Xbox 3d audio

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Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphone:X headset settings on Xbox

If you’re plugging stereo headsets into your controller or your Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One console for the first time, your headset format defaults to Stereo uncompressed. You can use spatial sound with any headset by using one of the following settings:

Windows Sonic – This is the spatial sound setting Microsoft offers for an immersive headset experience. Plug any stereo headset into your controller, or plug in an Xbox wireless accessory to your console before changing your headset setting to Windows Sonic for Headphones.

DTS Headphone:X – This is an immersive audio format that provides object-based surround sound for a 3D listening experience. If you’d rather use DTS Headphone:X, choose this setting under Headset audio. Learn more in the DTS Sound Unbound app. DTS Sound Unbound

DTS Sound Unbound

Dolby Atmos for Headphones – This is a premium headset audio format that works with all headsets. If you’d rather use Dolby Atmos for Headphones, choose this setting under Headset audio. You can learn more about Dolby Atmos for Headphones in the Dolby Access app.

Dolby Access

To change headset audio settings:
  1. Press the Xbox button  to open the guide and select Profile & system > Settings > General > Volume & audio output.
  2. Under Headset audio, choose one of the options in the Headset format dropdown menu.

In-game audio issues when using Dolby Atmos or DTS Headphone:X

If you experience audio problems when you’re using Dolby Atmos or DTS Headphone:X, try turning it off:

  1. Press the Xbox button  to open the guide and select Profile & system > Settings > General > Volume & audio output.
  2. Under Headset audio, select Using HDMI or optical audio headset.

Frozen speaker settings after you disconnect a headset

In most cases, disconnecting or turning off a headset configured for spatial audio (Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, or DTS Headphone:X) will return the speakers to their previous audio settings. However, certain hardware—such as wireless headsets using an intelligent transceiver plugged into USB—might still show the headset as connected even after it’s disconnected or turned off.

Unplug the headset or the headset component attached to the Xbox. This should immediately return the speakers to their previous configuration without changing the headset or speaker audio settings. Plugging the headset or the headset component back in should restore the headset format you’ve chosen.

If you’re still having problems switching between speakers and headset on your Xbox console, check the headset manufacturer’s website for more info.

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Xbox Series X Will Have Native 3D Sound Support

Just a couple of days ago, it was announced that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will soon become the first consoles to ever have access to Dolby Vision technology. Since then, we have learned that Xbox consoles will also receive DTS:X home theater support, meaning that they'll also come equipped with native 3D sound.

When Microsoft initially stated that the Xbox Series X would have Dolby Vision support, a lot of people were unsure about what that actually entailed. The same applied to its quieter announcement about Dolby Atmos.

For those unacquainted with Vision and Atmos, they're the names of Dolby's visual and audio entertainment technology, respectively. If Vision is the car, Atmos is the stylish leather interior that completes the whole experience.

However, it's important to note that both technologies are only compatible with Dolby TVs.

Related: Xbox Series S Price Is Great, But Xbox Series X All Access At $35 Per Month Is A Game Changer

Demonstrations of the new Xbox Series X native 3D sound started yesterday for Xbox insiders. Eventually, however, this will become standard software for all Xbox One and next-gen consoles. In fact, it's already been available on the Xbox One for a few months — but only through headphones and only as an alpha version.

The new Xbox Series X native 3D sound feature will probably be best experienced with a 5.1 surround sound system, but it will still work with a soundbar or even just your TV speakers.

Here is where DTS:X differs from Dolby Atmos; Atmos requires the sound to be programmed in to function properly. DTS:X, however, does not. No matter what you're using your Xbox for, your sound will be reproduced in three dimensions. If you're playing Minecraft and a creeper is sneaking up on you to ruin your house, you'll actually hear it behind you with DTS:X. No special TVs or equipment required.

Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about how things look, but sound design and replication are as important as visuals if you're trying to be immersed in the experience. It may not be something that your average person spends a lot of time thinking about, but it could truly set the Xbox Series X apart from its competitors.

Up Next: Among Us 2: Everything We Know So Far

Source: Xbox


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Xbox Series X has a killer new feature that PS5 can't match

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will be the first consoles to come with both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos tech, promising high-end high dynamic range (HDR) and powerful immersive audio. 

Dolby posted an update on its website that noted how the upcoming next-generation Xbox console will launch with Dolby Atmos support and then get Dolby Vision in 2021. That’s pretty exciting stuff, especially when we consider how the Xbox Series X will already be bringing 4K resolution gaming at 60 frames per second as well as immersive ray-tracing capabilities. 

For the uninitiated, Dolby Vision is one of the more exacting HDR standards, in that it demands a certain level of brightness and color reproduction. And Dolby Atmos is an audio format that delivers immersive sound, with physical or virtual systems building upon surround sound by having overhead audio channels. Modern cinemas have Dolby Atmos seeker systems, so you can consider the audio format as one of the best around for immersive sound. 

Bringing all that to the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S means games that support HDR will have “10x deeper black levels” and "40x brighter highlights.” Combined with a touted 12-bit color depth, future Xbox games, as well as those that have basic HDR support, are set to look very impressive.  

And Dolby Atmos will ensure that gaming on the Xbox Series X and Series S isn't just a visual treat but an aural one as well thanks to high-end immersive sound. 

But there’s a rather large caveat in that you’ll need to ensure you have a TV and sound system that are rated for Dolby Vision and Atmos. Such hardware can be rather expensive. But it’s good to know that if you have such Dolby-grade tech available that the upcoming Xbox consoles will be able to tap into it when they arrive November 10. 

As far as we know, the PS5 won’t have Dolby Vision, which could be a big blow for the console in appealing to gamers with high-end TVs or monitors. But on the audio front, Sony is delivering its own take on 3D audio in the form of the Tempest 3D AudioTech. 

Sony’s audio tech will aim to deliver 3D sound not only through the optimized Pulse 3D wireless headset, but also existing TV and speaker setups. As such, the PS5 could deliver high-end audio without relying on expensive sound-and-vision kit. 

All in all, the next-gen consoles look set to deliver the most immersive gaming experiences yet. The leap in graphics fidelity might not be as significant as it once was, but games are promising to be more detailed and realistic in sight and sound. 

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Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 


10 Xbox Series X features you might not know about

Think you know everything there is to know about the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S? Well, think again (or consider this a handy refresher in case you forgot).

Microsoft’s next-gen consoles promise to deliver a generational leap for gaming, but they also come with a number of unique features that you won’t find anywhere else. Without further ado, then, here are 10 Xbox Series X features you might not know about.

1. Xbox Series X and Series S support Dolby Vision

If you haven't had the pleasure of witnessing HDR already, it can be a transformative experience for video games. Although the Xbox Series X and Series S both support HDR10, the Dolby Vision HDR format uses dynamic metadata to take HDR gaming to the next level. Dolby Vision is capable of 10x greater black levels than HDR10, so you can expect superb contrast levels and spectacular highlights.

Here's the slightly bad news: Dolby Vision won't arrive until 2021, but it will come to the two new Xbox consoles before PS5, if Sony does indeed decide to support it. 

2. Enjoy dynamic backgrounds on the dashboard

Dynamic backgrounds might not sound like a big deal, especially as they've been available on PS4 for many years – but the Xbox dashboard will certainly look more alive now they're here. 

Further ways to personalize the Xbox dashboard are always welcome, and you can guarantee that we'll see some great additions down the line once developers make game-specific backgrounds. 

3. You can pre-load games before your disc arrives

Waiting for games to download or install is a pain, and if you buy physical games, you need to wait for the disc to arrive before the process even begins. Or at least, you used to.

Microsoft has revealed that any game can now be preloaded from the Microsoft Store, even if you don't own it. Once your disk arrives, you simply pop it in and you're good to go: the disc only acts as a license and all the files and updates are already installed. Now your game will actually be ready to play on day one. 

4. Xbox Family Settings app is a blessing for parents

Worried about what the little ones are up to when they’re playing on the Xbox? Or perhaps you’d like more control over how much your kids play during the week? The Xbox Family App looks set to be a blessing for parents, who might need more help when it comes to managing a child’s overall screen time.

Using the Xbox Family App, parents can set play limits and age restrictions, and even manage who they’re able to connect with. That means if your kid receives a friend request, you can check it first to ensure that yes, they really are a friend, or block them entirely.

5. Quick Resume lets you suspend and resume multiple games

A game-changing feature if there ever was one, the Xbox Series X and more affordable Series S both support Quick Resume, which lets you suspend and resume multiple games at a time.

While the overall limit differs depending on which titles you're running, the ability to pick up where you left off across several games in around 12 seconds or less means you'll never have to agonize over what to play. Not everything will work, mind you – games with persistent online worlds like Sea of Thieves for example – but Quick Resume is likely to become everyone's favorite new feature to show off.

6. You can choose from three types of spatial audio

While the PS5 is pushing its proprietary 3D audio format, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One owners can choose between three types of spatial audio. There's Windows Sonic, which is completely free, Dolby Atmos or DTS Headphone: X. The latter two require a license to use, but having the choice means more players will find the right spatial solution for them, particularly as everyone's tastes tend differ when it comes to audio. 

7. You can earn rewards just by playing

Did you know you can earn Microsoft reward points just by playing your favorite games? That's right. Whether you're unlocking achievements, completing certain challenges or buying a game from the Microsoft Store, Microsoft Rewards lets you collect points that you can put towards competition entries or convert into cash vouchers. It's super simple to sign up, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you don't. Who doesn't want to be paid to play?

8. Some older games are getting HDR support

The Xbox Series X is already shaping up to be a fantastic console for backwards compatibility, but one interesting new feature is how it can add HDR to older games. This applies to both Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles, some of which were developed nearly 20 years ago. GTA 4 on Xbox 360 for example, which was released in 2008, has been confirmed to feature HDR support, along with the original Xbox game, Fusion Frenzy.

9. You can easily expand your storage

The Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB internal NVMe SSD, which enables super-fast load times and new features such as Quick Resume. However, with game install sizes getting larger with every generation, drive space might be at a premium before too long.

Luckily, users can add more storage thanks to Seagate's 1TB Storage Expansion Card, which is specifically designed for Xbox Series X and Series S. It slots into the back of the rear of the system, much like a memory card, and means you'll have more room for games should you require it. 

10. Your existing Xbox One accessories work on Xbox Series X/S

If you've amassed a small collection of custom Xbox One controllers like I have, you'll be relieved to hear that almost every single Xbox One accessory will work on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. That means if you've shelled out for the Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 controller or need the Xbox Adaptive Controller to get your game on, you won't have to part with any more cash. 

Basically everything you use on your Xbox One today just works on the new consoles... apart from Kinect. But hey, no one's really bothered about that, are they? Nah, thought not.

So there you have it: 10 Xbox Series X features that you might have missed. With November 10 rapidly approaching, we'll soon be able to sample all of these new features first-hand. And who knows? Perhaps some more surprises will await on launch day.

Looking for a new console? Find out where to buy PS5, get the latest Xbox Series X stock updates and check out that low low Xbox Series S price


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What next-gen consoles really mean for audio

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With the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 launching, years of work from Microsoft and Sony is finally in the hands of players.

And while technological advances such as ray tracing and 4K at 120 frames-per-second have been widely discussed, there are other areas that have quietly seen breakthroughs. Sound is one of them, with 3D audio making its way to both Microsoft and Sony's consoles.

"When we think of next-gen audio, a lot of it is [about] audio tech that has existed in smaller forms before, which is being introduced to a wide audience," says Daan Hendriks, lead sound designer at The Chinese Room. "From that angle it's just very interesting that it's basically becoming mainstream. I'm specifically thinking about something like 3D audio, where you add verticality to surround sound, which is something that was more or less introduced with VR. But now it's coming to the bigger console experience. It really allows us as sound designers to create more immersive audio experiences, and more immersive games."

"The most exciting thing about next gen is audio is in the conversation"

Jey Kazi, Sumo Digital

The PlayStation 5 comes loaded with its dedicated sound technology, Tempest, which enables 3D audio through headphones. This has been a focal point in Sony's marketing campaign, including in its Play Has No Limits ad from August. The platform holder is supporting this new feature by launching dedicated headphones alongside the PS5, the Pulse 3D wireless headset, but 3D audio can be enjoyed on any pair of 3.5mm headphones or earbuds. Sony has also shared its ambitions of ultimately being able to have 3D audio coming through regular TV speakers.

This component of the PS5 was widely advertised, but the Xbox Series X and S actually offer exactly the same feature. Microsoft's two consoles come loaded with 3D spatial audio which, much like the PS5, can be enjoyed with headphones. The Series X|S supports object-based audio codecs DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, and also has a dedicated audio chip.

And while 3D audio might not sound like a massive selling point to some people, it's a big deal for sound engineers, designers and programmers across the industry.

"The most exciting thing about next gen is audio is in the conversation," says Jey Kazi, senior sound designer at Sumo Digital. "We've not been in the conversation really ever, so for me [that's] the most exciting thing. The new hardware is great, but just the fact that big companies are using [3D audio] as a selling point is amazing. It means that hopefully people can appreciate good audio."

Sumo Digital built a new audio suite in its Sheffield studio this summer

Sumo Digital built a new audio suite in its Sheffield studio this summer

While it's undoubtedly good news that this new generation of hardware is putting audio on the map, both in the industry and among players, there's a catch.

"The crux of that is that we're not supposed to be noticed. It's a bit of a double-edged sword that we have to deal with as audio people in the games industry now. [It's like] when you watch a film. Audio is 50% of the experience but it's not really supposed to be noticed. Usually when it's noticed, it's either really bad, or really loud. Our job mainly is to immerse the player and give them information. It's about storytelling."

3D audio adds a layer to what sound designers do, and a bit of pressure too, as it makes their work more noticeable. That can be a challenge when your job is to be as subtle as possible in most cases.

"People won't start raving about sound design the same way they will about really beautiful graphics that are just instantly recognisable"

Daan Hendriks, The Chinese Room

"It's not like as sound designers you sit there hoping to get noticed," says Hendriks. "It's more that, for us, audio is a tool to steer the way players should feel during gameplay, and that's not necessarily supposed to be in your face. People won't start raving about sound design in the same way that they will about really beautiful graphics that are just instantly recognisable. With audio it's more supposed to be a sort of psychological, in the background experience."

With the advent of 3D audio partly changing the nature of the work sound designers do, that means there are new tools that they need to learn to master -- a challenge that everyone has to face, whether a newcomer or a veteran.

"An interesting thing with the advent of 3D audio is that it makes you think about how to design sounds, because it's an effect," says Joe White, senior programmer at Sumo Nottingham. "And it certainly changes things. That's new skills that people need to learn, but it's new for the existing industry to learn how to manage it as well."


Daan Hendriks

While the fundamental tools haven't really changed, the way sound is experienced has. This means some aspects of the tools are getting more weight than before.

"For instance, one very popular bit of middleware that is used in many projects across the industry for audio development is Wwise, and the next version that they are working on will have an even heavier focus on 3D audio than it had so far," Hendriks says. "So that of course is in line with the general trend that we're seeing. And there is definitely a lot to learn there for sound designers, whether you are experienced or just entering the industry.

"It can be kind of a new way of thinking about how to develop your sounds. If you've never had to design audio with HRTF filtering in mind, it's all of a sudden quite a different workflow, where you have to really bear in mind that the sounds that you're designing are not going to be represented with the same fidelity as they normally would. You really have to run them through those filters to see whether your sounds are still sounding the way that you want.

"Certain aspects might be highlighted in a way that you didn't intend. White noise elements to a sound, when they are run through HRTF filtering, might sound a bit more watery and not as impactful. So whether you are experienced or not, that is just a new paradigm you have to learn to work with."

The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X should deliver a similar experience for the end user in terms of 3D audio, despite using different tech

The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X should deliver a similar experience for the end user in terms of 3D audio, despite using different tech

The Series X and the PS5 should deliver a similar experience for the end user, despite using different tech. And the fact that they both have a dedicated hardware component for audio is promising for developers.

"What's interesting with the next gen stuff is they've improved on having dedicated hardware for doing specific audio calculations," says White. "So Sony's got the Tempest system that includes the audio coprocessor and it optimises the workflows that you want to do for solving problems like 3D audio, or doing other kinds of digital signal processing (DSP) that you might tend to do in a game."

Beyond 3D audio, there are bottlenecks that sound engineers have been facing that will be made much easier with the new hardware. Ray tracing is an improvement that impacts audio too, allowing developers to better simulate how sound is traveling through the environment.

"I would also point out things like convolution reverb," Hendriks continues. "We have more space to use that now as we would have had in the past. There's less risk of a performance hit when we use really high quality reverberation with this next gen set of hardware."

"What's interesting with next gen is they've improved on having dedicated hardware for doing specific audio calculations"

Joe White, Sumo Nottingham

Kazi adds: "The sheer amount of memory [in the new consoles] is a big thing, because it means that we're not worrying too much about the sheer amount of content that we're putting in, whereas with the previous gen that's always something that you have to think about. That also means that we can have multi-channel sound files, which on the previous gen is again something that you had to really think about, because you can't have too many streams at once.

"Because we have more power, that means that we can run more real-time effects and DSP which does open up the window to more creative possibilities. At the moment we're quite restricted with that. We have reverbs, but we don't really get creative with effects."

And beyond the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, there are exciting things to look forward to for sound designers such as procedural audio, even if it might be a few years ahead. Procedural audio means the sounds are generated while the game is running rather than using a pre-recorded sound file.


Joe White

"It's great to see that something like 3D audio is now becoming readily available to us," Hendriks says. "[But] there's things like procedural audio that we're waiting for, as it becomes more and more of a mainstream thing. I'm really looking forward to procedural audio becoming more of a viable option than it has been so far. That requires hardware that is capable of doing that, and a lot of R&D time, investment and forward thinking, which I just hope to see more of."

White continues: "[Procedural audio] is a similar approach to the graphical technology where you run shaders, which are little programs that will determine how things might visually look or how the geometry is arranged. That would run just while the game's running and change depending on the parameters of the game. Thinking about how the actual source sound is generated, not just how it's positioned in the space but how you interact with it and how it changes its sound depending on what the interaction is -- that's a whole field that's kind of unexplored and I think there's a lot of scope for it. And the new hardware hopefully allows us to start seeing it as a realistic option."

Beyond pure audio design, music is next in line in terms of innovations to look forward to on the new consoles. 3D music would add another layer of challenge for designers though, as game soundtracks are supposed to be non-diegetic, meaning it's a sound that doesn't originate from the world of the game.

"It's supposed to be up behind what's going on, just like in a film, so it's a big challenge for just general creative direction," Kazi says. "Is the music coming from the world or is it still non-diagetic? I think that that is a big creative challenge that would be exciting to see what people do with that."

White has a background in interactive music applications, and he's excited by the possibilities offered by 3D audio in terms of music.

"I was making interactive music apps and looking at how the games industry was treating audio as an interactive experience," he says. "And it's so far ahead. I think definitely music as a medium has a lot of catch up to do. I think that there are some people exploring this area but thinking about purely musical experience in an interactive medium I think is really cool, and using 3D audio techniques and game engines to deliver it is interesting.


Jey Kazi

"You also have to think about how you structure the composition, because it's always a tricky problem in game audio where you want the music to adapt to the context of what the player is in. If it's written as a linear segment that you just somehow have to push into an interactive medium then it can be quite tricky, and you see the seams of how it works. But if you actually think about how to compose within an interactive medium, I think there's a lot more possibilities."

Gabe Cuzzillo's Ape Out and its reactive audio is a good example of what White is hoping to see more of, and a taste of what's to come in the world of game audio. Hendriks provides another example of possible music innovations that was explored during GameSoundCon this October.

"Wwise talked about their next version of [the software] and they gave an example of an unspecified game where music was used to play certain instruments in the world, so that it would draw your attention. The example was they really wanted the player to explore a certain cave so they just placed the brass section of the orchestra at the opening of that cave, and the rest of the orchestra would still play normally as 2D, which I thought was just an interesting example of using [3D audio].

"You don't need a 3D audio playback system to do that, but of course when you hear that over headphones in a fully spatialised world, that might be a very interesting experience. It might also be very weird, but I'm just looking forward to new approaches to using this tech."

These new approaches could include moving away from using generalised profiles for 3D audio, pushing the experience even further.

"Right now, it essentially uses an algorithm that generalises the way that your ears might be shaped to give you that impression of 3D audio over headphones," Hendriks explains. "But it will be much more effective if in the future you can actually get your own ears scanned and then have your own personal profile.

"That's maybe a few years from now, maybe a decade from now, but you could have 3D audio that's such high fidelity that it's almost indistinguishable from real world sound. I mean, that's a little bit out there, but that sort of path is possible and so in a way we're just at the beginning of this journey."

Como funciona e como ativar audio Surround 3D no Xbox - Dolby Atmos, DTS:X e Windows Sonic.

After confirming it earlier this year, Microsoft today officially announced that bitstream audio pass-through, including Dolby Atmos, will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs next year.

Dolby Atmos is an audio feature that claims to offer more precise sound. "You can hear where your allies and enemies are in three-dimensional space, Dolby gaming director Spencer Hooks said in a post on the Xbox Wire. "Snipers on the roof? You'll hear them over your left shoulder and know where to aim to take them out. The same goes for an attacker with a jet pack hovering behind you."

No Caption Provided

The Xbox One is the first gaming console to support Dolby Atmos. Hooks said developers are "excited about using the new capabilities to make their games richer and more engaging." You will need a Dolby Atmos-supported speaker system or soundbar to hear the benefits. Alternatively, it will work with "virtually any pair of headphones," Hooks said.

Xbox Insiders can try out Atmos support via the Blu-ray player right now. It will become available for everyone across Xbox One and PC sometime in 2017, possibly as part of the Creators Update.

"At team Xbox, we are all gamers first, and bringing Dolby Atmos support to Xbox One and Windows 10 gaming next year will bring you even further inside the action and sound of your favorite titles," Xbox platform engineering boss Mike Ybarra said. "A big thank you to the team at Dolby for their partnership; we're excited to share more with the Xbox community next year."

Microsoft also confirmed today that the bespoke bitstream pass-through feature is out now on Xbox One for Insiders. "This feature enables all Xbox consoles to pass Blu-ray audio data untouched to a user's audio equipment, allowing your audio receiver or other audio device to produce a high quality, immersive sound experience," Microsoft said, adding that this was a top-requested feature.

Detailed instructions for how to enable bitstream pass-through on Xbox One are available here.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email [email protected]


Now discussing:

Probably, our crazy night with Oleg will not go out of my head for a very long time. Obviously something came over me. It's strange, at home we are normal girls, chatting about all sorts of nonsense, cooking dinner together in the evening, watching movies on TV, discussing them vigorously. And we are not at all attracted to each other, by the way, it makes me happy in its own way.

It means I am not a lesbian.

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