Xbox Insiders in the Alpha, Alpha Skip Ahead, and Beta rings can now preview a new audio setup screen that lets users scroll through and test a variety of different options, including regular stereo uncompressed, 5.1 uncompressed, and Dolby Atmos for home theater.
A sound pattern will play along with an animation to show which speaker in your setup is active, allowing you to make any necessary adjustments.
Hey Xbox Insiders! Alpha, Alpha Skip Ahead and Beta rings now have a new audio setup screen that will let you preview how different HDMI output modes will behave with your audio setup before you select one. Here’s a little video tour of the feature, courtesy of @Adamkonig! pic.twitter.com/cmPqmPspTwFebruary 10, 2022
If you’ve been struggling to determine the difference between each audio setup, or simply want to ensure that your speakers are placed in the correct position, this is certainly a handy feature to have.
You’ll need a compatible receiver to take advantage of some of these options, of course, so don’t expect DTS: X for home theater to work if you don’t have a license or compatible setup that supports DTS: X.
Analysis: Microsoft is taking audio seriously
This isn’t the first audio upgrade to the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S that we’ve seen. Microsoft recently rolled out a feature that automatically mutes your TV speakers whenever you connect a headset and the company supports three types of spatial audio: Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS: X.
Microsoft also added the ability to allow audio passthrough for players. This feature lets audio from media apps like Netflix bypass your Xbox and head straight to your audio setup. If you’re lucky enough to own a high-end audio receiver, the benefit is that your chosen device will handle the audio processing instead of the Xbox, which can result in superior sound quality.
It’s great to see Microsoft continuing to improve audio options for those who care about sound quality when gaming. Audio has often been overlooked in the video games industry in favor of flashy visuals and smoother frame rates, but it’s a crucial element of the experience that can increase your overall immersion and even help when playing competitively.
It’s not just Microsoft who is taking audio seriously, though. Sony’s PS5 3D audio is also delivering impressive results in games like Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, which has a transformative effect on the remastered titles.
If you’re interested in hearing games the way developers intended, we recommend picking a pair of the best Xbox Series X headsets or the best PS5 headsets. We’ve also rounded up a selection of the best Dolby Atmos Xbox Series X games that really showcase the spatial audio tech.