PSVR2 Interference Solution

I don’t leave my PSVR2 setup, which means every time I play (which is pretty much every day and sometimes a few times a day) I have to plug in the headset. I have had bad luck with USB ports in the past, possibly because I am old and my eyes are dim and I tend to fumble around plugging stuff in. Whatever the case, I was concerned about constantly connecting/disconnecting the PSVR2.

I figured the safest bet was to buy a short USB extension cable and leave that plugged in to the PS5 all the time. Then for bonus points I bought one of those magnetic connectors for the cable. I made sure both expansion and adapter were rated for 40 GPS.

Specifically here’re the items I bought (Amazon US links):

CABLEDECONN USB4 8K Cable 0.8M Thunderbolt 4 Compatible USB 4 Type-c Male to Female Extension Cable Ultra HD 8K@60Hz 100W Charging 40Gbps Data Transfer Compatible with External SSD eGPU

USB C Magnetic Adapter, (2 Pack) DuHeSin Magnetic USB C Adapter 24 Pin Straight with PD 140w Charge USB4 40Gbps Data Transfer 8K 60Hz Video for Thunderbolt 3/4, MacBook Pro/Air and More Type C Devices

I was a little concerned that adding these parts to the setup would cause frame drops or tracking issues with the PSVR2 headset but I was willing to risk it.

The good news is, PSVR2 worked absolutely fine with this set up.

The bad news is, now the Pulse 3D Wireless Headphones (which connect via a dongle) started dropping audio constantly. That was unexpected.

I did some research online and the easiest solution was to move the dongle to a port on the back of the PS5 (if you haven’t seen a PS5, on the front of the system is a USB-A format port, and a USB-C format port, right next to each other. The Pulse uses the A port and the PSVR2 visor uses the C port). This mostly worked for me but now the Pulse headphones had micro-drops even when I wasn’t using PSVR2. Prior to all this they had worked flawlessly.

More researching. People said it was the magnetic connector. But more and more I saw that folks had the same issue just by using an extension cable. The best theory I read was that most cables aren’t shielded as well as the PSVR2’s ‘native’ cable so stuff was leaking out and interfering with the Pulse dongle.

See how I said “stuff” was leaking out? That’s because I know nothing. Is it EM? Magentic fields? Ectoplasm? I have no idea.

But I found a fix: Ferrite Cores. Sounds so sci-fi. But these are little gizmos that just snap onto a cable and reduce this interference. Here is the set I bought (also pictured at the top of the post):

20 Pcs Snap on Ferrite Core Cord Ring RFI EMI Noise Filter Suppressor Cable Clip for 3.5mm/5mm/7mm/9mm/13mm Diameter Cable, Black

Picture of a ferrite core on a usb extension cableFor best results, I read, you should loop your cable twice through a ferrite core. With the above set of cores, the biggest ones are big enough to accommodate that extension cable looped through twice. Actually the fit was a little loose so I stuffed a few pieces of bamboo skewer in there to make everything snug. It looks like ass but so far it works perfectly. No more drops on the headphones and the magnetic connector makes it easy to attach/detach the visor without any fumbling.

Now that I know it works I’ll see about clipping the bamboo down some. If I get really ambitious I might take it all apart and try it without doing the loop which I think would look a lot cleaner. Maybe I’ll do some experimenting over the weekend. I also worry a tiny bit about the weight of the cable hanging out of that port though I think the fact that the loop touches the ghetto unfinished bookcase that I use as a console stand might help with that. I also used some silicon tape to tape the business end of the cable to the side of the bookcase to keep it out of the way and provide some resistance. The idea is that if someone trips over the cable, it’ll detach at the magnetic connector rather than pull the PS5 off the shelf.

Anyway that’s it. It was an easy fix after a lot of googling, so I figured I’d share.

Playstation VR2 Gripes

It’s been a little over 3 weeks since I bought the Playstation VR2 and I realized I haven’t talked about it much on the blog.

Generally speaking, I like it a lot. I’ve been using the Quest 2 quite a bit and the upgrade in fidelity between it and PSVR2 is anything from solid to amazing, depending on the port. The haptic feedback feels better than on the Quest 2. For example when playing Beat Saber if you really whip the saber through the air you feel a bit of quiver in the controller like you’re feeling air resistance. At least I think that is what is happening…in the heat of the moment when you’re in the ‘world’ and all that, reality and virtual reality can kind of start to blend together. Maybe it is in my imagination!

It is also really comfortable once you get everything set up right. Once I put it on I lose track of time and hours fly by.

So basically I’m glad I got it but I do have some gripes, mostly around modularity (and forgive me for comparing PSVR2 to the Quest 2 but the Q2 is what I’m most familiar with.) So here’re some things I’d like to see changed in a PSVR 2+ or whatever.

First, the included ear buds sound terrible to me. They’re very tinny sounding and the speakers in the headband of the Quest 2 sound better, IMO. Fortunately I already owned the Playstation Pulse Wireless Headset and I just use that. The ear buds have been removed and set aside.

As a bonus I feel like the Pulse headphones actually help to keep the PSVR Visor positioned correctly to some extent.

Second, as far as I can tell there is no way to replace the headband of PSVR2. The band works pretty well for me, but one of the nice things about the Quest 2 is that there’s a whole cottage industry of replacement headbands so you can shop around and find a style that really works well for you.

Ditto the “interface” (the part of the visor that presses on your face). On the Quest 2, this pops out and you can buy anything from a silicon cover to a complete replacement. Choices are nice. The PSVR2 ‘light shield’ (as they call it) does come off but it has 14 little tabs that have to be detached and Sony warns us to be careful as they could break. The Quest 2 interface just pops out and takes just a second to remove/replace.

And one more: the cushion inside the ‘halo’ of the PSVR2 strap also doesn’t appear to be detachable and I wish it was.

Why the obsession with swappable parts? First because everyone’s head is different and second, hygiene. The PSVR2 (like any VR visor) is HOT and if you’re playing a stand-up or room-scale VR game that includes a lot of activity your head and face are going to start sweating. That sweat saturates the cushion inside the halo and the parts of the visor that press against your face. I REALLY miss being able to disassemble the headset so I can wipe down each part individually (and eventually replace them as they get worn).

So far my ‘solution’ to this problem is to always wear a bandana on my head under the visor. That makes the sweat a bit more manageable, at least, but it’s one more thing to add to the balancing act that is getting the visor in the ‘sweet spot.’

In general getting the PSVR2 on and adjusted feels a lot more fiddly than putting on the Quest 2 (with a 3rd party strap that I love) though once everything is setup I think the PSVR2 is more comfortable. I should add that I did purchase a “comfort strap‘ that adds one more point of support, and as mentioned I think the cups of the Pulse headset help to keep the strap from slipping down.

The trick to wearing the PSVR2 is pulling the back of the strap way down below the curve of the back of your skull almost to where you’d say your neck begins. Old hippy that I am, I have a ponytail and the strap goes below that (and below the knot of the bandana). Then the halo presses against your forehead and in theory the visor just kind of floats in front of your face. If you feel a lot of weight on your nose then you probably have the back of the strap too high on your head.

My last gripe is that I kind of miss the ecosystem that the Quest has. PSVR2 has games and that’s about it. The Quest has games and 3D videos and VR experiences and fitness apps, plus fitness trackers. When you turn on the Quest you’re in a virtual environment that you can mess around in, and you can even bring your physical couch into your VR space so you can sit on it (desks too). PSVR2 doesn’t have any of that, and I get that it is meant as just a gaming system but I still miss the extras. At the least it’d be nice to have a virtual space to hang out in (the return of Playstation Home maybe).

So that’s about it; my list of gripes. But again, I still really like the headset and I have no regrets about buying it. And it is a young device so maybe over time we’ll see products that alleviate some of my complaints.

Back Down the VR Rabbit Hole

I had planned to do a couple more ‘first look’ posts about some Game Pass games this weekend; there’s a couple I’m curious about. But I got side-tracked in a big way: I’ve been bitten by the VR bug again.

A couple weeks back I posted about how I’d started doing VR ‘workouts’. I’m still doing those. OK it’s been 2 weeks so I’m not going to claim it’s been a lifestyle change or anything, but I have gotten into a routine. I’ve been doing the workouts Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday. Tuesday and Friday are rest days. Saturdays I do a LOT of walking with Lola so while I’m not doing a ‘workout’ I’m not resting either. Fitbit counts it as an exercise day, so all told I’m exercising 5 days/week which seems reasonable and sustainable.

And when I say workouts what I mean is “playing games that require enough movement to work up a sweat.’ The Meta Quest Move app lets you set 3 kinds of goals: sessions/week, minutes/day and number of calories burned. I set all three quite low to start. I am an old out of shape dude with a history of fatal heart attacks on my father’s side of the family tree, after all. My ‘quiver’ of games so far is Beat Saber, The Climb and Pistol Whip with Beat Saber being kind of the backbone of the routine. But generally I just play the three games until the Move app says I’ve hit my goals, then generally keep playing because I’m just having fun. For example my minutes/day is set at 20 and today I stopped at 50 minutes and then I only stopped because of real world obligations.

So far, this is working just in the sense that I feel SO much better than I have been feeling, both physically and mentally. The workouts are strenuous enough that I feel good and tired but light enough that I can get on with my day after I’m done, and rather than dreading doing them, I look forward to them. My mood has improved so much; like I didn’t realize what a cloud I’d been living under until a bit of exercise seemed to chase it away. In fact last week I had a day where the ‘old me’ returned for some reason and I was like “How did I live like this?” Happily it was just a bad day and by the next morning I was feeling good again. Maybe more importantly when I was ‘down’ I was aware that I was ‘down’ and that what I was feeling wasn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, normal.

But being in the habit of putting on the VR visor 4 times/week has had a dangerous side-effect. I’m really enjoying being ‘in’ VR worlds again and I kind of want more games to play and not just exercise games.

What’s funny is a few months ago I was telling friends about how I’m just DONE with VR. The visors are a hassle, setup is irritating and it’s just not worth it. But after a couple weeks the routine of getting into the VR world takes just a couple minutes. I shove the coffee table one way, shove an ottoman the other way and I have space in front of the couch. Putting the Quest 2 on takes just a second now. None of it feels like much of a hassle.

This weekend, I dug out the Oculus Rift 2, which I hadn’t used in ages and ages. Getting THAT set up was kind of a hassle. Meta no longer makes the Rift so I had to dig around to find the software and get it installed and all that. First I connected it to my gaming PC and had some issues with sound (this PC has given me SO many headaches around sound and I have NEVER gotten a microphone to work on it), plus there is NO space around my gaming PC. Then I decided to try it on my old gaming laptop (in the living room where I have space) and the jury is still out on whether it is really powerful enough to do the job. [Jury is no longer out. The old laptop, which is what I used to use with the Rift, just can’t put out the framerate needed for a comfortable experience. I started getting motion sick using it. Switched back to the new gaming PC and that discomfort vanished. No wonder I didn’t ‘stick’ with PC VR back in the day.]

But the brief time I used it connected to the gaming PC, I was reminded of how much better ‘connected’ VR looks compared to the Quest 2, which of course runs on a mobile processor.

All of which led me to start thinking about Playstation VR 2. I laughed when Sony announced PSVR2 because it was SO expensive, but when I compared it to PC VR headsets, it’s actually pretty affordable. For example the HTC Vive Pro 2 is $800 without controllers or the base stations you need to track it. The Valve index with the visor, controllers and base stations is $1400. Compared to that, PSVR2 $550 doesn’t seem that bad considering I already own the PS5. And the PS5 is right there where I’m doing my Quest 2 workouts so using it should be a cinch.

Next thing I know, I’m down the You Tube rabbit hole watching PSVR2 reviews, tips, and accessories videos, which is why I never got to those Game Pass titles. (Well that and a Genshin event was about to expire and it had a lot of primogems as rewards so I spent a bunch of time crunching through that.) Generally the buzz is pretty favorable with the biggest con being that the ‘sweet spot’ where the image looks best is pretty small so you may need to adjust the visor every so often to make sure is still properly aligned. I can live with that.

While I haven’t taken the plunge yet, I did order some prescription lenses for the PSVR2, which means it’s more or less a matter of “When” rather than “If” I get one. Or I guess I write off the $75 that the lenses cost me as money lost in a fit of madness. But I think I’ll be ordering PSVR2 pretty soon, and I’m excited about it.