Sony's first PS5 update to bring Tempest 3D Audio to TVs

Mike Wheatley

Sony is pushing out its first ever beta software update to the PlayStation 5 console. It tells us there are some nice new capabilities on the way, with support for 3D audio on TVs and external sound systems, and the ability to add extra games storage via an external PCIe Gen 4 SSD both enabled in the beta software.


Sony’s Tempest 3D Audio is a proprietary 3D audio format developed specially for the PS5. Sony has promised it will be far superior to something like Dolby Atmos. But up until now it has only been available through headphones. The new software changes that.

The company reckons the format is far more realistic than surround sound as it makes it appear as if sound is emanating from all around the user. So, the gamer will in effect be in centre stage, with noises coming from all directions and adding to the intensity of the on-screen action.

One of the ways 3D audio works is that it deploys timed effects, delivered by special algorithms that can trick your brain into pinpointing the exact location of where a certain noise came from. So, for example imagine a game where it’s raining for example, you’ll be able to hear each individual raindrop, with some falling to the ground in front of you, some splashing behind you, all in relation to where your game character is located. It’s extreme realism, Sony promises.

Sony says its Tempest 3D audio is superior to existing 3D audio formats, which are capable of replicating 50 individual sound sources. Sony’s format bumps that up to over a hundred sounds.

The company promised to bring Tempest 3D audio to TV speakers and external sound systems when the console first launched, via a future update. The beta software delivers on that promise, with the DualSense controller’s built-in microphone being employed to measure the acoustics and adjust things for more realism.


To enable Tempest 3D audio, first you’ll need to sign up for Sony’s system software beta trial. If accepted, you’ll then be able to download the beta update. Then, simply head to Settings > Sound > Audio Output and then switch on Enable 3D Audio for TV Speakers.

The other highlight of the update is it unlocks M.2 SSD storage expansion, which will enable users to store games on an external drive. Currently, for most PS5 users that isn’t possible but the beta update changes that. The only issue is Sony has some very strict requirements regarding what kind of M.2 SSDs are supported. Seagate has confirmed that its FireCuda 530 SSD is compatible, and we expect more storage providers to tout their own offerings too, when they arrive.

Check here for an exact list of Sony’s M.2 SSD storage requirements, the most important of which are that it must be PCIe Gen4 and have read speeds of 5,500MB/s or faster. A word of warning though, PCIe Gen4 SSDs aren’t cheap, with the 500GB version of the Seagate FireCuda 530 priced at around £125.

There’s a few more things in the update besides. For instance, it enables Control Centre Customisation, improvements to Game Base, 1080p/720p selection in PS Now, plus Trophy improvements. Unfortunately, HDMI Variable Refresh Rate is still noticeable for its absence.

Beta testers will provide feedback to enable Sony to iron out any kinks ahead of a general release of the update later this year.

More Consoles On The Way

Besides the update, Sony had good news for gamers who may feel they have been left behind. It’s well known that Sony has struggled to get enough PS5 consoles into the shops to meet demand, and as a result there are still plenty of people waiting to get their hands on one of the company’s shiny new boxes.

With any luck they won’t be waiting much longer, as Sony said this week during its second quarter earnings call it has finally secured enough chip supply to meet its PS5 sales targets for its fiscal 2021 year, which began in April.

“The semiconductor scarcity has an effect on different areas, and we have taken various measures”, said Sony Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki in a conference call with analysts. “For PS5, we have secured the number of chips needed. As far as semiconductor supply is concerned, we do not worry“.

Totoki went on to explain how Sony plans to ship out 14.8 million PS5 consoles in its fiscal year ending March 31, 2022. That should certainly go a long way towards meeting demand, as the company only managed to shift 2.3 million consoles in the first quarter of this year.

Though Sony has enough chips, it may take a while to finish those consoles and deliver them to the stores, but with any luck it should be able to alleviate PS5 shortages before Christmas.

Altogether, the company said it has sold 10 million PS5s since the console launched in November 2020.