Review: Plantronics RIG 500 PRO HC

One of Plantronics' latest gaming products is the RIG 500 PRO HC headsets. These are suitable for both console and PC gaming. We briefly tested this headset while gaming on a Playstation 4.

A little over a year ago we posted a review about the Plantronics RIG 800HD . We have extensively tested this headset on the PC. This time we are going to try out a new headset for the console. The RIG 500 PRO HC is a headset from Plantronics that has appeared in two versions. One for console players (Xbox One and Playstation 4) and one for PC. The difference between these versions is the volume control. For consoles this will be placed directly on the connection to the controller, for PC a volume control is incorporated in the cord.

RIG 500 PRO HC

The RIG 500 PRO HC comes out of the box with a cable to connect it to your Playstation 4 Dualshock or Xbox One controller. There is a small rubber piece over the connection that ensures that the headset is nicely connected to your controller. You can change the attachment between Playstation 4 and Xbox One, as both connections are designed slightly differently. Both pieces are included. In addition, the headset comes with a detachable microphone. The microphone is adjustable in height and the rod is flexible to hold it further or closer to your mouth. As soon as you fold the microphone all the way up, it will be muted.

Finally, there is a Dolby Atmos code in the box. You can use this code on your Windows 10 PC or Xbox One to unlock Dolby Atmos sound. Unfortunately, the code does not work on the Playstation 4 as it does not support Dolby Atmos. At the moment there are only about two handfuls of games that use Dolby Atmos, including:

  • Crackdown 3
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • overwatch
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Comfort

The most important point with a headset is the comfort. How do the shells fit around your ears, is the headset tight or loose? Is it heavy, or are the cables constantly in the way?
The luck we had with the RIG 800HD, but not the 500 PRO, is that this headset was completely wireless. The lucky thing is that the headset cable on the RIG 500 PRO HC is completely out of the way thanks to the connection to the controller. In most cases you hold the controller above your lap, this means that the cable will not get in the way as long as you hold the controller. As soon as you put it down, remember that you still have the headset on before you drag the controller off the couch as soon as you want to get up.
The length of the cable is 1.3m. So you should be able to get away with that very easily, even if you have to put the controller down for a while to grab some chips or something. The nice thing about the connection to the controller is that you don't have to run a cable from your Playstation or Xbox throughout the room. The second nice thing about this connection is that your volume control is located exactly on the controller. By turning the wheel, as shown in the image above, you adjust the volume. Unfortunately, you cannot distinguish between game volume and speech volume.

Sleek but durable

A small downside to the headset is that it appears to be smaller than the RIG 800HD. It fits a bit tight and doesn't seem to completely cover my ear cups unless I put a little effort into enclosing them completely. After a few hours of playing I am always putting the band on my head differently because it is tight. I didn't have that problem with the RIG 800. In the image below you can see that the 800 is a bit wider than the 500. I have also set the shells to the maximum with the 500 so that the headset is less tight. The tire on the 500 is therefore much more tense than that on the 800.

An incredible plus, however, is that the headset is very durable. As with the RIG 800HD, you'll have to be a good looking guy to break this thing. You can bend, twist the frame without hearing a single nod. Many headsets start to creak if you pull them a little too far apart to put on your head. If you know this problem, it won't bother you once you put a RIG on your head.

Performance – Microphone

Saving the best for last shall we say. That is the quality of the microphone and the sound. They are not extremely professional microphones, but for the microphone that is on them, it does its job well. You remain clearly understood by your teammates without them being able to hear your gameplay in the background. Voices sound clean and realistic and are not distorted. A disadvantage of the microphone is that the headset has excellent noise canceling. Why is this a disadvantage for the microphone? The microphone has no playback feature. No idea if this is actually possible on the Playstation 4, but you can't hear yourself talking while playing. This can be very annoying at times as you start to stumble over your own words.
Many headsets let you hear your own voice very softly while talking so you can control what you're saying. This is extremely useful, especially if the outside noise is completely shielded and you are in the middle of a line of fire.

Performance – Sound

Many headsets that you have to connect to the controller give a hollow sound, as if it was not really intended for it. This was one of my major concerns when I saw that the RIG 500 PRO HC could only be connected to the controller and not to the Playstation itself. Fortunately, the sound is more than fine! The headset gives great sound and the surround seems to work well in this headset. We tested the headset with the following games to assess the sound:

  • overwatch
  • Battlefield V
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

Sound plays a very important role in each of these titles. In Battlefield, Siege and Overwatch it's mainly about the positioning of the enemies and whether you can hear where they come from. In Resident Evil 2 it is mainly in the atmosphere and the ambient sounds that are imitated as realistically as possible. In all cases, the headset does its job very well and delivers a nice, clean and realistic sound in the different scenarios.

Verdict

The RIG 500 PRO HC is a very suitable headset for console gamers who like to take sound seriously in their games. The microphone does a good job of making yourself heard in front of your teammates. Unfortunately, you can't hear yourself and you will have to dim the sound a bit, or not put the headset completely around your ears so that the outside noise is not completely shielded. Fortunately, the sound of the headset is very good and there is nothing to complain about. The RIG 500 PRO HC is offered with a suggested retail price of €79.99 and this price is more than acceptable for the qualities delivered.


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