The test was simple. Put the headphones on, pull down the microphone and speak into it. The only difference being that the guys from Plantronics would be playing the sound of multiple passing aircraft in the background to show me how background noise could be filtered out. Imagining myself stood on the apron of any of the world’s airports, I spoke, doubting that what I was spewing out could actually be heard over the roar of jet engines. I was wrong. Very wrong. Playing the recorded audio back, there was nothing, just the droning voice of an enthusiastic gamer...me.
This is one of the many features that make the brand new line of Plantronics headphones, the RIG 500 series, a must have for any gamer.
Launching in October, the series will consist of three sets, designed from the ground-up for, and with the help of, the elite gaming community: the RIG 500, 500HD and the 500E, with two pairs, one licensed for Xbox One and one for PlayStation 4, also heading onto the shelves.
The RIG 500E is the pair that perhaps led the charge when developing for the e-Sports market, something Plantronics have been part of since 2000. There’s no baggage or excess on them, and as I was told “everything is there for a reason” and it shows. Essentially there are three components to the set. The frame, the headband and the ear cups. But they aren’t just thrown together, each component has been carefully thought out and Plantronics’ history of producing head wear for military aircraft shines through.
The frame is made from a durable, ultra-light, ultra-flexible plastic, which you can twist, stretch and bend in any which way without any sign of weakness or stress, coming with three size slots for your ear cups. The headband is comfortable and soft, after long hours with it on, you won’t get that painful digging sensation on your crown. And with the two sets of ear cups, you get a choice of how you want to compose yourself; with Vented or Isolating.
The Isolated cups offer a more ‘concentrated’ experience and eliminate the background noise while the Vented cups, as you would think, are vented to allow for both heat dissipation and to allow background sounds in. These have since become my ‘go to’ pair, while you don’t lose any of the sound quality, you can still get those all important phone calls and yells that ‘dinner is ready’ into your head. In fact, with the blue and black honeycomb design, I also found them to be the more stylish of the two provided pairs of cups.
The mic, as previously mentioned, is perhaps the most impressive of the features offered by the RIG 500E. Easily moved across the pairs of ear cups provided, the mic, I am told, can eliminate noises of up to 80dB and with a simple ‘flip-to-mute’ switch, you can happily avoid any awkward conversations you don’t want to be broadcast to your clan.
Certified by both TeamSpeak and ESL, the RIG 500 series is laying a huge foundation for the next generation of headphones. What’s more, they are fully customisable, whether you want something personal, or team colours, everything can be changed. Fluorescent frame, team logo, patterns, camo design, whatever you fancy you can get and with the easily dismantled headphones changing can’t be any easier.
For the price of £99.99, it seems like an offer you can’t really refuse. With what you get in the box, you’re getting an incredible deal for your money. Two sets of ear cups, cables to swap between Dolby 7.1 surround sound USB and analog connections, and even the jack to fit into your laptop or smartphones. Whatever you need, it’s more than likely going to be included.
NB: The RIG 500 series will launch in October 2015, offering four editions, a fifth Xbox designed pair will launch in early 2016.
Plantronics' RIG 500E Headphones
Endorsed by ESL and TeamSpeak and with pedigree designing headphones for aircraft, the new RIG 500 series are difficult to avoid in terms of technological prowess. The proof is in the pudding though, and the comfort and sound is second to none. For me though, the ease of adjusting, tweaking and personalising the RIG 500E make it a must have product.