PS5 3D Audio explained: What headset do you need and how does the tech work?

What is 3D Audio? How does 3D Audio work on PS5? What headphones work with it? The answers you seek can be found inside.

As we approach the PlayStation 5's release date of November 12 (US, Japan, Canada etc., 19 for everyone else) people are getting ready to enjoy some of the next-gen console's new features. One of which is 3D Audio, it's like 4K but for your ears. But that explanation isn't quite enough to explain the ins and outs of Sony's newest auditory experience. If you've been interested in just what the PS5's 3D Audio capabilities are, and how best to enjoy them, then read the explainer below for everything you need to know.

What is 3D Audio on the PS5?

As vaguely explained above, 3D Audio on PS5 is a higher fidelity auditory experience based on improving the virtual positioning of sounds in a user's field of hearing. Sony achieves this on the PS5 by using Tempest 3D AudioTech. It's a proprietary custom engine, separate from industry standards like Dolby Atmos, and will provide high-quality audio and allow games to offer a much deeper sense of immersion via the custom 3D Audio implementation with a PS5-compatible headset.

How does PS5’s 3D Audio benefit gameplay?

Games will tap into PS5’s advanced 3D Audio capabilities in different ways based on the goals of the development team. Among other advanced audio features, PS5’s 3D Audio supports highly accurate audio positioning. Examples could be hearing an arrow zip past the player’s head, or hearing footsteps in another room and detecting the enemy’s location.

Will every PS5 game benefit from 3D Audio?

Yes. Even simple channel-based audio will have additional dimensionality thanks to PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech. The exact 3D Audio effects may vary title by title, and developer optimization will provide the best experience

More broadly, PS5’s audio processing capabilities are considerably more advanced than PS4’s, so PS5 game developers will have powerful new tools to create richer in-game audio.

What types of headsets support 3D Audio?

The most obvious is Sony's official Pulse 3D wireless headset, which has been engineered to take full advantage of PS5’s 3D Audio capabilities. Aside from all the other features (dual noise-cancelling microphones and an array of easy-access controls) the Pulse 3D wireless headset also offers immediate access to 3D Audio.

However players can also experience 3D Audio on PS5 with any PS5-compatible headset that you may already own, either through the console’s USB connection, or by plugging an analog headset into the DualSense wireless controller’s 3.5mm headset jack. And as we've explored, most of the PS4's current peripherals will work with PS5, so don't throw out your driving wheels and fight sticks.

It also means that headsets like the HyperX Cloud Orbit, which is already built with other 3D Audio engines in mind, will be capable of producing the same immersive environment as the Pulse 3D headset.

Is 3D Audio available through TV speakers?

TV speaker virtual surround sound won’t be available on launch day for PS5 but is planned for a future update. We'll have to wait for more info on this one, but hopefully your immaculate 5.1 home theater setup isn't going to go wasted.

Which PS5 games support 3D Audio?

Sony hasn't released a comprehensive list of all games that support 3D Audio (that'll largely be up to the developers) but in a blog post they did confirm a few key titles. There will definitely be more, but these are the titles we know will use 3D audio on the PS5:

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • Returnal, Destruction AllStars
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Resident Evil Village

How to enable 3D audio on the PS5

If you've picked up a 3D-audio compatible headset and game, you'll also want to make sure that 3D Audio is enabled on the PS5. To do this open the Settings menu via the gear icon in the top right of the home menu. Select Sound, then move down to the Audio Output section. In here you'll find the options to Enable 3D Audio (provided your headset is connected) and Adjust 3D Audio Profile. The latter lets you play a sound using a selection of profiles, then pick the one which sounds closest to your ear level. This will ensure you're using the correct 3D Audio profile for you.

That's everything we know about 3D Audio on PS5, so now that you've got a bit better acquainted with your next-gen console, perhaps you'd like to pick out which of the PS5 launch games you'd like to test out those audio upgrades on?

Editor-in-Chief

Chris is the captain of the good ship AllGamers, which would explain everything you're seeing here. Get in touch to talk about work or the $6 million Echo Slam by emailing chris.higgins@allgamers.com or finding him on Twitter. 

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