One of the interesting features of the PS5 will be the 3D audio technology that is powered by the Tempest engine. Full-bodied, Sony promises that the technology will work with any existing hardware, even with simple stereo speakers.
It will take some time, however, as Sony admits, which is why you will only have the best experience with headphones at first. Although the technology is already fully available for developers, it still has to be adapted to the numerous setups at home, i.e. sound bars, TV speakers, existing home cinema, etc.
A basic implementation in simple TV stereo speakers is already given and only needs to be optimized by the developers. PlayStation architect Marc Cerny writes:
“With TV speakers and stereo speakers, the user can activate or deactivate“ TV Virtual Surround ”. Therefore, the audio pipeline needs to be able to produce audio that does not have the 3D aspects I was talking about, ”said Cerny. “Virtual surround sound works on a sweet spot, but the user may not be sitting on that sweet spot or the user may be playing couch-coop, which makes it difficult to integrate both players into the sweet spot. As soon as virtual surround sound is activated, HRTF-based algorithms are used. If it is deactivated, a simple downmix is carried out – e.g. B. determines the position of a 3D sound object, to what extent its sound comes from the left speaker and to what extent it comes from the right speaker. ”
The current goal is to optimize 3D audio technology for stereo systems, then you turn to 5.1 and 7.1 systems that are currently still working with what is already available on the PS4.
“That means the positions of the sound objects determine the extent to which their sounds come from each speaker. In my talk, I mentioned that with two-channel systems, the left ear can hear the right speaker and vice versa – with six or eight channels, it is even more complex. ”
Developers can still use the power of the Tempest engine, because the game code already describes what speaker setup is available. A tailor-made solution is therefore quite possible.
First of all, the 3D audio will work best via headphones. If you want to do without it, every decent amplifier is also able to implement 3D sound by upsampling.