Update: Oculus released the 1.38 update on its “public test channel” to address audio issues along with “updated firmware to reduce occurrence of display issues.”
The Oculus Rift S features a few changes over the original. Many of them are for the better, like the new halo head strap for improved comfort. Some, like the sensor-free inside-out tracking have sparked debate about quality vs convenience. Others, meanwhile, are just flat out unpopular.
The audio appears to be one such area. Rift S swaps out the original Rift’s excellent onboard headphones for a solution closer to Oculus Go and Quest. There are speakers next to both of your ears that allow you to hear VR apps without putting on earphones or headphones. We quite like the solution on other Oculus devices, but users on r/Oculus have been reporting issues since Rift S started arriving. There are plenty of complaints about audio quality and volume (specifically that it doesn’t go loud enough).
“Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the rest of the Rift S, and I knew the audio quality was going to drop, but I didn’t expect it to drop as much as that,” one user wrote. “They’re genuinely some of the worst speakers I’ve ever heard, it’s a massive shame after coming from the OG Rift with those insanely high quality speakers! Still, at least headphones are an option I suppose!”
Help Is On The Way
In fact, the complaints have been prevalent enough to prompt a response from Head of VR Product, Nate Mitchell. “We’re working on a software update that will improve the audio quality of the on-board audio system,” Mitchell said in one thread. “This will arrive as part of the monthly Rift platform releases. Stay tuned for more details.”
Mitchell didn’t say exactly which monthly update would include a fix, but hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, some VR fans have turned to alternative solutions for Rift S audio. We’ve even seen people using the Mantis clip-on headphones that were originally designed for PSVR.