Approximate time to read: 3 minutes
With the release of the latest PS4 firmware on Tuesday, Sony added support for their wireless headsets. These don’t use Bluetooth but rely on a USB dongle that transmits surround sound to the headsets via RF.
Well, I can report that it works. To a point. There appears to be two issues being reported, the former being experienced by myself.
Using it on my PS3 I could happily walk to the other side of the house without the sound dropping. Plugged into my PS4 it didn’t work in the next room. Which was a problem as my PS4 is actually in the next room to my TV (although it is literally behind the wall, behind the TV). So, less than 1.5 metres away I was getting regularly drop-outs and interference.
I’ve resolved the issue by passing a USB extension cable through an existing hole in the wall (I had to pass the PS4’s HDMI to the TV) and then connecting the USB dongle to this – now it’s “dangling” behind the TV.
But, it does raise a question as to whether the range of these devices have been impacted by their move to the PS4. The hardware hasn’t changed and I’m assuming the USB ports are a standard voltage. Having said that the PS4 uses USB 3 instead of USB 2 and there is a different range of power output necessary to meet the standards – it’s perfectly possible that the power has dropped between consoles (although wattage and amperage increases between USB 2 and 3 this isn’t the case for voltage – only the tolerances have changed for that).
In fact, how the PS4 distributes USB could also be a factor as power is divided between all output. If the PS3 had seperate USB chipsets for each port (which I doubt, but bear with me for this example) then they might have greater power available to them than if they’d been shared.
However, it’s more than likely that it’s a firmware issue. The move to x86 means that even the most basic drivers have been re-written, so have they got this wrong?
A number of users, relying on the PS4’s WiFi, are reporting poor connectivity when using the headset. This could be a clash between hardware drivers or, more simply, between the WiFi output of both.
There’s a possibility that both could be linked. Because I have a Vita, even though I don’t use WiFi, it’s still active on my PS4 for the purpose of them connecting together. Could the WiFi signal be interfering with the headset? Indeed, with a WiFi connection on my TV and a WiFi extender in the next room it could be these. So, last night I turned them all off. And the drop-outs continued.
However, I don’t still discount this as, after an evening of playing BF4, I still kept getting random sound drop-outs – this is with the USB dongle on the extension lead just a metre in front of me. Which begs the question as to whether it’s just range (it is to some extent as it drops out entirely if I plug the device back into the PS4 behind the wall) or interference as well.
Personally, I’m no re-considering using them. They sound amazing when they’re working but the issues are too much of a bother – my other headset may be just stereo but, plugging into the controller, they just work.
In both cases, Sony have said nothing officially although I have raised a support query with them – as soon as I hear anything I’ll update this article.