How does a Great Home Theater System Benefit the Gaming Experience?

From the impending sound of an enemy drop ship flying overhead, to machine gun fire flying by, to the distinct rattle of your floor boards as an EMP disables your enemy’s electronics - integrating your video game console with a high performance A/V surround sound system will create an entirely new gaming experience.

Today’s games are run like blockbuster movies with developers paying closer attention to dialogue, soundtracks, ambient noises and the element of sonic surprise than ever before, and the bar just keeps getting leveled up. For gamers looking for an edge, or to amplify multi-person sessions, a dedicated home theater system can provide a valuable power-up.

What’s true for movies is true for video games too. It was Steven Spielberg that said, “Sound and music make up MORE than half of communicating a story, greater even than what you’re seeing.” At SVS, we love popping in our favorite games and getting lost in the story for a few hours just as much as any action movie, concert Blu-ray or high-res music.

As you sit down to play the newest first person shooters, like Call of Duty, you will find yourself more attuned to the directional audio cues designed to paint a more detailed picture of what’s going on in your surroundings. Machine gun fire is heard as if it were truly flying over your left shoulder. The distant ‘crack’ of sniper fire becomes easier to locate. You’ll be able to accurately pinpoint the faint ‘ticking’ of a mine that’s about to detonate, and you’ll feel every explosion and the distinct ‘thump’ of your grenade launcher against your shoulder as you take down an enemy helicopter.

On the flip side, there are plenty of games that boast epic soundtracks and audio elements, take Guitar Hero Live as a perfect example. What better way to get ready to rock out and enjoy the latest installment of the Guitar Hero family of games than through your high performance AV system, where you’ll feel the kick of the bass drum and groove to memorable bass lines as you bust out your guitar licks?

Throughout the years, our Sound Experts have received plenty of gaming related tech support questions, and since many on our team are gamers themselves, we thought there was no better time to discuss how to create great a killer AV system for gaming.

Photo courtesy of SVS Customer, Julius

To reap all the benefits that gaming through a dedicate AV system has to offer, first make sure the digital audio output of your gaming console is properly configured. The below set-up guidance assumes you will be connecting the console HDMI output to a modern AV receiver. For questions with legacy applications which require a digital coax or SPDIF (digital optical) connection, leave a comment for our Sound Experts below or contact SVS for live support.

Since many enthusiasts also like to use their gaming console for playback of Blu-ray movies, the below set-up guidelines will provide the best sound quality for Blu-ray playback. In some cases where the gaming console cannot support lossless bitstreaming or uncompressed LPCM, a dedicated Blu-ray player is recommended.


XBOX ONE

This player will not support lossless audio bitstreaming. The best option with this player is uncompressed LPCM, which will have the same quality as lossless bitstreaming.

  • Go to Settings, then select Display & Sound
  • Select HDMI Audio, and then select 7.1 uncompressed

XBOX 360 S/E

This player will not support lossless audio bitstreaming or uncompressed LPCM. The best option with this player is bitstreaming Dolby Digital 5.1. The S model also has a SPDIF digital optical output.

  • Go to Settings, then select System
  • Select Console Settings and then select Audio
  • Select Dolby Digital 5.1

PLAYSTATION 4

This player will support both uncompressed LPCM and lossless audio bitstreaming. Make sure the player has the most recent firmware update.

  • Go to Settings, then select Sound and Screen
  • Select Audio Output Settings, and select Audio Format
  • Select Linear PCM or Bitstream (Direct)

PLAYSTATION 3 (NEWER ‘SLIM’ MODEL)

Newer versions (‘slim’) of this player will support both uncompressed LPCM and lossless audio bitstreaming. Make sure the player has the most recent firmware update.

  • Go to Settings, then select Sound Settings
  • Select Audio Output Settings, and select HDMI
  • Select Linear PCM or Bitstream (Direct)

PLAYSTATION 3 (OLDER ‘FAT’ MODEL)

The older versions (aka ‘fat’) of this player will not support lossless audio bitstreaming. The best option with this player is uncompressed LPCM.

  • Go to Settings, BD/DVD Settings, BD/DVD Audio Output Format (HDMI), then select Linear PCM
  • Got to Settings, Sound Settings, Audio Output Settings, HDMI, then select Automatic

Do you use your home theater system for gaming? Share a photo of your AV system with your favorite game to be included in our owner’s albums and on our site. As always, if you need specific support for legacy applications or have any specific questions not covered above, contact our Sound Experts by email, phone and live chat or leave a comment below!

 

Looking for system optimization tips? Check out these additional articles from SVS.

Introduction to Dolby Atmos | Why go Dual? | The Art of Speaker Placement | Digital Bass Management

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