With everything removed from the packaging, we can see what Plantronics has included with the RIG 500E. The individual components include a single headband, boom mic, a support band, 3.5mm connector, USB Dolby 7.1 adapter and two pair of ear cups.
The headband itself is made out of a lightweight unbreakable plastic. At CES, we were given the opportunity to bend and flex it out of shape, every time it went right back into it’s shape. The headband is pretty basic, there are three slots on each side to install the ear cups, and a larger slot to install the headband padded support.
With the RIG 500E, both sets of earcups are included. The first set is the isolating cups, which are closed to provide the most passive noise reduction, while the second set is the open / vented cups, which allows for more external sound to be heard. With the other models of the RIG 500, only the isolating cups are provided, the vented cups are available as an added acccessory though. Other than that, both of the cups include the same 40mm drivers, 3.5mm connection, and microphone connector. The RIG 500E also provides two different padded covers, one pleather and one fabric. They are swappable, your preference will determine the best one for you. Typically, the pleather padded covers will provide better noise isolation, while the fabric covered ones are typically a little more comfortable for long periods.
The headband support is slightly padded for comfort, and has some expansion capability. The headband support will come close to making this a one size fits all solution, however if it doesn’t, the ear cups can be moved to a different slot to make it fit properly.
Like the other components of the RIG 500E, the microphone is removable. There isn’t much to the microphone, a 3.5mm connection to the ear cups, leading to a bit of hard and shiny plastic that shows the model number, ending in a semi-flexible rubber microphone. I say the end is semi-flexible as you can only bend it a little bit towards or away from your mouth. Any vertical movement will be done by swinging the microphone up, if you happen to need to swing or bend it down, you’re out of luck.
With the RIG 500E both available connections are provided. The higher end models include the USB 7.1 connector, while the base model includes a standard 3.5mm plug which would make this compatible with millions of other devices. The Dolby 7.1 controller is pretty basic, there is a single button that activates/deactivates the Dolby 7.1 audio stream; a tiny white LED is embedded below the button to tell you when it is activated.
Building the RIG 500E headset is a very simple task. There is only one place to install the support band, which slides into place. The earcups are probably the most difficult, as you need to determine the best position for them. Here Plantronics has provided three options, allowing you to choose the most comfortable, which is especially important as there is no other vertical adjustments possible. After the earcups are in place, you can now use the headset. The MIC can be attached or removed at anytime depending on your particular gaming needs, it uses a standard 3.5mm connection to plug into the headset, and has a little guide pin to make sure it is in the right position. Of course you don’t have to remove it when you don’t want to use it, you can always swing it up out of the way leaving it attached.