Incorrect channel configuration

Channel configuration is generally automatic for HDMI, but is always manual for optical output. Unfortunately, some HDMI equipment deliberately misrepresents its native channel configuration, and then intentionally downmixes or discards the extra channels. While this isn't always an issue when watching movies, it's a very big problem for games. Movies typically only use the surround channels for ambience or an occasional front-to-back effect. Games are different: they render positional audio to all channels, all the time. If the channel configuration is incorrect, game sounds can attenuate or drop out completely. Some example setups that might cause this:
  • TV sets with 2 speakers that misrepresent as 5.1 or 7.1 channel devices over HDMI
  • Receivers that are configured for 2.0 or 5.1 but misrepresent as 7.1 channel devices over HDMI
  • HDMI switchers and splitters that hide or misrepresent the actual channel configuration
  • PS4 System optical output not configured to match target equipment
Symptoms of incorrect channel configuration are:
  • Missing or heavily attenuated dialog
  • Sounds not panning around the player with even volume levels
  • Sounds heavily attenuated or missing when directly behind the player
  • All sounds playing from the front in a surround 5.1/7.1 setup
  • No audio
It's critical to make sure that the PS4 System knows exactly which primary output port to use, and how many channels it needs to output on that port to match your equipment setup. Although some equipment can automatically downmix multichannel audio, this is never going to sound as good as having the correct channel setup identified in the PS4 System's settings. Positional audio for games is rendered completely differently depending on the channel configuration, so for this reason any downmix done by the output device will always be inferior. First, determine how many channels you should be outputting:
  • If you are using a television set's internal speakers, you should always be outputting 2.0
  • If you are using an AV receiver or other form of surround sound speaker setup, you should be outputting 2.0, 5.1, or 7.1 depending on whether you have 2, 6, or 8 speakers, respectively
If you need to force the PS4 System to output 2.0 channel audio on the primary output port, either because of HDMI channel misrepresentation issues, or because you simply know you are listening on 2 speakers and want to ensure the PS4 System stays in 2.0 channel mode, then do the following:
  • Boot up the PS4 System and access the Settings menu
  • Select 'Sound and Screen', 'Audio Output Settings', 'Primary Output Port'
  • Select 'DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL)'. Note that you should select this regardless of whether or not you are intending to use HDMI; in this case the PS4 System willoutput audio to both optical and HDMI ports simultaneously
  • Make sure that the first three checkboxes are NOT checked (Dolby Digital 5.1ch, DTS 5.1ch, AAC). This will force the PS4 System to only output 2.0 channel audio regardless of the HDMI configuration
  • Select 'OK' to apply
  • Select 'Audio Format (Priority)'
  • Check 'Linear PCM'
If you have a 5.1 speaker setup but your PS4 System is detecting and outputting 7.1 over HDMI, you need to let the PS4 System know that you prefer 5.1 output mode. Otherwise, sounds may disappear when sent directly to the back channels which are missing from the 5.1 configuration. Do the following:
  • Boot up the PS4 System and access the Settings menu
  • Select 'Sound and Screen', 'Audio Output Settings', 'Primary Output Port', 'HDMI'
  • Make sure the checkbox 'Output 5.1ch Audio' is selected
  • Select 'OK' to apply the changes
If you're only hearing 2.0 output from 5.1/7.1 setup, this could mean that you are either using the wrong output port, or that you have not enabled the correct output formats in the PS4 System audio setup.

If you are using HDMI, you should normally get 5.1 or 7.1 LPCM output automatically if the attached device supports it. Make sure that you have enabled HDMI as the primary output port. Do the following:
  • Boot up the PS4 System and access the Settings menu
  • Select 'Sound and Screen', 'Audio Output Settings', 'Primary Output Port'
  • Select 'HDMI OUT'
  • Make sure that the 'Output 5.1ch Audio' is checked if you need 5.1 output, or unchecked if you need 7.1 channel output
  • Select 'OK' to apply the changes
  • Select 'Audio Format (Priority)'
  • Check 'Linear PCM'
Note that some devices such as HDMI switchers or splitters may still misrepresent the output configuration as 2.0, making it impossible to pass 5.1/7.1 LPCM audio even if HDMI output is correctly selected. Some early HDMI 1.0 equipment may not support 5.1/7.1 LPCM audio at all. In these cases, you must remove and/or replace the equipment, or enable bitstream audio output and switch to using the optical output instead of HDMI output.

If you are using optical output and expecting 5.1 audio, but instead hear 2.0 audio or no audio at all, make sure that you've enabled a 5.1ch bitstream output mode (Dolby Digital 5.1ch or DTS 5.1ch) that you know if compatible with you equipment. Note that you should only enable bitstream output if you are certain that you device supports it, otherwise you could damage your speakers if you attempt to play bitstream audio over an unsupported device. Some devices will also mute all audio completely if they detect an incompatible bitstream format. To enable bitstream audio over optical audio outputs:
  • Boot up the PS4 System and access the Settings menu
  • Select 'Sound and Screen', 'Audio Output Settings', 'Primary Output Port'
  • Select 'DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL)'
  • Make sure that one of the first two checkboxes is checked (Dolby Digital 5.1ch, DTS 5.1ch), depending on what bitstream format your equipment supports
  • Select 'OK' to apply the changes
  • Select 'Audio Format (Priority)'
  • Check 'Bitstream (Dolby)' or 'Bitstream (DTS)', matching what you selected in the primary output port settings

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