Rigged To Go
Newly basking in the lime light following winning a prestigious International Forum Product Design Award 2014 in the Audio / Video category, the RIG system is a Plantronics product. It has been designed to allow users to immerse themselves in an audio environment supplied from various sources. Combining a stereo headset with detachable microphone and a mixer unit, the RIG allows you to bring together a PC/MAC computer, XBOX 360, PS3 and Mobile audio sources as you play, chat, listen and communicate with others. As a result, this headset can be linked to a variety of audio sources.
The RIG is one of those products which call for a certain amount of ingenuity in order to remove the different components making up the kit from the packaging. Once this task has been completed you are faced with the headset, stick-style microphone, mixer unit and an assortment of leads, some of which are already attached to the mixer at one end. Limited documentation contains illustrations showing how everything is meant to fit together.
The headset, which is predominately black in colour with some orange highlights, is of the over-the-ear type. Cloth covering padding decorates the expandable head band and ear pieces. Each of the well-padded ear pieces can be swivelled through 45 degrees sideways with some minor up and down movement adjustment. The left ear piece houses a 3.5mm jack socket for attaching the supplied stick microphone.
Central to the main functionality of this RIG audio system is the mixer unit. This piece of kit is circular in shape with a bulge at one end. The mixer has a diameter of 95 mm and a depth of 40mm. The end which protrudes has a pair of jack sockets allowing for the insertion of 3.5 and 2.5mm plugs. Using these sockets you can attach the supplied microphone via the 3.5mm socket which then links to the socket on the headset and connect to the console game controller you use when playing games.
The other end of the mixer features two permanently attached leads. The shorter of these leads (29cm) is for connecting to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. The far longer (300cm) and double thickness lead splits into two providing standard USB and 3.5mm jack connectivity. While the USB lead can be attached to a computer for audio output, the 3.5mm jack socket can either be linked to a computer for microphone input or, with the supplied adapter, to your chosen games’ console. If all this sounds a little confusing, do not worry as the supplied illustrations are reasonably clear in showing different types of set-up.
The various controls available to you with this piece of kit are mounted on top of the mixer unit as you adjust volume levels and switch between different audio sources. A centrally positioned flip panel can be used for switching between mobile and game mode. Arranged either side of the flip panel are slider controls. The slider on the left allows you to adjust the balance of the audio input volume strength being delivered by a game or music from a mobile device while the right slider is used to adjust the balance between game sound and chat. For more general audio volume level, there is a rotating rim and a mute button at your disposal.
Once the necessary connections have been made, with the aid of the previously mentioned illustrations, you can settle back to enjoy the experience of having your headset linked to various audio sources. The length of the supplied leads should mean that there should be no difficulty in positioning the mixer in relationship to the connected devices while the headset sits reasonably comfortable on the head. Audio quality delivered by the 40mm speakers with a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz is fine and there is little distraction from outside noise although with your smartphone attached your game playing could be interrupted by incoming calls.
The Plantronics RIG is best suited to somebody who is into gaming and also enjoys private listening of their music collection. With a two year warranty, the Plantronics RIG has a recommended price of £119.99 but shop around as I have seen it advertised at £79.99 on Amazon.co.uk.
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