Last June I took a look at the ModMic from Antlion Audio and was impressed with its overall performance and how it opened up new options for quality audio for gamers. I had a few issues with it, but overall it came out with a recommended award. Well in December they introduced their new ModMic 5 and I’ve been playing around with it. Today I’m going to run through what it's all about and see if the new design is an improvement on the already popular design.

Product Name: Antlion Audio ModMic 5

Review Sample Provided by: Antlion Audio

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

Amazon Link: HERE

 

Specifications
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

Uni-directional Microphone

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

Omni-directional Microphone

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

Whats In the Box

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

 


Photos and Features

With this being a little smaller review, I combined the packaging section with the normal photos. So before I get into the microphone itself lets take a quick look at what it came in. The old ModMic packaging was a sleeve around its nice carrying case but this time around the packaging is a little larger. It does work better for retail, though, this lets you see the microphone and has room for them to explain what its all about on the front including a line drawing of one going on a pair of headphones. On the back Is the same picture again along with photos of the wire management and the new optional mute switch. They also include a list of everything you will find inside the packaging.

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Inside the box, we still get the same carrying case with the microphone and all of the accessories inside. In addition is a long sleeving that wasn’t with last years model. This seems to be the main reason for the move to a complete box because it doesn’t fit in the carrying case.

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In addition to the microphone that I will show in a second, they do include a small instruction paper that explains how to set your ModMic up and a tiny baggy with the wire clips an extra stick on mount as well as extra 3d sticky tape if you need to swap one around. Th extra mount is nice if you maybe want to swap the ModMic between two headsets.

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So this is what the ModMic looks like, for those who don’t know anything about them you get a microphone that is designed to attach to a pair of regular headphones to turn it into a headset. The older models all had attached cords but the new design has a shorter cord attached to the microphone to allow for more customization. I will touch on the microphone itself in a minute, but the overall design has a flexible boom that attaches to the attachment point and then from there the wire has a U shape then drops down and ideally inline or next to your headphone cord. The ModMic 5 uses the same attachment design that the 4 had. It has a plastic mounting point that double sided sticky tapes to your headphones using a 3M tape and then it holds the microphone in place with a magnet. There is a zigzag design on the mount that holds it in place but lets you flip it up or down in 90-degree increments.

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Previous ModMics were available in both Uni-Directional and Omni-Directional variations but this time around they have combined the two into one microphone and added a switch at the microphone itself to flip between the two. This is great if you want the best possible quality but sometimes need the smaller directionality of a Uni-Directional mic. For those who don’t know what any of that means, basically an omnidirectional microphone will pick up audio from all directions where a uni-directional microphones sound field is shaped more like a butt. It picks up from one direction the most with just a little around each side. The ModMic 5 has a foam pop protector on the end but with it off you can see the switch and the two microphones in the photos below. Comparing the specs between the two, the Omni is going to have a better sensitivity and a MUCH larger range so using it when possible is preferred. The specs for both are exactly the same as the ModMic 4 that I covered so don’t worry if you have an older model you aren’t missing out on better performance.

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Here is a shot of last years model next to the new one. The overall design is very similar with the exception of the longer combo microphone and the shorter cord.

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The old model had some complaints about the cord being too long and because it was all attached there wasn’t anything you could do. Now they provide two cables that you can use individually or even together. One is one meter, the other is 2 meters so you can pick from 1,2 or 3-meter configurations depending on how long of a cord you need.

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The older ModMics also were sold with four different models. They had the two microphone configurations and then on top of that, you could get it with or without an inline microphone switch. To help consolidate their production the new design comes with an inline microphone switch that you can use if you want, or no one is making you do anything.

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The sleeving they included is also a new feature. Before you just had the plastic clips that you could hook the ModMic cord to your headphone cord. Now if you want something a little cleaner you can run both cords into the sleeving and cut it to the length you need. The sleeving is a rolled up design so you don’t have to feed it all the way through, you unroll the side and work the cord in.

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Performance

To start off my testing I started by getting the new ModMic 5 installed on our Crossfades. I toyed with both the clips and the sleeving. If you don’t plan on changing anything the sleeving is going to work better but man as it hard to work with. I ended up getting it partially done and giving up and moving back to the clips. If I was looking for a more permanent solution, though, I would take the time to do it. But I might start drinking half way in.

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You can put the microphone mute between the two cord lengths to move it away from you or have it right up at the top where the short length of the cord on the ModMic 5 ends. I went with the short option but only because I didn’t want the 3 meters of cord, I didn’t really like having it up so high, though.

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Installing the microphone on the Crossfades wasn’t any different than the last time. You prep the surface then stick it, this is easier when you have the headset on to make sure the microphone is lined up how you would like it.  In fact, I didn’t even have to take off the original mount. I did remove it and reattach it at a better angle, though, my original install wasn’t where I wanted it.

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For testing, I spent some time using the microphone in voice coms when gaming and then I spent enough time just talking to myself to make my wife think I had gone crazy. With nothing changed on the actual microphone performance, it wasn’t really a surprise at all that the ModMic 5 sounded great. It sounds better than any of the gaming headset microphones I have tested, with only the Razer Seiren Pro being comparable. The SteelSeries Arctis 5 was extremely close, though, it has a similar range to the uni-directional setting with only the sensitivity, but the omnidirectional setting is still better. Of course, it is also going to pick up your typing, clicking, and anything else making noise.

The new ModMic might perform the same as the old one in audio testing but the changes to the design do add a little to the experience. Having the option to be able to flip between the two microphone types is really nice, before you would need two different models for that. Having the microphone mute as well is good to have, that way you know for sure you are muted when trash talking your teammates and friends. Like before the magnet mounting solution still isn’t my favorite. I like that you can quickly take it off, but it is also easy to knock off. I also still hope they change it so it flips in smaller increments than 90 degrees as well. If you don’t have the microphone attached in the perfect spot you can only adjust it by bending the boom.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

So in my testing, there were a few things I was considering. Is the ModMic 5 as good as the previous models? Is it a good option for someone who wants a gaming headset but with proper audiophile quality headphones and microphone? Also if it is an improvement over the past design, is it worth upgrading to for ModMic 4 owners? Before I answer those questions I think we should run through the pros and cons of the ModMic 5.

For pro’s, like the previous ModMic, the audio performance of the microphone is just top notch. I think it's about as close as you can get to a high-end condenser microphone while being attached to a headset. Even when testing in the uni-direction mode it is on par or slightly better than the best that gaming headsets have to offer and the omni-microphone is even better. That brings me to really the main improvement for the ModMic 5, you now have options. Before you had options but once you picked a microphone with or without a mute, omni or uni you couldn’t switch without buying another ModMic. The new setup gives you an all of the above option. Then of course what made the previous ModMic great was the removability and that you can use it with your preferred headphones or a high-end pair of headphones that are worlds above the average gaming headset.

As for con’s, the issues I had with the previous design are still there. The microphone is still easy to knock off and I wish the mount had smaller movement increments, it is currently at 90 degrees each click and that leaves no room for adjustment. The new design also brought along the downside that the new sleeving is extremely frustrating to install. I do still like that they include it, though.

So about my previous questions… Is it as good as the previous ModMic? Audio performance is unchanged, but they did improve on the design by giving you the option to flip between omni and uni. The new replicable cord gives you better options as well as the sleeving. Is it worth upgrading from the ModMic 4? No way, the improvements are nice but unless you need a second microphone there really isn’t any reason to upgrade.

The last question was - Is it a good option for someone who wants a gaming headset but with proper audiophile quality headphones and microphone? Frankly, for anyone looking to use higher quality audiophile headphones but need a microphone you only have a few options. The ModMic, The BoomMic from V-Moda, or a table top setup. For cost the ModMic 5 comes in the middle, the BoomMic is a cheaper option but it doesn’t work with a lot of configurations where the ModMic is going to work with anything. So yeah, if that is your goal it is a good pickup. This does bring me to the last issue I had with the new design. Packing in those new features did raise the cost. A ModMic 4 can still be had for about $50 where this model has an MSRP of $70. When you combine this with even a cheaper pair of headphones that additional cost makes a big difference. So the ModMic 4 still ends up being the better value, but if you want options in the future a ModMic 5 and something like an Audio Technica AUD ATHAD500X is going to end up costing you about $160 pushing it up in the range of a Sennheiser PC 363D or a Sennheiser GAME ONE. Because of this, I think the ModMic 5 is best for someone who already has the headphones or has a very specific preference. If not check out all of the options and see what works best for you.

fv5recommended

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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