We reviewed quite a few items from Nacon over the years, so when they got in touch about a brand new headset we jumped at the chance. What turned up was the brand new RIG 500 Pro HA Gen 2 headset with a price point bang in the mid-range at around £80, would these stand up to the very competitive mid-market?
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Mid-range price, Bold Claims
With a price of around £80 the Rig 500 Pro makes some big claims with this headset, the main one being “Competition Grade Gaming Headset” and it is up against tough competition from the likes of Razer, Hyper X, Arctis and others.
Unboxing and Design
The unboxing of the RIG 500 Pro is not really an event in itself, just a grey cardboard box cushioning the headset, this is to be expected at this price level. As well as the headset, in the box you also get the detachable mic, a Y splitter cable for audio/mic capabilities, a mic foam and a 2 year activation code for Dolby Atmos (a very nice touch)
The RIG 500 Pro has an interesting exoskeleton design which I assume is in order to save weight. Some will love it, others will hate it, but for me once its on your head who cares as long as the sound is great. The gold logos are a nice touch, but as to be expected at this price point the materials of the main body do feel cheap. The headband, which is a leather/cushion mix, and the steel arch are very nice and comfortable when playing for long periods. The ear cups are standard cushion affairs and have about 1cm of cushioning, these are also replaceable should you wear them out.
Adjustability is also built into the design, with each earcup able to be detached from the exoskeleton frame and slotted back into one of the other 2 available positions. I found this fitted most peoples head sizes, and an interesting way of building this feature into the design.
One thing that I struggled to like was the built in line volume adjustment. I may just be fortunate to have a volume wheel on my keyboard, but having to take a hand off the keyboard or mouse to change the volume during an intense gaming session wasn’t ideal to me.
At this point I will also point out there is another RIG headset called the RIG500 Pro HC Gen 2. The only difference between them is that the Pro HC comes in a white design and is said to be more focused for console players (so no Y-splitter included), but if you have no intention of using the included boom mic (more on that later) then there is no reason why you couldn’t use the Pro HC on a PC and the Pro HA on a console.
Before I continue talking about the sound, I should state that my everyday headphones for gaming are an open-backed pair of AKG K702s. Now I know that the RIG 500 Pro is closed back and a fraction of the price of those, so instantly will sound different. However what I wasn’t expecting was the level of bass that came out of the 50mm drivers, never before have I had to use a Bass Reducer EQ when in game, until now.
With a reported audio response of 20Hz to 20KHz the range is certainly there but it seems to be much more focused to those lower bass frequencies. This is quite common in cheaper headsets but what this also does is give a woolly muddy sound due to the lack of mids and highs. A bit of EQ tweaking is certainly required to get the best sound from them, in my opinion. Some listeners might love that bassier sound, it’s just not for me.
The inclusion of a 2 year Dolby Atmos subscription was a nice touch, have I used it? Maybe once or twice, but it doesn’t really add to my gaming experience. If I watched movies on my PC then that might of changed my opinion, but that is what my TV is for.
We now move on to the microphone and I’m not sure what to say about it. Let’s start with the positive, it was detachable, that’s all and I’ll tell you why. Jumping into a game with fellow TC members I switched from my usual stand alone mic to the headset one and the immediate response was “Turn it off, go back to the other mic!” it turns out the microphone was very, very trebly and made me sound like an airline pilot coming over the radio. Couple that with the fact that it would randomly stop working didn’t leave the best impression.
The RIG 500 Pro is a very comfortable headset, I wore it for hours on end with no issues whatsoever which, as a glasses wearer, pleasantly surprised me. The overall aesthetic of the headset may put some people off, but once it’s on your head you can’t see it anyway, at least it didn’t have loads of RGB as well! The biggest let down for me was the microphone, but the fact you can remove it and use it just as headphones was a big win. For these reasons, I award the RIG500 Pro HA the Thumb Culture Silver Award!
Disclaimer: A sample was received in order to write this review.