Sennheiser’s Ambeo soundbar just got smarter with Sony 360 Reality Audio support

Sennheiser Ambeo
(Image credit: Sennheiser)

Sony 360 Reality Audio has joined Dolby Atmos and DTS:X as part of the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar’s range of supported 3D audio formats.

Sennheiser announced that the Ambeo, a $2,499, 13-driver monster of a soundbar, will gain 360 Reality Audio playback upon installing its latest firmware update. Using the soundbar’s built-in Chromecast, Ambeo owners are now able to play compatible songs with Sony’s spatial 3D tech.

If you’re unfamiliar, 360 Reality Audio maps the constituent parts of a music piece — namely different instruments and vocal parts ­ — to a digital 360-degree sphere around the listener. It requires songs to be mastered for it, so not every track is compatible, but when it works it aims to create an immersive 3D effect. 360 Reality Audio is also specifically made for music, as opposed to Apple’s similar spatial audio, which currently only works with video content.

Sony initially introduced 360 Reality Audio on headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4 and WF-1000XM3, but has recently started applying the concept to speakers as well. In a sense it’s almost a music equivalent of the movie-focused Atmos, which bounces sound off your walls and ceilings to create a 3D effect.

With the Ambeo, 360 Reality Audio gains an extra feather its very expensive cap, as it now offers 3D formats for both music and video. However, the Chromecast requirement could make finding compatible songs a little trickier for the time being: Deezer, Tidal and are all good sources of 360 Reality Audio songs when you’re listening with your phone and a pair of headphones, but right now only delivers that same compatibility over Chromecast. So your choice of tunes may be somewhat limited.

Then again, Sennheiser also said that “additional services and content expected to follow,” so with any luck there’ll soon be a lot more 3D-ready tracks to listen to on the Ambeo.

Next: Find out what our audio editor, Lee Dunkley, made of Sennheiser's Ambeo soundbar in our 5 best TV sound upgrades

More: All the best soundbars you can buy right now, plus the best cheap soundbars for home cinema on a budget.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.