How To Setup A Dolby Atmos System With PS5

    Dolby Atmos system with PS5

    Unlike the Xbox Series X, the PlayStation 5 is not going to launch with Dolby Atmos support. The rather vague answer we have to why this is is due to sony having confidence their tempest engine can deliver the same if not better results, but it is hard to see how this is possible if they aren’t going to support high channel speakers.

    It would be an outrage but the unfortunate part of this all is that even on Xbox, very few games actually support Dolby Atmos, so it likely isn’t going to become a standard any time soon.

    With that being said, many people may still have a Dolby Atmos sound system from a 5.1.2 system to a 7.1.4 system. Your AVR will allow you to connect your PS5 without any problem but you may begin to notice a critical problem. The PS5 will support 7.1 audio, but you will find that two of your high channels are outputting rear audio. This is a major immersion buster and needs to be fixed!

    Set The Correct Audio Output For a Dolby Atmos Speaker Configuration

    Dolby Atmos is designed to make use of ceiling speakers. We have a standard 5.1 setup in most cases and a range of 2-6 speakers on the ceiling that will simulate sound coming from above. The PS5, even with this fancy tempest engine that Sony are so proud of, does not support ceiling speakers. So if you have a 5.1.2 atmos setup with 2 ceiling speakers and a 5.1 setup for surround, your PS5 is going to think those two high channels are rear speakers and make a mess of the audio output.

    The tempest engine may eventually output high channel support but for now, it does not. To use the PS5 with your atmos setup, you will have to opt for 5.1 audio output in the PS5 settings menu.

    ps5 7.1 audio

    Rear Audio Coming From High Atmos Channels

    This is a mega deal breaker. You have spent a lot of money and effort getting your Dolby atmos system fine-tuned and set up. You connect it to your PS5 only to find that rear audio feeds are coming through the high/ceiling speakers. This completely throws off the surround sound feeling. The speakers behind you will output rear audio but so are two speakers at the front of the room on the ceiling.

    To fix this, you will need to disable 7.1 support. Since you are likely making use of this for movies, you won’t be able to disconnect anything on the AVR so you will need to do this via the settings menu on the PS5.

    ps5 audio channel output
    You will need to set the number of channels on the AV amplifier to 5.1 so that it will no longer output the incorrect audio feed to the high channels

    If you view the audio settings menu on the PS5, you will discover the problem. The PS5 supports 7.1 but the two additional channels over standard 5.1 are rear channels. Two do your side and 2 behind you. Many people may not have space behind the sofa, so rear channels like this are not possible. In this case, you would never be able to support it anyway, even if you didnt have an Atmos speaker configuration.

    Fixing this is rather simple, just force the PS5 to output standard 5.1 surround sound audio and your problem will be solved. The high channels will no longer be active and will no longer be outputting incorrect audio feeds.

    11 COMMENTS

    1. You seem to be confusing a 5.1.2 Atmos setup with a 7.1 surround setup. Both have a total of 8 speakers but the height channels should not be treated as part of a 7.1 surround system.

      5.1.2 = 5 surround speakers (2 front, 2 rear, 1 center) / 1 subwoofer / 2 height channels (either in the ceiling or aimed up to bounce off the ceiling)

      7.1 = 7 surround speakers (2 front, 2 side, 2 rear, 1 center) / 1 subwoofer

      If you’re mixing these up, it’s no wonder your height speakers are outputting rear channel audio.

      • It is more a case that the console is mixing them up. If you have a 5.1.2 atmos setup, it’s the same number of speakers as a 7.1 setup. The PS5 doesn’t support atmos which means that it will think your 5.1.2 setup is a 7.1 setup and this is why the output is not correct. There is no way to fix this as the PS5 simply doesn’t understand high channels.

        I have 5 surround speakers in my room and then 2 additional speakers on the ceiling. They work perfect for anything Dolby atmos but since the PS5 doesn’t understand high channels, it thinks those two ceiling speakers are making up a 7.1 system and starts outputting rear audio channels through the ceiling speakers. Not sure this can be fixed unless they patch the tempest engine to support high channels.

    2. You kind of repeated my own words back at me but framed as a counter-argument. I think what I failed to explain was that you need to account for only the number of *surround* speakers in the PS5 settings, not the height speakers. When playing Atmos content via Bitstream, the additional “.2” in your 5.1.2 system will be passed through.

      I recently got a 7.1.4 Atmos system and, in my case, I can—and should—set my surround settings to 7.1 (System settings set to PCM for games but disc playback settings set to Bitstream). My height channels work fine in my case.

      • I’m not sure I did. I understand what you are trying to say that if you have high channels, they will never have any issues with 7.1 surround sound because the high channels are not surrounded speakers. I have my AVR configured for an atmos setup and it works great. When I tried to use my PS5 with this sound system, I found that 2 high channels were outputting rear audio. This goes against what I think you are trying to say. It detected 7.1 non-atmos audio coming through and it used 7 channels to output the audio stream it was getting. Because two of those channels were linked to speakers on the ceiling, it meant that the rear audio for those 2 channels was coming from above when it should not have been. This doesn’t happen with other video sources, just the PS5. Hence the reason I felt the need to setup this post to document the issue that I had and how I got around it.

    3. You either have a faulty PS5, or your ceiling speakers are connected incorrectly.

      As you say, the additional 2 channels in 7.1 are left rear and right rear. If those speakers aren’t connected to your amp you simply won’t hear that sound, unless you set the amp to 5.1 in which case the amp reroutes the left and right rears to the left and right surrounds. It doesn’t reroute the rear sound to the ceiling speakers; there’s no earthly reason why it would.

      And if you don’t have rear speakers, you should have had the system set to 5.1 in the first place.

      Like the previous poster, I too have a 7.1.4 system, and our PS5 doesn’t not do what you describe.

      • Weird. I tried turning the 7.1 back on and still got the same issue. Dolby atmos videos work just fine with the high channels so it looks like the speakers are wired up correctly but there’s clearly something that isn’t working well here.

    4. Hey Dan, first of all, great post:)
      If you look at the back of you receiver, you will probably see “Height 1/Surround back” at the speaker terminals connected to your height speakers.
      Which means that you have to use the same terminals if you where to move your height speakers to your rear wall, and tell the receiver to output 7.1-channel audio, instead of 5.1.2. This is common on new 7.1-channel receivers that also have Atmos functionality. They share the same speaker-terminals.
      You basically told your PS5 that you had rear surround speakers on your back wall (by setting the PS5’s audio to 7.1 PCM), but because you had them mounted as heights, that’s where the sound was triggered from. By sending PCM, the PS5 is doing all the audio-decoding, not your receiver.

    5. Just off phone with Sony Tech Support! They have NO IDEA-as usual ( I was Playstation Sr Sound Designer in 1994 for PS1 )!
      In addition to NO Dig Optical Out, and NO 3D video support (Like in PS3 & 4!!!), they told me PS5 does NOT support Atmos…and No Plans to!!!
      Like 3D, can be firmware! Yet Sony thinks Tempest (ok for headphones) can COMPETE with Atmos!!!
      Not bothered about games, but I have LOTS of BR with Atmos like King Crimson, Beatles, films, etc.
      It took 2 MF years to get my PS5, and I CAN play my great new games (Far Cry 6, RE Village & NEW 4 redone, GoW Rag, etc.), on PS4 with NO amazing diffs!
      I will be selling this POS and buying an Xbox X or 1 asap!!! Xbox-Atmos for 5 years now! Sony-COMPLETELY CLUELESS!!!!!!!!
      Sony-Still Obsolete Nonsensical Yackity-Yack

      • I doubt that someone who was a senior sound designer for the PS1 would be this emotional and butt-hurt over the lack of Atmos on the Ps5. You are more than likely a 12 year old xbox gamer

    6. The issue will be the same with PS5 set to either 5.1 or 7.1. It’s not a matter of speakers being connected wrong or AVR settings, it’s the PS5 and how it handles Atmos.

      I have a 7.2.4 system and an official Dolby Atmos demo disk. All sources (including PS4) other than the PS5 are handled correctly. So this is probably an issue with the Tempest sound on the PS5.

      Now I have heard the PS5 and Nintendo will be getting Atmos, but not for quite a while.

    7. I have a full 7.3.2 Dolby atmos system and am a home theater enthusiast for years , so I will put in my two cents because I think it will help. The best way to handle this if you have an atmos / dts X speaker layout is to set the PlayStation to bitstream Dolby digital 5.1, and use either Dolby surround or dts neural X, whichever you prefer, to up,I’d the content. I have found that this works pretty well for accurate positional audio in games, and in addition, it will allow you to get Dolby atmos audio on Vudu and Disney plus through the PlayStation, since they use atmos embedded in a dolby digital plus bitstream.

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