3D Audio is one of the highlight features of the PS5, though right now, it currently works only with headphones. Even if you have a nice speaker setup on your TV, I’d still recommend using (or at least trying out) headphones for games that have 3D Audio support, especially as it adds a lot in terms of both immersion and gameplay.
Now, the question on some gamers’ minds is – which headphones are compatible with 3D Audio on PS5? While PS5 advertisements and PS5 game info pages all say that “3D Audio is only available with compatible headphones,” Sony has not released a list nor a guideline on which headphones actually work with 3D Audio.
Sony’s rather vague statement of 3D Audio being available only with compatible headphones does make sense when you consider that there’s no real way to test all the headphones that are available currently. But don’t worry, we have a quick guide on which type of headphones work with the PS5’s 3D Audio feature. This is based on both our tests, as well as through information released both by Sony, as well as by third-party headset manufacturers.
Wired Headphone Compatibility
Your best bet for experiencing 3D Audio is by using a pair of wired headphones (or a wired headset). As Mark Cerny noted in The Road to PS5 showcase last year, 3D Audio made a big difference even when using an “ordinary pair of over-ear headphones,” meaning you won’t need a special pair to hear 3D Audio. And in our tests, the 3D Audio effect is apparent in pretty much all wired headphones we tested.
While on-ear headphones (like the pair of Sony headphones above) worked well in our tests, we recommend using larger, over-ear headphones for a more convincing surround sound effect. Specifically, I prefer using a pair of open-backed, over-ear headphones; though your wired gaming headset should also work well.
Take note though, 3D Audio can only be heard if you connect your wired headphones through the DualSense controller’s 3.5mm headphone jack. This also means you need headphones with a 3.5mm plug, meaning a USB headset is not compatible. If you connect your headphones through a TV or a monitor, 3D Audio will not work.
Wireless Headset Compatibility
Unlike most (if not all) wired headphones which are compatible, if you want to use a wireless headset, you have to look for specific models. This is because the PS5 is not compatible with wireless Bluetooth headsets, meaning you’ll need a PS5 compatible pair which connects wirelessly through a USB dongle.
One of the best wireless options is the Pulse 3D, Sony’s own headset made specifically for the PS5. Because it is an official PS5 accessory, it is guaranteed to be compatible with 3D Audio.
Aside from the Pulse 3D, there are also several wireless headset options that are compatible with the PS5 and its 3D Audio feature, including the SteelSeries Arctis 7P (pictured above).
One thing to remember when picking a wireless headset for the PS5 is to check its website and/or info sheet to see if it is compatible with the PS5 and with 3D Audio. This is because not all wireless headsets that work with the console is guaranteed to support 3D Audio, especially as some headsets have their own surround sound features (such as Dolby).
What about Earbuds?
3D Audio is designed for headphones; but what about in-ear monitors or earbuds? For starters, your wireless earbuds (like the AirPods) are not compatible with the PS5 as the console does not support Bluetooth audio connection.
What about wired earbuds with 3.5mm plugs? They actually are compatible with the pairs we tried, but the experience is not exactly the same as when using actual headphones. For instance, while I was able to experience the horizontal 3D Audio effect quite well on a pair of earbuds, the vertical 3D effect was not as apparent when compared to using over-ear headphones.
If you only have earbuds with you, we would still recommend them as you can get a more immersive experience as compared to just using your TV speakers. But we still recommend using over-ear headphones if you have one.
So there you have it, that’s our quick guide on which headphones are compatible with PS5 3D Audio. While this PS5 audio tech is only compatible with headphones right now, Sony is working on compatibility with surround sound setups, stereo setups, and even TV speakers.