There are a lot of gaming headsets on the market these days, all usually very pricey and featuring a well known gaming brand like Razer, Hyper X or Turtle Beach on the cover. All of these deliver along the same line of performance so a lot of the time it’s more about the brand than the headset. Yet here comes a company that has flown low in the gaming accessory market that really needs a lot more interest, and that’s Plantronics. Seen more as a low end entry accessory company, Plantronics has come out with one of the most impressive headsets on the market today.
Name: Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition Headset
Release Date: Out Now
MSRP: $199 AUD
Ok, let’s start things out with all those lovely technical bits and pieces that those tech nerds love to drool over.
- 50 mm performance drivers
- Metal exoskeleton
- Acoustic chambers
- Dual-material earcushions
- RIG game audio dial for console
- Inline volume control for PC
- Multiple configurations
- 3.5 mm compatibility
- Mic frequency response 100 Hz–10 kHz
- Mic sensitivity -45 dBV/Pa
- Mic signal-to-noise ratio >42 dB
- Mic pick-up pattern Uni-directional
- Headphone weight 323 g/11.4 oz
- Headphone frequency response 20 Hz–20 kHz
- Headphone impedance 32 ohms
- Headphone sensitivity 111 dBSPL/V
- Headphone maximum input power 40 mW
- Headphone drivers Dynamic 50 mm
- Compatibility Cross Platform, Laptop, PC
- Cable length 1.3 m
So what does this mean for the average consumer? It means quality folks! As someone who has bayed at the alter of brands like Hyper X and Turtle Beach for many years, it’s amazing to see another brand on the shelf that delivers professional Esports ready quality sound for gaming specifically. A lot of brands don’t think about building for gaming sound as they don’t understand that it is different than using standard movie/TV/music surround sound. As gamers, we spend a lot of time listening for what comes next, things like the shuffle of feet through grass in Fortnight, the slight footsteps in a house during PUBG, the moan of a zombie around the corner in Resident Evil. Where as movie/TV surround sound is meant more to create impact and emphasis the actions on screen at the time they happen.
The Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition picks up every little noise going on around the player at any time and makes sure you know exactly what is going on and which direction it is coming from. My previous headset of choice, a Hyper X Cloud Mav Edition, did the same thing but it was designed with that in mind. Plantronics RIG 500 Esports Edition is pretty much the same deal, built from the ground up as a headset designed specifically with 7.1 surround sound in mind as a base, then it adds newer technology like Dolby Atmos for Xbox One and Windows 10 as a bonus so you really get the most out of the headset.
Speaking of Xbox One, the Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition is also designed to take advantage of the audio output on controllers while maintaining surround sound at all times. Using the specially designed volume controller plug, you just plug into the output socket on your Xbox One or Playstation 4 controller and bam! Instant surround sound. Playing games that really take advantage of high quality surround sound like MARVEL Spider-Man really makes you feel a part of the world as you can almost hear the wind blowing past your ears as you web-swing through New York. In more shooter based games, every bullet sounds so loud that you’d be forgiven in thinking that you had a real gun in your hands. Luckily you can easily adjust the volume via the plug on the controller cord to a lower setting if you don’t want your ears to bleed.
The microphone on the Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition is really something. For a very simple design, you’d think that there would be a lot of background noise pick up through the microphone, but there isn’t much. Having spent time using this in Discord during a very loud evening watching wrestling with the boys on The Outerhaven, the only time there was any noise bleed was when I was speaking. Otherwise there is no noise pick up even while sitting in the middle of a pretty loud surround sound system. This makes the microphone on this headset one of the best ones out there. Hell, this is so well designed that when you have the microphone pointed to the top of the headset, it’s actually switched off, thus making the embarrassing nature of having it pointed at the roof trying to talk during a podcast and sounding like a fool. Bringing the microphone down into talking position turns the mic on, so that works really well too.
Finally, when it comes to comfort, the Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition doesn’t skimp on the fluff. Taking a page from a lot of higher end headsets, you get two choices of foam ear cups to choose from in order to make sure that you are comfortable during extremely long gaming sessions. All this combined with amazing sound and a microphone that works better than most others on the market, the Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition is not only one of the cheapest gaming headsets on the market, but one of the best made too. Well worth the purchase if you’re looking for a good professional level gaming headset.
Low end price, high end quality sound
The Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition headset is one of those headsets that you would have never thought about buying while there are many other well known and promoted brands out there. But what you are missing out on is a top quality headset for a entry level price. Plantronics has found the magical formula to get top end performance out of surprisingly smaller end parts. Combined this makes one of the best headsets on the market that you should own right now.
- High quality sound
- Microphone on/off positional switch
- Surround sound out of console controllers
- Nice fit with a lot of comfort
- Single 3.5mm plug style with no splitter cord included
- Some plugs are a bit stiff
- Only 3 height settings for the physical headset