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Help understanding PS4 audio option & output


Well-known Member
I have had my PS4 for a while now and noticed this straight away, but recently it has really started bugging me.

There are only 3 audio options to choose from (Bitstream LPCM, Bitstream DD & Bitstream DTS), of which I currently have selected Bitstream LPCM. So sure enough, my dutiful AV receiver shows it is outputting LPCM, all is good you might think...wrong.

No matter what I am doing, be it playing games or watching Netflix (haven't watched a bluray yet), the AV receiver always shows it is using 7.1 speakers. Even on sources that are known to be 5.1, so clearing no bitstreaming is occurring, the PS4 is obviously doing some decoding and passing some mix to the AV receiver.

Weirder still, while watching 24 on Netflix this evening (clearly marked 5.1), I only had stereo as an audio option in Netflix. Yet the AV receiver showed all 7.1 speakers being used, but when I listened closely to the rear speakers and centre, nothing was playing.

This all seems to be sorted by manually selecting either Bitstream DD or Bitstream DTS, however without knowing what the audio codec of your source is, you can't know which would be best for you to use in any given situation. To use my PS3 as an example, on Uncharted 3 I could select to output DD, DTS, LPCM 5.1 or 7.1 and depending on what I chose, my receiver responded accordingly to what the PS3 outputted. Same on BF3 and BF4, when selecting "wartapes" in the audio option, the receiver would still show DD, but there was a noticeable improvement in audio quality.

On the PS4, in game audio options still exist (and to a lesser degree, Netflix audio), but do not seem to have any bearing on what you experience. The PS4 marches on with it's LPCM, DD or DTS depending on what you have locked it to.

This seems like such a step back from the PS3, where you could tell the console what audio codecs your receiver could handle, and it would bitstream according to the source material rather than what it would now appear to be "mixing".

Doing some research I am lead to understand that this issue is resolvable for playing blurays, by selecting a Bitstream direct option that appears in settings when playing a bluray (I will be experimenting with this tomorrow). But I have not managed to find any info relating to how to resolve the issue for games and apps. Why isn't this direct option available always, usable in games and apps? As the direct option sounds more like what the PS3 would do, look at the source and then output that, rather than try and change it to locked codec.

Can anyone help me try and get the best audio I can from my PS4, by helping me understand the audio options? Why are all 7.1 speakers shown as in use during Bitstream LPCM, regardless of source? Why must I choose to lock myself in to either DD or DTS, in order to overcome this issue (as like I mentioned previously, it is difficult to know what the source was coded in sometimes)? Do we know if Sony have any plans to re-introduce the old PS3 audio options to the PS4?

Lastly,it might be worth me mentioning that I know this is a PS4 issue, as I do not have this issue with my HTPC or when I reattach my PS3, I have even tried different cables.

Sorry for the long post/rant. Thanks in advance.
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