5.1 and 7.1 audio can help you identify where certain enemies are in relation to your character, and provide environmental sounds for a more immersive experience. You can also output 5.1, 7.1, and even Dolby Atmos audio for Blu-ray discs on your PS5.
How to Set Up Surround Sound for a Soundbar or Home Theater System
The PS5 supports 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound, whether you’re using an AV receiver with dedicated speakers or a sound bar system with rear satellites. It does not support Dolby Atmos in games or apps like Netflix, though it does allow Dolby Atmos bitstreaming for Blu-ray playback. (See the next section.)
Which surround settings you choose will depend heavily on your setup—what formats your TV and sound system support, how they’re hooked up, and so on. While we can’t delve into every combination of gear, we can point you in the right direction.
Head to Settings > Sound > Audio Output and change the HDMI Device Type to AV Amplifier. (If you’re using a soundbar with surround speakers, you’ll still want to select AV Amplifier instead of Sound Bar, since the latter option doesn’t seem to offer surround output.)
Once you’ve done so, you should see new settings become available underneath, allowing you to set the number of speakers you have. Once you’ve done that, you can select Adjust Speaker Positions to tell your PS5 where those speakers sit in relation to your listening position. This will help the PS5 better pinpoint sounds as you move around in-game.
Finally, at the bottom, set the Audio Format (Priority) to Linear PCM if your PS5 is connected directly to your receiver or soundbar over HDMI. If your PS5 connected to your TV, with your TV sending audio to the speakers over Optical or HDMI ARC, you may need to select Dolby or DTS here in order for surround to work, since other connections may not have the bandwidth for uncompressed LPCM in more than two channels.
How to Set Up Surround Sound and Dolby Atmos for DVDs and Blu-ray Discs
If you have a disc drive-equipped PS5, you can watch DVDs, Blu-rays, and UHD Blu-rays on your home theater system as well—though like previous PlayStation models, you may not hear surround sound properly when you first play a disc.
If you don’t hear surround audio, press the Options button on your controller to bring up the menu, then select the button with three dots. Scroll down to Settings, and change the Audio Format to Bitstream—after doing so, you should find that all surround audio works properly, including Dolby Atmos. You should only need to do this once, and your PS5 will bitstream surround audio on future discs correctly.
How to Set Up Virtual Surround Sound on Headphones
If you’re using headphones or a gaming headset, there are two ways to get virtual “surround” effects when playing.
If your headset offers its own virtual surround feature built-in, you can enable that at any time. This usually involves flipping a switch on the headset itself, or pressing a button on a USB adapter that’s connected to the headset. The quality of the surround effects can vary from headset to headset, though, and may not be as good as the PS5’s new built-in 3D audio.
You can enable Sony’s 3D audio on any set of headphones connected to the PS5, though it won’t work if you connect your headphones to your TV or receiver—only if you connect them directly to the PS5 over USB or through the headphone jack on the controller. (Sony has said that it’s planning to add 3D audio support to television speakers in a future update.) To turn 3D audio on, head to Settings > Sound > Audio Output, scroll down to the Headphones section, and flip the Enable 3D Audio switch.
To get the most out of 3D Audio, select Adjust 3D Audio Profile and follow the instructions on screen. Highlight each of the options and select whichever one sounds closest to ear level—this will ensure the PS5’s algorithm is tuned to the way your ears perceive sound in a 3D space.