After wowing us last year with an audio mapping feature that conjures up “ghost” speakers around listeners, Sony announced at CES on Tuesday that it is bringing its immersive 360 Spatial Sound technology to a pair of its premium soundbars.
Both of them Sony HT-A7000 Y HT-A5000 The soundbars will receive an update that will enable 360 Spatial Audio, which will also require the SA-RS3S Wireless Rear Speaker Kit or Sony’s new battery-powered SA-RS5 rear speakers, launching this spring.
Seen and heard for the first time on Sony’s HT-A9 home theater system (which won our Editors’ Choice award last November), 360 Spatial Sound is an audio mapping technology that makes the HT quartet of speakers -A9 sounds like 12, with audio appearing to come from the top and center and side “phantom” speakers. Because it supports Dolby Atmos and DTS: X object-based audio formats, 360 Spatial Sound is ideal for home theater systems.
The built-in microphones help create the illusion of those phantom speakers measuring the height and position of the speakers against each other, allowing the 360 Spatial Sound function to “synthesize” sound waves based on their measurements.
While the HT-A9 impressed us with its 360 Spatial Sound-boosted surround audio, its $ 2,500 price tag is a tough pill to swallow. But the 7.1.2-channel HT-A7000 and 5.1.2-channel HT-A5000 soundbars, which are slated to get the 360 Spatial Sound upgrade, are considerably more affordable at $ 1,300 and $ 1,000, respectively.
Of course, you will need additional speakers to unlock 360 Spatial Sound on those soundbars. One option is Sony’s existing SA-RS3S, a pair of two-way rear speakers that connect wirelessly to the main unit of the HT-A7000 or HT-A5000 soundbar. The SA-RS3S retails for $ 350.
A second option is the upcoming SA-RS5, an upgraded rear speaker kit with upward drivers, an omni-directional “block” design with a cylindrical shape and flat rear surface, a one-touch audio calibration button, and built-in batteries that They offer up to 10 hours of battery life, making the speakers truly wireless (SA-RS3S speakers, on the other hand, rely on power cables). The $ 600 SA-RS5 speaker kit can also run on AC power if you prefer not to have to charge batteries.
Those with compatible Bravia XR TVs can further enhance the 360 spatial sound effect by enabling Sony’s Acoustic Center Sync feature, which enhances dialogue and offers a “more immersive” experience by turning the TV’s soundbar and speakers into the center channel.
Sony says the 360 Spatial Sound update for the HT-A7000 and HT-A5000 soundbars will arrive this spring.