Beyond the PlayStation Portal Buzz: Exploring the Fascinating New Headsets

The best audio in the gaming industry?

Beyond the PlayStation Portal Buzz: Exploring the Fascinating New Headsets
Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

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Yesterday, Sony introduced their new console, the PlayStation Portal, which caught us off guard due to its challenging fit in a gaming market with genuinely portable consoles, unlike the screen-equipped controller that the Japanese company has released.

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And alongside it, Sony introduced their upcoming wireless headsets, the PlayStation Pulse Explore and Pulse Elite, designed to work with PS5 and the PlayStation Portal. And this is what truly catches our interest.

Announced with prices of 199 euros for the over-ear headphones and 149€ for the earbuds, gamers were taken aback. On paper, they seem expensive, especially the headphones.

Headphones that could be something never seen in the industry

But upon reading the announcement, sound experts have discovered that they might be the true surprise from Sony.

In fact, they have the potential to be a steal due to an easily overlooked aspect: the audio driver technology they house inside.

According to the PlayStation blog, both devices will use planar magnetic transducers, a high-end choice.

Looking back, it’s common for PlayStation to discreetly incorporate highly advanced technology, such as when the PS Vita carried an OLED panel at a time when TVs with such displays didn’t even exist.

Planar magnetic transducers are quite different from the drivers in most headphones. Instead of a cone made of material with a center magnet that moves back and forth at a distance, planar magnetic systems use an ultra-thin membrane suspended in a magnetic field.

The advantage lies in precision and dynamic control. Traditional cone drivers have an inherent momentum in their movement, which needs to be overcome to achieve a sharp change in sound and can affect their precision.

Certainly, audio companies have become adept at overcoming this hurdle, but it’s still always a consideration. However, the ultra-thin membrane of planar magnetic transducers doesn’t face this issue.

It’s extremely agile and easily maneuverable within magnetic fields, which means it can offer incredibly precise sound details and switch instantly from resounding to delicate.

The ability to provide accurate details is likely why PlayStation has opted for planar magnetic transducers over standard dynamic drivers.

It’s particularly useful for creating convincing spatial audio effects, making it ideal for the 3D audio that Sony is pushing for its headphones. And in terms of price, if we look at the competition, it’s 50% cheaper than its rivals.

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Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Journalist specialized in technology, entertainment and video games. Writing about what I'm passionate about (gadgets, games and movies) allows me to stay sane and wake up with a smile on my face when the alarm clock goes off. PS: this is not true 100% of the time.

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