Plantronics is a company that specializes in communication headphones. A majority of their products are for business and mobile solutions, but they do have a gaming segment. For many years I used an old Plantronics GamesCom headset because they were most reliable set I owned. For last few years Plantronics seemed to take a break from gaming to focus more on their core business. While they were still making gaming headsets, they weren't really putting anything big out. Apparently they weren't sitting idly by either.
Plantronics is introducing a new gaming headset system called The Rig. The Rig is built for whatever kind of gamer you may be; PC, console, or mobile. For PC and console gamers it comes with a mixer that allows you to plug in your main audio and your mobile phone at the same time. You can then mix the levels to your own satisfaction. You have one slider for your main audio, one slider for your mobile/alternate audio, and an outer dial for overall volume. Want more music from your phone and less audio from your game or vice versa? You can do that.
With the phone connected you can take incoming phone calls without dropping out of your game. This works great as long as your phone supports 4 band audio connectors. I found my current phone (a Galaxy S3) doesn’t support it fully. I did test the headset with other phones and they worked just fine.
You have a choice for the type of mic you want to use too. Plantronics include a boom mic and an inline mic. The boom can be used for home use, while the inline would be used on the go. You can certainly use whichever you wish though.
The audio itself is driven through two 40mm speakers. It comes through crisp and clean. It has three EQ settings that can be switched on the fly. As you cycle through the settings, the mixer sends an audible “blip” through the headset in one, two, or three cycles to let you know where you are at as you go through them. Plantronics calls each setting Pure, Intensify, and Seismic, which translates roughly to clean, treble heavy, and bass heavy. I personally liked the Seismic myself; I like to hear more bass.
The one thing I immediately notice when I put on the headset was how comfortable they are. I have to wear glasses when I work and play on the computer. When I wear most headsets they hug my head tightly, which pinches my ears around my glasses frames or squeezes the frames against my head, either way this becomes painful. The Rig, on the other hand, hugs my head snug enough to stay on but not so much that it’s pinching. This was a welcome relief, I was able to work and play for long hours without the headset causing a headache.
While my phone not supporting all 3rd party microphones is a problem, it is not a problem with The Rig. I did come upon a problem with The Rig, the cable split is not wide enough. To explain, the mixer is powered via USB and the audio is handled via the audio jack, both run down a mutual cable and then split at the end. My laptop has the audio jack on one side and the USB ports on the other. Because of the space between ports the split was not wide enough for me to plug them both in. Luckily I happen to have a USB extension cable, problem solved.
I really liked The Rig by Plantronics. It is comfortable to wear, has great sound and lets me mix in an alternate soundtrack when I get tired of a limited repeating game sound track. I can easily recommend The Rig if you are looking for a new headset.
The Rig by Plantronics will be available later this fall. For more information on The Rig by Plantronics see their website.