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Plantronics RIG 400HS

Publish Date:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:51 pm PST


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The Plantronics RIG 500 series offers different types of gaming headsets for everyone. If you want loads of modular options, the RIG 500E has everything you need. If you want a simple wired headset on a budget, the $70 RIG 500HS is an excellent choice. The RIG 400 line follows in its footsteps, but with even more wallet-friendly choices. The PlayStation 4-oriented RIG 400HS we tested is just $49.99, $20 less than the RIG 500HS. Those savings come at a slight performance hit, though it's a solid option for the price.


The RIG 400 headsets share the same modular design as the RIG 500 headsets, with individually wired earcups that completely detach from a light, flexible plastic headband. The RIG 400HS' earcups are large and round, with fabric-covered over-ear earpads made of memory foam. The fabric helps the earpads breathe a bit, reducing the ear-warming effect memory foam earpads can have. Another bit of fabric-covered padded memory foam runs along the underside of the headband. Each earcup can click securely into one of three slots on either side of the headband, but that's the most you get for adjustments.

Despite the few adjustments you can make to the fit, the RIG 400HS felt light and comfortable on my head. That said, I found the circular earpads to be a bit snug around my ears, and while the fabric kept them from heating my ears up too much, they did get a little warm with use. The RIG 500 headsets feel a bit better over longer listening periods.

The detachable boom mic connects to the left earcup. The microphone is a long plastic capsule on the end of a flexible black, metal arm. The boom arm can't flip up and out of the way when not in use, but you can remove it completely or use the inline remote to mute it.

The four-foot headset cable terminates in a four-pole 3.5mm plug for use with the DualShock 4 controller's headset connector, though the headset will work with any other major game console or handheld, and most mobile devices (the only real difference between the RIG 400HS and the Xbox One-oriented RIG 400HX is whether the RIG logo on the headband has a blue stripe or a green one, respectively). You need a Y-splitter if you want to use it with a PC that has separate ports for headphone and microphone; because the RIG 400HS is designed for use with the PS4, no splitter is included.

An inline remote rests mid-chest, where the cable splits off into two for connecting to the earcups. A wide microphone mute switch sits in the middle of the remote, and a small mechanical volume slider rests on the side, working separately from your connected device.

Music Performance

The RIG 400HS handles music well, with considerable power for the price. In our bass test track, The Knife's "Silent Shout," the kick drum hits and synth bass notes come through without a hint of distortion even at maximum volume. The low-end gets a modest amount of thump, and the highest volume borders on unsafe, but there isn't quite enough deep sub-bass to really set your head vibrating. Like most gaming headsets, the RIG 400HS emphasizes low-mids over any sort of subwoofer-like response in the extreme lows.

Yes' "Roundabout" demonstrates the RIG 400HS' higher frequency capabilities. The acoustic guitar plucks in the opening of the song sound crisp, and the texture of the strings come through very well considering the headset's price; greater high frequency finesse generally requires dedicated music headphones that cost twice as much. That said, the slap bass has more pop than thump, further highlighting the RIG 400HS' relative weakness with low frequencies. The high-mids of the vocals also settle just a bit further back in the mix than ideal. For both tracks, the RIG 500 series offers better across-the-board performance.

Gaming Performance and Voice Quality

The headset's sculpted, extremes-free sound works very well for gaming. I played Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on the PlayStation 4, and the audio gets just enough force where it counts. Gunshots and explosions sound punchy and stand out in the mix, even if they could use a little more low-end to really give them a sense of power. Just as importantly, voice communication and spoken orders come through clearly, even in the middle of a firefight, thanks to sculpted high-mids.

I also played Nioh, which doesn't have voice chat or require clear vocals to convey spoken instructions. The soundtrack sounded fairly full and atmospheric, though more low frequency presence would have helped make the experience more immersive. The sounds of combat were clear and easily identifiable, and I had no issues hearing enemies getting ready to ambush me.

The RIG 400HS' microphone works well, picking up clean, easily discernible speech. Because the boom arm is so flexible, however, you have to be careful when placing the mic to prevent popping. I experienced some sibilance in testing when fiddling with the mic.


The Plantronics RIG 400HS is a solid wired gaming headset considering its $50 price point. That said, Plantronics' own RIG 500 series offers better sound and a slightly more comfortable fit, and the equivalent model to the 400HS is just $20 more. The Kingston HyperX Cloud Stinger also feels and sounds a bit better than the 400HS and is available for the same price, and we still quite like the Logitech G231 Prodigy for its excellent audio performance. If money is no object, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Headset remains the best-feeling, best-sounding wired gaming headset we've tested, but it costs three times as much as the 400HS.

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