PS5 Tempest Engine 3D Audio Will Not Be Compatible With TV Speakers at Launch, Headphones Only

The PS5 Tempest audio engine, which processes 3D audio at a system level, will only work with headphones at the PS5 launch. While TV speaker compatibility is still being worked on, it won’t be available at launch, coming sometime “in the future.” Sony’s drip feed of new information about the PS5 only has about a month to go before the next-gen console is in players’ hands, and the latest basically reiterates what Mark Cerny already said back in March 2020 during his Road to PS5 tech presentation.

Tempest will provide 3D audio to “the headphones that many of you already own” via either USB connection or the DualSense audio jack. The post calls out the new Pulse 3D wireless headset, but presumably any headset using USB or the audio jack will work, given the Tempest audio engine working at the system level. Headphones are the “gold standard” for 3D audio—because Sony knows positionally exactly where the audio is coming from—but the “engineers are hard at work” getting internal TV speakers to work with virtual surround sound, though it won’t be available at launch.

The post makes no mention of soundbars or surround sound setups, which become more complicated with the various configurations players may have. It’s unknown if Sony will continue to pursue support for these speaker setups when TV speaker compatibility work is complete.

Sony listed the games that would take advantage of the tech as long as your are using headphones through USB or the DualSense audio port:

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • Returnal
  • Destruction AllStars
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Resident Evil Village
  • and many others

The PlayStation Blog post doesn’t really tell us anything new about the Tempest 3D AudioTech that we hadn’t already learned from Mark Cerny back in March. In fact, Cerny’s presentation on the tech arguably had even more details. The “new” information here is the list of games that will have 3D audio features of some kind and confirmation that Sony still hasn’t locked down Tempest engine compatibility with speaker configurations other than headphones.

Last month, developers talked about what they’re doing with the Tempest engine to enhance 3D audio in their games. Astro also updated users on the compatibility of older headsets with next-gen consoles.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the PS5, questions we’re hoping Sony starts answering over the next month before the console’s release.

[Source: PS Blog]