One of the cornerstone features of the PlayStation 5 is Sony’s custom designed Tempest 3D AudioTech engine, allowing for hundreds or thousands of audio elements to be placed and processed in 3D space within the game. However, while Sony have bold plans to enable this to work and be simulated through everything from surround sound systems to the speakers built into your TV, the company have now stated that 3D audio will only work with a pair of headphones at the launch of the console.
3D audio will work with a very broad range of headphones and headsets, but there are some limitations: your headset will need to plug into the PS5 via USB or into your DualSense controller with a 3.5mm audio jack.
This does unfortunately seem to exclude some high-end wireless headphones that rely on optical audio. The PlayStation 5 does not have an optical audio output, but many TVs have an optical audio output built in which could be used with these headsets. However, this set up would seemingly not be supported by the Tempest engine at launch – there’s no guarantees on how the TV will passthrough the audio, with different manufacturers and models having different audio throughput options.
It was back in March at the Road to PS5 tech reveal where Mark Cerny first discussed the Tempest 3D AudioTech engine and the company’s ambitious goals for implementing 3D audio for all PS5 users, regardless of their audio set up. A key focus was on having virtual surround sound processed through speakers that are built into TVs, but it was made clear that this technology would evolve over time.
Sony writes, “Although TV speaker virtual surround sound won’t be available on launch day for PS5, it’s still a feature we are extremely excited about, and our engineers are hard at work on bringing it to PS5 in the future.”
TV and soundbars were described as the second audio set up that Sony would focus on supporting, coming ahead of traditional 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems.
Tempest 3D AudioTech will also support head-related transfer function (HRTF) to process the audio in such a way that it matches how sound enters your ear canal, increasing the realism of the sounds and the way they are positioned in 3D around you.
Back in March, Sony stated that the PS5 would have five generic HRTF profiles that users can choose between, but that this could later evolve so that users submit photos of their ears to Sony for a bespoke HRTF profile to be created for them.
This led to Mark Cerny ‘liking’ photos of peoples ears that they sent to him on Twitter:
It’s official: Mark Cerny likes ears.
This checks off another of the 15 big questions we had about the PS5 still remaining in the run up to its release on 12th and 19th November. Earlier this week, it leaked from Russian sources that the 825GB SSD will present 664GB of usable space for game installs, and while somewhat dubious, this figure is believable. However, we’re still waiting on a UI reveal, details of major system features like PlayStation Activities, if there are any SSDs available that can be used to expand the internal storage, if games can be backed up to external drives, and so much more.
Source: PS Blog