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News Dolby Atmos Can Also Support Hundreds of Objects Like PS5’s Tempest Audio Engine, Says Dolby

Shin

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Dolby Atmos, the spatial audio technology developed and maintained by Dolby Laboratories, is nowadays fairly common. It can be found on PC, several high-end smartphones, and Microsoft's Xbox One console.

However, Sony never added Dolby Atmos support on PlayStation 4 and with the recent PlayStation 5 specification reveal, we learned that won't happen with the upcoming next-generation console, either. System architect Mark Cerny said Sony's goal with the Tempest engine for 3D audio was to support 'hundreds of sources, not just the 32 that Dolby Atmos supports'.

To address such claims, a new blog post went up yesterday on the Dolby Atmos developer website.

The upside to the PlayStation 5's approach is that 3D audio will be delivered to more than just Dolby Atmos licensed devices.

On the other hand, Dolby can count on the support of Microsoft's Xbox Series X console, which also comes with its own custom audio hardware to offload audio processing from the CPU. Two completely different approaches for Microsoft and Sony, then - we'll see which one proves most fruitful.


Spatial Audio and the PS5

This week, we heard Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect on the PS5, talk about the system architecture on the new console and how it will shape the future of games.

No doubt, this is going to be a very exciting time for game developers and players alike, and we look forward to hearing what the future will bring in the way of spatial audio in new titles.

We wanted to take this opportunity to provide information about Dolby Atmos for console and PC games, as a lot of information was shared, and you may have some questions.

Starting with the most pressing question……….

Q- Is it true Dolby Atmos is capped at 32 objects?

No, that is incorrect. As a technology, Dolby Atmos can support hundreds of simultaneous objects.

That being said, we fall back on sage advice from developers of some of the first Atmos games: Objects are a fantastic tool, but restraint should be shown with respect to the number of objects active at any time. Too many objects in motion can create a confusing soundscape.

Developers have also told us that avoiding the horizontal "bed" for an all-object mix is an unnecessarily time-consuming and labor-intensive effort. So far, developers are creating next-generation mixes by blending bed audio and object audio. More is good, but more may not necessarily be "better."

Q- What do you think of Sony's mission to bring 3D audio to everyone?

Sony’s mission to bring 3D audio to everyone on PS5 is exciting, it reminds us of when we began the Dolby Atmos for games journey many years ago. There are now hundreds of millions of Dolby Atmos enabled products in the market, across several product categories (TV, AVR, soundbar, mobile phone, pc, game console, headsets). Dolby Atmos is also available at a wide range of prices – even as low as $15.

Q- Sony announced a deep focus on 3D audio. How does that impact Dolby?

We are thrilled that Sony is dedicated to using 3D audio in its new console. This can only be interpreted as a validation of the work we have done across all entertainment genres in implementing Dolby Atmos on the devices consumers use today. We will continue forward with our mission to ensure Dolby Atmos is supported as the standard in 3D audio on all endpoints.

Q- What is the impact of Sony's audio platform: Tempest 3D Audio Tech?

Similar to Microsoft's Windows Sonic Spatial Audio Platform, audio teams will rejoice that they have a powerful 3D audio platform to deliver their craft on PS5. We think this is a crucial milestone for game studios. We are excited to hear that Sony has committed to an evolution of its audio by establishing a bona-fide 3D audio platform for PS5. "Tempest" is not only a great name, but a great reference to one of our favorite arcade classics, as well.

Credit: https://wccftech.com/dolby-atmos-can-also-support-hundreds-of-objects-like-ps5s-tempest-says-dolby/
 
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Shin

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Like I said Sony's audio is nothing special. It's already been done.
Well that's the the interesting part, the technology is AMD's property hence why both are using it.
But both (Sony/Microsoft) have said they added a dedicated piece of hardware in there, so the difference might be there but to what extent and how great IDK.
 

Gavin Stevens

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From my limited experience with sound design, the fewer channels you have to work with, in this case let’s use 7.1 as an average, the less freedom you have. Your ears are finely tuned to be able to pick up sounds based on location (and proximity even through occlusion) and can do this fairly accurately, but once you limit this to set “speakers” as it were, the sound becomes a lot more difficult to track. Essentially what happens is the more sounds you play, the more it sounds like audible “noise” and becomes harder to pinpoint its proximity. Even with 3D mapping to play those sounds over a 5.1 channel In head phones so they appear surround, it’s still very difficult to pinpoint where sounds come from once you use more casters.

Now in real life, a single sound will reverb off surfaces multiple times, and it’s echo can be sustained long after the sound has died. And obviously, you have more than one sound. Even a light wind will cause vibrations on multiple surfaces, for example.

In reality when you use this in a 3d space, you can throw as much as you want at a scene but it will all be pushed down the same pipeline, and that’s when things can be a bit more murky. It’s why up until now, sound design usually works a bit different in games than you would expect, with sound casters placed on an origin and given minimum/maximum falloff values (while still have their own reflection/occlusion properties).

I’m not sure what next gen systems will do to get around this audible noise, because even in real live, the more sound casters you have, the more it blankets out.

But sound is something that our own engine put many months of development into, and it’s something I’m glad to see get a bit more focus. Both machines look to have their own dedicated support for better sound in various ways, and that’s fantastic. Both won’t be taxing the system to use this as it’s all dedicated hardware.

But as always, the proof is in the pudding.
 
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Feb 14, 2010
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Well that's the the interesting part, the technology is AMD's property hence why both are using it.
But both (Sony/Microsoft) have said they added a dedicated piece of hardware in there, so the difference might be there but to what extent and how great IDK.
My only point is the fact people acting like Sony created something that hasn't been done before on consoles. It's great tech I'm sure but it didn't change the game. It helped push the medium already started by someone else.
 

Shin

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My only point is the fact people acting like Sony created something that hasn't been done before on consoles. It's great tech I'm sure but it didn't change the game. It helped push the medium already started by someone else.
I hear you, i find the response from Dolby interesting.
It's good that they spoke up though, gives a clearer image of what's what when the dust has settled.
 

Gavin Stevens

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The point is that for Dolby Atmos to work you need licensed hardware....

It doesn't work with 2 channel output

So it means nothing

That’s actually not true at all. Dolby atmos works on headphones or 2.1, it even with a with standard speaker setups, if supported.

The trouble is the more speakers you have the better it will sound.
 

PocoJoe

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Like I said Sony's audio is nothing special. It's already been done.

So you are an audio engineer?

What I got from the presentation is that it is much more than just "basic 3d audio chip", there have been 3D audio for years but if it is nothing new then I wonder why we havent had real 3d audio experience in games so far..

Maybe because it is not already done, or at least not included in anything major.

If this Sony solution adds sound sources literally all around the player + makes it sound like it wont even come from the game, aka it sounds like you truly are in the game = epic.

And Cerny said that it wont work for all, so hard to tell what is the end result before it is out.

I have this hunch that it is more than what dolby atmos offers, why the fuck Sony would otherwise waste so much time to build this dedicated system?
 

Windows-PC

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Does the PlayStation 5 support Dolby Atmos for UHD Blu-Ray Movies?
 
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PocoJoe

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That’s actually not true at all. Dolby atmos works on headphones or 2.1, it even with a with standard speaker setups, if supported.

The trouble is the more speakers you have the better it will sound.

Same as Sonys solution, they said "some sense of 3d audio even with tv speakers". I have atmos setup with 4.1.2 and those ceiling speakers wont add much imo, only headphones will give the real 3d experience I think
 

jaysius

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I wouldn't worry too much about Sony's awesome sound engine, 3rd parties won't bend over backwards to make their games work when Xbox doesn't support the feature. Mostly 1st parties will run with this at launch, then in the future they'll drop this too.
 
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So you are an audio engineer?

What I got from the presentation is that it is much more than just "basic 3d audio chip", there have been 3D audio for years but if it is nothing new then I wonder why we havent had real 3d audio experience in games so far..

Maybe because it is not already done, or at least not included in anything major.

If this Sony solution adds sound sources literally all around the player + makes it sound like it wont even come from the game, aka it sounds like you truly are in the game = epic.

And Cerny said that it wont work for all, so hard to tell what is the end result before it is out.

I have this hunch that it is more than what dolby atmos offers, why the fuck Sony would otherwise waste so much time to build this dedicated system?
Don't need to be. Dolby already doing what they are saying. Also makes sense for Sony to invest in that. They make headphones, speaker's, and other things that prioritize audio. They don't have to pay for that license.
 
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LordKasual

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Tempest is absolutely designed for PSVR

And they've explained that they're trying to get it to more or less work with any sound system? Which is something Atmos apparently doesnt?

Regardless, even if it isn't revolutionary, it's still going to be extremely good, and Sony makes audio hardware so it makes perfect sense for them to throw this in.


PS3 came out with Blu Ray support.

PS4 was big on VR.

PS5 is coming out showcasing state-of-the-art SSD technology and a new proprietary audio thing.

Sounds very much like Sony.
 
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MisterXDTV

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That’s actually not true at all. Dolby atmos works on headphones or 2.1, it even with a with standard speaker setups, if supported.

The trouble is the more speakers you have the better it will sound.

The point is that you need to pay Dolby for the license. On Blu-ray disc Dolby Atmos requires a Dolby True HD 7.1 bed to work
 

CJY

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How is it not virtual surround?
Virtual surround sound is sound that surrounds you, and yes, it can feel localised to a general area. (i.e. speaker. That's where the audio is coming from). That's why you have 5.1, 7.1, 9.2 etc. etc. The more speakers, the more locations.

3D audio is positional which allows you to place the audio in 3D space, even inside your head.
 

ZywyPL

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On the software side, yes, they are similar, the hardware side is where all the difference lies - Sony wants to achieve the same/better results, without need of expensive, sophisticated set of speakers, receivers, gaming/audiophile headsets, soundbars, and so on, just on a regular stereo headset, or even TV speakers.
 

CJY

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With audio no amount of emulation and trickery can replace a high quality multi-speaker setup.
Agreed. That's why I said virtual surround is crap. 3D audio is a completely different thing. It's only related to surround sound tangentially.
 
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Bernkastel

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I wouldn't worry too much about Sony's awesome sound engine, 3rd parties won't bend over backwards to make their games work when Xbox doesn't support the feature. Mostly 1st parties will run with this at launch, then in the future they'll drop this too.
Xbox also has a dedicated audio chip and their Spatial Audio is similar to Sony's 3D audio. What Sony is behind on is Project Acoustics and Audio Ray Tracing.
 
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CJY

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Xbox also has a dedicated audio chip and their Spatial Audio is similar to Sony's 3D audio. What Sony does not have is Project Acoustics and Audio Ray Tracing.
What makes you think PS5 doesn't have audio ray tracing?

 
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SLoWMoTIoN

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3D audio is positional
Um
which allows you to place the audio in 3D space, even inside your head.
This is how virtual surround works when you wear headphones.
It's only related to surround sound tangentially.
:/
It still sounds to me like rather than playing things properly thru different speakers (or 2) it is going for a custom made virtual surround engine. I hope this isn't their sole focus in sound and people with better equipment don't get shafted because they want to push their virtual surround pro engine. Er 3D audio.
 

Bernkastel

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What makes you think PS5 doesn't have audio ray tracing?

They kind of brushed aside the ray tracing part in their presentation. Microsoft on the other hand has been working on Project Acoustics since 2012. There are many papers on Audio Ray Tracing by people from Microsoft who worked on it and a whole Github page. They even did a Audio Ray Tracing presentation on GDC 2019 last year.
 

Shin

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I’m a headset guy so the PS5 audio stuff sounded right up my alley, but I understand the point being made.

Im sure XSX’s audio Chip is awesome too
Both sides will enjoy a proper jump from 2013, be it a graphical one, audio or loading times.
People are fighting for the sake of fighting, but they properly don't even know what they are fighting for :messenger_squinting_tongue:
 

Panajev2001a

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They kind of brushed aside the ray tracing part in their presentation. Microsoft on the other hand has been working on Project Acoustics since 2012. There are many papers on Audio Ray Tracing by people from Microsoft who worked on it and a whole Github page. They even did a Audio Ray Tracing presentation on GDC 2019 last year.

Sony has also been working on it for quite a while (think of all the preparation done for PSVR) and they own one of the biggest audio middleware providers Wwise.
 

vpance

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If they can support Atmos on top of having Tempest that would be cool. It's hard to emulate sounds coming from above.
 
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SLoWMoTIoN

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Not entirely sure how this will work with current multichannel systems but anything that improves game audio is good in my book.

Game audio has been neglected for way too long
Most people don't care or notice since they game with a gamer headset or tv speakers though. I remember the original xbox having clean sound and thought sound quality was going to be a focus in the future as a teen lol.
 

Panajev2001a

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I am specifically talking about Audio Ray Tracing here.

Positional audio for PSVR was done... how? Ray tracing gets a massive boost this generation for a lot of uses simultaneously, but if you do not think they were not working on it for 3D positional audio and more (Sony has very strong R&D labs... given how people view Sony, I am not sure you can believe they were able to make and sell PSVR and make it as good as it is). Throwing rays (single bounce) to compute reflections or to calculate audio attenuation in real time games is old news btw, KZ: SF, a launch PS4 game, was casting rays to supplement cube mapped reflections for one.

XSX is an amazing piece of HW, but just pasting their PR in tons of threads as if they invented everything is a bit puzzling, but maybe understandable.
 
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Bernkastel

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Positional audio for PSVR was done... how? Ray tracing gets a massive boost this generation for a lot of uses simultaneously, but if you do not think they were not working on it for 3D positional audio and more (Sony has very strong R&D labs... given how people view Sony, I am not sure you can believe they were able to make and sell PSVR and make it as good as it is).

XSX is an amazing piece of HW, but just pasting their PR in tons of threads as if they invented everything is a bit puzzling, but maybe understandable.
Like I said 3D Audio and Ray Traced Audio are different things. I posted this in the Project Acoustics thread.
If you are talking about Sony's 3D audio, then Microsoft has Spatial Audio. They also have a dedicated audio chip.
Spatial Audio – Spatial Audio delivers deeply immersive audio which enables the player to more accurately pinpoint objects in a 3D play space. With full support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Windows Sonic, Xbox Series X has custom audio hardware to offload audio processing from the CPU, dramatically improving the accessibility, quality and performance of these immersive experiences.
Audio Ray Tracing with Project Acoustics is a different thing.
Also, Audio Ray Tracing is not some Microsoft PR. I have also posted some papers on Audio Ray Tracing if you want to read.
 
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Panajev2001a

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Like I said 3D Audio and Ray Traced Audio are different things. I posted this in the Project Acoustics thread.

Also, Audio Ray Tracing is not some Microsoft PR. I have also posted some papers on Audio Ray Tracing if you want to read.

Of course their PR will make it sound like they invented everything and their solution is just something else while Sony pulled Tempest out of their buttcheeks. Ray traced audio in real time games is an extension of concept and techniques done for years, just taken up 10 notches in terms of real time 60 FPS gaming.
 

Bernkastel

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Of course their PR will make it sound like they invented everything and their solution is just something else while Sony pulled Tempest out of their buttcheeks. Ray traced audio in real time games is an extension of concept and techniques done for years, just taken up 10 notches in terms of real time 60 FPS gaming.
They never said they invented anything. Ray Tracing Audio was never really implemented in games and it mostly existed as a concept. There is no PR about this or are you saying they should hide it like a Ninja ?
 

skneogaf

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People like myself with actual height channels and av receivers that deal with dolby atmos, dts-x and auro 3d aren't likely to be interested unless playstation has a way of putting their sound into these containers.

And the Company’s like dolby, dts and auro aren't going to let them.

Same with the non object based sound modes.

So Sony have to use uncompressed multi channel pcm which is fine for up to 7.1 but us lot aren't interested.
 
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SonGoku

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Cerny did say they would have preferred a simpler strategy like going with Dolby Atmos but
  1. They wanted audio for all
  2. Hundreds of advanced sound sources
  3. Wanting an overwhelming amount of processing power, it wasn't clear what every peripheral might have (multitude of specs)

Does dolby have the following features mentioned by Cerny?
  • Hundreds of advanced sound sources -Every sound has 3D effect running complex algorithms
  • Provide a set of HRTF settings to choose from
  • Off load audio processing from CPU, allocate power to games that want to use convolution reverb and other algorithms that are computational expensive or need high bandwidth
Finally and most important in my opinion: if every PS5 owner can take advantage of it that means it will get much better developer support than if it were a peripheral with a multitude of configurations that only a fraction of the userbase possess
 
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LordKasual

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Both sides will enjoy a proper jump from 2013, be it a graphical one, audio or loading times.
People are fighting for the sake of fighting, but they properly don't even know what they are fighting for :messenger_squinting_tongue:

This is my takeaway.

I dont know shit about Audio, so all I took away from these presentations is that they BOTH are taking it seriously now.
 
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SonGoku

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That’s actually not true at all. Dolby atmos works on headphones or 2.1, it even with a with standard speaker setups, if supported.

The trouble is the more speakers you have the better it will sound.
Interesting take you have and how it contrasts with Cernys
He made it sound as if the more speakers you have the harder it is to implement, with headphones being the gold standard
They kind of brushed aside the ray tracing part in their presentation. Microsoft on the other hand has been working on Project Acoustics since 2012. There are many papers on Audio Ray Tracing by people from Microsoft who worked on it and a whole Github page. They even did a Audio Ray Tracing presentation on GDC 2019 last year.
They briefly covered all uses for GPU RT in general that doesn't mean it doesn't support audio or graphics RT. Cerny first mentioned audio RT on wired interview
According to Cerny, the applications go beyond graphic implications. “If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the players’ footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that,” he says. “It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment.”

They are leaving it up to developers to implement raytracing
Most people don't care or notice since they game with a gamer headset or tv speakers though. I remember the original xbox having clean sound and thought sound quality was going to be a focus in the future as a teen lol.
Good thing then that hadphones are the "gold standard" for 3D audio on PS5
Virtual Surround Sound straight from the presentation

People shouldn't be gaming with tv speakers in the first place wtf.
From the video:

"virtual surround sound has a lot in common with 3D audio on headphones..."
Is he just use them interchangeably as synonyms or 3D audio is for headphones and virtual surround sound for speakers?
 
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