Valve Releases SteamVR 1.8 Update Which Comes with Major Improvements
The SteamVR 1.8 that has just been released is an improvement that has been long overdue.
Many VR headset owners using Steam have most likely encountered some audio issues, especially when switching between PC and VR. One of the main issues is sound coming from the PC speakers rather than the glasses headphones when a user puts on the virtual reality headset and starts the SteamVR app. Or the sounds may come from the VR headphones rather than the PC speakers when a user sits back in front of their monitor. These audio issues are quite annoying for SteamVR users.
Valve has now released the SteamVR 1.8 update to correct the audio management along with other issues. The update is known as The Audio Update. The Update 1.8 for SteamVR fixes the design bug that causes the audio issues. The software will automatically select the right sound source for the connected virtual reality headset at startup. When a user closes SteamVR, the sound source will shift back to the original setting. This is configurable in the SteamVR menu under “Audio”.
The SteamVR update brings visual integration from the HTC Vive Cosmos
As part of the SteamVR Update 1.8, there will also be the official support for Vive Cosmos which will come in the form matching VR controller models as well as icons in the menus.
Additional enhancements in the Update 1.8 include inter-frame calculation to provide for a consistently fluid refresh rate with minimal head movement. It is also now able to turn the app on or off. Valve has also added improvements in motion smoothing specific to the AMD graphics cards.
SteamVR users will be happy with the main update (which fixes the audio issues) in the latest update which will enable users to select the appropriate input and output audio devices for the active headset during the startup. When a user exits, SteamVR will automatically restore the audio devices to the previous state. With the new update, it will also be possible for users to customize the audio settings should they wish to do so.
The current default audio selection supports HTC Vive, Valve Index, HTC Vive Pro as well as Oculus Rift/Rift S. For the Windows Mixed Reality head-mounted displays, the Mixed Reality portal will manage the audio although the platform will still be compatible with the current Update 1.8.
Some of the audio improvements that will come with the current update include the following:-
- It is still possible to override the audio and output devices in the settings. The UI of the settings has been update so as to reflect these changes.
- The update has fixed the multiple causes leading to the audio settings being forgotten when there have been driver updates.
- Both the audio input and output settings can now be saved based on the HMD type. As a result, the audio settings for each HMD will be preserved when a user switches between multiple HMDs. When an owner is using a new HMD for the first time, the device will default to the use of the appropriate audio devices for that specific HMD.
- The update will allow for the audio mirroring to be directed to the Default computer device or to any specific output device. Once the mirroring has been detected and the Default selected, the sound from the virtual reality headset will play on any audio output that was default during the SteamVR launch.
- The update fixes some of the bugs that would prevent audio mirroring from working when the default device has been unexpectedly changed or which would require that mirror device be selected again.
- The default communication device and the default device have been changed in Windows ensuring that the voice chat programs leveraging the default communication device works in virtual reality without the need to change extra OS settings.
- Upon exit, SteamVR will restore the audio settings back to their previous state. Users will no longer be required to “exit” the devices in settings.
- The Vive HDMI gain reduction settings has been hidden for all the other VR headsets or HMDs.
- When using an Index HMD for the first time or after performing an audio driver update, volume level will default to 40% rather than 100%.
For a comprehensive list of the new functions and updates coming with the 1.8 Update, click here. The app update for SteamVR should update automatically next time you start Steam. Valve released the previous SteamVR update (Update 1.7) in mid-September.