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Plantronics Rig Flex LX Review: Awesome Xbox Audio

Publish Date:

Thursday, September 3, 2015 11:24 am PDT

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Tom's Guide

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The Plantronics Rig Flex LX headset aims to woo competitive Xbox One gamers — not just with its sound quality, but also with the wealth of control it offers the player. Available in early October for $129, this lightweight set of cans offers crisp highs and meaty lows, with swappable boom and in-line microphones that make it easy to switch from playing a heated Halo match to kicking back with some music.

But the real star of the show is its versatile audio adapter, which lets you precisely change volume, switch between presets and even attach a mobile device for some pump-up music. Some minordesign issues aside, the Flex LX's impressive sound quality and superintuitive controls make it one of the best options for serious Xbox One players. 

Design

The Rig Flex LX is simple, sporty and elegant — three traits that are well-suited for a headset designed for competitive play. The headset features white outer earcups and a black, fabric-covered headband. 

The headset's black-and-white design is accentuated by the orange padding on the inside of the earcups, as well as two orange tags on the headband that denote the left and right ears. While the tags cheapen the look a bit, I appreciated having some color on the cans.

The LX's earcups can be adjusted about an inch up or down. As is traditional with Plantronicsheadsets, you'll see humorous graphics of a man's afro growing increasingly larger as you pull the headband higher up. You can also swivel the earcups 90 degrees, should you need to lay them flat.

The Rig Flex LX includes two detachable 3.5-millimeter cables: one that sports a rubber boom mic and an in-line remote cable for use with mobile devices. Swapping between the two cables was a snap. 

My only concern with the Rig Flex LX's design is its ability to last. After a few days with the headset, I noticed that the cloth portions of its headband and earcups became slightly frayed.

Comfort

I was impressed by the Flex LX's lightweight, breathable design the second I put it on, and I'm happy to say it held up after hours of gaming.

The Flex LX's plush, perforated ear cushions left plenty of room for my ears without feeling too loose, and the headset's 9.6-ounce construction made it easy for me to forget I was wearing it during heated matches.

Overall Performance

Whether I was in the middle of a heated firefight or jamming out to some music, the Flex LX delivered excellent sound across the board.

Plantronics' headset is aimed primarily at competitive first-person-shooter players, so I played lots ofDestiny and Halo: The Master Chief Collection with them. The LX highlighted an impressive amount of detail in both games: There was enough high end to hear my character's footsteps as they splashed against a pond, and enough beefy bass to make grenade explosions and assault rifle rattles sound especially thunderous. Most importantly, the headset exhibited excellent directionality, which made it easy to hear where my enemies were coming from at all times.

I switched over to Mortal Kombat X to see how the LX handles fighting games, and was equally pleased. The headset's low end was once again impressive, giving real oopmh to every brutal punch and kick. The game's ominous soundtrack came across as loud and eerie, and the LX highlighted the bone-crunching effects of every special move to an almost disturbing degree.

The Flex LX's three sound presets let you highlight either the high, mid or bassy lower frequencies. I mostly stuck with the extra-crisp highs, but I appreciated just how booming the bass boost was. It might be a little distracting for competitive play, but hearing my rifle burst out bullets as if I were on the battlefield was mighty satisfying.

Plantronics is known for making some of the best headphones in the business, so it's no surprise that music sounds pretty great on the Flex LX. Whether I was cranking Four Year Strong's guitar-heavy rock tracks or vibing out to Taylor Swift's silky pop tracks (don't hate), I was treated to meaty bass, clear vocals and crisp treble tones. 

Microphone

The Rig Flex LX includes two removable microphone cables: one with a traditional boom mic for chatting while gaming, and another that features an in-line mic and remote for use with your phone.

Both mics allowed me to have a clear conversation with a friend, even amidst our chatty office. The mobile cable's in-line remote worked well; I used the mic's lone button to answer calls, pause music with a single press and skip tracks with a double tap. There's also a mute switch, which effectively cut off my chatter whenever I flipped it.

Audio Adapter

The Flex LX's sound quality is impressive enough, but the headset's audio adapter is what makes it truly shine. Once plugged in to your Xbox One controller, the LX's audio adapter allows you to finely adjust game and chat volume, switch between audio presets and even plug in a mobile device for listening to music while you play.

While the standard Xbox One headset adapter has you control game and chat volume via four physical buttons, the LX adapter lets you do so via two convenient knobs. I found the adapter's large volume knob easy to reach, and preferred being able to change volume with a quick slide of my thumb rather than having to press a button multiple times.

I did have to move my hand a bit to reach the second knob — which lets you set the balance between game and chat audio — but I appreciated that the two switches were far enough apart to prevent any accidental adjustments.

The center of the volume knob hosts a large mute button, and there's a button on the right for switching between the headset's three presets. You'll hear a different pattern of beeps when you switch to a preset, making it easy to keep track of which one you have activated.

If all of that control isn't enough for you, Plantronics throws in a separate 3.5-mm port for connecting any of your mobile devices. I used this extra port to jam some music from my iPhone while playing a game, and it worked like a charm. There are, however, no controls on the adapter for adjusting your phone or tablet's volume, so you might want to keep your device close by.

Bottom Line

The Plantronics Rig Flex LX is easy to recommend on sound quality alone, but its sheer versatility is what truly makes it a standout. The headset's crisp highs make it easy to hear where your opponents are coming from, while its rich bass is equally enjoyable, whether you're blowing stuff up or listening to your favorite music.

On top of its immersive sound, the LX's audio adapter provides much finer audio than that ofMicrosoft's own Xbox One adapter, and even lets you attach a mobile device for background music. Add in a swappable in-line remote for making calls, and you've got an excellent Xbox One gaming headset for competitive and casual gamers alike.


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