The Plantronics Rig is a combination headset; a headset for gaming and an everyday set of high fidelity headphones. Seeing as I was in the market for a new headset I jumped at the chance to review this unique setup, but does it go all the way to 11 or does it fall flat.
Like a lot of gaming headsets out there on the market the headset comes with a mixamp to let you make adjustments to different channels and volumes on the fly but the Rig has something a little different up its sleeve. While you can adjust the balance between the game audio and chat audio you are also able to press a switch and change to your phone and take calls whilst still gaming. As well as this you are able to take the headset, minus the mixamp, and use it as a handsfree kit while out and about.
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The Plantronics Rig comprises of a high Fidelity stereo headset, the aforementioned mixamp, a pc chat cable, an xbox 360 chat and audio cable and, a hands free cable with inline microphone.
The headset itself is stereo, not surround sound, and unlike a lot of gaming headsets is not garish or over-the-top in its design at all which is the result of having to take outside use into account. They are sleek and ergonomic with cups the fit very well over the ear without discomfort or sweating. This is down to the the fact that they employ breathable mesh and foam as opposed to plastics. As a result they are not only cool when wearing for a lengthy time but also incredibly comfortable without having to break them in. The headband is also nicely padded again eschewing plastics for textiles and when adjusting for head size does feel remotely flimsy. Again most likely a result of the outside use the headset cups twist so as to lie flat when rested around your neck making them fairly inconspicuous when not in use.
The Mixamp is the part of this headset that stands out the most in terms of design and function. Aesthetically speaking it s a fairly solid piece of kit with a nice ammount of weight to it which keeps it stationary on you desk. Round the back you have a double cable which features a USB that provides power and works as a PC soundcard for chat and a headphone cable for game audio, theres also an optional optical port here. The back of the device also features a headphone jack for your phone so that you can swap between audio sources. These are great features as you are covered for all eventualities. The Mixamp also features an overall volume dial which is a little on the stiff side and two volume sliders for the balance between game/chat audio and game/phone audio respectively. Switching between chat and phone is done using the middle rocker switch making things very quick. The mixamp is also where you will find your mute and equalizer buttons which is far more convenient than hiding them on the side of the headset. Lastly the mixamp also features a 3.5mm and 2.5mm port for PC and Xbox chat cables.
The Headset comes with all the cables you need for you with both the PC and Xbox 360, I haven’t tried the Xbox setup so this review is purely in regard to the PC, with the exception of an optical cable. The two main interchangeable headset cables are the PC cable which has a noise-cancelling boom mic and the phone/mp3 player cable with inline mic and call answer button. The former is a little on the stiff side, I did find get in the way occasionally, but it really is a great noise-cancelling mic. It’s really effective at blocking out unwanted noises and echoes, listen to a sample here. The inline cable is far more accommodating when it comes to flexibility and is also very clear when used outside. It really helps to make the headset far less conspicuous when out and about too. Both cables are easily swapped out and I haven’t had any problems with any accidental pulling out of cables. Another nice touch is the decision to make these two cables the flat cables which makes packing away much easier and less prone to tangles.
So now the important bit; sound. As I said earlier this is a stereo headset and here’s why thats a good thing; being stereo the headsets have two 40mm drivers, which means a nice full sound, the problem with surround sound headsets if that it means you have to have more but much smaller drivers and this is false economy. By going with stereo 40mm drivers Plantronics have given us a gaming headset that not only delivers big punchy sound and good low end when blowing things up on Battlefield 4 but they’ve also given us something that will play music with much greater fidelity without gimmicks. The sound really is great and this headset easily competes with some of the headsets asking for much more cash.
In conclusion this is a headset I can’t help but recommend; it’s quickly gone from being a review item to being my main gaming headset, hands free kit and, music headphone of choice. Aside from the aforementioned stiff microphone this really is a great piece of kit at a relatively affordable price and the Plantronics Rig is very worthy of a place on your Christmas lists.
You can find more information about the Plantronics Rig Headset as well as try an interactive demo of the mixer at http://www.plantronics.com/us/rig/1