Sony Details How the PS5's Audio Will Work With TV Speakers and Headphones

Sony Details How the PS5's Audio Will Work With TV Speakers and Headphones

Like being able to use scans of your ears, better built-in TV audio may come later for PS5.

The PlayStation 5 launch is just over a month away now. Some outsiders have had a chance to go hands-on with the console ahead of launch, but there are still some features that we don't have a lot of details on yet, like just how flexible the 3D audio will be at launch.

Thankfully, Sony's taking today to let players know that while headphones will be the way to go when the PS5 debuts, built-in TV speakers should also get a bump in immersive audio down the line. "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," Sony says, "and our engineers are hard at work on bringing it to PS5 in the future."

We've actually heard about plans to continue tinkering with the PS5's audio features after launch going back to March, when system architect Mark Cerny revealed the first details on the PS5's capabilities and detailed the console's Tempest audio solution. At the time, Cerny talked about how the PS5 is able to process hundreds of audio sources in a scene, allowing for more realistic mixes, while also tailoring the output to sound even better by taking the shape of a player's ears into account.

To really maximize that effect, you'll need to take photos of your ears so that the shape and contours of them can be used in a Head-Related Transfer Function or HRTF. It's tech that Sony already employs for some of its headphones, but at launch, Cerny said the PS5 will only include five pre-set HRTFs, letting players pick which one sounds the best to them. It seems like virtual surround sound support may come before customizable HRTFs, but we'll just have to wait and see.

As for which headphones will give you a great PS5 audio experience, if you've already got a great pair then you don't need to try and nab the proprietary Pulse 3D headset. Sony says that the 3D audio processing features will also play nice with other kinds of headphones, whether they're plugged into the console via USB or right into the DualSense controller by the 3.5mm jack.

This is all good news for me: I've got headphones I'm already partial to, and my TV space can't really accommodate a proper surround sound speaker set-up. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the PS5 (tell us about that bolt and show us the UI, please) but at least folks can know that if they're looking to play Miles Morales on day one, their current headphones should do the trick just fine. TV speakers, meanwhile, should sound better down the line.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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