Nacon’s purchase of Plantonic’s RIG brand firmly cemented their place as one of the most important brands in gaming, with their hardware lineup now standing resolutely alongside their publishing arm. The continuing development of the RIG headset line has shown a commitment to incremental updates to the underlying technology, all with the aim of creating the perfect gaming headset. The RIG 900 HX Max is an important step on that path.
While we’re talking about updates, the visual identity of the RIG line doesn’t seem to be on the design brief, with the 900 HX Max looking very much like the preceding RIG headsets of the past fifteen years. As one of the top-tier products in the line-up though, the 900 HX Max benefits from a steel outer headband that increases the headset’s strength and durability, as well as a charging dock that makes it an astoundingly easy headset to live with.
It is otherwise a very recognisable design, with a floating headband, plush leatherette-covered ear cushions, and faux-industrial detailing that stretches from cut-outs in the headband to fake bolt rivets. It’s presented in an all-black colour scheme, with the RIG logo appearing at surprisingly regular intervals, somehow shoehorning six of them in there.
The Max tag is also there thanks to the unbelievable capacity of the 900 HX Max’s battery. Now, I’ve tried to run this headset out, constantly utilising dual connections, deliberately leaving it on and connected, and yet, it just keeps going. It’s listed for 50 hours of wireless or 60 hours of Bluetooth, but I swear it’s been going for longer. Either way, it’s hugely impressive, and with the charging dock you won’t ever have to think about whether you’re going to run out mid-game.
That dual connection comes via 2.4Ghz wireless from a USB-A dongle that can either sit in the dock or directly connect to a USB port, or Bluetooth 5.1. While the 900 HX Max is initially aimed at the Xbox family of consoles, that USB dongle has an Xbox-PC toggle, with the latter option letting it work with not just PC, but Nintendo Switch and even PlayStation. Add in the Bluetooth connection and you can listen to output from most audio-equipped devices from the last fifteen years.
While it might boast a steel headband, this doesn’t overly add to the weight of the 900 HX Max, and that low heft is helped by the largely plastic earpieces. As with the majority of the RIG line, the 900 HX Max is astoundingly comfortable, the underslung floating headband snugly cushioning your head, with a simple adjustment system to get the fit just right – you can just pop the earpieces out of the frame and put them back in a different slot.
Once you’ve got it on your head, there’s two mobile apps to utilise with the 900 HX Max, with the first being the 900 HX Max Navigator. From here you can perform important firmware updates, alter the EQ settings and further customise various options including the microphone’s gain and mic monitoring.
The second app is Dolby Personalization, and this allows you to create a custom profile for your own head. You use your mobile to take a series of pictures of your head, ears, and shoulders, with the app doing the rest to ensure you’re getting a personalised audio experience. This opens a newfound level of audio quality, with the tuned spatial audio experience even better than the already-impressive stock output.
Despite that, the 900 HX Max doesn’t quite have the customisability of current premium champ the Turtle Beach Pro, but it isn’t all that far off. The fact that you can use it for everything in your gaming setup more than makes up for it though, and its light weight and supreme comfort certainly give it an edge over the competition.
The only real downside to the 900 HX Max is that it doesn’t feel all that premium. The plastic of the earpieces doesn’t speak to the headset’s overall quality, and its looks remain contentious, particularly in a world where we’re seeing gaming headsets that look like consumer headphones that you could happily wear on your morning commute. Sure, you can wear the 900 HX Max out of the house, but only if you’re looking to make a statement. Besides that the microphone doesn’t offer the adjustability of others, and its output is clear enough, but won’t be taking any turns on the podcast circuit.
Moving onto the main reason you’ve put this device on your head, and we’re now at a stage where Nacon have absolutely nailed their audio output. The 40mm drivers provide plenty of punch, with a wide, believable soundstage combining to remarkable effect with the wide-ranging tonal response. In particular, the bass delivery from the HX Max is astounding: deep, powerful and perfectly balanced, never sounding paunched or obtuse.
Thanks to the 900 HX Max’s versatility I actually spent a large amount of my time with it playing Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – only mildly feeling like I’m cheating on Microsoft’s console. The sounds of the city, the rousing soundtrack and the excellent voice work all sounded fantastic via the 900 HX Max, and as I played through the entirety of the main campaign the headset stayed comfortable throughout.
the 900 HX Max’s main competitor is the Turtle Beach Stealth Pro, and its dual battery system means that it’s similarly long-lived. They both sound fantastic, but the Stealth Pro certainly looks more like a premium headset. However, the 900 HX Max is more comfortable for longer play sessions, so it’s all about what you’re looking for in a headset. If you want to leave the house with it, maybe you’re going to be better off with the Stealth Pro.