The last two console generations of Microsoft and Sony – ranging from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X – are interchangeable in terms of audio quality. Consumers were able to move away from high-confidence tuners and wide surround-sound speaker systems to relatively inexpensive and high-quality headphones. That means many consumers, including myself, have set some serious currencies for new cans. But will your audio investment pay off with next-generation consoles? We talked to four major manufacturers to get some answers.
Turns out, things are still in the air a little bit.
“We are dependent [Microsoft and Sony] Tell us about it [our] The products are forward-compliant, ”said John Moore, head of marketing and sales for Razor development equipment, in an interview with Polygon last week. Because, like the other manufacturers we talked about, his company has not yet received the final console hardware. Brian Fallon of Steelseries, senior production manager at Audio, told a similar story.
“We are desperately waiting to find out the final details of everything,” Fallon told Balacon. He said Microsoft has a lot to come so far.
“We found everything we had two months ago [on the market] Was going to work [with the new Xbox], ”Fallon continued. “This is amazing news for us and our customers. […] Insert it all and play. No software updates required, it is nothing. It’s all going to work. “
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Sony and its PlayStation 5.
The PlayStation has its own wireless headphone technology or of course. There are new Sony-branded headphones with the PS5. In addition, older devices such as Platinum and Gold wireless headsets Be compatible. Sony is there too Announced “Third-party headsets that connect via USB port or audio jack” are PS5 compatible. Beyond that, all of the third-party manufacturers we talked about are still in the air.
“On the PlayStation side, Fallon said,“ This is a mixed bag. “
The new PS5 does not have an optical audio connection, commonly referred to as S / PDIF or DOSLink. Astro, SteelSeries and other manufacturers use that optical link to separate game audio from voice chat. This allows you to have digital surround sound and low latency, high reliability voice chat coming through the same speakers. Allows you to balance the levels between those two different streams.
“If we don’t have optical, we have no way to do that,” Fallon said. “We only have one audio source, which comes from USB, so SteelSeries Pro is wireless. [Polygon’s top headphone choice for the PlayStation 4 in last year’s round-up] Still working on PS5. By plugging in USB, you can get your entire audio. Adjusting your mix between game and chat is something you can’t do. ”
A menu on the PS5 dashboard will allow you to do that, but no one can be sure until reviewers get a chance to boot the device for the first time. This is much less convenient than turning the physics dial on your headset.
Astro has made a name for itself with these types of high-quality body interfaces, allowing users to catch up with their positions while flying. Their Wireless A50 Headset – Polygon’s best performance for the Xbox One in last year’s roundup – Only a software update is required to be compatible with the next generation Xbox consoles. This is a different story for the PS5. It comes out with a dongle called the Astro HTML Adapter, which Astro claims will fix the problem. This is through the Astro website and through select retailers. Available for 39.99.
When added to the Doslink optical jack, it features a game sound + voice chat combination and a backward 4K HDMI video backstroke, ”the company said in a news release dated September 1.“ Registered owners of Astro products can submit their serial number. Get a $ 15 discount online. ”
The good news is that next-generation console controllers still have a 3.5mm audio connector that can connect most products from companies such as Astro, Kingston’s HyperX brand, Racer and SteelSeries. In fact, both consoles are designed with that kind of stereo interface in mind.
“In the Xbox 360 days, the consoles were not really decoded [digital] Thaddeus Cooper, head of the brand at Astro Gaming, said in an interview with Balacon. “MixAmp and A50 were very popular among the people [the consoles] It will emit that signal via optical or HDMI, but you must have a device that does Dolby decoding. ”
In the current generation, only Microsoft’s console is capable of decoding that digital audio and output surround sound via stereo output in the form of Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos. Now, with the PlayStation 5, Sony is embracing its own new technology. Its Hottest 3D Audiotech Solution Similar things can be done with stage audio. The manufacturers tell us that there is a real audio balance between the two console brands.
This means that the next generation of third-party headsets will have to distinguish themselves completely differently. They can no longer rely on bells and whistles such as adjustable game audio levels and custom sound profiles to set themselves up. Instead, expect them to try to compete on issues such as sound quality, comfort, cross-platform compatibility and price.