Today’s peripheral gaming market is vastly different than it was even 10 years ago. Back in the day when it came time to purchase console headphones your options were pretty limited. Only a few brands offered anything of quality. Fast forward to today and thankfully we have the RIG 500 PRO HX, a very different proposition.
The RIG 500 Pro HX Gaming headphones are parent company Nacon’s newest refresh of their Pro series headphone lineup. Designed for the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and Windows 10, these wired headphones promise a lot of high-end features at a budget-conscious price. After a week of running these headphones through the gauntlet of tests, games and hours of music listening it’s time to see just how well the RIG 500s hold up under the pressure. So grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the RIG 500 Pro HX gaming headphones designed for Xbox.
Price: $69.99USB (Best Buy)
Audio Ear Coupling: Around Ear
Connection: 3.5mm Connector
Headphone Driver: 50mm
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Impedence: 32 ohms
3D Audio: Dolby Atmos
Frequency Response: 100hz-10kHz
Removable Mic: Yes
Mic Sensativity: -45 dBV/Pa
Mic Polar Pattern: Uni-directional
Volume Control: Inline Volume Control
Mute: Flip to Mute Feature
Cable Length: 1.3m
Build to Survive A Rage Quit
The RIG 500 PRO HX wired Gaming Headset offers a host of features for console and PC gamers alike. Out of the box, the HX feels sturdy and solid to hold and wear. Each earpiece is encased in a hard honeycombed plastic shell with a plush ear muff that encloses around the ear.
I found the earmuffs to be quite breathable and comfortable to wear for an extended period of time. I appreciated the little branding details as well. On the inner side of each earpiece is a branded ‘R’ as well as a logo on the connector headband. Speaking of the headband, the outside band is comprised of a flat black metal while an inner flexible cushion rests against your head. A mic mounting point is visible on the underside of the left earpiece. When not in use it folds up and essentially disappears into the headpiece. The design of the headphones is unique and sturdy.
Connecting the 500 PRO’s to an audio source is a flat, thin cable measuring in at just under 1.3m long. The length works great for console gaming but can be a bit of an issue for PC gamers unless you’re running an extension cable. A small inline controller allows you to adjust volume levels quickly and with ease while the aforementioned mic mount can be flipped up to mute the mic itself. My only critique of the whole design is the cable itself. Unlike the headphones, which feel sturdy and rugged, the cable looks dainty by comparison. The inline controller as well doesn’t feel as well designed as the rest of the headset. It seems like a bit of an odd choice considering just how well designed the headphones are otherwise.
The mic itself is a detachable arm with a solid hard plastic connection point with the mic end attached to a flexible but seemingly durable cable connection. I was actually quite impressed with the ruggedness of the mic. I bent it several different times and, without hesitation, it flexed right back to whatever position I set it. Overall I’m fairly impressed with the build quality of the RIG 500 PRO HX.
As with all my headphone reviews, I ran the 500’s through a series of stress tests and frequency tests to see how well they would perform. I generally run the headphones for about 40-50 hours at max volume before performing any major testing to warm up the drivers and see if there are any glaring issues. After 50+ hours of non-stop audio, the 500’s still sounded great with a few notable observations.
First up was a simple frequency test. In essence, I run the 50mm drivers through the frequency range for 20Hz to 20kHz and listen for any major distortions along the way. On the high and mid-range frequencies the HX’s performed fairly well with no notable hum or distortion in the sound. Even at the low end (anything above 100Hz), the audio was clear and clean.
However, once the band dropped below the 100Hz range I did note a slight hum in the audio. Below 50 Hz resulted in some distortion. What this means on a practical level is that for the most part audio will sound fairly clear with some noise in the low-end sound. These headphones push out some pretty power bass sounds but they do get a bit muddy when there are a lot of bass frequencies being pushed out at the same time. Voices and higher frequency sounds, however, are quite clear and easy to hear. For games, I felt that the RIGs presented fairly clean audio throughout my playthroughs. Even movies were pretty solid. Music was also pretty clear with the exception of bass-heavy genres. In those cases, there were a few times where the bass felt a bit muddy and way too warm for my liking.
Overall though the RIG 500’s performed well and honestly sound good when gaming. As the 500 Pro HX is geared more towards console gamers, they worked as advertised.
One of the big features that RIG promotes with the 500 Pro’s is the Dolby-powered 3D surround audio experience. Upon receiving the headphones you’ll also find a redemption code for the Dolby Atmos app that will give you access to it. This is a paid app which means that there is essentially a paywall between your new hardware and all of its features set. Thankfully RIG covers the cost but it’s a bit disappointing that it’s there in the first place. The app itself can be found on the Microsoft store on both Xbox and PC.
For those unfamiliar with Dolby Atmos, it attempts to push the concept of surround sound to a new level. This is achieved, in essence, by simulating a fully immersive surround experience. Traditional surround relies on channels. Atmos foregoes the idea of channels and instead treats sounds like objects. These objects can be placed in 128 different ‘locations’ around, below or even above you creating a fully immersive audio experience.
I was quite impressed at how responsive the surround sound experience is on the RIG 500’s. I ran a series of surround tests and then spent a couple of hours in-game with the feature active. Footsteps, gunshots and other sounds were all accurately projected through the headphones and were directionally distinct. Even when there was a lot happening, the audio was clear.
The attachable microphone allows for plug-and-play action on both the Xbox and PC. No additional connections or setup is required to make use of the microphone. From a features standpoint, it also means there isn’t much by way of customization; no gain control or voice isolation. What you see is what you get.
Recording tests revealed that the mic has an excellent pickup. This is both a blessing and a bit of a curse practically. On the one hand, vocals come in nice and clear, they aren’t too warm which means they can be easily understood.
Due to its sensitive, omnidirectional polar pattern (it picks audio sources up from all directions) however, the mic picks up a lot of background noise. It doesn’t overwhelm the foreground audio source but it’s clearly heard when talking or even just gaming. Keystrokes are quite audible and if someone is having a conversation anywhere in close vicinity it’s most likely going to be picked up on the mic.
Some type of inline gain or sensitivity control would have easily rectified this issue because, otherwise, the audio quality is fairly good for a headphone mic. Arguably you can manage this all via software but having the hardware control would have been a nice function. The flip to mute feature is interesting though. I’ve seen this on only one other mic and I have to say I actually prefer it to an inline switch as it reduces fumbling if you need to quickly mute yourself.
Overall I’m impressed with the clarity of the microphone pickup despite the background noise. Compared to some other headset mics it’s a great offering. As an added bonus and for science I tested the RIG 500 Pro HX on my PS4 despite them not being designed for it. Turns out it works great albeit without the nice 3D surround feature. You do get full stereo support and voice capture so if you are someone with multiple systems it’s nice to know that this would work in multiple consoles setup. This isn’t an official recommendation just an interesting observation.
The RIG 500 Pro HX for Xbox X/S, Xbox One and PC is a pretty solid offering. At a price point of $69.99USD as of the time of writing these rugged headphones offer some premium features at an affordable price. Some low-end noise and a hyper-sensitive mic, not to mention a purchased app needed to really leverage all of the audio features, prevent it from being the best in its category. However, with the redemption code included with your purchase, good 50mm drivers and excellent build quality the RIG 500 Pro HX is worth considering if you’re in the market for affordable console headphones. Be sure to check out more about the RIG 500 Pro HX on the official Nacon Gaming website and more of our other audio reviews over on Gamespace.com