Plantronics RIG 500 Pro cans will make their wearer stand out

I've never really understood why gaming hardware needs to look like military or industrial equipment, but I love those looks, so bring it on. Plantronics is the latest company to release a piece of gear for gamers that looks like it came straight out of the pages of Soldier of Fortune. That's right—the headset company best known for its stodgy, business-friendly offerings also sells gaming headsets. The newest series is called the RIG 500 Pro, and like the rest of the RIG series it comes with downright aggressive styling.

Plantronics RIG 500 Pro (base model)

There will be four models in the RIG 500 Pro series: the RIG 500 Pro HX, the RIG 500 Pro HS, the standard RIG 500 Pro, and the RIG 500 Pro Esports Edition. The first two are simple: the HX is for the Xbox One, and the HS is for the Playstation 4. These models are almost entirely plastic, and come with handy volume dials on the controller-mounted plugs. Plantronics says the location of the “RIG Game Audio Dial” makes it easy to adjust a game's volume while playing in the living room.

The RIG Game Audio Dial and in-line volume slider

The standard RIG 500 Pro and the Esports Edition take things a bit upmarket with their metal headbands. The RIG 500 Pro's volume control moves to a more typical inline design since players don't usually have headphone jacks on their keyboards. The  Plantronics says the Esports Edition is designed to be more durable, and so its entire frame (including the headband) is made from die-cast metal. That just sounds heavy to me, and indeed, this model weighs a couple of ounces more than the other versions. It also includes two cables so that you can use the inline volume control on PCs or the controller-friendly dial of the console versions.

Specifications for the RIG 500 Pro (base model)

Whichever version you buy, you'll get the same audio performance out of the RIG 500 Pro's 50-mm dynamic drivers and detachable microphone. Despite appearances, the earcups use a closed design, so the RIG 500 Pro series should be serviceable in noisy environments. Audio hardware specifications are even less useful than monitor specs, but if you're curious about the numbers Plantronics offers I've reproduced them for you above.

Plantronics RIG Pro 500 HX for Xbox One

If, on the other hand, you're ready to buy, you can order your RIG 500 Pro from Best Buy or Plantronics' own site. The console-gaming headsets will run you $80, the RIG 500 Pro will cost you $90, and the fancy Esports Edition goes for $150.

Comments closed
    • UnknownZA
    • 1 year ago

    I bought the 500E with Surround Sound and the next day took it back. Was really disappionted with the surround sound quality.

      • brucethemoose
      • 1 year ago

      Between Razer Surround, Dolby Atmos, and the rare game with native HRTF, I’m not sure why you’d need surround sound built into headsets anyway.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    I say this as an incredibly geeky person and gamer…

    “Neeeeeeerrrrrdddd!”

    • DPete27
    • 1 year ago

    I really like the idea of the volume knob right on the 3.5 mm jack for the console editions!!! You can flick it with a thumb.

    • pirate_panda
    • 1 year ago

    Well, no one’s going to confuse this for a staid business headset.

    I’ve never really understood the appeal of “gamer” gear but it seems to sell well so *shrug*.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 year ago

      All the staid business headsets from Plantronics at work appear to be poor quality, overpriced garbage.

      I believe a bandwagon was seen, and said bandwagon was jumped on, about two years late, but jumped upon nevertheless.

      • jihadjoe
      • 1 year ago

      “Am I out of touch?”

      “No, it’s the children who are wrong!”

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    Imagine how much better they would sound if all the money wasted on aesthetics was spent on better quality drivers….

      • brucethemoose
      • 1 year ago

      The enclosure does play a significant role.

      The popular Fostex T50rps are a good example of the other extreme. They’re solid planear magnetic drivers slapped into an cheap, barebones enclosure. Stuff some dampening in the cups, change the pads, and it dramatically improves their sound.

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        Oh agreed, but it certainly looks to me like the enclosure in this case is mostly cheap, snap-together plastic. Whilst just-about adequate, it does look inferior to my €16 Amazon bluetooth over-ear headphones.

        • synthtel2
        • 1 year ago

        Grados are another with a problem like that.

      • Kretschmer
      • 1 year ago

      Yeah, but then they wouldn’t work with games.

    • Shinare
    • 1 year ago

    No cute RGB kitten ears on the headphones? I’m out…

      • auxy
      • 1 year ago

      I would actually buy one of these if they had those! (*’▽’)

      And also if [spoiler<]I didn't already have a headset like that.[/spoiler<] Hehe.

    • DancinJack
    • 1 year ago

    lol what the heck is that!!?

    Gaming stuff is known for the design but holy crap.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 year ago

      Wholly crap, you say?

      Yes.

      • Redocbew
      • 1 year ago

      Might be better used for mental health screening. If you pay to wear this thing on your head, then something’s clearly gone wrong in there.

      • albundy
      • 1 year ago

      its a mouse trap.

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