AUDIO - 3 Screen reader modes in Accessibility negatively affect the sound of the game overall

Xbox Series X in Dolby Atmos mode is all I’ve tested so far. Spatial audio is affected pretty heavily by this issue.

Screen reader system default = A lil muddy and lower quality sound.
Screen reader on = best sound, but have to deal with the robot voice dood. Also a touch too bright which sounds harsh.
Screen reader off = less bass and brighter upper mid range. Sounds harsh.

Neither of these modes should change the overall mix at all. The ONLY thing that needs to happen here is when screen reader is on, the robot voice dood reads the screen text to you.

I’ve also found that the xbox native narrator setting will alter the mix of every game. What I have to do in order to get proper dynamic range and less harsh upper mids and high end is this >> Go to settings > Accessibility > Narrator > Toggle narrator on and off. Back to game. Clean sound. This is ESPECIALLY evident in Horizon 5 while in cockpit cam.

Also. Why even have a screen reader / narrator baked into the game if the xbox has it natively?

@CRSSQU4R3D we’re doing periodic check-ins: would you please confirm if this bug continues to be an issue after updates released since you first reported it?

Yeah. As far as I can tell this is still an issue. When I set it to OFF, the EQ profile is quite mid range heavy and lacks bass. Each of the 3 modes make the overall mix sound different while Xbox is in Dolby Atmos mode and game is in Home Cinema.

@T10ManteoMax There’s another issue that I’d like to draw attention to. I’ve sent tickets in for this for as long as I can remember.

When cars first load in home cinema mode, they’re loading with one of the other speaker setup modes’ non-LFE frequencies and/or sound stage. I have to toggle to night time, save, back to home cinema and save to get home cinema to sound remotely correct. Instead of fixing the underlying issue ( as I’ve said for the last year or so ) y’all seem to just keep slapping band-aids on the final mix. This won’t work. Can’t just keep pushing the bass, or lowering mid range and high end. NEED TO FIX THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM!!

TO THIS DAY I have to do this workaround every time I load a car if I want true Dolby Atmos. It drives me absolutely bananas. I shouldn’t have to hunt through these settings to find the most neutral and natural sound. It should just BE THERE!


I’ve also got this other issue I found where the xbox native narrator function always applies whatever post processing it needs to in order to work all the time. Whether it’s on or off. I find myself having to go to it and toggle it on and off to get true spatial audio.

It’s very apparent in cars with thinner mixes like the Lamborghini Countach. You’ll hear this pretty obnoxious push at around 2khz. One you toggle the xbox narrator on and off ( in one movement, not toggle it on - check: toggle it off - check ) this push will go away and the mix will sound much more spatial/3D. This affects all games tho. It’s a system wide issue.

What it sounds like to me is that it’s loadin up the center channel a bit more and pushing the mid range ( processing you’d do to make vocals pop out the mix more ). It’s doing this to the entire mix of everything run through the xbox though. In most games and apps I only have to toggle the narrator on and off one time, but in FH5 I have to do it every time I load a car. It really sucks that we’re not getting 100% the sound of these games and apps all the time because of a buggy accessibility feature. Plz pass this on to the xbox team so it can be fixed.

Here’s my setup>>
Xbox Series X - dolby atmos + passthrough on
LG G3 - Audio passthrough on
Denon X4700H - dolby atmos mode. no audyssey. standard defaults. 5.4.1 configuration.

the gist = Xbox narrator is breaking Xbox spatial audio. I just tested the other surround modes ( DTS:X, DD, 7.1 uncompressed, 5.1 uncompressed ). Xbox Narrator breaks all of them.

I understand that accessibility is important 'n all, but please make sure that these features don’t break games and apps for those of us who don’t need these things. If you don’t, an audiophile like me will find these issues. We’re always in search of the best possible sound.

update: This workaround only works if you go through the menu to toggle the narrator. Using the shortcut ( long press xbox button on controller ) does not work.


I’ve done tons of testing and the best sound I can get is by doing these 2 things.

  1. set FH5 screen reader to off.
  2. toggle xbox narrator on and off every time I change cars ( this is ULTRA annoying ).

This makes them sound as I’d expect. Great sound stage, great EQ profile. Just great in general. Xbox accessibility narrator is 100% breaking the spatial audio in all games and apps on this console. I’ve tested at least 50 games and every streaming app.

You have GOT to get the xbox team to fix this ASAP.

@T10ManteoMax This is still an issue. Sounds like the Xbox native narrator bug got fixed tho so that’s good. I have reason to believe that the reason all the audio in FH5 is so buzzy is because of these 3 screen reader modes. I think this feature is the source of a lot of audio bugs in this game tbh. Definitely needs looking into.