During today’s PlayStation 5 tech reveal live stream, lead system architect Mark Cerny took the stage to explain how the new console will redefine audio. This approach stemmed from the development on the PSVR, and Sony has opted to put a lot of resources into perfecting how the next generation console will handle sound.
For the PlayStation 5’s audio and sound, Sony has three goals: deliver great audio for all types of devices, to support hundreds of advanced sound sources, and lastly, to provide an immersive experience for all games. This ties into HRTF, or head-related transfer function, which is something popular in many modern games where directional sound is important.
Fully implementing 3D audio requires a lot of computational power, so Sony decided to build a dedicated custom hardware unit named Tempest 3D AudioTech.
“It would have been wonderful if a simpler strategy such using as Dolby Atmos peripherals could have achieved our goals, but we wanted 3D audio for all, not just those with licensed sound bars or the like,” Cerny stated. “Also we wanted hundreds of sound sources not just the 32 that Atmos supports. And finally, we wanted to be able to throw an overwhelming amount processing power at the problem.”
Cerny adds that the use of the Tempest engine allows the PlayStation 5 to use computationally expensive algorithms to deliver perfect 3D audio.
In a nutshell, Sony wants its fans to know that it put a lot of time and effort into developing a good sound engine for the PlayStation 5. Everyone from a casual gamer playing on TV speakers to a more serious player using headphones will experience near-perfect 3D audio thanks to virtual audio and HRTF.
Cerny notes that 3D audio is an “open-ended research topic”, and that this field will only improve with the passage of time. As far as the average gamer is concerned, the new PlayStation is on track to bring an immersive sound experience for all.