SteamVR 1.8 is now out of Beta and with it, comes plenty of updates to the whole system with some big audio changes and some good sounding Linux fixes.
The biggest changes seem to be on the audio side of SteamVR with this release. By default, SteamVR will now select the correct audio input and output devices that actually belong to the active VR HMD. Valve said this works with the Index, Vive, Vive Pro, Rift and Rift S. OpenVR HMD drivers will also "in the near future" be able to tell SteamVR about audio devices too, so that's great. They've updated the settings UI too, to reflect this as you can override the audio input/output. Additionally, if you saw your audio settings vanish after updates, they fixed multiple problems there. There's plenty more, like SteamVR now actually restoring audio settings to their correct prior state, Index HMDs default to 40% audio instead of 100% when run for the first time, so newer users shouldn't get such a shock and so on.
If you saw flickering issues, this release might also help with that. The default colour is now black which should help avoid it on startup, plus there's a fix for flickering overlays with games that don't have a good framerate. Their Base Stations also saw a few adjustments, including improvements to Base Station 2.0 wireless updates which should be less flaky now.
On the Linux side, there's some really big sounding improvements. They managed to fix asynchronous reprojection hitches and stutters, thanks to many bug reports. Performance on lower-end Linux systems was turned up a notch, various crashes were solved, using 100% of one CPU core on recent NVIDIA drivers was squished, a ghost window opening for desktop webui panels should no longer happen along with an empty window on the desktop opening when SteamVR is started and so on.
Really great to see so many fixes for Linux Virtual Reality getting in. See the full release notes here.
For our readers who do have some VR device, has this big 1.8 made an improvement for you? Do let us know in the comments.