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What is RGB Lighting and Why is it on My Headphones?

Flashy lighting is a bonus feature of many gadgets and gizmos. Having just tested the August CR235 car FM Adapter and seeing how the lights move in real-time as you change the bass / treble I am absolutely sold on the importance of flashy colourful lights on my electronics!

One industry that has had this revelation for years is gaming. Everything from your keyboard and mouse to your RAM sticks and cooling tubes can all be RGB lit. Catch up on this phenomenon of gadgetry!

What Does RGB Stand For?

RGB is a technology for generating coloured light, and therefore stands for "Red, Green, Blue"! Simple! The abbreviation is most commonly seen when looking at gadgets which hope to gain a fanciful edge by supporting multicoloured, changeable lighting that splashes about streaming set-ups or gaming rigs exceptionally well.

However, the term is actually far more "serious" and has its roots in the scientific generation of colour digitally. There are many colour formats for digital images, you may have heard of RGB but there's also YCBCR, CMYK and Hex to name a few.

All of these formats are designed to define colour, so that a computer or electronic device can output the right coloured light in just the right way. RGB is the simplest to understand as it literally stands for Red, Green, Blue as we saw.

How Does RGB Make Colours?

You might be wondering how a technology called "Red, Green, Blue" makes the rainbow effects we associate with modern gaming headsets and the like. The reason RGB was chosen as the base for colour generation was the interaction between Primary and Secondary colours, just like with painting in art class back in school!

By starting with the definitions of Red, Green and Blue in-built any device can extrapolate the data needed for other colours by combining them. Red and Blue can be varied to create purples while Red and Green can make browns and yellows.

This still sounds quite limited, but consider this:

Red, Green and Blue values in RGB are each measured on a scale of 0 - 225!

That's a huge array of possibilities!

Red can be set to any intensity between 0 and 225. For each point on that scale both Green and Blue can have their own independent values from 0 to 225.

Using Some Maths that tells us that there are 16777216 combinations. Every point between 0 and 225 for each colour can be combined with every point between 0 and 225 for each other colour! Resulting in a total range of 226 cubed!

This is how huge arrays of colour and intricate lighting effects can be created with very simple code, and very simple LED lights. By combining the simplicity of the colours with a huge variable range, RGB is the most efficient way to offer bright, vivid colours to many gadgets.


Well, that's the real question, isn't it? I suppose the better question would be "Why Not?"! A lot of technology is made for joy, or to demonstrate how simple code and simple electronics can create complex outcomes such as, in this case, the entire rainbow.

LED and RGB systems are going to be many people's first steps into electronics for years to come, and will always be incredibly energy-efficient ways to add a splash of colour to mice, headsets and even our computer screens. The small size, quick execution and low-power use all add up to make a bit of tech that might seem frivolous but in fact sits at the heart and soul of what gadgets are.

Plus, it helps streamers give back to the economy by buying RGB rigs! Start making your own or give a great gift with the August EPG100L Gaming RGB Virtual Surround Sound Headset

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