The latest headsets in Plantronics RIG line, The RIG 500 series, take the customization that series is known for and expands on it in new and exciting ways. The top of the line is the new RIG 500E, reviewed here.
The RIG 500 series comes in 3 configurations: the 500 offering isolated earcups, 500HD offering Dolby 7.1 surround sound better audio clarity and the 500E giving everything from the other packages in addition to a vented headset. The 500 and the 500HD are priced competitively at $59.99 and $79.99 with other products on the market, while the 500E offers both types of earcups and is priced at $149.99, reflecting what's essentially two pairs of headphones. The 500E also features an electric blue color scheme inspired by the Electronic Sports League, whom endorses the line.
How do you RIG your RIG?
The RIG 500E's biggest feature and what sets it apart from other gaming headsets is the amount of customization offered. The box contains a single headband with slots for a strap and three positions to place the earcups, ventilated open-back earcups, closed back leatherette earcups, an attachable noise canceling mic, a Dolby USB adapter and a 3.5mm adapter. While out of the box it's only apparent in the 500E package, every component of the headphones can be switched out depending on the situation. In a room by yourself? Use the vented earcups. Need absolute silence and surround sound in a tournament setting? Combine the 7.1 adapter with the isolated earcups.
Feels and impressions
Having played around with the headset for a while, The RIG 500E is a good headset for gaming and music. The headset does take a bit of time to get adjusted to, not instantly feeling as comfortable as the original RIG. The strap connected to the headband was the first thing to go, and I haven't looked back. The majority of my usage were with the ventilated open-back earcups, which were more than enough to satisfy my audio needs and having the same great sound quality of the original RIG.
Being able to easily take apart the headset would lead one to believe that The RIG 500E may come apart often on accident, but this never happened in my experience. The earcups themselves are easy to separate from the headband without too much effort, feel comfortable for long term gaming sessions and stayed together despite me running my finger over the grooves in the earphone design frequently while having them on.
The one RIG that didn't JIG
With this being a tournament gaming centric headset, comes the only issue for me: lack of inline mic/volume. If this were offered, The RIG 500E would replace the original RIG from 2013 in my eyes completely. With all the options, I would have preferred to have an option to ditch the boom mic for an inline mic so I could use the 500Es on the go. Plantronics has said that there will be a number of additions to the 500 series that will allow further customization.