Don’t Plantronics’ stodgy business-audio lineage fool you. The RIG stereo gaming headset may not look like much, but it’s definitely got game, delivering surprisingly good audio and a host of smartphone-friendly features in a lightweight, comfortable headset.
Plantronics RIG features and specifications (courtesy of Plantronics):
- Mixer connects and mixes mobile phone with game audio
- Interchangeable gaming boom mic and inline mic
- Connects to PC/Mac, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, smartphones, and tablets
- Three EQ profiles: Pure. Intensify. Seismic.
- 40mm speaker drivers
The RIG’s control module is a weighty desktop companion that connects to the headset and to your PC through a USB cable. And optical input is also supported.
You can also connect your smart phone to auxiliary 3.5mm connector. One of the RIG’s key features is the ability to connect to your smartphone and mix your game and smartphone audio at the same time—enabling you to play tunes or talk to grandma on your smartphone and still hear your game too.
Pressing the top left or top right side of the control module switches the volume mixer between game audio and your phone’s audio. A small slider on each side adjusts the volume. In addition, you can rotate the large outer ring of the control module to adjust the master volume.
Rounding out the RIG’s smartphone-friendly features is a swappable in-line microphone you can substitute for the detachable boom mic. One button on the control module mutes the microphone, and another toggles between 3 equalizer presets.
The RIG doesn’t require any driver software.
Although the RIG is nothing special to look at, its light construction and memory-foam lined ear cups make it very comfortable for long gaming or work sessions. Initially I thought the headband seemed like it needed more cushioning, but the RIG is light enough to offset the thinner cushioning. The ear cups also rotate a full 90 degrees so you can rest them comfortably around your neck.
Of course, the trade-off for this comfort is that the RIG doesn’t do much to seal you into your sound environment and block external noise.—but it is loud enough and has surprisingly good bass to help with that.
About the only design shortcoming is that the RIG, despite its great comfort and light construction—doesn’t fold up. For such a smartphone-friendly headset it would be nice if it was a little more portable. Here the RIG’s light plastic construction is a double-edged sword—it’s very comfortable, but pack it carefully if you plan to travel with it.
Again the RIG surprises with generally excellent audio quality and very satisfying bass. Explosions are big, bass is loud and distinct (not muddy), and music sounds great too. The RIG also has 3 equalizer presets you can switch between by pressing a small button on the control module (I prefer “Seismic” for the big booms).
The interchangeable inline mic and light construction also make the RIG a great companion for your smartphone, which you can connect to the RIG’s control module so you can answer the phone, Skype, etc. without interrupting your game.
Unfortunately, the RIG doesn’t support surround sound, but depending on your preferred games this may not be a concern. RTS/MOBA games, for example, don’t generally use surround sound (and relatively few games as a whole—particularly on the PC—support surround sound).
Overall: 4/5 Stars
The RIG is an excellent headset for work and play, delivering above average comfort, good stereo audio, and smartphone-friendly features all for under a $100 (now that prices have dropped some). Improved durability and portability—and possibly surround sound support—would be areas for future improvement.
Personal Note: Although the RIG certainly won’t be displacing the Astro Gaming A50 on my gaming PC, it is now my headset of choice for my work PC thanks to its comfort and smartphone features.