100 Things #82: Measuring Audio Leakage From A VR Headset

Virtual Reality Headsets may be new to the market, but users already expect excellent sound quality to enhance the immersive experience. SoundCheck’s flexibility means you can measure almost any device including VR headsets, by leveraging it’s step-based sequence functionality. VR headset measurements can be made with the same parameters as any other headset; frequency response, perceptual distortion, phase, and more. With the addition of the MDT-4000 turntable, headset audio leakage can be measured to better quantify what people nearby would hear from a user’s VR headset.

Measuring Audio Leakage From A VR Headset

Try VR headset measurements for yourself

Our pre-written VR Headset Leakage Measurement sequence takes the guesswork out of VR headset measurements, with commands pre-programmed to work with the PT&D MDT-4000 turntable.

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Virtual Reality and Augmented reality headset measurements are made in pretty much the same way as other headphone and headset measurements. However, one thing to be aware of is that VR and AR headsets often have the speakers located in the headband. This means that you need to use a head and torso simulator where the speaker can be in a realistic position relative to the ear, rather than lower cost couplers or headphone test jigs that rely on the headphone sitting directly in, or on the fixture to create a tight seal. 

With this setup, you can use any of our standard headphone test sequences to measure frequency response, phase, distortion, impedance, sensitivity and other parameters.

Another measurement that is particularly useful for virtual reality headset characterization is headset leakage. With the speakers unoccluded on the headband – not sealed on the ear canal –  there can be considerable acoustic leakage, and designers try to minimize the noise emanating from the device so as not to annoy other listeners nearby. 

Here, we’ll use a measurement microphone to simulate what the nearby listener hears from the person wearing the VR headset and a turntable to produce a polar plot showing the level of leakage from the VR headset versus angle. You can set the microphone position to whatever distance you want to measure, and define the test level. When we run the sequence, it plays a test signal and the microphone records the acoustic leakage. The turntable then rotates through 10 degrees and re-measures. We repeat this through 180 degrees, and mirror the results to get a full 360 degrees plot. This test sequence also shows the frequency response at each angle. This sequence is available free of charge on our website if you want to try it out.