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Sony releases smart speakers that immerse you in all-around sound

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The three upfiring speakers give the SRS-RA5000 the look of a huge electric shaver
The three upfiring speakers give the SRS-RA5000 the look of a huge electric shaver
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The three upfiring speakers give the SRS-RA5000 the look of a huge electric shaver
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The three upfiring speakers give the SRS-RA5000 the look of a huge electric shaver
The SRS-RA5000 has a feature that optimizes playback for the room and location
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The SRS-RA5000 has a feature that optimizes playback for the room and location
Sony's 360 Reality Audio immerses listeners in sound
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Sony's 360 Reality Audio immerses listeners in sound
There are on-device controls, or listeners can use a companion mobile app
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There are on-device controls, or listeners can use a companion mobile app
The SRS-RA5000 boasts seven speakers and Hi-Res Audio certification
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The SRS-RA5000 boasts seven speakers and Hi-Res Audio certification
The mains-powered SRS-RA5000 weighs in at nearly 11 lb and stands 13 inches tall
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The mains-powered SRS-RA5000 weighs in at nearly 11 lb and stands 13 inches tall
The SRS-RA3000 is resistant to humidity so is welcome in the kitchen
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The SRS-RA3000 is resistant to humidity so is welcome in the kitchen
The mains-powered SRS-RA3000 features a full-range driver and tweeter setup
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The mains-powered SRS-RA3000 features a full-range driver and tweeter setup
The SRS-RA3000 features auto sound calibration for ease of placement throughout the home
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The SRS-RA3000 features auto sound calibration for ease of placement throughout the home
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Sony offered a glimpse of its first 360-degree audio speakers back at the online-only CES 2021 expo in January, with two units based around the company's 360 Reality Audio spatial audio tech that's reported to create "ambient room-filling sound that immerses listeners in their favorite music." Now the SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 are up for pre-order.

The 360 Reality Audio spatial sound technology is kind of like Sony's own Dolby Atmos, aiming to envelop listeners in all around sound. "Introduced in 2019, Sony's 360 Reality Audio makes it possible for artists and creators to produce music by mapping sound sources such as vocals, chorus and instruments with positional information and placing them within a spherical space," reads Sony's press release.

Sony's 360 Reality Audio immerses listeners in sound
Sony's 360 Reality Audio immerses listeners in sound

There are currently around 4,000 songs available for listeners on sources like Tidal, Deezer and Amazon Music HD, from artists such as Alicia Keys, Megan Thee Stallion, Noah Cyrus, Zara Larsson, Paloma Faith and so on.

"360 Reality Audio has emerged as a powerful audio format for the industry, with the ability to virtually transport listeners to their favorite live venues and performances for a truly immersive experience," said Sony's Mike Fasulo. "Today, we're pleased to introduce two new products in the 360 Reality Audio family, giving customers even more ways to experience music like never before, wherever they choose."

The SRS-RA5000 boasts seven speakers and Hi-Res Audio certification
The SRS-RA5000 boasts seven speakers and Hi-Res Audio certification

The SRS-RA5000 is the more capable of the pair, and has the look of a giant's electric shaver. It measures 9.2 x 12.9 x 8.8 in (235 x 329 x 225 mm) and tips the scales at 10.8 lb (4.9 kg), and features seven drivers in all – three 1.8-in upfiring speakers throw out sounds vertically, while three 1.8-in drivers in the middle take care of the horizontal, and a built-in 2.75-in subwoofer looks after the low end.

This model comes with Hi-Res Audio certification for better-than-CD-quality audio, and there's a button onboard to engage a detailed sound calibration adjustment so listeners get optimum performance whatever room it's placed in.

The 5.7 x 9.7 x 6.1-in (146 x 247 155-mm), 5.5-lb (2.5-kg) SRS-RA3000 features an omnidirectional diffuser that spreads output sounds from the full-range speaker and tweeter throughout the room, with bass duties performed by a dual passive radiator. Sound calibration on this model is undertaken automatically. And it is resistant to humidity, meaning that it can accompany your shower karaoke or help you get in the groove while you cook.

The SRS-RA3000 features auto sound calibration for ease of placement throughout the home
The SRS-RA3000 features auto sound calibration for ease of placement throughout the home

Both speakers have Wi-Fi on board, and are compatible with devices rocking Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa for hands-free operation. They can also be controlled using a companion app from anywhere in the house, and come with Chromecast built in too.

Bluetooth is present and correct, and they can wirelessly connect with compatible Bravia TVs. And an auto volume feature normalizes output level on a track-by-track basis so that listeners don't get blown away by one song and struggle to pick out the detail in the next.

The RA5000 carries a price tag of US$699.99, while the RA3000 comes in at $299.99. They're up for pre-order now, with availability expected on April 6.

Product pages: SRS-RA5000, SRS-RA3000

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3 comments
aksdad
Wow! Sony invented a new kind of sound. The kind that travels in parabolas and falls back to earth to immerse you in sonic bliss. Next up: dilithium crystal sonic warp.
Username
I heard of a new way to experience music. They call it stereo. Apparently it's wonderful, I hope it catches on.
Signguy
Interesting that even on their website, they don't give frequency response. Not a good sign.