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Rig 500 PRO
June 14, 2018
Original: $149.99 USD
March 2022: $99 USD
It’s 2019, audio is entering the third dimension and sports are now of the electronic variety. Just like with conventional ball-and-mitt competitions, esports require specific equipment. The Nacon RIG 500 PRO esports gaming headset seeks to satisfy gamers of all consoles and offers complimentary Dolby Atmos support.
While it’s a cool headset, it’s discontinued today and you can find better alternatives from the same company.
Editor’s note: this Nacon RIG 500 PRO review was updated on March 22, 2022, to address the RIG 700 PRO HS and Nacon RIG RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 as alternatives. We also included a table of contents, expanded the list of buying options, and added context to the sound quality sections.
Who is the Nacon RIG 500 PRO for?
As the name denotes, this headset is targeted toward esports athletes. From the boom microphone, to the array of attachments, and moisture-wicking leatherette ear pads, everything about the Rig 500 screams gaming. That said, the boom mic is detachable meaning that these can certainly be used as everyday headphones, but you can get a comparable pair of sub-$100 cans without all the bells and whistles.
What is it like to use the Nacon RIG 500 PRO?
For how intense and durable the headset appears, it’s rather lightweight at 323 grams. The metal exoskeleton is eye-catching and serves a purpose: it dampens vibrations, resulting in an unimpeded sound. Rather than sliding the ear cups up or down buttressing rails, they detach from the headband completely and can be reattached easily via the three-notch system.
Gamers are afforded a removable headband cushion, two pairs of ear pads, a PC inline volume cable, a removable boom mic, an audio dial controller cable, complimentary access to Dolby Atmos for Headphones, and the headset itself.
In fact, nearly every part of the Nacon RIG 500 PRO is detachable, including the fabric headband cushion which is suspended between either end of the frame. While its perforated design promotes airflow, you’re bound to sweat in the headset at some point. In which case, washing it is as easy as removing the cushion from the metal support.
The PC cable includes an inline volume slider, which is easy to operate on the fly and always works on mobile devices. Alternatively, if your console of choice is an Xbox or PS4, the controller cable integrates an audio dial for quick volume adjustments. There’s an adapter for each respective gaming system.
Is the RIG 500 PRO good for gaming?
Gaming with the headset is enjoyable mainly due to the lightweight build and simple controls. I never feel inundated with headphone features while playing Fallout. Oddly enough, Dolby Atmos for Headphones, a $15 value, doesn’t improve the gameplay experience as much as I anticipated. However, the headphones do a fine enough job rendering a realistic audio soundscape that running around the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout felt perceptibly more natural than using the SoundPeats Engine earbuds.
As far as speaking is concerned, I was told that my voice was rather loud even though I was using a normal speaking voice—66dBA—which, I measured with a sound level meter. To mitigate the loudness, I moved the microphone as far from my mouth as possible while still keeping it parallel to my mouth.
How do you connect the Nacon RIG 500 PRO?
Again, you get a few options for connecting the headphones to a source. The PC cable terminates at a 3.5mm plug on either end, as does the controller cable. In order to get a snug fit with the latter, use the small donut-like adapter and rotate it up for PS4 and down for Xbox.
Does the Nacon RIG 500 PRO block out noise?
For a pair of gaming headphones, this doesn’t do a great job of passively isolating the listener from their surroundings. Since external noise can easily permeate the headphone barrier, this results in auditory masking, which degrades overall clarity and sound quality. While this is a nuisance for general music enjoyment, it can be detrimental to gamers who need to accurately perceive their virtual surroundings without external distraction.
Hold up! Something’s different:
This article’s frequency response and isolation charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this review (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements, isolation performance plots, and standardized microphone demos. These will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white). Each new mic sample begins with the phrase, “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration …”
Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.
How does the Nacon RIG 500 PRO sound?
The Nacon RIG 500 PRO sounds quite good for a gaming headset. Rather than amplifying bass too much, like some cheaper headsets tend to do, the RIG 500 PRO minimizes loudness deviations throughout the frequency spectrum. Still, you’ll notice how bass notes sound a bit louder than the sub-bass, but this is fine since gaming audio engineers typically mix explosions and gunfire to be the loudest in a soundscape, no matter a gamer’s headset.
Lows, mids, and highs
Mistky’s song Nobody, opens with a cymbal-lead beat, which sounds good but inconsistent because of the treble under-emphasis (3.5-8kHz) and boost from 8kHz and up. This can be okay for gaming and may even make it easier to hear footsteps but, again, makes treble frequencies in music sound odd.
Vocal reproduction, however, is excellent as the headphones nail Mitsky’s voice and the reverb added onto it. The midrange detail is best heard during the chorus as Mitsky sings “Nobody, nobody, nobody,” at 1:10. Bass is slightly emphasized without making it hard to hear the mids.
Does the Nacon RIG 500 PRO have a good microphone?
Another modular part of the gaming headphones is the omnidirectional boom mic. The arm is allowed 90 degrees of rotation and can be bent for a more customized speaking distance. When the arm is flipped up, the mic is muted and when it’s flipped down it’s active. As far as vocal clarity goes, Nacon does a great job of ensuring the attenuation of background noise. One recurring issue, however, is that if you raise your voice above an acceptable speaking level, it tends to clip easily.
What should you get since the RIG 500 PRO is discontinued?
While you can still find the RIG 500 PRO kicking around online every now and then, it was discontinued in favor of newer models. If you like the removable design of the headphones, check out the Nacon RIG 500 PRO HC Gen 2. This is another wired gaming headset that works with PC, mobile devices, and anything with a 3.5mm input (including console controllers). It has a very similar frequency response to the RIG 500 PRO and a pretty standard microphone too.
Alternatively, if you want a wireless option from Nacon, check out the RIG 700 PRO HS. This is just as comfortable as the other RIG headsets, and has great on-ear controls. The isolation is poor and the microphone quality, again, is only okay, but for $89 USD you can’t really go wrong here.
Next: The best gaming headsets
What non-Nacon headsets should you consider for gaming?
If you want a simple wired option that sounds great, check out the Beyerdynamic MMX 100. This uses a 3.5mm cable to connect to your devices and has slightly better isolation than that of the RIG line. You can replace things like the microphone and ear pads pretty easily, but you shouldn’t need to since the whole thing is sturdily built.
Though it’s years old by now, we still stand by the HyperX Cloud Alpha wired gaming headset for its comfortable, spacious ear cups and solid microphone quality.