Another potential hiccup is a person’s unique HRTF or Head-related Transfer Function. This is how a person’s ear receives a sound from a point in space and is unique to individuals, though there is a common level for most people.
Using headphones, Cerny says the realism provided by 3D audio on the PS5 is great, and at one point thought the sounds he heard from the game were coming from the real-world. At launch, the PS5 will come with five HRTF options that players can pick from which will provide the best 3D audio experience.
But some people are outliers and for them, Cerny says PS5 3D audio sounds only slightly better than standard surround sound.To cater to these folks, Cerny suggested that years down the line Sony may try and create custom HRTF for users using some pretty unorthodox methods.
“Maybe you’ll be sending us a photo of your ear and we’ll choose a neural network to pick the closest HRTF to pick from our library,” Cerny suggested. “Maybe you’ll be sending us a video of your ear and your head and we’ll make a 3D model of them and synthesize the HRTF. Maybe you’ll play an audio game to tune your HRTF. We’ll be subtly changing it as you play and home in on the HRTF that gives you the highest score, meaning it matches you the best.”
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3D audio for the PS5 is being powered by a custom system known as the Tempest Engine and the way Cerny spoke about the feature today, makes it clear that this is a big feature for PS5 games in its pursuit for added realism. We will of course reserve judgment until we get hands-on with PS5 games utilizing 3D audio.
For more about today’s PS5 architecture reveal, check out the full PS5 spec list, and a complete look at all the new PS5 details revealed during the presentation. Also, check out our updated Series X and PS5 spec comparison here.
Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN.