Product: 900 MAX HX Headset
Intended Use: Gaming
Manufacturer: RIG Nacon
In the midst of the hardware pre-holiday releases, RIG strikes again with their new Xbox Series X-optimized headset, the 900 Max HX. Perfectly timed for the market, the 900 offers the pinnacle of the RIG brand and mindset, presenting us with a fully wireless, hybrid Bluetooth, universal pair of speakers (though they don’t work for PlayStation). Priced at $249.99, who is this headset for? Does it deliver performance in line with its price and other options in the headset space? Let’s dive in.
You can purchase the RIG 900 MAX HX here: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/rig-900-max-hx-dual-wireless-gaming-headset-with-dolby-atmos-bluetooth-and-base-for-xbox-playstation-nintendo-switch-pc-black/6557545.p?skuId=6557545&extStoreId=824&ref=212&loc=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwp8OpBhAFEiwAG7NaElwRocNFMGuU7FlyRlSZkgjfLVLm4sU-JOyhRvG6JoT8qofr-kCWaxoCua4QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
Style / Feel / Build / Hardware
Before we delve into discussing how this headset sounds or performs, let’s explore its look and feel. In terms of build and materials, the 900 series primarily incorporates lightweight metals in the headband, while the 3-head-size clip mount area is made of plastic.
The 900 doesn’t disappoint with its headband; it’s quite stretchable from side to side, although not flexible in the corkscrew twist motion. A nicely stamped RIG logo atop the headband adds a shiny silver touch, enhancing the branding. The headband cushion is separate from the metal band itself, creating a free-floating strap that’s quite comfortable.
During extended usage, I didn’t experience discomfort from the headband, but I did notice some itchiness and slight strain on my head from the leather earcups. I’d consider the ear pads generally comfortable, but there’s something about their grip that can lead to discomfort over time. It’s not a major drawback, but something worth noting. The ear pads fully cover your ears, even with my large ears, although they do rest on the inside of the enclosed pads. They aren’t the roomiest, but not the tightest either. The passive noise-canceling from the ear seal doesn’t stand out, but it does muffle sound like most other headsets.
The 900 Max HX features a design where the wires hang out from the top near the headband, but RIG has executed this design well this time. The wires are fairly snug and well-managed along the wire management, leaving no slack and providing an almost fully discrete appearance.
Apart from the three head-size clips on the sides of the ear pads, the headset employs a glossy plastic design, introducing some contrast to the overall matte black look. One drawback of the headset’s design is the textured gritty plastic along each ear cup, which feels and looks cheap. A different design choice would likely have improved the overall aesthetics and feel of the 900 series, as well as other RIG headsets using this material pattern.
While the magnetic charge contact for the headset is on the right side, all headset controls, including the flip-to-mute boom mic, are on the left. Starting with the boom mic, it feels rather high quality with a smooth rubber feel. When folded up, it’s fairly discreet and won’t obstruct your peripheral vision. The boom mic lacks an audible or mechanical switch when flipped; instead, it has a digital catch point that alerts you when muted and unmuted. The boom mic hinge is sturdy when folded up or down, yet easy to flip.
Let’s discuss the onboard buttons of the 900 series. The left ear cup has these buttons from top to bottom: Bluetooth and connection mode switch, game chat, and volume toggle switch, volume dial (with independent control from the master PC volume), power button, and the USB-C charge and data port.
Once again, RIG seems to have overlooked the aesthetics and tactile quality of the buttons. They are hardly discernible by touch, requiring you to take the headset off to locate them. In particular, the power button is nearly invisible to the touch and is colored red, making it challenging to find without removing the headset. The volume dial is made of rubber, and there’s nothing particularly remarkable about it. However, the headset does offer independent volume control from the source, allowing you to fine-tune your preferred volumes. Overall, for a $250 kit, the buttons could be more engaging.
Now, let’s touch on the charging base. It features a glossy black plastic layout and includes a convenient USB dongle holder that fits perfectly—a nice touch. The charging base has a solid red light to indicate charging, turns blue when plugged in, and turns off when charging is complete. The magnetic lock on the headset could be a bit stronger, as the 900 series feels a bit loose and wobbly when attached. However, it never topples over, so it functions well. The base’s edges feature a matte black plastic design with a RIG logo on the front and rubber feet on the bottom. One small note: the base’s corners are rather sharp and could potentially cause harm if dropped on your feet.
Performance / Hands-on-use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.
To begin the performance discussion, let’s first go over the notable specs. The 900 Max HX boasts 40mm high-sensitivity drivers that do not disappoint in terms of clarity and volume. It offers an impressive 50-hour battery life (60 hours with Bluetooth). The 900 Max delivers robust sound across the bass, mids, and highs, with clear and distinguishable audio. The bass, in particular, stands out for a wireless headset, delivering enough power to rattle the 900 a bit at near-max volume, enhancing the speaker’s fidelity.
The soundstage feels open and spacious, providing an airy surround sound experience. Sound directionality is a unique feature of this headset, offering an ideal setup for Dolby Atmos.
The 900 Max HX is the first hybrid headset to provide a customizable Dolby Atmos experience through Dolby Personalize, available on your preferred app provider. After facial scanning, the app directs you to download Dolby Access on your PC, which becomes your desktop control panel for your RIG 900. Instead of using the 900 controller app, this software unlocks Dolby Atmos features for your 900 series, enhancing the audio quality. Besides offering various preset settings like Music, Game, Movie, or Custom EQ, the 900 Max HX provides a range of options to suit your listening preferences. I found the balanced preset under Music to provide the most volume, clarity, and tighter bass tones. Experiment with this valuable add-on feature.
As previously mentioned, RIG has started releasing companion apps with their headsets for smartphone controls rather than PC software. Personally, I prefer the controls on the phone, and RIG’s customization menu features a simple, clean, and well-organized UI. The app includes mic monitoring, boom mic input gain adjustment, and a customizable equalizer that significantly impacts your audio output. I highly recommend experimenting with the EQ settings to tailor the audio to your liking. While the 900 series sounds great without altering the mix, additional volume can be achieved with some tweaking. You can choose between the Dolby Atmos app or the RIG 900 app, but I found Dolby’s personalized experience provided a bit more clarity.
One minor drawback is the user-friendliness of the app and headset connection. After holding down the Bluetooth button on your 900 for 6 seconds, it will connect to your app or any available Bluetooth device. I noticed that the headset tends to disconnect from the app when switching from Bluetooth mode to dual mode, making hybrid features somewhat challenging. It essentially involves holding down the Bluetooth button while trying not to accidentally change the connection mode. Additionally, a limitation of RIG’s hybrid features is the absence of multi-output audio. If you’re simultaneously connected to your PC and mobile phone, you won’t hear audio from your phone, which defeats the purpose of hybrid functionality. Competing headsets do not suffer from this limitation, so I hope RIG addresses this issue.
In terms of battery life, the initial 50-hour estimate may seem short for a premium headset. However, the 900 Max performs admirably in terms of battery longevity. After 3 days of use, I was still at medium battery, which aligns with the 50-hour estimation. It’s convenient to have the charging base to hold the headset while you sleep, so recharging is hardly a nuisance.
Gaming with the 900 Max is a luxurious experience due to its high-volume mid and high-range performance. All details come through clearly, allowing you to hear enemy footsteps and distinguish sound tones in your favorite games. It reveals details and effects that were previously unclear. You won’t realize what you’ve been missing until you hear it.
Now, let’s talk about the boom mic, always a significant aspect for content creators. It’s great when modern gaming hardware can cover all your needs. In this era of universal products, a high-priced item like the 900 should deliver above-average performance. Unfortunately, the story of boom mic clarity isn’t particularly impressive. While the mic captures your voice well, the output quality may not meet your expectations, and your friends may complain about the boom mic’s quality. It sounds a bit grainy and noisy, making it unsuitable for narration or content creation. You can listen to the input fidelity for yourself (see the video for a boom mic audio test). The lack of clarity might be attributed to the sleek, discreet design of the 900, which places the mic out of your line of sight.
As a side note, a cool feature regarding the boom mic is that if you use mic monitoring or sidetone and have an external mic solution, you can still monitor your voice without using the 900’s boom mic. If you wish to mute the sidetone, simply flip the boom mic up, and it goes quiet. This is a clever workaround in the design.
Unfortunately, the dongle antenna range isn’t as robust as that of competitors. You may find that you can barely leave your room and walk past a wall without experiencing disconnections. While a minor inconvenience, it means you’ll need to remain seated to stay connected while using the boom mic with your friends. However, you can always switch to Bluetooth or dual mode for greater portability.
A few notable points to consider when evaluating the 900 Max include the fact that when you turn on the headset, it defaults to around 20% volume and forgets your previous preferred volume settings, which can be a bit irritating. With every boot, you need to readjust the volume, which may seem like a good idea initially but becomes less preferable after using the headset for a few days. Additionally, it could be an issue with my PC, but the headset would occasionally lose connection to the dongle. This is something to be cautious of when using the headset on a PC. Lastly, when the battery reaches the medium level, the headset notifies you at 50% charge as a heads-up.
RIG’s 900 Max HX headset is a powerful, well-designed piece of gaming hardware offering a host of modern features and gimmicks. From Dolby Atmos customization and smartphone controls to full universal connectivity with consoles and PC, this headset seemingly offers it all with excellent sound quality, volume, and soundstage. The soundstage, in particular, is outstanding whether you activate Atmos or not. While the 900 does have some drawbacks, such as the boom mic quality, hybrid feature and connection issues, and minor user experience flaws, its performance overshadows these problems. It provides a premium audio experience, and the inclusion of a charging stand in the kit adds to its convenience.
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