3 Popular VR Headsets With Sound & Mic (Guide)

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  • VR
Budget Choice
Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-in-One Virtual Reality...
Editor Choice
HTC VIVE Cosmos
Valve Index VR Full Kit
Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-in-One Virtual Reality...
HTC VIVE Cosmos
Valve Index VR Full Kit
$373.99
$599.00
$1,099.00
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573 Reviews
167 Reviews
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Budget Choice
Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-in-One Virtual Reality...
Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-in-One Virtual Reality...
$373.99
-
-
-
Editor Choice
HTC VIVE Cosmos
HTC VIVE Cosmos
$599.00
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573 Reviews
Valve Index VR Full Kit
Valve Index VR Full Kit
$1,099.00
-
167 Reviews

Last update on 2021-10-08 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

Virtual Reality is just at the beginning of its journey, and brands are experimenting with different features on their products. Their approach towards sound is also different, making it a bit difficult for some people to use VR headsets. 

Don’t fret! We’re here to answer your questions about VR headsets and audio. 

Before that, if you’re new to VR, read our other guide to learn the basics: what devices VR headsets can connect to 

Do VR Headsets Have Mics?

Many VR headsets come with mics, but not all do. The first generation of VR headsets like the Google cardboard or even the new headsets with simple designs don’t feature a built-in microphone.

However, almost all high-end PC VR headsets and standalone models have an integrated mic. The mic is usually out of sight, hidden somewhere inside the headset.

For example, the standalone headsets Oculus Quest 1 and Oculus Quest 2 have built-in mics. Among the PC VR headsets, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, and HTC Vive Cosmos all come with microphones. 

Once you plug these headsets into your computer, you’ll see their microphones listed under the “Recording Devices.” 

Even the PlayStation VR headset has an integrated mic. But phone VR headsets don’t have mics.

If necessary, they use the microphone in your smartphone when you place it inside the headset. If you connect headphones to your smartphone, you can use the built-in mic headphones.

Do VR Headsets Have Sound/Audio?

You need to hear the sound of the game you’re playing or the movie you’re watching, so VR headsets should transfer the sound to you somehow.

Some VR headsets can generate sound through small built-in speakers that usually sit next to your ears when you put the headsets on. This is especially important for standalone headsets, like the Oculus Quest 1, Quest 2, and Oculus Go. Among high-end PC VRs, the Oculus Rift S has small speakers integrated into the head strap.

These speakers aren’t specifically private since they bleed out some of the sounds into the surrounding world.

The Valve Index and HTC Vive Cosmos have devices that look like headphones attached to both sides. They go over your ears when you put the VR headset on, and you can hear the sound through them.

The HTC Vive PC headset and Sony’s PlayStation console headset both require you to use separate headphones.

This way, you can choose a high-quality headphone that suits your taste and immerse yourself in the world of VR. The downside is the addition of another unwanted wire, reducing your movement options.

Since your smartphone powers phone VR headsets, the audio comes through its speakers. So, phone headsets like the Samsung Gear VR or Google’s Daydream don’t have speakers and can’t be attached to headphones.

However, you can attach headphones to your phone while inside the headsets and hear the sound through there.

How Do You Hear Sound On VR?

Built-In Speakers

Some VR headset brands have fashioned small speakers integrated into the headset itself. It’s usually placed in the head strap where you can’t see.

These built-in speakers eliminate the need to wear other headphones with dangling wires. However, some sounds can get out, causing the people next to you to hear them.

Attached Headsets

Some models come with earphones attached to the headset’s body. They look like regular headphones, but you can’t take them off or use them individually.

The quality of the attached headsets varies from one brand to another, but they usually don’t let the sound bleed out. Also, they don’t have annoying wires to bother you when playing games.

External Headsets

A majority of VR headsets need you to attach your pair of headphones for hearing the sound. Most of them have headphone jacks, but some PC VR headsets restrict you from attaching the headphones to the computer you’re using.

Smartphone

As mentioned before, the sound source in a Phone VR headset is the smartphone you place inside. So, to hear the sound more clearly, you can connect a pair of headphones or earbuds to your mobile through its audio jack.

It’s also possible to connect Bluetooth headphones to your smartphone to eliminate extra wires.

TV or PC speakers

Some VR headsets like the PSVR generate sound through TV speakers and the headphones you attach to them.

So, you can either use the TV’s speakers to create a decent sound setup for your VR games match or mute the TV and attach headphones to the PSVR.

If you’re an Xbox fan, find out if any VR headsets work with the console.

Also, some PC VR headset models allow you to mirror audio to the computer, so the sound comes from the PC’s speakers.

Popular VR Headsets with Sound and Mic

Oculus Quest 2

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Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-in-One Virtual Reality...
  • Next-level Hardware - Make every move count with a blazing-fast processor and our highest-resolution display.
  • All-In-One Gaming - With backward compatibility, you can explore new titles and old favourites in the expansive Quest content...
  • Immersive Entertainment - Get the best seat in the house to live concerts, groundbreaking films, exclusive events and more.

Last update on 2021-10-08 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

The Oculus Quest 2 is a standalone headset that can work without the help of any other device. It’s also one of the most popular and affordable VR headsets around.

Oculus Quest 2 is light, comfortable, and easy to work with.

This headset doesn’t limit your movements with extra wires and cables, not even headphone’s wires.

It has its built-in rear-firing speakers and lets you plug your headphones into its 3.5mm audio jack. Oculus Quest 2 packs an integrated microphone with decent quality.

The headset comes with upgraded RAM capacity compared to its predecessor. It also has a larger pixel density, giving you a crystal clear image. The batteries can run up to three hours.

Oculus Quest 2 doesn’t need external trackers. It has its built-in sensors, plus outward-facing cameras, which will warn you whenever you get close to an object in the real world.

You can connect the Quest 2 to a PC and use it as a PC VR headset to access more games.

Pros

  • Standalone and wireless.
  • Integrated speakers and microphone.
  • High image quality.
  • Light and comfortable.
  • Built-in tracking sensors.
  • Can work with a PC.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • May cause motion sickness.
  • Video quality is not as good as PC VR headsets.

HTC Vive Cosmos

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HTC VIVE Cosmos
573 Reviews
HTC VIVE Cosmos
  • 6 TRACKING CAMERAS - Get expansive movement coverage with a wide tracking field-of-view
  • SUPERIOR VISUAL FIDELITY - 2880 x 1700 combined-resolution, 90Hz refresh rate & adjustable interpupillary distance (IPD) dial for...
  • CONVENIENT FLIP-UP DESIGN - Snap back to reality with a simple push of your display and headphones

Last update on 2021-10-08 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

Vive Cosmos is HTC’s upgraded replacement for the famous HTC Vive. The Cosmos is a PC-powered VR headset that hits the sweet middle ground considering pricing.

It offers a high-quality image with standard hand controllers. Although the software interface is reportedly confusing, the hardware is easy to set up.

The Vive Cosmos has multiple inside-out cameras to track your movements and warn you when you get close to an edge.

It has a built-in mic and attached headphones with decent audio quality. Using your earphones is also an option.

Pros

  • High image quality.
  • Convenient hardware setup.
  • Integrated tracking cameras.
  • Built-in mic.
  • Attached headphones.
  • Potential upgrade options.

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive.
  • Complicated software.

Valve Index

Last update on 2021-10-08 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

The Valve Index is a PC VR headset with excellent build quality. It connects to a high-end computer via wires and tracks your motions with the help of external lighthouse base stations.

The hand controllers are very intuitive, with the ability to track each finger individually and identify the pressure of your grip.

It has one LCD for each eye that provides great image quality with high resolution. The refresh rate is customizable so that it can suit your PC’s specs.

Valve Index’s integrated speakers provide clear audio and dual noise-canceling microphones at the bottom of the HMD.

Pros

  • Unmatched image quality.
  • Customizable refresh rate.
  • Smart hand controllers.
  • Comfortable.
  • Integrated speakers.
  • Dual noise-canceling mics.

Cons

  • Heavy.
  • Tethered and needs external trackers.
  • Expensive.

How to Use an External Mic with VR Headset

Not all VR headsets let you use an external mic instead of their default built-in microphones. For example, the Oculus Quest VR headsets don’t accept a mic input because its audio jack is output only and has no mic input capability.

But if you want to use the mic on an external pair of headphones, you should connect it to the PC instead of the Oculus headset. This won’t work if you’re playing on the headset itself.

You should instead connect the standalone headset to the PC through Oculus Link.

Then, you’ll have to switch the Windows audio to use the headphone’s mic instead of directing the audio to the VR headset:

1. Type in Control Panels into the Windows search box and select the app that shows up.

2. Click on Hardware and Sound.

3. Under Sound, click on Change System Sounds.

4. From the window that pops open, choose the Recording tab from the upper menu.

5. Then, right-click on the microphone you plan on using.

6. Select Set as Default Device.

7. Right-click on the mic again, and this time, choose Set as Default Communication Device.

The approach could also work with other PC VR headsets, depending on the brand and model. Moreover, you can use a pair of wireless headphones, connect them to your PC, and go through the mentioned steps to use its mic.

Some VR headsets like the HTC Vive have another plan for using an external mic. You’ll need the help of a 3.5mm splitter for separating your headphone and your external mic. The next step is connecting it to a separate USB and then plugging it into the spare port on the VR headset.

Windows might select the HTC’s internal mic as the default source microphone, so go through the steps above to change it before starting a game.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with sound could get a bit frustrating when working with VR headsets. Some VR headsets come with embedded speakers, while others let you connect external headphones and earbuds.

You may also be able to transfer sound to a TV, external speakers, or your smartphone. But, at least for now, Bluetooth compatibility isn’t a popular option.  

There are workarounds to solve some of the problems, but if you don’t get results with your VR headset, you’ll need to wait for the producers to upgrade their designs and hopefully give you more freedom when dealing with sound.