When unveiling the PlayStation 5 earlier this year, Sony made a lot of noise about its 3D audio technology. They boasted of a huge increase to sound presence and locality, allowing players to hear raindrops or the telltale signs of approaching enemies in specific directions. Now, Sony has explained how their Tempest 3D AudioTech will work at launch.
3D audio will not be supported through televisions or stereo systems off the bat – though this implementation is in the works, likely for a 2021 update. In the meantime, headsets are the only way to truly experience this new virtual surround sound technology.
Sony recommends their new Pulse 3D wireless headset. This Bluetooth headset is the successor to Sony’s previous Silver, Gold, and Platinum headsets for PS4, and like the console itself, it’s backward compatible and usable on the current-gen platform. It also features dual noise-cancelling microphones and accessible controls for both in-game and chat volume, with a mic monitoring button so you can check on your own output. Connectivity is handled with a USB dongle, and battery life is rated at approximately 12 hours.
However, you won’t be required to buy Sony’s official headset, as 3D audio is possible with Bluetooth devices, or anything you can plug into the 3.5mm jack on your DualSense controller. Obviously you’ll likely get a better experience with something more substantial than the earbuds that came with your smartphone, but at least this new feature isn’t hidden behind another expensive paywall.
Among the games mentioned to support 3D audio were Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Remastered, Astro’s Playroom, Demon’s Souls, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Horizon Forbidden West, but this list will surely grow rapidly. Tempest 3D AudioTech, combined with the haptic feedback of the DualSense controller, could truly elevate the PlayStation VR experience to new heights of immersion as well.
The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset retails for $129.99 Canadian. Alternatively, SteelSeries has announced their multiplatform PS5 headset, the Arctis 7S, which is now available.