Plantronics has a long history of making great sounding headsets and their knowledge of microphones make them a top choice to many professionals. Their experience and knowledge is obvious from the first time you put on the RIG 500E E-Sports headset. For comfort, they receive high marks, being lightweight and using soft padding in the earcups, makes it so you can wear these for over eight hours without any headset fatigue. I personally wore them for around 12 hours without any discomfort, many times I forgot I was wearing them.
Comfort aside, how do they sound? Over the past month as we have been listening to hours of various music, movies and gaming, we can honestly say they sound incredible. Even when the volume was cranked all the way up, the sound was crisp and clear; without any distortion. However, depending on your taste you might find the RIG 500E lacking in bass reproduction. While it was enough to feel explosions in games like Battlefield 4, and BattleFront, it wasn’t overpowering. Some other gaming headsets, I have personally had issues with the amount of bass they are capable of, and head to resort to adjusting the sound to reduce the bass; obviously I’m not a huge fan of extremely loud bass. If you are, then these might not be the best headphones for you.
Let’s talk about the most unique feature of the RIG 500 series, the ability to customize and upgrade the headset. The headset itself comes disassembled, you have to put it together. That is an extremely simple process, Plantronics has done a good job at making it easy enough that anybody can do it. The advantage is the option to purchase custom parts or upgrade the headset. Custom parts right now are limited to four different headbands which can be purchased for $14.95 plus shipping. The upgrade options of the RIG 500 series is the option to purchase the lower end models, and upgrade the individual components. For example, the RIG 500 includes the 3.5mm connection and isolating earcups, purchase the USB Dolby Digital 7.1 separately, or purchase the open earcups. The choice is up to you. The only part that Plantronics doesn’t have available to customize is the headband support, this would be a nice feature to change and hopefully Plantronics will make other padded supports available. In addition, as 3D printers become more popular, perhaps Plantronics can release the 3D plans for the headband allowing people to fully customize their headset.
For a headset that you can purchase for $109.99 shipped with a 1 year warranty, you essentially get the option of both a open earcup design and an isolating earcup design in one headset; the choice is yours. However, if you only want the isolating earcups, you can purchase a lower end model and upgrade them as you feel the need. The USB Dolby Digital 7.1 DSP does a great job at enhancing the sound stream allowing you to hear the smallest of details in whatever you are listening to. There is a reason Plantronics is one of the top companies for professionals, and their attention to detail in the RIG 500E shows this.
Legit Bottom Line: The Plantronics RIG 500E sounds great, even though it doesn’t have powerful bass reproduction. It is extremely lightweight and comfortable to wear all day. The modular capabilities of the RIG 500 system helps to ensure this headset can be customized and upgraded, provided Plantronics continues to develop components for it.