Antlion ModMic 5 - A Microphone For Any Headphone

The PC and console gaming headset industry often sees manufacturers prey on uninformed consumers and sell overpriced units that simply don't sound good or feel comfortable when compared to a decent pair of headphones from manufacturers like Sennheiser or Grado. That isn't to say that every gaming headset out there is garbage, I personally love the HyperX Cloud Alpha and their included microphone, but many gaming headsets suffer from sub-standard microphone quality and in scenarios where clear communication is essential, a high quality microphone is a must. Why does there have to be a sacrifice in microphone quality when using a headset? What if you can just eliminate the "gaming headset" middleman and make your own headset, potentially superior to what any manufacturer is pushing on gamers? For users who want to take their favorite pair of Audio Technica, Beyerdynamics, Sennheiser, or other audiophile headset and add a quality microphone to them, Antlion produces the ModMic 5. Antlion ModMic 5 - Modular Microphone Turns Any Headphone into a Headset When ModMic was founded in 2011, they were a small outfit with an excellent idea. Able to be attached to any set of headphones using a clever magnetized mounting system, the ModMic offered a compact, modular microphone that was leaps and bounds above the typical fare found on gaming headsets. In 2012, the ModMic was fully released and it was a hit with PC enthusiasts and gamers looking for a viable, compact microphone that didn't need to be desk-mounted. Over the years, the ModMic continued to evolve and by the time the ModMic 4 was released in 2014, they had gained quite a bit of traction with the PC enthusiast community. While gaming headset design has improved and we've seen headsets with increasingly good mic quality, the ModMic continued to evolve over the years and we are now at the ModMic 5 ($69.95 shipped), which is the companies best microphone yet. Building upon the design of the previous ModMic 4, the latest ModMic 5 now features a dual-capsule design, which allows for uni-direction and omni-directional recording modes. The ModMic 5 also features a modular cable system, which allows for varied cable lengths and improved cable management over previous versions of the ModMic. Antlion has improved the build quality and features of the ModMic with each iteration and the ModMic 5 is quite impressive, as its modular design allows it to remain compact and also fit in well on headsets that have integrated microphone inputs. Antlion ModMic 5 - Adaptable and Adjustable

Antlion ModMic 5 Specifications

Dual electret capsules: omni- and uni-directional Selector switch on microphone housing

  • Jack: 3.5mm plated TRS for use with PCs
  • Head unit:
    • Microphone boom + 20mm of cable to male TRS 3.5mm tip
    • Single-conductor coaxially shielded
  • Cable:
    • 2.5mm diameter rubberized TPE jacket, kevlar reinforced, coaxially shielded
    • One 1m dual-conductor coaxially shielded
    • One 2m dual-conductor coaxially shielded
  • Mute switch:
    • 3.5mm male/female ends
    • Low ESR tantalum capacitor in mute circuit
    • Length: ~8mm
  • Extension cables:
    • 3.5mm male/female ends
    • One 1m dual-conductor coaxially shielded
  • Clasps: Plated Neodymium N45 strength magnets
  • Pattern: Uni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -38 ± 3 dB
  • Response: 100 Hz–10 kHz
  • SNR: >50+ dB
  • Impedance: 2.2 KΩ
  • Operating Voltage: 1 to 10V
  • Max current at 2.0V: 500 µA
  • Max input SPL: 110 dB
  • Pattern: Omni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -26 ± 3 dB
  • Response: 30 Hz–17.5 kHz
  • SNR: 58+ dB
  • Impedance: 2.2 KΩ
  • Operating Voltage: 1 to 10V
  • Max current at 2.0V: 500 µA
  • Max input SPL: 110 dB
  • 1 Year
  • One ModMic 5 modular microphone set
  • Mute switch
  • 1m and 2m cables, each with 3.5mm jack
  • Durable carrying case
  • Two base clasps, one top clasp with cap
  • One foam pop filter
  • One 2m cable wrap and 10 cable clips
  • Extra adhesive pads
  • Instruction manual
[gallery ids="200654,200655,200656"]  
Antlion ships the ModMic 5 in a quality retail box that explains the purpose of the ModMic 5, along with some of its features. My box got banged up quite a bit before the review due to going through multiple cross-country shipments that weren't the fault of Antlion, but everything inside the package arrived without any damage. [gallery size="medium" ids="200662,200663"] Antlion really takes care to cover all the bases with the ModMic 5. They ship the ModMic 5 in a small, well-built carrying case with the Antlion logo printed across the front. The Antlion carrying case uses a zipper mechanism to open and close and has a quality feel to it. ModMic 5 carrying case, open with contents There are pockets inside the case to hold the various accessories and components included with the ModMic 5. The presentation is great here, with everything sitting well and easily identified. ModMic 5 extension cables The ModMic 5 comes with two extension cables, one two meters and the other one meter. The 3.5 mm extension cables are well-built, with flexible, sturdy connections on each end. The included extension cables ended up being perfect for my desktop use, as the one meter cable reached my recording device from my headset with a bit of slack, but not so much that it created a mess. Antlion ModMic 5 mute box   An in-line mute-box is included with the ModMic 5, but I didn't find it necessary, since my PC has easy to toggle mute for the microphone. Still, it is nice to see Antlion consider all possibilities and include extras in the box that customers may need, rather than nickel-and-dime them to death. ModMic 5 - Accessory Bag Extra magnets, clips for the cables and an alcohol pad to clean off headphones are included in a small baggy with the ModMic 5. Antlion has taken care to include every accessory you will possibly need with the ModMic 5 and the extra mounting hardware is certainly welcome. Antlion ModMic 5 - User Guide The ModMic 5 ships with a very helpful user guide. Not only are there basic illustrations present, the written instructions are complete and well-written. Antlion puts links to their social media accounts and website on the instructions, should users have any questions. Antlion provides a year of warranty coverage for the ModMic 5 and they have a solid support section on their website, which provides extensive information and answers to questions about their products. I feel that a year of support on the ModMic 5 is adequate, though it would be nice to see them extend the warranty to two years to instill a bite more consumer confidence. Let's take a closer look at the ModMic 5, next.

Antlion ModMic 5 - A Closer Look and Recording Quality

[gallery size="medium" ids="200673,200692"] With a clean, compact design and magnetized connection point, the ModMic 5 is a very nice piece of tech. Antlion has gotten the size of the ModMic 5 reduced over the years, while improving the build quality and feature set of the product. The ModMic 5 uses a standard gold plated 3.5 mm audio jack that is compatible with any number of extensions out there. The modular nature of the ModMic 5 means that even if you lose the included cable sets, you can easily source new cables from any number of outlets. The cable from the ModMic 5 is about six inches long, which means it can make a short run into headsets with a built-in 3.5 mm microphone jack. [gallery size="medium" ids="200690,200689"] The Antlion ModMic 5 uses very strong 3M adhesive to attach the small magnetic attachment point to headphones. The magnets of the mounting mechanism snap together when in close proximity and have a great hold to them. You can attach magnets to multiple headsets if you want to run the ModMic 5 on various devices and Antlion includes a couple of extras with the ModMic 5. If you are concerned about the mounting magnets getting lost or running out of 3M mounting hardware down the road, ModMic actually has full replacements available for the mounting hardware and other components of the ModMic 5. [gallery size="medium" ids="200676,200691"] The Antlion ModMic 5 is capable of both omni-directional and uni-directional recording, which is perhaps its biggest evolution over the ModMic 4. Changing these modes is done with a simple switch on the base of the ModMic 5, with the full circle selection representing the omni-directional mode. This clever design makes the ModMic 5 really versatile, as uni-directional mode reduces the response of the microphone, but it also cancels surrounding noise more than the omni-directional mode. Unless you are in a really noisy area, such as a LAN party, I'd recommend sticking with omni-directional mode to get that full response and clarity from your beautiful voice. A quality pop filter is included with the ModMic 5 and it was used for the recording tests. [audio mp3=""][/audio] The uni-directional recording mode offers noise cancellation at the expense of recording range. The lower range is cut off in uni-directional mode, so bass tones won't be picked up as well. Uni-directional mode offers a 100 Hz–10 kHz recording range, which is more than adequate for competitive gaming and VOIP situations. Uni-directional mode would come in really useful during LAN parties or other situations where you will be in a noisy environment, but still need clear communication. [audio mp3=""][/audio] Using omni-directional mode will allow for more full recordings, with noise cancellation off. 30 Hz–17.5 kHz is the recording range in omni-directional mode. Unless you are in a noisy environment or have specific reasons, using omni-directional mode will be optimal. [audio mp3=""][/audio] The HyperX Cloud Alpha built-in microphone has good quality, but pales in comparison to the pick-up and range provided by the ModMic 5. The ModMic 5 sits between a nice desktop microphone and this type of microphone in terms of quality, leaning towards the likes of a Blue Snowball or other decent entry desktop microphone in terms of quality. The noise cancelletation offered by the ModMic 5 is excellent, as is the included pop filter. Overall, the ModMic 5 has great build quality and solid sound quality. The overall package was all very easy to get set up and use, as well, thanks to Antlion including every accessory necessary and then some.

Antlion ModMic 5 - Clearly The Best Mic?

The ModMic 5 does exactly what it sets out to do and gives users a microphone with solid recording quality capability that can be integrated into pretty much any headphone on the market. The small improvements that Antlion has made to the ModMic 5 over the ModMic 4 are most welcome, as they make the ModMic 5 more versatile and capable than ever before. Installation of the ModMic 5 was simple and I found that they were able to integrate well with my Sennheiser HD 598 CS, especially with the new, modular cable system that let me keep the cables together and run pretty short. The ModMic 5 even integrated well with the HyperX Cloud Alpha, which have their own mic input on the ear cup, which allows for direct input from the ModMic 5 without the use of extension cables. The ModMic 5 definitely took the edge in recording quality over my HyperX Cloud Alpha microphone, though it certainly should given the current $69.95 asking price is more than half of what the HyperX headset retails for. Even compared to my Blue Snowball, the ModMic 5 sounds full and clear, with great hiss-reduction and pop-filtration. Antlion ModMic 5 w/accessories The ability to turn on uni-directional recording to shut out surrounding noise can really come in useful in noisy environments such as LAN parties and I found that that mode did a great job of blocking unwanted noise from my conversations. The omni-directional recording mode of the ModMic 5 provided an even greater, fuller recording range and is the mode I generally would use, as it allowed for the most detailed recording capability. The $69.95 price point of the ModMic 5 definitely puts it in the territory where you could consider a Blue Snowball ($49.00 shipped) or other desktop condensor mic. The ModMic 5 and its compact nature make it a unique product and since it is headset mounted, it will sit closer to your mouth than a typical desktop microphone. Even a properly mounted microphone on a swivel arm won't be as simple to place for optimal pick up as the ModMic 5. In short, the ModMic 5 is a compact little beast and while a desktop microphone can provide better recording quality, they can't match the simplicity and compact nature of the ModMic 5. If you want a quality microphone that you can put on any headphone, the ModMic 5 is the way to go. Antlion has covered all the bases here and the ModMic 5 has excellent build quality, along with improved style and function. With Antlion releasing such a solid successor to their ModMic lineup, we can only wonder what the future will bring from the company? Legit Bottom Line: If you have a quality set of headphones and want to turn them into a full-fledged headset with solid recording capability, the Antlion ModMic 5 is exactly what you need.