How do I set up audio for VR and for external speakers at the same time?

Update 20 March 2017: We've refreshed this list to include an update from Oculus that makes mirroring your audio as simple as possible. No more intricate workarounds!

Half the fun of VR experiences is letting others watch while you play. You might also have an insane surround sound system that you want to test out with a 3D video or game. In these cases, you'll have to split the experience's audio between VR and some external speakers. Whether you're using a Rift or a Vive, here's how to mirror your VR audio.

How to split audio between Oculus Rift and external speakers

Way back in June 2016, Dave from Oculus responded to a question posed on the Oculus forums: Is it possible to play audio through two devices simultaneously?

He stated that devs were hopefully going to implement a feature like this (which SteamVR has had since, like, forever) in an upcoming update, and that update has finally arrived! Instead of using an elaborate workaround method, it's now as easy as making a few settings in the Oculus app.

  1. Launch the Oculus app from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click the gear button in the top-right corner of the window.
  3. Click Settings.

    Click the gear button. Click Settings.

  4. Click Devices.
  5. Click Rift.

    Click Devices. Click Rift.

  6. Click Rift headphones below Audio Output in VR.
  7. Click Both (audio mirroring).

    Click Rift headphones. Click Both (audio mirroring).

That's it! Your audio will now come out of your PC's speakers and your Rift headphones.

How to split audio between HTC Vive and external speakers

When it comes to splitting audio between your Vive and any external speakers, SteamVR has made it incredibly easy — it's just a matter of going into the Settings menu and switching a mirror option.

Before you head into the Setting menu to make changes, ensure your speakers are plugged into your PC. If you don't have anything plugged in, they won't show up as an option for mirroring.

  1. Launch Steam from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click the VR button near the top-right corner of the window. SteamVR will launch.
  3. Click the dropdown arrow next to SteamVR.

    Click the VR button. Click the dropdown arrow.

  4. Click Settings.
  5. Click Audio.

    Click Settings. Click Audio.

  6. Click the dropdown arrow beneath Mirror audio to device.
  7. Click Speakers or the corresponding option where you'd like to mirror the audio from VR. If you don't see any options to mirror to, make sure your speakers are plugged securely into your PC.

    Click the dropdown arrow. Click Speakers.

What's your setup like?

Have you taken the steps needed to split your audio between VR and some external speakers?