Demystifying Bitstream Dolby Audio on Your PS4

Hey there! This is Terry Williams back again, your friendly gaming audio guru. Today I want to provide a detailed look at the Bitstream Dolby audio setting on PlayStation 4 consoles.

There‘s a lot of confusion around what exactly Bitstream and Dolby do, and how to optimize your PS4‘s sound. My goal is to demystify Bitstream Dolby so you can unlock amazing sound in your games! Buckle up, and let‘s dive in.

Bitstream and Dolby Digital – The 50,000 Foot View

First, what do these buzzwords actually mean?

Bitstream refers to the raw, uncompressed audio signal before any encoding. Like a pristine water stream, it flows out of the PS4 through HDMI carrying all the original audio data.

Dolby Digital is the most common form of surround sound – you‘ve probably seen the iconic double-D logo on DVDs and Blu-Rays! It compresses audio into a slim format that still sounds great.

So Bitstream Dolby means sending the Dolby Digital audio straight out of the PS4, without messing with it.

This preserves the quality, and lets your fancy sound system decode it into glorious surround sound instead of the PS4 trying to do it.

It‘s the pure, unfiltered, high-resolution Dolby signal you want!

Why Bitstream Dolby Rocks for Gaming

Gaming with surround speakers or a nice headset is awesome. You feel like you‘re inside the game world, with sounds coming at you from every direction.

Bitstream Dolby helps massively with immersion by giving your equipment direct access to the rich spatial sound designed into today‘s games.

Rather than relying on the PS4‘s basic stereo processing, you get the full experience:

  • Enemy footsteps sneaking up behind you
  • Epic movie-theater audio for cinematic moments
  • Clear dialogue so you don‘t miss story details
  • Realistic vehicle engines rumbling all around

It‘s night and day compared to standard stereo TV speakers!

And by letting your AV receiver or headset handle decoding, the PS4 isn‘t bogged down by complex audio processing. Smoother gaming performance for the win!

Bitstream vs LPCM – Which to Choose?

You may have also seen an option called LPCM on your PS4. What‘s the difference, and which is best?

LPCM stands for Linear Pulse Code Modulation. It‘s raw uncompressed stereo sound.

The key difference is LPCM gets decoded by the PS4 before sending to your speakers or headset.

LPCM is more universally compatible, but Bitstream Dolby has two major advantages:

  1. Leverages your sound system‘s full processing power
  2. Maintains the purity of surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos

Here‘s a comparison:

Format Description Pros Cons
Bitstream Dolby Unprocessed surround sound sent to AV receiver Highest quality. Compatible with latest surround formats like Atmos. Leverages sound system‘s processing power. Requires compatible AV receiver. Limited PS4 audio tweaking available.
LPCM PS4 decodes audio into uncompressed stereo/7.1 More universal compatibility. Allows adjustments via PS4 audio settings. Limited to PS4‘s audio hardware quality. Surround encoding lost.

For true surround with a compatible system, Bitstream is the way to go for gaming. But LPCM is more flexible if you only have basic TV speakers.

Dialing In Your PS4 Audio Settings

Here are the key settings to check on your PS4 for optimal audio:

Audio Format (Priority)

  • Bitstream Dolby (or DTS) if your equipment supports surround formats
  • LPCM for basic TV or stereo speakers

Number of Channels

  • 5.1 or 7.1 to match your speaker setup
  • 2ch for stereo output

Advanced Settings

  • Enable Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, etc if your devices support them
  • Adjust Virtual Surround and EQ to taste

Refer to your AV receiver or headset manual as well. For example, on my receiver I make sure Dolby Audio Processing is on, and Dialogue Enhancement to clarify speech.

Bitstream Dolby Unleashes Next-Gen Game Audio

As you can see, Bitstream Dolby is the gateway to amazing game audio – when you have the right gear.

Beyond traditional Dolby Digital, it paves the way for truly next-generation formats too:

Dolby Atmos

Atmos adds 3D sound objects that can move around you in a 3D space, thanks to extra height channels. Mind blowing!


DTS:X is the competing object-based sound standard from DTS. Also amazing, and requires Bitstream on PS4 to enable.

Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD

These lossless formats deliver pristine audio quality way beyond traditional Dolby Digital – only accessible via Bitstream.

So Bitstream Dolby unlocks the bleeding edge of spatial sound on PS4. The difference is dramatic.

Final Audio Tips from Your Friendly Gaming Guru

That covers the core basics of Bitstream Dolby and how to configure it! Here are my final tips:

  • For best results, connect your PS4 to a true surround sound system if possible.

  • Bitstream to an AV receiver is ideal. Soundbars with Dolby Atmos are a more affordable option.

  • If using TV speakers, try enabling Virtual Surround in PS4 settings for a wider soundstage.

  • Over-ear gaming headsets with virtual surround DSPs also work well. I‘m a fan of the HyperX Cloud Orbit S.

  • Play with EQ settings on PS4 and your device to get the perfect audio balance for competitive and cinematic gaming.

And there you have it friends…everything you need to know about Bitstream Dolby audio on your PlayStation 4! Let me know if you have any other PS4 topics you want me to cover. Enjoy the surround sound!

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