With some companies, it feels like they are just constantly pumping out new products but then you have other companies who focus on a smaller niche and take their time with upcoming products. Antlion Audio without a doubt falls into that second category. Antlion Audio reached out about a product they were testing back at the start of the pandemic and they had already been working on it for a long time to have prototypes but they sent one over just to get some feedback on. While spring of 2020 feels like its only been a year, a REALLY long year its been a lot longer than that and in that time they have been battling to get things perfect in their eyes and today is finally the day that they are introducing their new product which they call Kimura. Kimura is a new microphone setup combined with an in-ear monitor. They aren’t the first to do it, but as they did with the ModMic they are hoping to show what can really be done. So today I’m going to check out the Kimura Duo which comes with two in-ear monitors and we are going to see what they are all about and then put them to the test so let’s dive in!

Product Name: Antlion Audio Kimura Duo

Review Sample Provided by: Antlion Audio

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Kimura Microphone Cable Microphone Pattern

Omni-Directional

Frequency Response

100Hz - 10kHz

Sensitivity

-42±3 dB

Impedance

2.2(Max) kΩ

S/N Ratio

60(Min) dB

Maximum Input Sound Pressure Level

115(Max) dB

Standard Operating Voltage

2.0 Vdc

Operating Voltage Range

1.0~10 Vdc

Kimura Duo IEM

Features

One Dynamic Driver

One Balanced Armature

Sensitivity

125dB

Impedance

24Ω

Frequency Response Range

10Hz-30kHz

Connector

MMCX

Other

What’s in the Box

One Kimura Microphone Cable (MMCX)

One Pair of Kimura Duo IEMs

One set of memory foam eartips

Small, medium, & large silicone eartips

One shirt clip

Antlion Audio Y Adapter

Hard shell carrying case

Instruction manual

Hardware Compatibility

Works with all PC Operating Systems. Laptops & Gaming Consoles may require the included Y adapter.

Warranty

2 years

 

image 34

 

 


Photos and Features

The packaging for the Kimura Duo has gone a completely different direction than past Antlion Audio products which had a which background. This time around they went with a black background and the model name is up top with a gold reflective finish. Below that the Duo in the model name is blue whereas the Solo model would be red. Then across the front, they have a picture of the Kimura. Funny enough this early production box did end up with an error, the pictures on the front (and back) of the box are of the Kimura Solo. Antlion Audio had the option from their packaging company to fix the mistake but decided not to because of their focus to limit their environmental impact. Down at the bottom, the Antlion Audio logo is still on the front but much smaller than everything else keeping the front of the box as simple and clean as possible. On the back of the box, you can see that the packaging has a pull tab seal which isn’t something we see much these days. Below that they have a description of the Kimura which also lists it as the Solo. Then most of the back of the box is filled with a picture breakdown of everything that comes in the box with labels that match up to the list below except for the hard case which isn’t pictured.

image 7

image 8

The pull tab outside packaging slides off the box and there is another fully decked-out printed box inside. This sticks with the blue theme for the Kimura Duo and this also has the Kimura Solo for its picture again. The front of this box has wings that open up to the inside where almost everything is right up on top sitting in its black plastic-formed tray. The tray has the Kimura K molded in it as well. With the flaps open you can also see that they have information and pictures on the back of them as well with the microphone on the left and the in-ear monitor on the right.

image 9

image 10

Up under the tray, the Kimura Duo does come with documentation. You get a folded-up manual with the Kimura K on the front. The manual looks black and white but once you get inside you can see that Antlion Audio has used green and red to show the good and bad ways to hook things up, specifically that they suggest if you need to use the TRRS adapter to use it at the device, don’t use an extension in front of it. Using a cable after it can cause cross-talk. They also have instructions on how to use the foam tips and troubleshooting steps if you have any issues.

image 11

image 12

The Kimura Duo comes with its cord tucked into the included carrying case so when you pull the tray out all of that will come with it. For accessories, it also comes with a TRRS adapter which will adapt the standard dual cable setup with one for the microphone and one for the headphones into the four insulator single connection you see on some devices. It then also comes with three additional pairs of eartips on top of the set that comes preinstalled on the monitors. The extra rubber tip sizes weren’t a surprise with there being a larger set and a smaller set to go with the medium size on the monitors. But I was surprised that Antlion Audio included a set of foam eartips as well, which would normally be an upgrade option later for people who prefer them.

image 13

image 14

image 15

image 16

Antlion Audio has always been great with including carrying cases, all of their ModMic designs have had a nice case of some variation. This gives you a safe place to store the Kimura Duo and if you are taking them to LANs or traveling with them you will put this to use as well. Unlike the long rectangle shape used on the ModMics, the Kimura Duo’s case is a circle and is just under 100 mm wide or 3 ¾ inches. It also has that cool stylized K logo up on top. Inside one side has mesh storage for holding the TRRS adapter and any eartips and the other is open to fit the Kimura Duo when wrapped up.

image 17

image 18

image 19

The cable for the Kimura Duo’s cable starts off at the plug end with separate microphone and headphone connections that after 10 inches join together into a thin rubber cable. That cable is 55 inches long and runs into another split. This split has an all-metal alligator clip for clipping it to your clothes. Then from there, the individual cables run up to each of the in-ear monitors with the plastic loop that goes around your ear then each has an MMCX connection that snaps into the in-ear monitors. The distance from the split to the base of the arch around the ear is exactly 12 inches making the total cord length 77 inches which is 6.4 feet or just under 2 meters.

image 20

image 21

image 22

So if you haven’t heard of an in-ear monitor before, it is the same setup that most artists will wear when performing live. The line between an IEM and the traditional earbud is a little blurry, but IEMs are designed to go into your ear canal where they can block more noise. I know there are a lot of “earbuds” out there that do this as well, which is why this is so blurry. Antlion Audio’s Kimura Duo that we have here though uses a traditional IEM design which has a majority of its shape in clear resin. The Duo has a punchy dynamic driver and then a balanced armature to focus on high frequencies. If you were curious about the difference between the Kimura Duo and Solo, the Solo has just the dynamic driver and they use red in the resin whereas the duo has blue as you can see. The blue resin on the outside does have the Antlion Audio mountain logo in it as well. Both do have an MMCX connection which is a popular IEM connection meaning you could in the future swap these out if you wanted to upgrade and keep the microphone or if one fails they would be replaceable. As for specs they have a sensitivity of 125dB and a frequency response range of 10Hz-30kHz. They have an impedance of 24 Ω as well. The resin design is shaped to the shape of most ears and you can see a small wing to the shape and then it goes into the canal towards the eartip.

image 23

image 24

image 25

image 26

image 27

image 28

Of course with this being an Antlion Audio product, the microphone is the star here. The Kimura Duo has a thin boom microphone that splits off from the plastic that goes around your ear to the in-ear monitor. This is on the right ear while the left ear’s cable has no microphone. It starts with the plastic housing where the boom attaches and then the wire goes on out the bottom from there with a strain guard built in. The boom on the other hand is 3 and a half inches from the end of the split to the base of the microphone housing at the end. The boom is thin but is metal and can be belt and adjusted anywhere you want it. The microphone housing at the end is aluminum with a black finish and the Antlion Audio logo is printed on it in bright white. All the way at the tip is the small pinhole opening for the microphone itself. The microphone that Antlion Audio went with has a frequency response range of 100Hz to 10kHz and is Omnidirectional meaning it will pick up in all directions. For comparison, the ModMic USB’s Omni-directional microphone does have more frequency range at 50hz - 20kHz but they have a lot more space to be able to do that. Its sensitivity is -42±3 dB which is higher than the ModMic and a signal-to-noise ratio of 60 dB which is a little better than the ModMic USB's 58 dB.

image 29

image 30

image 31

image 32

image 33

 

 


Performance

For testing the Antlion Audio Kimura Duo, unlike Antlion Audio’s previous ModMics not only is microphone performance important but now we also have to keep an eye on the audio quality of the IEMs and comfort as well. To put the Kimura Duo to the test I have been using the set any time I don’t want to use my speakers at my desk for more than a month now. I run them hooked up to the Creative Labs X7 DAC and amp to push them. So to start things off let's talk about the overall experience as far as using the Kimura Duo and the comfort.

image 1

image 2

I first have to say that for a very long time, earbuds or in-canal earbuds haven’t been my preferred mobile listening experience. I’m a little old school and with that, I love big over-ear headphones and for a while, for portability, I would use headphones with ear hangers like the Audio-Technica W Series but as that style has been harder to find I did start using earbuds for some situations. I didn’t like the earbud design because they felt like they would fall out and most that went in-ear were very uncomfortable to me. Getting the Kimura Duo on and set up was a little more complicated than a basic earbud setup. The tighter fit with the resin in-ear monitor does mean you have to have the just right to slide in which requires a twist. The over-ear hook complicates this a little but you do get used to it after a few times. It’s also important to dial in your ear canal size and pick your eartip, lucky for me the medium size works well for me but I did also want to test out the foam as well. Sadly while the standard silicon eartip was fine, the foam eartip that I was excited to use didn’t work for me. It fit and worked better at cutting out background noise and being comfortable initially but I quickly found out that my skin didn’t like the material and I had a reaction to it as burning set in. Switching back to the medium tip for the rest of my testing the Kimura Duo did a great job of staying in place once in place. It’s a shame really that my phone doesn’t have a headphone jack as they would be great for when I’m mowing because of it.

image 6

For audio performance on the in-ear monitors for the Kimura Duo I was surprised. For starters, in my head, because these are often used in combination with sound blocking as a way to lower the volume levels for musicians on stage so in my mind the volume levels they would be capable of would be in line with your average earbud. I was wrong, if you aren’t careful you can turn these up to be loud, VERY loud. The combination of the dynamic driver and the balanced armature is noticeable, the highs are very crisp at all volumes even when at the highest volumes you push the dynamic driver to its limits. They have a surprisingly neutral tune on them which if anything leans to less bass. So if you are coming in here expecting the “beats” experience you are going to want to play with the EQ a little bit. Even for me, I wanted a little more bass and I’m normally not that guy. They are capable of pushing the bass when you want it or if you are turning the volume up so don’t be afraid of the EQ if needed. Beyond that having most of your background noise cut out you don’t need as much volume as you would need with other options and the clear highs have a secondary function of making voices a lot easier to hear when watching YouTube, TV Shows, and Movies.

image 3

image 4

image 5

The last bit of my testing was then of course focused on the microphone, this is Antlion Audio’s past experience with their ModMics series which has always been popular. The microphone for the Kimura Duo is smaller and more compact than what the ModMics give you and because it is attached to the cable coming off of the in-ear monitor it is almost hidden, for me with a beard it was right in the middle of my beard. Spec wise the microphone for the Kimura Duo doesn’t have the same range as some of their ModMics, at least when in Omnidirectional mode but as you will hear in the video below that wasn’t noticeable in its performance. In fact, my only complaint with its performance was that it was quiet which may have more to do with me having a large head and struggling to get the microphone close to my mouth. But as far as quality goes, it sounds amazing, it also didn’t pick up our mouse-clicking even with it being an omnidirectional microphone. It did pick up the keyboard, but that wasn’t as bad.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

After testing the Antlion Audio Kimura Duo for the last month it has been an eye-opening experience in a few different ways. For starters, I learned that I could have a sensitivity to foam ear tips, which was a big bummer because I was excited that they were included with the Kimura Duo and before I had issues they did do a great job of sealing my ear canal and if not for the burning they would have been comfortable. I also learned that even having used in-canal earbuds that the experience could be better. The Kimura Duos did a better job at staying in place and cutting out background noise than anything else that I have used other than products with active noise canceling. There was a little more of an adjustment period getting used to putting them in/on while also getting the over-the-ear cable all situated. Antlion Audio also did a nice job including a variety of sizes of the standard ear tips on top of the foam option.

Audio performance was great, utilizing the balanced armature that is only in the Duos to leave voices and highs crisp all through the volume range. Bass, on the other hand, was lower than I would have expected, and for anyone who prefers the bass-heavy EQ that a lot of the more trendy headphones and earbuds have you will need to dig into your EQ and adjust things up. But the Kimura Duos handled bass when turned up well even up to high volumes. Speaking of, the Kimura Duos are capable of painful volume levels if you turn them up so much so that you really should be careful. The microphone which is Antlion Audio’s specialty was also impressive in its quality though it was noticeably quieter than some of the other microphones we have tested in the past. Our microphone comparison video speaks for itself though, it sounds great. Antlion Audio included a nice hard carrying case for storage and for transporting the Kimura Duo but I would love to see the cable also get a small reusable Velcro strap or similar to be able to tie up any extra cord length and make things easier when storing them.

As far as pricing goes, the Antlion Audio Kimura Duo isn’t exactly going to be budget friendly at its MSRP of $149.95 but it also is a drop in the bucket as far as how expensive in-ear monitors can cost. For comparison, the Sennheiser IE300s can be found for $199 and that is without the microphone and they can go up into the thousands quickly. Antlion Audio does also have the Kimura Solo which is cheaper at $99.95 or if you already have IEMs that support MMCX or 2-pin connections you can get just the cable and microphone for just $59.95 to make your own setup. In the end, it really is amazing what they were able to fit in such a small package. The Kimura Duo is a nice upgraded option for anyone who prefers their wired earbuds when gaming or at their PC listening to music or watching videos and it is exciting to see Antlion Audio reaching out beyond their ModMic lineup to new markets like that.

fv6recommended

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.

Log in to comment

We have 1520 guests and no members online

supportus