The Plantronics Rig Gaming Headset and Mixer, an Elegant Solution for a Problem You May or May Not Have
This presupposes that you actually want to answer your ringing phone.
Plantronics sent us over their Rig gaming headset and mixer to play with, so that’s what we did. The Rig lets your pipe your phone into your headset. You can answer call, talk, and quickly switch back to the game to let your team know what’s up without pausing your game. It works, but we’re not sure it’s a solution we need.
What’s brilliant about the Rig is the mixer. You connect the mixer to your console or computer, and then plug the headset and your phone into the mixes. Everything we needed to connect the system to the Playstation 3 and Galaxy S3 we were testing on was included in the box, or came with the console. We did have to look around a bit to find the AV cable from the PS3 that we hadn’t had a need for until now.
Sound from both the game and your phone come through the headphones, and you can adjust the levels of each with the mixer. There’s also an overall volume control and a mute button for your mic. When a call comes it, you hear the ringer, and with a simple button push on the mixer your mic switches over to the phone side, while you can still hear the game. You can have a conversation with someone without pausing. It lets you “Play More. Pause Less.” as it says on the box.
The Rig is aimed at hardcore gamers; people who would rather let a call from their significant other go to voicemail than pause a game. We understand the desire to keep playing, but we just don’t spend enough time on the phone to have to worry about missing calls while we play. If that’s a concern of yours, the system works if you’re so inclined.
Though it’s not the intended use, we actually really enjoyed using the mixer to play music and podcasts from our phone while gaming. By killing the in-game music and running your own audio through the mixer it makes it sound like it’s part of the game, and you won’t miss out on any sound effects or dialog from the game.
The headset itself is comfortable, with large, cloth-padded cups that double as pretty effective earmuffs as we found out this morning. The sound quality is excellent, particularly when connected to the Playstation 3 we were testing it on. Using the Rig as a regular set of headphones to listen to music and podcasts off a phone, we were a little underwhelmed with the volume.
For microphones, the set comes with two options. There’s an inline mic similar to the one built into smartphone earbuds, and also a stick mic that gamers might be more used to from other headsets. They’re quickly interchangeable, and when one of the mics is in place it looks like it belongs, and isn’t just a weird addition.
Neither mic impressed us with audio clarity, but neither do the in-line mics on our earbuds. Both mics work well enough to understand what someone is saying, but we’re probably not going to use the Rig to record a podcast anytime soon.
At a list price of $129.99 the Rig certainly isn’t the most expensive gaming headset you can buy, but it’s also not the cheapest. It’s biggest selling point is the mixer. It makes the system worth it whether you want to use it for the marketed purpose of taking calls without taking a break from your game, or just want to listen your own music while playing. It works, and it works well.