While “headphone audio is the current gold standard for 3D Audio on PS5”, PlayStation’s Isabelle Tomatis said in a blog post that Sony is still “extremely excited about” virtual surround sound for TV speakers and its “engineers are hard at work on bringing it to PS5 in the future”.
Sony is releasing the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset ($100/€100/£90) for PS5’s launch, but Tomatis said “you’ll be able to experience 3D Audio with the headphones that many of you already own, either through USB connection to the console, or by plugging your headphones into the DualSense wireless controller’s 3.5mm headset jack”.
PS5 games with 3D Audio features include Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, Astro’s Playroom, Gran Turismo 7, Returnal, Destruction AllStars, Demon’s Souls, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Horizon Forbidden West, and Resident Evil Village.
PS5’s new Tempest audio engine supports hundreds of higher quality sound sources, according to Sony, compared to around 50 from the “modern-day standard bearer” PlayStation VR.
Tempest Engine operates via a table called the Head-related Transfer Function (HRTF). Each person’s HRTF is unique to them and determines how they hear sound.
Sony has modelled HRTFs for around a hundred people and has come up with five presets for PS5’s launch, allowing players to choose the best selection for their ears.
In games today, rain is a simple, single sound, Cerny explained. But with PS5’s technology games will be able to simulate the sound and locality of individual raindrops in a rainstorm.
For TV speakers, Cerny said the idea behind virtual surround sound technology is that if players are sitting within a “sweet spot” then sound will feel as if it’s coming from any direction.