The last second-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony (from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X) were innovative in terms of audio quality. Consumers have been able to move from high-quality tuners and widespread surround sound speaker systems to relatively inexpensive, high-quality headphones. This means a lot of consumers, including me, have come up with some serious coins for their new cans. But will your audio investments pay off with the next generation of consoles? We spoke with 4 major manufacturers.
As it turns out, the situation is still a bit floating.
“We are [Microsoft and Sony] To us [our] The product is forward compatible,” said John Moore, Razer’s head of growth peripherals marketing and sales, in an interview with Polygon last week. That’s because his company, like all the other manufacturers we talked to, hasn’t yet gotten the final console hardware. Brian Fallon, Senior Product Manager for Audio at SteelSeries, told a similar story.
Fallon told Polygon, “Obviously we were holding our breath and waiting to figure out all the final details.” He said that Microsoft is by far the most coming.
“Everything we had a few months ago [on the market] Just went to work [with the new Xbox],” Fallon continued. “It was amazing news for us and for our customers. […] And it’s all plug and play. No firmware update required. Everything will work.”
Unfortunately, it’s not the same for Sony and PlayStation 5.
PlayStation has its own wireless headphone technology or course. Along with the PS5 there is a new set of Sony brand headphones. Also, older peripherals such as Platinum and Gold wireless headsets Also compatible. Sony too Announcement “Third party headsets that connect via USB port or audio jack” are compatible with the PS5. Apart from that, all the third-party manufacturers we talked about are still going on.
“On the PlayStation side, it’s a slightly mixed bag,” Fallon said.
The new PS5 does not have an optical audio connection, commonly referred to as S/PDIF or TosLink. Astro, SteelSeries, and other manufacturers use this optical connection to separate in-game audio from voice chat. This allows high-quality, low-latency voice chat with digital surround sound through the same speaker. You can also balance the levels between these two streams.
“If you don’t have optical devices, there’s definitely no way to do that,” Fallon said. “We only have a single audio source coming from USB. So SteelSeries Pro Wireless [Polygon’s top headphone choice for the PlayStation 4 in last year’s round-up] It keeps working on PS5. Just plug in the USB and you get full audio. One thing you can’t do is adjust the mix between game and chat. “
Perhaps you can do that using the menu on the PS5 dashboard, but no one can be sure until the reviewers get the chance to boot the device for the first time. It’s also a lot less convenient than turning a real dial on the headset.
Astro is known for itself for this kind of high-quality physical interface that allows users to manipulate levels on the fly. Wireless A50 Headset — Polygon’s best performance against Xbox One in last year’s roundup — Only firmware updates compatible with next-generation Xbox consoles are required. The same goes for the PS5. Astro says it will be released with a dongle called the Astro HDMI adapter that will fix the problem. You can buy it for $39.99 through the Astro website and through some retailers.
The company said in its September 1 press release, “This enables game sound + voice chat mixing and adds a TosLink optical jack while providing a delay-free 4K HDMI video pass-through.” “As a registered owner of Astro products, you can submit your serial number. Get $15 Off Online.”
The good news is that both next-generation console controllers still include 3.5mm audio connectors, allowing you to connect most products from companies like Astro, Kingston’s HyperX brand, Razer and SteelSeries. In fact, both consoles are designed with that kind of stereo interface in mind.
“In the days of the Xbox 360, the console didn’t really decode. [digital] Thadeus Cooper, head of brand at Astro Gaming, told Polygon in an interview. “The reason MixAmp and A50 became so popular with people [the consoles] It outputs the signal via optical or HDMI, but I had to have a device to do Dolby decoding. “
In the current generation, only Microsoft consoles have been able to decode digital audio and output surround sound in the form of Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos through their own stereo output. Now with the PlayStation 5, Sony offers its own new technology. Of this Tempest 3D AudioTech Solution You should be able to do something similar with positional audio. The manufacturer says it means de facto audio parity between the two console brands.
It also means that the next generation of third-party headsets must be differentiated in a completely different way. You’ll no longer be able to differentiate yourself by relying on bells and whistles like adjustable in-game audio levels and custom sound profiles. Instead, try to compete for things like sound quality, comfort, cross-platform compatibility, and price.