Sony has unveiled a litany of audio-visual developments at CES 2019 at Las Vegas this year. From music production technology to TVs, sounders to turntables, Sony’s got all bases covered.
3D Music Gets A New File Format
What Sony refers to as “360 Reality Audio” is a music experience developed for an immersive listening experience, giving the sensation of true surround sound with object-based spatial audio technology.
By working with major music labels, music distribution services and industry figures, Sony aims to put 360 Reality Audio into the mainstream, allowing the creation, distribution and consumption of Sony’s brainchild. Influenced by MPEG-H 3D audio, musical elements like different instruments, vocals and effects can be “placed” around listeners.
This technology would require production tools for preparation, augmentation and conversion of 360 Reality Audio-compatible formats. It, however, will be compatible with the MPEG-H 3D Audio standard, which means other manufacturer’s products that support the format will be able to play back the content.
Sony will initially focus on the development of headphones and wireless speakers that work well with this format. Consumers, however, can stick to their regular music playback devices, instead relying on a proprietary application that will enable use photos of their ears to create an optimised musical experience based on the characteristics of the ears. Omni-directional speakers will also be ideal candidates for this new technology.
77” OLED 4K TV
Sony adds a new notch on the belt of its flagship Master series of televisions, with the addition of the 77-inch Class A9G 4K OLED television. An elite club which extends membership only to the televisions with the best colour, quality, contrast and clarity, Sony believes those characteristics in the A9G 4K OLED approaches that of a professional-grade monitor.
The A9G 4K OLED, which is Netflix-ready with a Netflix Calibrated Mode, utilises a state-of-the-art Picture Processor X1 Ultimate to coordinate more than eight million self-illuminating pixels in order to deliver detail and contrast as intended. The A9G also uses Pixel Contrast Booster to improve contrast and colour in bright areas that would otherwise be blown out. These processors upscale Standard Definition and High Definition to 4K HDR quality levels.
Also available in 65” and 55” sizes, the A9G is a super-slim TV with wide viewing angles, along with the great contrast and absolute blacks afforded by OLED technology.
With its slim form factor, the A9G is able to deliver immersive audio with Acoustic Surface Audio +, which delivers sound utilising the surface area of the screen. With Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on board, the A9G is primed to reproduce accurate, immersive audio-visual experiences.
The Sony A9G 4K OLED TV will also feature Sony’s Android TV that will enable Play Store applications like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Video to be used, along with smart home integration and baked-in Google Assistant with on-board microphones. It will also be compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, allowing seamless streaming and casting from iPhone or Mac.
The Master Series A9G 4K OLED TV will be available in second quarter 2019, with price to be announced.
Home Theatre Audio
To match the quality of your upcoming Master TV, Sony also offers the HT-X8500 soundbar with built-in subwoofer, and the HT-S350 sounder.
The HT-X8500 features 2.1 channel Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, delivering object-based surround sound that is immersive. Sony’s Vertical Surround Sound DSP enables up to a 7.1.2 channel sound to be experienced without any extra speakers, and deep base is delivered with two built-in subwoofers.
It comes with eARC support for wired high-quality codec playback. Bluetooth on board also allows a wireless connection for minimalist set-ups.
The HT-S350 soundbar delivers 320W of powerful sound, accompanied by its wireless subwoofer. With Sony’s unique S-Force Pro Front Surround technology and 5.1 Decode, the soundbar set delivers a wide, encompassing and precise sound.
HDMI ARC and Bluetooth is available for connection options.
The HT-X8500 and HT-S350 will be available in Singapore will be available in Singapore from April and June this year, respectively. Price is to be announced.
Old is made new again with Sony’s PS-LX310BT turntable, which combines the convenience of wireless Bluetooth transmission with the old-world charm of vinyl records.
Simple in form and in operation, the LX310BT will appeal to a wide variety of music enthusiasts. A dedicated Bluetooth pairing button and an auto play function funnels the music over your last paired device. There is a built-in phono pre-amp which can be selected for use with amplifiers with only line-in connection. For those still in 2009, the LX310BT works well with an included audio cable for wired line-out.
With a die-cast aluminium platter and reworked sound arm, Sony touts the stability and robustness in sound quality of the LX310BT. It also features a dust cover to keep your vinyl records pristine and ready for the next jam.
The LX310BT will be available in Singapore from May 2019. Price to be announced.
Sony’s Extra Bass family of portable speakers are joined by four new additions this CES.
Passive radiators are used to create a deep, enhanced low-end, with the SRS-XB22 and SRS-XB23 sporting two of those, while the SRS-XB12 only one. The SRS-XB72 sports a large cabinet and woofers.
Live Sound is brought to these models, enhancing the volume with angled speakers and DSP that produces immersive three-dimensional sound as if you were in a live show.
The XB22 and XB32 feature Party Booster, that use an in-built accelerometer to detect taps and respond with unique lighting and sound effects, which are also customisable through the Fiestable mobile application. All speakers are rated to IP67 against water and dust. The XB12 is clad in fabric, while the XB22 and XB32 have a washable fabric exterior. They feature a battery life of up to 24 hours, and the XB32 is even able to charge your smartphone!
The SRS-XB12, SRS-XB22, SRS-XB32 and GTK-XB72 will be available at Sony Stores, Sony Centres and Sony Authorised dealers from April 2019. Prices are to be announced.
More (Party) Audio
For those who love to party, Sony has launched a wide selection of high-power speakers. The MHC-V82D, MHC-V72D, MHC-V42D, MHC-V02 and an outdoor party speaker the GTK-PG10.
These new speakers are capable of filling the largest of party venues with 360-degree audio, controlled with a touch-panel enabling gesture control. The V-series speakers feature a new Jet Bass Booster, that enhances the bass with an optimised speaker duct, enabling a faster air velocity for better projection.
Live Sound also features on the the V82D, V72D and V42D for a wider sound stage to recreate a live show experience. The V28D, V72D and V42D also feature party lights that sync to the beat, making it ever so easy to up the vibe at your next party.
The GTK-PG10 is perfect for outdoor parties and barbecues with a dedicated outdoor mode. By opening up its top panels, its upwards-firing tweeters spread audio wider for greater coverage. An internal DSP automatically adapts the audio settings for different situations. With handles, cup holders, a tripod mount and 13 hours of listening time, the PG10 is perfect for any outdoor function.
The LSPX-S2 uses glass in its design to produce amazing sound quality. With Sony’s Advanced Vertical Drive Technology, the LSPX-S2 produces 360-degree sound by vibrating its organic glass body after being tapped by an actuator to spread the sound vertically, in a 360-degree direction.
With a beautiful glass design, the LSPX-S2 resembles an oil lamp, and aptly has a candlelight mode that uses subtle illumination to create a relaxing mood perfect for candlelight dinners. Despite its diminutive form, the Glass Sound Speaker has an eight-hour battery life.
The Glass Sound Speaker sports Bluetooth connectivity, which users can easily access with NFC One-Touch pairing for seamless pairing. Push & Play enables direct playback via Spotify Connect without the need of your mobile device to access your playlists. Wireless Multi-room functionality enables synchronisation with any compatible Sony speaker.
High resolution recordings are also addressed with Sony’s new Linear PCM Recorder PCM-D10. Portable and capable, it is intended for anyone demanding professional-level recording.
It features a pair of three-way adjustable sensitive stereo microphones, and is able to capture Hi-Res audio up to 192kHz/24bit, which is better than CD quality. I/O include two push-lock XLR/TRS combo ports that support balanced external input to enable users to connect microphones, mixers and peripherals.
With a +48V phantom power supply, the D10 is able to utilise condenser microphones for added flexibility. Signal-to-noise ratio is also reduced significantly with dual 32-bit audio codec AK4558 AD/DA converter which supports up to 192kHz sampling. Digital and analogue circuits are also insulated from each other, with shields at sensitive locations. This enables great sensitivity with minimal noise.
The PCM-D10 can also be monitored remotely with the Rec Remote app on smartphones, with NFC and Bluetooth support for listening to audio files after recording.
The PCM-D10 is available in Singapore at Sony Stores and Centres from February 2019 at a RRP of SGD 690.