What audio format is best on PS5? Pick Right One

What audio format is best on PS5 Pick Right One

What audio format is best on PS5? There are many different formats available for audio on PlayStation 5. Some of them work great with a majority of audio devices while others offers a better audio quality experience. This article will cover the most popular audio formats on PS5 and explain why each one works well or not so well.

Following audio format is best on PS5:

  • Best-One: Linear PCM, Uses Uncompressed sound.
  • Second place: Bitstream (DTS), Uses Compressed sound with slight lag
  • Third place: Bitstream (Dolby), Uses Compressed sound, with more lag.

Many variables are a play to choose the best audio format for your PS5, like what kind of audio system you have, which HDMI port is it connected to, and are there any speakers connected to your TV or are you using any soundbar? To juggle all these things, it becomes difficult to navigate to the best audio format for PS5. We will break it into simple terms so that you can get the best audio experience possible from your PS5.

So if you are looking for the best audio format for your PS5, read on!

What audio format is best on PS5?

You can use any soundbar or TV speakers with your PS5. Still, Suppose you have a high-end soundbar, AV receiver or a sound system capable of playing surround sound with different audio formats. In that case, it becomes imperative that you choose the best audio option for your PS5 and have a superior audio experience. 

PS5 supports the following audio formats:

  • Linear PCM is the default audio format on PS5 and the best audio format for most people having a regular or even an expensive sound system or a soundbar. It uses uncompressed audio data and has no audio lag whatsoever. The video game developers use Linear PCM audio in their gaming titles. So if you want to experience the games in your PS5 how the video game studio intended them to be, then use Linear PCM.
  • Bitstream (DTS) – This is the second-best audio format on PS5 as it uses compressed audio data. But it does introduce slight lag to audio as PS5 does the processing to compress the audio data. It can work wonders if your 5.1 or above soundbar or sound system cannot provide surround sound using PCM. Try this option if your soundbar supports DTS audio.
  • Bitstream (Dolby) – Dolby compresses the audio data to improve audio quality. You can switch to this option and experience the Dolby surround system if your soundbar / sound system or audio device supports it. The trade-off is that it can introduce audio delays while playing games. However, if you are gaming at 30 fps on PS5, it won’t make much difference.

You can refer to the table below to know about surround sound support, audio compression, and output lag in the LPCM, DTS, and Dolby audio formats with different HDMI port types viz. eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) and ARC (Audio Return Channel):

Audio FormatAudio compressionSound output lagPort TypeSurround sound or Stereo Sound
Linear PCMUncompressed sound outputNone HDMI eARC  Surround sound
HDMI ARCStereo Sound
Bitstream (DTS)Compressed sound outputSlight lag HDMI eARC Surround sound
HDMI ARCSurround sound
Bitstream (Dolby)Compressed sound output More lag than DTSHDMI eARC Surround sound
HDMI ARCSurround sound
Audio formats available on PS5

How to select the best audio format for PS5 with your audio setup?

There are many factors at play when choosing the best audio format for PlayStation 5 to get the best sound quality. Some of them include:

  • Your soundbar/sound system connection with PS5, i.e., whether it is directly to PS5 or connected to the TV. You may also be using TV speakers to play games.
  • Whether your soundbar / sound system supports HDMI eARC or HDMI ARC only.
  • Whether your soundbar/sound system support DTS or Dolby audio formats or not.
  • Whether you are like to play in performance mode with higher fps or at resolution mode with lower fps.

To select the best audio format for PS5, you need to consider all of these factors and decide what is best for your audio setup to get the best sound quality. Here’s how you can select the best audio format on PS5 for you:

  • If your soundbar/sound system supports HDMI eARC, you should stick to the linear PCM audio format.
  • If your soundbar/sound system doesn’t support HDMI eARC but supports HDMI ARC only, then you can try DTS Bitstream audio format or Dolby Bitstream to get the surround sound. PS5 compresses the audio data and then sent to the audio system for decompression and decoding. The decoding takes place at the sound system, which can introduce a slight lag with output audio output.
  • Suppose your main criteria is to play a game in performance mode on PS5. In that case, you should stick with Linear PCM because in this case, PS5 does all the processing for audio and sends the audio data to the speaker system or soundbar just for output; therefore, no audio output delay is present. To support surround sound, Linear PCM requires an HDMI eARC port on all the devices and HDMI 2.1 cables. But Linear PCM with HDMI ARC support only will downmix the audio to 2.1 channels.

You can refer to the table to know what audio format is best on PS5 with your audio setup:

Sound System Connection with PS5Available Port typeBest Audio Format 
PS5 is directly connected to a TV.HDMI 2.1 with eARC supportLinear PCM
HDMI 2.0 with only ARC supportFirst, Bitstream (DTS) and then Bitstream (Dolby)
PS5 is directly connected to the soundbar or sound system.HDMI 2.1 with eARC supportLinear PCM
HDMI 2.0 with only ARC supportFirst, Bitstream (DTS) and then Bitstream (Dolby)
PS5 is directly connected to the soundbar or sound system.Any HDMI 2.0 or above.Linear PCM.
Best Audio format for PS5

You can take a look at the following soundbar options which support 5.1 audio with PCM Support (eARC):

  • Bose Smart Soundbar 900
  • VIZIO Elevate Sound Bar

How to change Audio Format on PS5?

To change the audio format on ps5, you need to follow below steps:

  • From PS5’s home screen, go to the Settings menu.
  • After that, choose sound.
  • Next, open the Audio Output section.
  • Finally, change the Audio Format(Priority) from the options available, i.e., Linear PCM, Bitstream (DTS), or Bitstream (Dolby).
Audio Format Priority Linear PCM

We recommend that you try Linear PCM as the first option with your sound system and see how it works out for you. If you are not getting audio from all the speakers, try switching to DTS or Dolby Bitstream audio format.

Which is better Linear PCM, Bitstream (Dolby), or Bitstream (DTS)?

Linear PCM is the default audio format in which the video game developers create their game audio. The audio data files are decoded at PS5 and sent to the sound system for audio output only in an uncompressed format. On the other hand, Bitstream (Dolby) and Bitstream (DTS) are sent to the sound system in compressed format, after which the audio system does all the audio decoding.

You can refer to the below to get a quick idea of the differences between Linear PCM, Bitstream (Dolby), and Bitstream (DTS):

Linear PCMBitstream (Dolby and DTS)
Audio data is converted from analog to digital.Audio data is bit encoded.
No audio compression.Compressed audio
Audio processing and decoding is done on PS5 console. Audio decoding is done at soundbar / sound system.
No audio output lagIntroduces audio output lag.
Requires higher bandwidth.Requires less bandwidth as compared to Linear PCM.
Differences between Linear PCM, Bitstream (Dolby), and Bitstream (DTS)

Linear PCM is better than both the Dolby Bitstream and DTS Bitstream as it provides uncompressed audio data with audio output lag. Linear PCM would be suitable for the majority of people, but we also recommend that you play out with the settings as described to get the best possible audio quality. Keep in mind that HDMI eARC support is required on all the devices and an HDMI 2.1 cable to get surround sound from Linear PCM audio format.

PS5 Audio Format(Priority)

FAQs for what audio format is best on ps5

What is the difference between eARC and arc?

Enhanced Audio Return Channel(eARC) and Audio Return Channel(ARC) differ mainly in their bandwidth and speed. HDMI eARC offers much higher bandwidth than the ARC. This enables the PS5 to send uncompressed audio data having surround sound to your audio system. You can get more details at Sony’s official page.

Does eARC support 120hz on PS5?

HDMI eARC does support 120hz on PS5 so that you can play your PS5 in performance and enjoy the higher fps with the best possible audio experience.

Does PlayStation 5 support Dolby Atmos?

PlayStation 5 currently supports Dolby Atmos in videos only on PS5, but this may change in the future, and Sony may also support Dolby Atmos in video games with future update. To use Dolby Atmos in movies on PS5, follow the below steps: 
-Go to the Settings menu.
-Select sound.
-Open the Audio Output menu.
-Change the Audio Format(Priority) to Bitstream (Dolby).
-Now, go back to your video.
-Press the Options button on your DualSense controller. 
-Go to the ‘three dots’ button.
-Select Settings.
-Now, open Audio Format.
-Finally, select Bitstream from the option.

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