If you're planning on tuning into the PS5 games reveal event on June 11, you'd better wear headphones, says Sony's Senior Director of Content Communications, Sid Shuman.
In a blog post, Shuman said that it's "best if you watch while wearing headphones, if you can — there’s some cool audio work in the show, and it might be harder to appreciate if it’s pumped through your phone or laptop speakers."
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We're expecting the event to show us how games will run on the PS5, with a number of new demonstrations from Sony's first-party and a few third-party developers – and by the sounds of it, we could get a first look at the PS5's highly publicized 3D audio technology.
An evolution of sound
In an April 2019 interview with Wired, the upcoming console’s lead architect Mark Cerny confirmed that the PS5 will support what he calls "3D audio" – something he says will "make you feel more immersed in the game as sounds come at you from above, from behind, and from the side".
Since then, we've heard more about Sony's Tempest Audio Engine, which we think could be the secret weapon in the PlayStation 5 arsenal, possibly giving it a much-need edge over the soon-to-be-launched Xbox Series X .
In any case, it seems Sony has invested a lot into the PS5's audio, declaring it an "evolution of sound" in a slideshow for a corporate strategy meeting
At a corporate strategy meeting for Sony, a slideshow for a corporate strategy meeting called the PlayStation 5 an "evolution of sound".
"By installing a customized 3D audio processing unit in PS5, we have made it possible to deliver diverse and sophisticated 3D audio experiences," the slide read.
"Players can experience sound that moves in from front to behind, above to below, and all around them."
Earlier this year, PS5 lead system architect Mark Cerny described how it would be possible to produce thousands of individual sound sources with the PS5, letting a player hear not only a rainstorm, but the fall and splash of individual droplets.
According to Cerny, all this is deliverable via a pair of headphones, too, without the need for costly surround sound audio systems – although we daresay the effect would be heightened if you're gaming with a state of the art soundbar, rear speakers, and a subwoofer connected to your TV.
Surround sound has grown in popularity in recent years, particularly with the availability of cinematic codecs like Dolby Atmos in the home – and there are huge benefits of 3D sound in gaming, just as there are with watching TV.
There's no word yet on whether Dolby Atmos upmixing will be part of the new 3D audio experience, but we hope it is – after all, the Xbox One uses it to great effect already.
Aside from making the gaming experience feel more immersive, this could provide you with more accurate cues and clues as you play – especially if you're listening out for enemies in a battle royale game.
Fingers crossed we'll see Tempest Audio Engine in action during the PS5 event on June 11 – in the meantime, make sure you have a decent pair of headphones at the ready. Below you'll find some of our top picks and the best prices we've found today:
- Need some cans quick? Check out the best headphones of 2020 for inspiration