Nacon RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 Review
RIG has built its reputation on delivering high-quality and affordable products since Plantronics first introduced the brand back in 2013. Since then, RIG has become one of the most trusted names in gaming thanks largely to its iconic RIG 500 range of gaming headsets. It then comes as no surprise that last year Nacon announced its acquisition of the RIG brand as Nacon looks to build on its already impressive foundation of gaming peripherals and accessories. Fast forward to the present day as Nacon has released an updated version of one of RIG’s famous headsets, the RIG 500 Pro HC GEN2 Gaming Headset. The HC Gen2 features an updated design from its predecessor along with the inclusion of Dolby Atmos, but has Nacon’s touch allowed the RIG 500 Pro Series to take the next step in its evolution? Let’s find out.
The overall design of the RIG 500 range has somewhat maintained untouched over the years, almost achieving iconic status with its lightweight exoskeleton design and self-adjusting headband. The RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 builds on this foundation but benefits from a slight facelift that allow the headset to compete with other entry-level and midrange headsets such as the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 and the JBL Quantum 200.
Despite its steel frame, the HC Gen 2 is still incredibly light at just 281 grams, yet feels quite durability when put under stress. The all-black matte finish of the exoskeleton frame features RIG’s famous cutouts that aid weight reduction and allows users to attach the headset’s headphones to any of the three slots provided. This is a great feature as it allows gamers of various sizes can all use the same headset without having to unplug it everytime, adding even more value to the product. It also looks great as it complements the subtle grey RIG branding featured on the side of the frame and the more in-your-face branding across the headband. There is – of course – no RGB illumination, but you should expect from a 3.5mm connection as there is no power for the LEDs. This may put off some younger gamers who want a flamboyant and bright gaming headset, but honestly, who is looking at people’s headsets when they’re gaming?
The self-adjusting headband is a feature that I love that is usually kept for premium headsets rather than headsets that cost just over $100 AUD. This provides a level of comfort that you don’t usually associate in this price bracket that is further complemented by the headset’s soft and oversized earcups.
One of the biggest appeals of the RIG 500 range has always been its cross-platform capabilities – and the RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 is no different. The 3.5mm jack ensures that the headset can be used on any platform that features a 3.5mm output – Xbox One/Series X, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, PC, mobile devices, etc. There are also console-specific variants such as the RIG 500 Pro HS for PlayStation and HX for Xbox that has been purposely designed for their relative console (HC being a multi-platform/PC-focused release). The 3.5mm flat ribbon cable is a nice touch but it is quite short – too short if I’m honest – and also features an inline volume control that does often get in the way. This is, however, fine for applications where the headset plugs into the controller but does mean it is quite difficult for PC users as the cable is simply far too short.
The modular design of the microphone allows users to easily remove the microphone when not in use, allowing the headset to transform a pair of headphones for when you’re on the bus on your way to work. For gaming, the unidirectional microphone can be flicked up to activate its quick muting function, similar to the JBL Quantum 200. This function is great for users who typically use a push-to-talk feature and instead, can quickly flick their microphone up and down when they want to
blame their teammates for their death chat.
The huge 50mm dynamic drivers on offer produce a surprisingly high-quality audio experience for this price point. The audio accuracy is impressive with a good soundstage on offer. The mid range is full and present while the highs avoided that tinny sound that you usually associate with budget headsets. The low end is the achilles heel of the headset as it felt somewhat overwhelming and often overpowered the mid and high range. If I’m being honest though, the overall audio experience was much better than I was expecting and offers gamers a solid gaming experience that won’t disappoint.
The Nacon RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 also comes with a two-year subscription to Dolby Atmos that adds support for virtual surround and EQ optimisation through its Dolby Access app. This is a nice quality of life addition for the headset as traditionally these features are reserved for USB-powered headsets. The downside to this is that the subscription is only for PC, which means console users miss out on this support. The added benefit of this subscription is that it can be used on any pair of headphones, not just the RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2, which is handy for all you audiophiles out there.
The noise isolation of the headset was average despite the headset’s solid clamping pressure and seal around the earcups. This does affect the audio bleed-through for gamers in public areas such as LAN cafes or on a bus etc, but for general home use this isn’t a problem as the noise isolation of the headset is more than respectable.
The quality of the microphone on-par with what I expected. It provides a clean, natural sound with little compression and is good for typical gaming use with friends, but for streamers and content creators, you will certainly be looking for a superior standalone USB or XLR microphone option. I was also surprised that Nacom was able to offer noise-canceling properties with the microphone, which is a nice feature to have and continued to exceed my expectations of the headset.
The Nacon RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 is full of surprises – I wasn’t expecting much for $129 AUD but I was thoroughly impressed with the performance, features, and build quality of the headset in respect to its price. These are the key metrics gamers look for when purchasing a headset and Nacon has delivered a product that greatly exceeds the expectation of budget gaming. The 50mm dynamic drivers produce good audio accuracy and a full soundstage, while the overall design of the headset pays respect to the RIG brand while improving on its aesthetics and comfort. There are a few shortcomings such as the overwhelming low-end range and its short 3.5mm cable, but this is expected for its price. The Nacon RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 is a great allround headset that is perfect for young gamers who will love its lightweight, durable, and exoskeleton design, while gamers on a budget will appreciate the value for money the headset can offer as it is one of the best options on the market for under $150AUD.
Nacon RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 Review
- DESIGN - 88%88%
- AUDIO PERFORMACE - 90%90%
- MICROPHONE PERFORMANCE - 81%81%
- COMFORT - 84%84%
- VALUE - 97%97%
The Nacon RIG 500 Pro HC Gen 2 is a great all-round headset that will surprise you with performance, comfort, and a flexible design that is an absolute bargain for under $150AUD.
For more on RIG, check out our previous coverage.