRAVIA TVs, through a Sony BRAVIA Theatre Quad speaker system.

Most phones and other devices are capable of transmitting the binaural (two-channel) version of 360RA tracks to any standard pair of headphones.

This process captures the two-channel mix and uses psychoacoustic processing to simulate a sound field from a pair of headphones.

Sony headphones offer the ability to measure the listener’s specific ear shape and personalize HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) processing for their ears.

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