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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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