So I've seen a good amount of posts/comments about 3D audio recently and how bad it is, or that it's a gimmick etc. There are a few common issues I've seen with these threads that are likely the reasons it's not working for you that I'm going to try and explain here.
First things first, if you have 3D audio enabled in the PS5 settings, and try to play a game that does NOT support 3D audio; it will sound terrible. This is because the audio will either be a stereo or surround signal, and the 3D engine will try to pull those 2/6/8 audio positions into a 3D space by placing them throughout a virtual 3D environment, this will cause duplication of the sound signal and cause phasing between the sound waves – the audio will sound thin in parts and bulky in others, and just wholely un-natural. Stop using 3D audio for non 3D audio games and 90% of your issues will disappear.
Secondly, 3D audio will be subtle, if you are used to good surround sound, it won't be that groundbreaking, unless you have trained your ears to really hear the nuances of sound design and/or music production. Ear training and what you personally hear is the single most important part of 3D audio, some people simply will not be able to hear the difference, either because of how trained their ears are, or because of their personal audio profile.
Finally, the whole 'you'll be able to hear individual raindrops' is true, you can, they're present in Astro's Playroom, go into any of the rain levels, close your eyes and listen for a minute or two, let your ears adjust to the stimulus, it's probably not something you'll be used to from headphones so it'll take a minute for your brain to go 'oh yeah'. But don't expect it to be like that in some random PS4/Cross gen title as the devs will not have implemented it. Think of it like this, you're playing a PS4 game that only has a certain quality of textures that are optimised for that engine, just because the PS5 can render at 4K, and can render significantly better textures, it does not mean that the textures will be magically better.
3D audio isn't a new technology, but it's relatively new to the gaming sphere, we'll see devs using it more and more this generation, and getting much better at using it, which I am personally ecstatic for, I think it's incredibly immersive and adds yet another layer of immersion and is a great example of the ingenuity that Sony are pushing with this generation of consoles.
TL:DR – 3D audio is fantastic, stop trying to use it with non compatible games and train your ears to hear it.
N.B – Spiderman MM/Remaster doesn't have great 3D audio implementation imo, I personally didn't use it for those games.
Edit – also obviously make sure you're using a half decent set of headphones, they don't need to be some $1,200 pro monitors, but just a good, solid gaming headset. Tempest won't make Fisher Price sound like Audeze.
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