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Playing with the Panasonic SoundSlayer wearable speaker—how does its 3D audio transform your games?


Panasonic’s SoundSlayer (opens in new tab) isn’t your dad’s gaming headset. Worn around your neck, its speakers literally surround you to provide true 3D game audio – or the most immersive Discord chat you’ve had in your life. Up to you.

The key idea here is that the orientation of the speakers right around you from the back to the sides means you can be fully immersed in the audio. There are actually four speakers placed front left and right, and rear left and right. So when someone in-game speaks to you from behind you and to the right, that’s where you hear their voice coming from. No need for digital surround trickery, the sound cue’s coming from the correct position IRL.

The SoundSlayer lets you fine-tune that experience, too. Its three modes are designed for different gaming scenarios, and you can probably guess those scenarios by the mode names: RPG, FPS and Voice.

See the Panasonic Soundslayer at Amazon. (opens in new tab)

RPG mode is designed to sink you deep into the rich worlds of the likes of Skyrim, Mass Effect, God of War, or look, it’ll even do its best with Realms Of Arkania: Blade Of Destiny Revised if that’s your thing. It doesn’t judge. The characteristics of this mode are about bringing out the little details in natural soundscapes, so when you go for those moody evening walks in Skyrim you hear your footsteps crunch into the snow with crisp fidelity, wolves howling in the distance somewhere behind you, and the soothing tones of “Should never have come here” carried along the twilight breeze from some soon-to-be-ragdolled bandit.

FPS mode is where immersion meets performance. Shooters require you to pick up sound cues and use them to pinpoint enemies in an instant, so in this mode the SoundSlayer amplifies those sound cues and uses its natural advantage in 3D audio to give you a helping hand mid-fight. But even outside of a competitive setting, FPS mode’s designed to wow you and amp up the bombast of a gunfight. Ammo pinging off surfaces all around you, gruff voices bellowing action movie-calibre dialogue, buildings crumbling to the ground just to keep you entertained… FPS mode captures all of it in sharp detail and ramps up the sonic drama of it all.

Finally, Voice mode’s about cutting out all the background noise and game audio to let you and your mates communicate clearly and easily, using the noise and echo-cancelling tech that’s hardwired into the mic. Gone are the days of trying to playcall over a Discord chat that sounds like a taxi driver’s radio – this is more like a podcast that your channel buddies can enjoy live.

Those settings were created in collaboration with Final Fantasy XIV’s sound team, using their considerable expertise in what a PC gamer needs in different sound scenarios to sculpt distinct presets. And they’re cycled easily enough using a button that’s built into the SoundSlayer’s side, easily accessible while you’re playing. So if you’re quitting out of Kingdom Come: Deliverance and feel like having your ego destroyed with a few rounds of PUBG, the perfect audio setting’s just a tap away.


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