At today’s Oculus Connect keynote, a number of new hardware announcements were made, including the reveal of a new pair of Oculus ‘Earphones’ that replace the removable headphones that come with the Rift.
Releasing on December 6 with pre-orders on October 10, the Rift Earphones are set to coincide with the launch of the company’s greatly anticipated Touch controllers which were announced with the same pre-order and launch dates.
For some, this might be their preferred audio choice, as Oculus have claimed that the earphones are designed for high noise isolation with optimized drivers that provide an even higher level of VR immersion; the standard headphones that ship with the Rift are on-ear and make it fairly easy to hear the real-world during your virtual adventures.
Without knowing the exact weights of each, we’re not sure yet how much the Rift Earphones will save over the headphones, but it may add up to a non-trivial amount. Looking back, it’s almost surprising this wasn’t the original audio solution for the headset.
Oculus emphasized the importance of audio and delivered quality audio with the original headphones, so we expect the sound quality of the Earphones to be pretty good, possibly even better than the headphones based on what Oculus is teasing. The company claims to have tested these Earphones against a similar pair priced at $900 and says that they were comparable in audio quality.
We’ll have our own impressions of these in due time as we have units on hand, but for now, you can take a look at these photos of the Apple-like packaging, and also note the different sized tips and headphone remover tool that come in the box.
In addition, Oculus will release CAD files for the design of their detachable headphones, so that anyone can make headphones that attach directly to the headset. CAD files for the removeable facial interface were also announced at the same time. Previous to this however, Audeze had shown a pair of earphones connected to the Rift directly, which, according to Engadget, was made possible with help from Oculus. That exchange was most likely the first successful attempt from Oculus to test the CAD design for a real third party product, allowing for them to finalize their decision to release the blueprints, so that any company could start making headphones for the Rift.