Plantronics RIG review

Plantronics RIG offers good sound quality for multiple devices, but cable clutter remains a concern.

Plantronics RIG: On the plus side

At its core, Plantronics RIG is a headset designed for gamers; the white and black plastic doesn’t look like it comes from a particularly business-centric headset to speak of. That plugs into the RIG unit itself, which is essentially a small mixer that lets you set master volume as well as the specific volume for two different inputs. By default these should be one gaming source — PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 — and a smartphone, but with standard 3.5mm connectors they could be just about any audio source.

There's something that's simply "fun" about messing around with volume levels.
There’s something that’s simply “fun” about messing around with volume levels.

Audio quality is good both for output and microphone pickup; I tested this with a variety of audio sources and had very few complaints whether gaming or pausing to take a phone call. The headphones aren’t the most bass-heavy of creatures if you prefer your explosions on the thumping side, but that means they’re more suitable for a wide range of music listening as well as gaming. There’s also some mixing fun to be had if you’ve got multiple audio sources on the go.

Plantronics RIG: On the minus side

The microphone on the RIG works quite well, but it has a single fixed position when plugged in, unlike the swing mics found on many other gaming headsets. That’s a minor gripe, though, as it does come with a smaller inline mic, albeit without the same noise cancelling ability as the bigger mic.
The biggest problem I hit with the Plantronics RIG was the issue of cable clutter. Plantronics is a company well known for its Bluetooth headsets, but nothing at all on the RIG is wireless in any way.

Even the artfully designed PR shots can't hide the cables.
Even the artfully designed PR shots can’t hide the cables.

This means that plugging it into, for example, an Xbox 360 involves the core RIG unit with a cable going out to the headset and microphone, and then another cable snaking out to both USB (for power) and then an audio connection to the Xbox 360; in my case that was a phono plug to connect up to an AMP, but an RCA splitter is also provided depending on your precise setup.
Add to that a cable snaking out to your smartphone of choice, and you’ve got a lot of cables indeed.
Cables love to tangle themselves up, and it wasn’t long into playing that I was faced with a lump of black spaghetti to unravel if I wanted to move the RIG away from the TV.

Plantronics RIG: Pricing

The RRP of the Plantronics RIG is $149.95, and at least at launch I couldn’t spot too much variation from that price from local retailers.

Plantronics RIG: Fat Duck verdict

If you’re a gamer constantly missing phone calls, or just somebody who wants music to block out most but not all of the world, then the RIG performs admirably. It’s feasible if gaming is your only vice to get headphones that perform as well or better for the price, but if the unique mixing concept has appeal for you they’re great value.

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