How will PlayStation VR audio work?
Virtual reality has caused a resurgence in 3D (A.K.A. binaural) audio, an old method that puts you, the listener, into the action to the point where it feels like you're right there.
Yes, PlayStation VR has 3D audio; yes, most headphones already lying around will work with PSVR. There are some exceptions, though, so let's see exactly what audio options you have when using PSVR.
- How does 3D audio work?
- What headphones work with PSVR?
- What are the best headphones for PSVR?
- Headphones galore (and some other accessories)
How does 3D audio work?
Before we get too far into things, a quick brief on audio might do some good.
Mono audio, or audio recorded using one source (i.e. a microphone in the middle of a recording studio), can be considered stage one.
Stereo audio, or audio recorded using two sources (i.e. two microphones on either side of a recording studio), can be considered stage two.
Binaural audio, also known as 3D audio, also uses two microphones to record sound. The major difference? The microphones are strategically placed on something that resembles a head and ears.
Audio recordings are then manipulated to make the sound seem like it's all around you, rather than just in your ears. Think of it like surround sound on steroids. As an example, put on your headphones and check out the virtual haircut below!
We can consider 3D audio stage three (even though it's been around for nearly a century and a half).
What headphones work with PSVR 3D audio?
Right now, plugging headphones into your PS4 controller and into your ears will get you a stereo audio experience. That's going to change with PSVR and its 3D audio.
Thanks to the processing unit included with PSVR, no matter what headphones you plug into the jack on the headset cable, you'll receive 3D audio (that tidbit comes straight from Shuhei Yoshida's Twitter — he's President of Sony Worldwide Studios).
You'll be able to hear, with precision, everything going on around you. The quality of the audio actually tricks your brain into thinking you're hearing things first-hand (or first-ear). It's a really cool experience you might have already been through if you've used the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.
As we mentioned, most headphones lying around will work, as long as they have a 3.5mm jack. Wireless headphones won't do the trick for PSVR 3D audio.
What are the best headphones for PSVR?
Listen up! Here are headphones you'll want to check out.
Plantronics RIG 4VR
Plantronics, in all their wisdom, decided to design a set of headphones specifically for PSVR. At first, it kind of sounds like a gimmicky way to sell a product. Upon further inspection, though, it seems like due research was done before creation.
The RIG 4VR headphones have vented earpads that let ambient sound in while you play — you really don't want noise-canceling headphones with VR — so that you can hear your friends telling you you're about to punch a hole through the cat who's sleeping on its perch. This is a good thing.
The cable is interchangeable so that you can use the headphones with other devices, and the microphone can be removed when you're not in a team game. Everything about these headphones is designed for comfort and versatility.
We can't wait to try these headphones with PSVR — they're expected to be released simultaneously.
PlayStation Gold wireless headset
Even though the name says "wireless", these official PlayStation headphones come with a 3.5mm jack. Remember that headphones need to have a wired connection in order to use 3D audio!
There's not much that can be said about PlayStation Gold headphones that hasn't already been said. They're a favorite of gamers everywhere, mostly because of their comfort and sound quality.
Choose from a couple different colors to suit your VR style. Don't worry, these headphones will fit nicely over your PSVR headset.
Headphones galore (and some other accessories)
If you're looking for a more complete list of great headphones for VR, check out our list of the best headphones for HTC Vive.
For more great stuff to go with your PSVR, check out our collection of must-have accessories for launch day.
Your PSVR audio experience
Do you already have some headphones picked out for PSVR? Are you going to wait and pick up the RIG 4VR when they come out in October? Let us know in the comments section below!