Over the years I’ve had the chance to check out the ModMic from Antlion Audio in nearly all of its different variations. My first introduction to them was on Massdrop (now Drop) and later seeing them at our LAN events. But after getting to check them out, I was impressed with their performance, sitting worlds ahead of all of the microphones available on gaming headsets. The biggest downside is you do have to pick out a nice pair of headphones to go with them which can quickly start to add up. Well, Antlion Audio has helped with that by putting together bundles that pair a ModMic of your choosing with a range of headphones. With options ranging from a $99 combo up to a $259 option when paired with the wireless ModMic. While I’ve previously taken a look at the ModMic USB, they sent over their ModMic 480i bundle to check out. So today I’m going to see how the $149 bundle compares with headsets like the Arctis Pro, Kraken Ultimate, Cloud Revolver, and the Pro X which are all in a similar range and from the normal gaming brands.

Product Name: ModMic 480i bundle

Review Sample Provided by: Antlion Audio

Written by: Wes Compton

 

Ultrasone Pro 480i Specifications

Fit

Circumaural

Principle

dynamic, closed

Driver Size

Mylar 40 mm

Magnet

NdFeB

Frequency Response

20Hz-20KHz

Impedance

32ohm

SPL

96 dB

Weight (excl. cord)

260 g

What’s In the Box

3.5mm to 1/4" adapter

3.5mm extension cable

Headphone carrying bag

 

 

ModMic USB Specifications

Cable

Cable Length: 2 Meters

Termination: USB Type-A

ADC Chipset

Max Sampling Rate: 48kHz, 16-bit resolution

Dynamic Range: 96db, THD+N: -89~96db

Microphone Pattern: Uni-Directional

Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10kHz

Sensitivity:-36±3 dB

Impedance: 2.2(Max) kΩ

S/N Ratio: 67(Min) dB

Maximum Input Sound Pressure Level: 110(Max) dB

Standard Operating Voltage: 3.0 Vdc

Operating Voltage Range: 1.0~10 Vdc

Microphone Pattern: Omni-Directional

Frequency Response: 50hz - 20kHz

Sensitivity: -36±3 dB

Impedance: 1.2(±20%) kΩ

S/N Ratio: 58 dB

Maximum Input Sound Pressure Level: 114 (Max) dB

Standard Operating Voltage: 3.0 Vdc

Operating Voltage Range: 1.0~10 Vdc

Hardware Compatibility

Windows, Mac, Linux, and PS4 only

What’s in the Box

One ModMic USB w/in-line Mute Switch

One Top Clasp

One Hardshell Travel Case

Two Base Clasps

One additional adhesive

One Alcohol Prep Pad

One Foam Pop Filter

Ten Cable Clips

Warranty

1 Year

 


Photos and Features

So the ModMic 480i combo ends up getting you two boxes. You get your ModMic, which in our case is the ModMic USB, and then you also get the Ultrasone Pro 480i headphones. The Pro 480i headphones come in a surprisingly thin box. It has a grey background with red trim down on the bottom with a picture of the headphones taking up most of the front. On the back, they have a short description and then a list of specifications, and then both are repeated across a few languages.

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Inside we can that the box is thin because they have the 480i’s laying flat. Then sit in a formed plastic tray to keep them moving around. Then everything else is tucked up under the tray. You get a bag with documentation. Then the headphones also come with an Ultrasone branded pull string bag as well.

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The Ultrasone Pro 480i has a traditional headband design with a medium-sized on-ear earcup design. These are entry-level studio headphones and when you start looking at the headphone themselves you can see that they skimped on the exterior of the headphones with heavy plastic usage, especially in the headband/earcup joints. The earcups themselves are also all plastic and on top, they have an interesting raised sticker design on top. This has the Ultrasone Pro 480i branding as well as the left and right labels which are also on the earcup joints. The earcup stickers remind me a lot of the old ’80s raised stickers. It is a base sticker with a thick clear rubber-like material on top and they are a little sticky/grippy to the touch.

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The close up look at the headband joints which better show the L on the headband to help label the left side also let you see what I mean about the cheap plastic in this area. You can see thick mold lines and the texture is inconsistent. Beyond that, though I do like the action that the 480i has. You can extend both sides out by about three inches depending on your head size and the headband/earcup joint can fold. It also allows the earcup to twist side to side with one side allowing you to flip the earcups flat which is the way the 480i shipped.

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The headband itself on the outside has plastic up until the center section which is made of rubber and has the Ultrasone branding on it. The inside of the headband has foam padding which is an inch wide and less than four inches long. The padding is a little over a half-inch thick. Overall I would like to see the padding extend farther and even be a little thicker and wider but we will see later how comfortable it is.

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For the earcups, like I mentioned before these are an on-ear design, not the larger over-ear design that I normally prefer. But some people, my wife included, prefer the smaller on-ear designs. The 48i earcups are 8cm or 3inches wide. The earcup padding is 2cm wide taking up a lot of that space. They are faux leather with a soft fabric inside covering the drivers. That is where the 480i’s stand out though. They have a 40mm mylar driver which is a touch smaller than the 50mm drivers you see in a lot of the larger over-ear headphones. They have a frequency response of 20Hz-20KHz which is similar to what the Logitech Pro X has but is a smaller range than the SteelSeries Arctis Pro. They run at an impedance of 32 ohms and have an SPL of 96 dB.

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I did also get the 480i’s up on the scale as well, they are listed at 260 grams on the specifications and they weren’t far off on our scale with them coming in at 265 grams. This is relatively lightweight which should help a lot for comfort.

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For the cord, the 480i does not have a detachable cord which is a little disappointing but understandable given the overall price. The cord that it does come with attached is at least short with it being close to a meter in length. This is long enough to reach your pocket if you have a phone with a headphone jack or even to a DAC on your desk if you sit forward. If you need longer it comes with a long extension cord to let you add to that length. Its jacks are the normal 3.5mm in size and then they also include an adapter to take it up to the ¼ inch size should you need it. Which is what a lot of DACs use.

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The second half of the ModMic and 480i combo is of course the ModMic. You can pick from the ModMic Wireless, the ModMic USB, and the traditional ModMic that uses a 3.5m or ¼ inch jack. I’ve been lucky enough to cover them all at different stages. Today our combo has the ModMic USB so let's check out what you get with it. If you have seen our previous coverage a lot of this will be repetitive, but be sure to check out the performance section where I check out how the combo works together.

The packaging for the ModMic USB sticks with the same styling that Antlion Audio has used on most of their ModMics, at least after they dropped the original brown slide-on design. The front has a drawing of the microphone which also includes the inline mute button. Then on the back, they break down a few of the features with more line drawings and short descriptions of each feature.

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Inside of the box, the ModMic USB comes in a hard case with the Antlion branding on the top. The case is a little over 7 inches long and has a zipper around it to keep things sealed up. Inside one side has a mash pouch and an elastic strap and the other side has one elastic strap. This is the same case that ModMic have been using for years and it helps keep everything safe. You can see they have the microphone on one side with the cord tucked away in the other. Then there is a bag with accessories for the installation and a folded up instruction manual also inside.

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The instructions break down what surfaces you should attach the microphone to and then have instructions on attaching and how to orientate the ModMic. Then for accessories, it comes with one alcohol prep pad, 10 S-shaped cord clips, two additional 3M double-sided sticky tape pads in the circle shape, and a second magnet base which comes with a sticky pad preinstalled as well. The idea behind the extra base is that you can swap the ModMic between two different headsets if needed. For example, if you go to LANs you could have a large pair of headphones for at home and a smaller pair to take with you.

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Of course, we have the ModMic itself and this design has been close to the same the last few MidMic generations with the exception of changes in the microphone itself and of course with the wireless model being different. At the left end of the picture with the P-shaped area, you have a solid structure that transfers the cord to the boom microphone. They use a slide-on mount that can be moved around and if you can you can flip things around to work on the other side of your headphones. Then from the mount on out the rest of the boom is flexible. Then down at the end is the plastic housing for the microphones and it comes with a foam wind cover. From the mount out the overall length is just 6 inches which is about what you would normally expect from a microphone boom.

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The end of the ModMic, under the foam wind filter, is where the magic happens. One of the big changes with this generation was the integration of what used to be two designs. They used to have a different microphone depending on if you want an Omni-Directional or Uni-Directional design. They now have a switch which has small logos that show a circle for omni and a butt shape for uni. Then at the end, you can see there are now two microphone openings. These microphones are what make a ModMic stand out against the competition. The Uni directional microphone which is what you would use if you have any background noise has a  frequency response of 100Hz - 10kHz and a sensitivity of 36±3 dB. Its signal to noise ratio is 67 dB at a minimum and its max sound pressure level is 110 dB. For reference on that one, that is similar in noise level to a rock concert. The omni directional microphone has a wider frequency response at 50hz - 20kHz, so it has double the range on the top end and goes lower on the lows than the uni. It has the same sensitivity at 36±3 dB and has a lower signal to noise ratio at 58 dB and has four more decibels on the maximum input sound pressure with 114 dB. The omni-directional microphone also has a second opening on the backside of the microphone as well to help pick up those outside noises or a two-person interview for example if you only have one microphone.

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Here is another look at the mounting design of the ModMic, you can see the magnetic mount comes with the 3M tape preinstalled. If you have owned one of their designs in the past, you should know that they did upgrade the magnets, these will hold much stronger.

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For its cord, the ModMic USB comes with a 2-meter long cord which is 6 and a half stinky feet if you still follow those. At the end, it as the name implies has a USB plug. But the USB design is unique in allowing for this push button microphone mute button. The 3.5mm plug design has to use an inline plugin switch. This design also lights up red when the microphone is muted. The long cord also comes with a Velcro strap permanently attached as well to help tie up any cord you aren’t using or for transport.

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Performance

For performance testing with this being a combo pack, it makes things interesting. I’m still going to check out the installation process and the performance of the microphones, but we have to look at the 480i combo together as well. Just like I would with any gaming headset because, in the end, that is what is being sold. But before I dive into that let's check out what it takes to install the ModMic onto the Pro 480i.

Antlion Audio has made the overall installation process for the ModMic about as simple as it can be short of it being like the Vmoda MoomMic which plugs into headphones that have detachable cords, but the 480i doesn’t have that option. Not to mention, that the overall microphone design has a few big flaws. What the ModMic does is attach to the earcup of your headphones with a stick-on mount with a magnet inside. The microphone boom then uses the magnet to attach from there. So the installation is you figuring out where you want to mount it, cleaning the spot with the alcohol pad included, then taking off the paper on the sticky pad and sticking it on. That gets the microphone installed like you can see below.

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From there if you plan for this to be a more permanent installation you can also use the 10 included S clips to tidy up the wiring by clipping your headphone and ModMic wires together. This helps make the overall user experience a lot better as well, without it you can have a mess of wires.

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The Ultrasone Pro 480i has a lot of room with its enclosed earcups for the mounting location so you have a lot of flexibility. I mounted mine on the left side and down in the bottom left corner. I don’t like going too close to the center because the ModMics boom is a normal boom length that would normally mount on the front edge of the headset, so if you want it to wrap around near the front you take all the length you can get. Not that you need it in front for it to work. You can see in the pictures below that the on-ear design especially fit my wife well, as did the ModMic which was attached to it. I have a larger head and the adjustability helped it also be comfortable on my end as far as getting the earcups in the right spots.

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Digging into my testing, as far as overall comfort goes, the 480i’s wouldn’t be my first choice. Like I mentioned earlier, I highly prefer an over the ear design. If you also feel the same way, the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro bundle costs more but would be more ideal. In fact, that is the exact pair of headphones I’ve been eyeing to pick up for years now for myself lol. The 480i has a firm grip and is going to hold on to your head when moving around and while the padding isn’t extra plush, I wouldn’t say it is too firm either. Eat least on the earcups. The headband could be larger and softer, that is where I notice the pressure when wearing the combo for extended periods. But I do like that they have the overall range to fit my big head just as well as my wife's small one.

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As for audio performance, I used the 480i combo for a few weeks in my day to day use. The 480i was a step down from the high-end Fidelio X3’s that I have been using, but their audio performance is great. Like you would expect from a stupid focused headphone, they are balanced and crisp. The only area I would love to see an improvement is on the bass side. The 40mm driver lacks just a touch of then head-shaking bass that some people may like. Pushing the 480i I didn’t run into any clarity issues. It’s very clear that the money spent on the 480i’s is focused mostly on the audio performance and I’m okay with that.

As for the performance of the ModMic itself, well I will refer back to my original ModMic USB review testing where I put together the video below comparing microphones from multiple microphones. I did our standard testing where I record samples of me talking, keyboard usage, and a mouse click, and do the same across a long list of other microphones. My testing included the ModMic 5 and the ModMic Wireless along with wired and wireless gaming headsets, a condenser microphone that sits on your desk, the microphone array on the Creative Labs X7, and the microphone on an expensive webcam (Logitech Brio). The benefit of microphone testing is I have the chance to let you decide. But you will notice that none of the microphones tested compare. The ModMic USB and all of the other ModMics sound amazing. Being able to compare the Uni-directional and omni-directional microphones here also lets you hear the difference in background noise. You can also hear that the omni is louder overall and has a wider frequency range if your background noise is low enough.

For even more microphones tested, check out our latest comparison that also adds a few more desktop microphones HERE 


Overall and Final Verdict

The ModMic 480i combo pack is interesting to look at because I already know going in that the ModMic in all three of its configurations is at the top of the class as far as add on microphones. Frankly, even with gaming headphones making huge improvements, I don’t think any of them match its performance in the microphone range with just high-end desktop microphones being the only other option that can compete. So it's no surprise that the ModMic USB included in our combo performed well. The USB option keeps the setup easy as well, especially if you don’t have a higher-end DAC. The USB version also is exclusive in getting the inline microphone with an easy to use button to mute the microphone. It also lights up red when you are muted. The wireless ModMic does have a similar option built into the mic. Just like previous tests the dual microphone design is nice because it lets you have a uni-directional option when keyboard or background sound is a concern but you can still get the raw performance of the omni-directional ModMic which is significantly better.

The Ultrasone Pro 480i that Antlion Audio paired up with our combo is an interesting one because it is one of the cheapest options that they have. That said it is still a studio-focused headphone and the performance matches that. I was extremely impressed with the audio performance of the Pro 480i which easily runs with higher-end headphones. This also means that it is going to stand out when compared to most gaming headphones as well with only maybe the Arctis Pro’s performing in the same range. The 480i could use a little more kick in the lows/mids but they still sound great.

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All of my cons ended up focusing on the Pro 480i headphones, which isn’t on Antlion Audio at all. But it is clear most of the headphone funds went into the audio performance which I am okay with. Some of the plastic in the band/joints looks a little low end but I didn’t have any issues with them breaking in my testing. I would also love to see the headband padding get a little upgrade with wider/thicker padding. The budget for the 480i also means that they don’t have a fully detachable cable so you do have to be careful to not damage the base cord.

Overall though, the combination of the Pro 480i and the ModMic USB does make for a great combo. But it is the pricing that brings everything together. My initial review of the ModMic USB complained that the price of $79.99 would make it hard to keep the costs down when pairing with headphones if you want to compete with higher-end gaming headphones which are in the 130-150 range. Which makes the combo setup unique, if you paid full price for the ModMic USB you would be getting the Pro 480i for $69 which is a steal. Or we can look at the current Amazon price for the 480i which is $120 and say you are getting the microphone for $29. Either way, it’s a great value. If you want an upgrade the DT990 Pro combo is a similar value with it being just $199 when the DT990 Pro can be found at its cheapest for $159.

fv5value

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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