Today we are taking a look at Plantronics’ flagship gaming headset, the RIG. As soon as I had the RIG out of the box I was pretty happy with what I saw. The most obvious feature is the hardware mixer, which allows independent control of PC (or console) audio, chat audio, and phone audio (Yeah, it lets you connect a phone to the mixer so you can take calls while you game without taking off the headset). When I saw this feature I have to say I was pretty excited. More on that in a moment. The next thing I noticed was the fact that there were two microphone options. A boom mic and an in line mic – I’m all for customization, so that’s a plus in my book.
After getting the RIG set up and on my head, some of my initial enthusiasm started to wear off for a few reasons. First of all, the headset features “sidetone” (active playback of the mic into the headset). I am told that many gamers want to hear themselves in their headset to monitor how loud they sound. This may be true, but I am not one of those gamers and have yet to meet one. Unfortunately, this sidetone feature is always on, and there is no way to disable it without muting the mic. This means, unless you want to hear yourself all the time, the mic is useless.
After resolving not to get too disappointed over one feature I didn’t really like, I moved on to test out the mixer’s phone feature. Now, the phone feature does work – you really can switch between game and phone audio – but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. There is no option to take a phone call while your game audio remains on. Regardless, the feature is still pretty convenient (just not as convenient as I originally thought it would be). While it has some cool features, I feel like Plantronics could have implemented them a lot better.
The RIG is fairly sturdy, considering all the bells and whistles it comes standard with. Unfortunately, that translates to not very comfortable across the top of the head. At first, the headset felt light and relatively comfortable, but over the course of about an hour, the top of my head was sore and I had to switch back to my daily use headset.
Features and comfort aside, the RIG did perform relatively well in testing. The headset comes with standard 40mm drivers you see in most headsets. Personally I would like to see more headsets go for 50mm drivers, as you do end up getting (at least slightly) better sound reproduction out of them. The RIG has pretty good bass quality, with minimal shaking and rattling at high volumes (barely noticeable). It puts out a respectable 20Hz – 20kHz frequency range, and has pretty good driver matching, with only slight deviations to either side in the mid range.
Overall, the Plantronics RIG is just OK. It has decent sound quality, but is uncomfortable, and packs features that are either poorly executed or not customizable, making it $70 I would personally not spend over the competition.
Price at time of review: $70
Review sample provided by the manufacturer.
Build Quality - 6
Sound Quality - 7.5
Features - 6
Overall, the Plantronics RIG is just OK.
Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.