Plantronics RIG Gaming Headset Review
The Plantronics RIG gaming headset is like a pair of meshy pillows for your ears.
Every gamer wishes for complete immersion when playing an intense game, or if there’s just too much background noise to enjoy a really good single-player. That’s where headsets come in. But wait, don’t consoles come with their own headsets? Man, get the jive turkey nonsense outa here! We mean quality headsets, not trashy dollar store trinkets.
Plantronics recently came out with a gaming headset called the RIG that challenges even the most established competitors like Turtle Beach. Like we said before, hardcore gamers is to complete immersion as Indiana Jones is to his hat. Plus it helps if you like deafening volumes of explosions and gunshots at night but don’t want to risk getting yelled at by everyone else living in the house. And while you’re playing the Michael Bay of video games, you don’t necessarily want to miss any calls or messages from your buddy. The RIG has you covered in that department as well.
The Plantronics RIG is a stereo headset and a sound mixer for whichever console you’re using (PC can join in on the fun too, I guess) as well as for your mobile phone. What that means for you is this: you can talk with your teammates in the middle of a campaign, control the volume of the conversation over the volume of the game, and with a simple press of a switch, you can take a call. This action mutes you from the conversation happening in the game, but not what’s going on in the game. Oh, and the caller wouldn’t even know you’re playing a video game. It’s a neat trick for the multitasking gamers out there.
If you’re used to the standard, in the box, headsets that came with the Xbox 360, you’ll feel a little intimidated by the bulkiness and weight of the RIG. But then you put them on, and your ears will feel like they’re being pressed against soft, meshy pillows. The only thing you’ll have to worry about now is having your hair mussed up by the cushioned bar over your head.
The sound when plugged into a game is pretty nice. You feel like you’re in the action. You’re not completely cut off from the outside world, but it comes pretty darn close. The RIG comes with two types of microphones, an inline and a boom mic. You’ll find yourself preferring one of the other, the other being the boom mic. Be aware, though, the boom mic picks up sound extremely well. It could faintly pick up my snapping fingers an arms length away. It’s not a bad thing, per se, it just makes for your words coming in LOUD AND CLEAR to whomever is on the other line. Soft voices are preferred.
If you’re like me, then you’ll see this headset not so much for gaming, but for talking to people over Skype. I podcast through the internet a lot, but often fell victim to pesky background noises like fan’s incessant clicking. I’ve had many recordings where I had to turn it off and suffer the “hot box” effect that befell my office every time. Having the RIG operate not only as a pair of headsets but as my microphone as well, saved a lot of headaches for the editor. I came in clearer, more concise, and best of all, no more background noises! One thing you have to remember, when plugged into the computer, make sure your switch is on the gaming side of your headset’s dial. Your computer will immediately recognize it, but it’s up to you to remember to set up your preferences for it to work properly.
There’s just one thing that’s annoying about the RIG, and that’s the wires. There are just some things from which a universal device such as Plantronic’s RIG can’t get away. Since it can be used on all three major gaming platforms, excluding the Nintendo Wii U (I bet they get used to hearing that now), wires are inevitable. The above picture is not an exaggeration on just how much you have to deal with. At least they took the wires’ length into consideration. You can still sit yourself a respectable distance away from your television, but you’ll never shake that the feeling that you’ve somehow made it back to the PS2 days. In my left hand is the RIG’s dial, from which you control all your audio. It’s right smack in the middle of all that mess. It’s quite literally the intersecting hub to all the wires you must connect depending on which machine you’re using. I get why they’re present, it’s just annoying.
To better understand what I’m talking about, here are all the diagrams that came with the RIG:
Overall, this is a very good headset. It has great sound, it feels great over your head even after hours of gameplay, and it provides thoughtful convenience to multitasking gamers. I personally don’t use the RIG as a gaming headset, but as a handy tool for audio recording. The boom mic picks up your voice way better than the built in mic on any computer by isolating your voice from any environmental noises. In other words, even non-gamers can benefit from using the RIG.