When taking a look at reviews on headphones, one thing you have to keep in mind is that everybody hears audio a little differently. Not to mention our individual preferences determine whether we prefer heavy bass or light bass. In addition, if you are an audiophile who regularly listens to high-end headphones you could have a different opinion of the sound quality. For me, what’s most important is that the headphone reproduces the sound without any pops or static and that they are comfortable to wear for an extended time frame.
The Plantronics RIG 500 series is targeted at gamers, but that’s not the only possible use for them. Between gaming sessions you might want to utilize the headphones to relax a little with some music. Over the past twenty years, I have listened to many different headphones. Some of them excel at one feature while lacking in others. When playing music, the Plantronics 500E headphones, do a good job. Sound quality is great, everything is crisp and clear; you could hear every piece of the artist’s performance. Nothing was lost due to the headphones.
Switching between the 3.5mm and the USB Dolby Digital 7.1 adapter, there was clearly a massive improvement in sound utilizing the 7.1 audio. The sound was clearly fuller and much more immersive. One thing I did notice was that even utilizing the Music mode, the bass reproduction wasn’t as powerful as I would’ve thought. Some headphones I have tried in the past, the Bass reproduction can be adjusted so that it is too much for my tastes. The Plantronics RIG 500E the bass level was perfect for me; however I don’t enjoy a head pounding level of bass.
When watching movies, the direction of sound can be very important. Some movies, missing little details or audio cue’s can distract from the immersion. Obviously, when watching a movie that should take advantage of surround sound you will miss out on many things when using the 3.5mm audio connection as you are not taking advantage of the Dolby Digital 7.1 capabilities. When watching movies, the 7.1 audio comes alive and makes a huge difference. Switching between the open and isolating earcups, there is a stark difference in the sound. The isolating earcups provided a fuller sound, and helped block out background noise drawing you into the movie more.
Being an E-Sports edition, that should tell you the what the RIG 500E is designed for; gaming. The RIG 500E headphones sound incredible in games no matter which earcups you prefer. Of course with the isolating earcups you get a fuller sound, and little details are a bit easier to pickup.
In some games, the Dolby Digital 7.1 audio is quite evident. Star Wars Battlefront for example, you could tell which direction the sounds were coming from without any issues. Hearing the speeder come up from behind you, and zooming past you is an incredible effect, and the 7.1 audio really makes it stand out. In other games such as Battlefield 4, the directional audio wasn’t as obvious. However, the explosions and gun shots sounded great.
The Plantronics RIG 500E has a removable microphone, that has built-in noise-cancelling capabilities. Swinging the microphone all the way up, will mute it, which is more natural than fumbling around for a button to press. The boom microphone itself bends a little horizontally, but not at all vertically. In addition, it is rather short at 5 inches, however that doesn’t detract from the quality of the microphone, which is something that Plantronics knows alot out.
When chatting over Skype and gaming sessions, everybody was able to hear me clearly without needing me to raise my voice. There was a difference in the sound between a headset with the microphone directly in front of my mouth vs the RIG 500E where the microphone ended about the middle of my cheek. That wasn’t an issue with the quality however, it was only noticed as I was switching between different headsets. Without switching headsets, everybody commented that they were able to hear me clearly, without any distortion or background noise.