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.
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.
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.
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.
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