Plantronics Rig4VR Gaming Headset Review
Gaming headsets have become more and more popular as time goes on, but most PSVR users forgo the hefty price tag of headsets for standard ear phones such as the Apple Earpods, standard PSVR ear phones or possibly higher end Beats versions. However, whether you realize it or not, music and background audio detail is a defining characteristic of how immersive a game can be. A good source of 3D audio is essential to immersive game play and truly is a game changer that can completely transform a game.
The thing about Plantronic's Rig4VR that intrigued me is that they are specifically designed for the Playstation 4 and PSVR. I am not an electrical engineer and I will not claim I know the differences between a headset made exclusively for the PSVR vs. Rift vs. Vive, but the idea that they designed a headset with the PSVR in mind made me very curious. Let's break down some of the big characteristics of this headset:
If you are going to shell out $50+ for a gaming headset you want the best materials and a high level of quality. The Rig4VR is sturdy, durable, and one can immediately tell that the materials used are good. The plastic doesn't feel flimsy, but the headset still is comfortably light. Since it is designed for the PSVR, black and white design complements the VR headset's color scheme. I love the modern design, detachable microphone, and overall entire package the gaming headset's looks with the PSVR. Rig4VR gets a thumbs up for high quality materials and durability.
This is obviously the big boy of all categories. I personally was suspect of the impact an increase in audio quality could make. I mean, visuals are far more important to a good VR experience right? Well, I found out that even a small increase in audio quality makes a huge impact in terms of immersion. The quality of audio from the Rig4VR is very good. The sound isn't noisy at all and everything comes through clear and detailed. I can't say that it is the most robust sound system I have ever heard, but it is certainly better than other ear pieces I have used with the PSVR.
The difference I noticed when playing games like Resident Evil 7, Stifled, and Farpoint was incredible. As spiders scurry away you are able to more distinctly pick up on their path. In Stifled you somehow feel the dread and despair of total darkness even more. The Rig4VR is less advantageous for games such as Wipeout and Super Amazeballs which use less sound effects and focus more on pure music. It still sounds better, but the average gamer who is focusing on game play would very easily overlook the small differences between the Rig4VR headset and a standard set of ear pieces.
I am not going to hit you with the physics behind the 40mm drivers and low frequency resonators because not only do I not fully understand the advantage audibly, but how many really people are that detailed? I'm certainly not. But I can tell you that I hear a noticeable difference between any of the ear pieces I have used versus the Rig4VR for the better.
As you would expect from a gaming headset made for the PSVR, the two headsets fit together very well. There is no awkward fitting or weird placement for either headset. You feel pressure from the PSVR headset around the crown of your head then more pressure from the Rig4VR on the sides of your head and the top of your head. But it isn't heavy pressure and never have I had issues with the pressure. I never had to take a break because of it. The PSVR headset applies much more pressure than the Rig4VR so if you can handle the PSVR you are set.
One cool thing I saw that I didn't think about is that because all sides of your head are now being cradled, when both headsets are on it feels as though you are wearing a helmet. It isn't too heavy with both headsets on, but you really feel as though there is some type of protective apparatus on your head. Which is a really cool effect when you are playing a game like Farpoint and Wipeout because in those scenarios you would be wearing a helmet. So it enhances the experience beyond simply the audio quality.
On Plantronics Rig4VR retails at an MSRP of $69.99. As a middle-ground approach to headsets, the price seems fair, especially when it is not difficult to find them on sale through various other outlets. The price feels reasonable for the effect on the immersive VR gaming experience. And while there are other, cheaper headsets available, the easy integration with the PSVR and comfort when used with the headset really provides value for the price.
Areas in Need of Improvement
Overall I am thoroughly delighted with my Rig4VR headset, but no product is perfect. The ear caps that cup your ears are well ventilated which is fantastic and really helps ensure you don't sweat while wearing them. However, because they are well ventilated and light, the noise cancelling effect takes a hit. When playing a game (with my door shut) I can still hear someone in the other room talking. I would really like a total noise canceling effect. Yeah, you can just crank the sound up, but I would rather slightly less ventilated ear caps and more noise cancellation.
I wear glasses and I noticed after an hour or so of wearing the headset that the pressure caused by the headset pushes my glasses into my head and starts to aggravate my skin. It is a small detail and something that will differ based off head size, if you wear glasses, etc. but something that if you wear glasses you should consider.
In conclusion, I am a big fan of the Plantronics Rig4VR gaming headset. The modern design looks great when paired with the PSVR, the audio quality is very good, the headset enhances the VR experience by making you feel more immersed in the virtual world and overall the ehadset works fantastic. I am now a full believer of using gaming headsets and if you can find the Rig4VR at a discounted rate I highly suggest you pounce on the opportunity because in this case Hearing is Believing.