The new Plantronics RIG 500 series has taken the gaming world by storm with their incredible performance and sound. Why do these headsets sound so good despite which earcups are used? We met with our Audio Lab Engineer, Ben Carter, to discuss the engineering behind the RIG 500 headphones.

At Plantronics, we understand the importance of bass within games. You want to hear the explosions and feel the intensity of the games, but you don’t want to be overpowered by it. As a gamer, you still want to hear the footsteps around you, the voices of your teammates, and the music surrounding you. We have engineered this headset to find and utilize that happy medium to give you the best audio experience.

Low frequency resonators are part of the magic that makes this happen. These create the best audio performance and boosts bass without any distortion along the way. Other gaming headsets want to over-compensate with the bass, but they face the consequences in doing so. Just turning up the bass leads to a lot of distortion in the audio (image sitting in a car with loud music and hearing the feedback of the bass…).

We engineered the RIG 500 gaming headphones to amp up the bass without any of the buzzing or distortion gamers dread so much. Now the explosions are intense and loud while the game chat remains crisp and clear.


The RIG 500 series includes two different versions of earcups: vented (open) and isolated (closed). The isolated earcups cancel the noise around you so you can game in peace without any loud neighbors, roommates, kids, pets or anything else that may interrupt your gaming experience!

The vented earcups are perfect for long gaming sessions with a lot of airflow and breathability. If you are going to be streaming for multiple hours and want to be cool and comfortable, this is where the vented earcups come into play!

One thing is important with both earcups: they sound exactly the same.

freq chart_lite_RIG500E

It may not sound like a lot, but this is really important and unique to this headset. If we had just taken the same speaker and put a fabric earmuff on one and a leatherette earmuff on the other, they would sound totally different. The leatherette (isolating) earcup would be muffled and bassy while the fabric (vented) earcup would be clearer.

Knowing this, our engineering team specifically designed the earcups to provide identical audio and sound no matter what. Both earcups have the same frequency response, but we reached this point with completely different insides.

RIG 500e Spill

There are other companies that provide headsets with both a vented and isolated option, but they are within the same earcup. They will have an option to slide open a door of the headphone to get a “vented” earcup, but this provides a totally different sound than their “isolated” option. Our amazing audio engineers (like Ben!) have worked hard to provide two separate options for gaming that, in the end, sound identical and provide gamers with excellent audio experiences!

To learn more about our RIG 500 series, check out the last blog about the RIG 500 Design or visit the RIG 500 product pages.