Plantronics have long been associated with headsets. Not necessarily of the gaming kind either. I’ve been familiar with their communications devices for a few years and I’ve always been impressed with the quality and features.
The company have ventured into the gaming market before, with the RIG gaming headset for the Xbox 360, and they’ve now announced that coming in 2016 will be the improved RIG 500HX.
The set will feature dynamic 40mm drivers that are matched with low-frequency resonators to boost the bass response, without destroying the mids and highs. You’ll be able to connect it in to the Xbox One headset adapter as it’s fitted with a 3.5mm jack.
That isn’t the end of the features though, you’ll be able to swap out the headband or ear cups, which I’m presuming will be available separately. Those ear cups are sound-isolating and if you flip the mic up, it will automatically mute it, a neat feature.
Want to listen to music or play without a mic? That’s no problem either as the mic will detach for just that reason.
So the big questions, how much and where can you get it? The recommended retail price will be a reasonable £44.99 and you should be able to pre-order it soon on GAME UK’s website with the release being slated for 2016.
You can find out more info on this attractive looking headset here. Do you think it can challenge the giants of AstroGaming and Turtle Beach?
Hands-on with the latest Plantronics RIG headset that can be used for PC/Mac, console and mobile’s I was really very impressed with both the quality of stereo sound as well as the RIG Mixer that allows you to switch and mix between taking mobile calls or streaming music in-sync with your gaming! With the RIG being the first headset I have used since my wireless Xbox 360 mic, I can genuinely state that my little wireless mic can stay in the drawer now I have discovered a multi-tasking headset that provides me with noticeably clearer and sharper voice quality and sound combined.
Headsets do not often become the centre of your social gaming universe, but hardcore gamers who can sit for 4 hours or more in one night on their favourite multiplayer game (as I can be found doing during the launch period of many triple AAA first person shooters as I attempt many an all-nighter); the inconvenience of having to stop mid game to take a phone call can be irritating – especially if you’ve been playing so well. Or, you might not bother taking calls and really miss something important! The benefit of the RIG Mixer included with the stereo headset is that with the press of a switch you can alternate between your mobile and your game chat on the fly without having to grind your game to a halt. Alternatively if you’d rather hear something more personal such as music or anything from an App you can blend it into your ears using the variable controls on the RIG Mixer – and remember that whatever you listen to it is only going to be in your ears only, so any other person nearby no longer needs to suffer if you happen to like heavy rock music whilst boosting your kill streaks. It’s all about variety with the Plantronics RIG headset, and the convenience of being able to listen to exactly what you want musically from your mobile and tablet device or blend both into your gaming session.
Although I have spent most of my time with the Plantronics RIG on the Xbox 360 because it is what I use primarily for gaming, you can use it with a PC/Mac and PS3 also as it comes with everything you need to connect to other devices in the box with an easy to use set-up guide. Worth mentioning at this point too that if you are thinking ahead with the Xbox One, the Plantronics RIG is Xbox One compatible with Microsoft’s upcoming mic converter that will allow any mic that works on the Xbox 360 to be used on the Xbox One. If you wanted to use it on just your mobile and head off out and about not only can you do that, but in the box comes an additional microphone so you are free to switch between a boom mic or an inline mic – Plantronics have really thought of everything to get you multi-connected to your favourite devices. Getting on to the specifics the wired headset is 40mm stereo, with a simple button press for seismic bass and 3 EQ modes to fiddle with. It also has optical input and everything is powered by USB. There is no need for additional batteries or power, or re-charging.
The whole idea and marketing theme for the Plantronics RIG is to “Play More. Pause Less.” This bold statement fits well as the ability to take calls and keep playing, game and use voice chat as well as streaming music and able to keep playing ensures you don’t have to just sit there with game music anymore – nor leave the room or even so much as move to answer calls. It’s a few additional activities that can be blended in with your gameplay, but be prepared for a little cable cluttering if you have only previously been used to plugging in a cheap nasty plastic headset straight into the controller. At the small cost of an extra wire here and there, I will say that the Plantronics RIG has exceptional sound quality and background noise cancelling-out technology when it came to chatting on Xbox LIVE, which included sending voice messages. All comments in return from messages I had sent came back with a majority not only wanting to know what amazing headset I must be using, but that I had sounded the clearest and sharpest they had ever heard from me. My Xbox LIVE friends have known me for years, some since the launch of the original Xbox 360. Not only was I totally impressed, but my new found super clear sharp voice over Xbox LIVE impressed others too!
Design wise and comfort also impressed with a really soft foam cushioned ear cup and headband that felt light and was still comfortable many hours later. There are three adjustment settings to the headband and the ear cups can be rotated so you can lay them down flat (which is a nice touch). For review purposes thisisxbox.com was sent a black and orange pair, but you can buy them in white too which looks pretty cool if you have white iPhone’s, iPads, or Mac’s and you like to colour co-ordinate your peripherals. When it comes to setting the RIG up for the devices it looks more complicated than it is due to the wiring. In simple terms for Xbox gamers you just plug in the boom mic, plug in the USB cable and sound connector, and then attach the small jack included from the RIG Mixer to the Xbox 360 controller so you’re all set to go. Once you have spent enough time on the Xbox 360 with the Plantronics RIG headset, it will only be a matter of time before you find yourself using it as your preferred headset for your PC as it is also Skype compatible (well anything that uses audio and mic on PC) and I have taken a liking to using it on my Windows Phone 8 for gaming and apps too.
As a gamer and a user of PC’s, Tablets and mobile’s I found the Plantronics RIG to be a fantastic piece of kit that I cannot recommend enough. The quality of audio over Xbox LIVE was exceptional and a noticeable improvement in comparison to other leading headsets and even Microsoft’s own. Having the ability to attach my mobile for calls is a great feature that can be applied when using the RIG with any other gaming console or even whilst just listening to music on your PC. Although the Plantronics RIG is a little pricier than regular gaming headsets, it’s likely an unmatched quality. You will never go back to that cheap little bit of plastic ever again!
A few weeks ago during Gamescom 2013, Plantronics had announced its awesome new RIG products that are designed to help multi-device connected gamers manage their digital life. It works by blending superior game audio and game chat, at home and on-the-go, with mobile audio, music, and apps, and lets users take calls without hitting the pause button! The first member of the RIG family is a premium stereo headset and mixer audio system, available worldwide this fall.
The RIG stereo headset and mixer empowers players to focus on the game by managing their mix, their way. With a smartphone connected to the mixer, switching between game chat and taking a phone call on the fly is simple, with a touch of the paddle. Inject an alternate soundtrack by firing up stored or app-based music in place of the game soundtrack from a connected smartphone or tablet. Dial in a preferred mix of game and smartphone sound – calls, music, and app notifications – for a fully customized audio experience.
Stereo Headset and Mixer, connects and mixes mobile phone and game audio
One-touch call, chat, and music controls
Master volume and mute control
Interchangeable boom and inline mics
Noise-canceling boom mic
Stealth in-line mic
Three EQ profiles: Pure. Intensify. Seismic
40mm speaker drivers
Ultra-comfortable ear cushions and headband
Compatible with PC/Mac, Xbox 360, PS3, smartphones, and tablets
Available in white and black
Visit: http://www.plantronics.com/rig/us/ for more details and to see how it works. Also, look out for our exciting review of the Plantronics RIG headset in the coming weeks!