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Antlion Audio ModMic 5 Review (Detachable Headset Mic)
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Review

Antlion Audio ModMic 5 Review (Detachable Headset Mic)

by 2017/03/20
Overview
Price

$69.95

Product Name

Antlion Audio ModMic 5.0 Modular Attachable Boom Microphone

Positives

• Modular design
• Improved cable management allows quick detachment
• Two different microphones to switch between
• Sturdier mic boom
• Good sensitivity

Negatives

• Hissing noise on the omnidirectional microphone
• Flat mic boom hard to twist
• Cable could be thicker
• Slightly on the pricier side

Rating
Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Sound Quality
70%
70%
Appearance
80%
41%
Worth it?
75%
65%
Ease of Use
90%
59%
Hardware
80%
96%
Features
85%
81%
Bottom Line

The Antlion Audio ModMic 5.0 is a much refined boom microphone-addon which will fit on just about any microphone-less headphones out in the market and deliver crystal clear audio on your calls and recordings.

80%
Our Rating
69%
User Rating
3 ratings
You have rated this

Some of the great headphones on the market come with no microphone. They do just one thing and that’s delivering flawless sound. An equally good microphone would simply make it a complete set. Antlion’s ModMic 5 fulfils our wish by providing a detachable boom microphone that can be added to any set of headphones. It’s designed for a range of applications including gaming, VoIP, streaming and audio-visual production.

We reviewed the ModMic 4.0 some time ago and it has been working great ever since. The ModMic 4.0 came in two models: One had an omnidirectional microphone while the other came with a directional microphone, each costing nearly $50 each. Unfortunately it had a really long cable that became an hindrance over time. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who wished for an even refined detachable boom mic. Pleasingly, Antlion has delivered the ModMic 5 with this upgrade, among other improvements.

What’s in the box?

Left: ModMic 4.0 case, Right: ModMic 5 case

The mic comes in a well-designed cardboard box. You will find a nylon cable wrap and a black case inside. Everything that you expect the box to contain is placed inside this sturdy little black case. Upon opening it, you should be able to locate the neatly tucked ModMic 5, two sets of cables with differing lengths, a pouch with three 3M adhesive pads, 10 cable clips, alcohol prep-pad and the in-line on-0ff switch. Nothing ever rattles inside the case because of the elastic straps which hold everything in one place.

The hardshell case retains the design from its predecessor with one noticeable change. You will find that the outer surface of the casing now has a layer of fabric. This fabric contributes to a softer feel while holding the case in hand. Let us now dive in and look at every little thing.

Improved cable management

The long cable on the ModMic 4.0 had to be clipped with the headphone cable. As a result, hooking it on 5 cable clips wasn’t uncommon. What if you needed to take the mic and leave the headphones behind or vice versa? You would need to unhook the cable along the entire length and separate the two devices, which was a pain especially when you needed to do it often.

Things have improved with the ModMic 5. You now get a detachable microphone boom with a tiny cable. Two longer cables of 1m and 2m provided in the kit can be hooked onto the headphone cable with the clips. Additionally, you get ten cable clips with the newer ModMic instead of five that you used to get on the earlier ModMic. Furthermore, an additional nylon wrap provided in the box helps to keep everything together neatly. Detaching the ModMic from your headphones in under a second just became possible. The only drawback of this assembly is you end up with a thick looking cable.

Detachable in-line switch on new model

The in-line switch turns the microphone on and off

Some found the sweet little sturdy in-line microphone switch on the ModMic 4.0 quite useful whereas others didn’t. I fall into the latter category of people. Similarly, it bothered some with its mere presence. I for one did not care about the switch.

The ModMic 5 comes with the detachable in-line microphone switch. One end has a 3.5mm male connector and the other end has a female jack. The shiny little module has two dots under the slider: A red dot and a green dot indicating the current position of the switch. Although shiny on the front side, the module has a matte finish on the underside.

Comparing it with what we had on the ModMic 4.0, the new mic switch definitely bothers me. Not only is it much bigger, but it also feels slightly heavier. The heavier aspect of it wouldn’t have been an issue but the mere bulk of it dangling alongside your neck is bothersome. Antlion Audio has designed it in such a way that it can be placed at the other end of the cable but that arguably defeats its purpose.

Dual microphone design and a stiffer boom

Slider switch selects omnidirectional and unidirectional microphones

As we all know, ModMic 4.0 had two versions of it; omnidirectional and unidirectional. The newer version comes with both microphone types, which can be switched with a small slider on the boom. This feature is especially useful for those who plan to use the ModMic 5 with their cameras. Having an omnidirectional microphone switched on would let you record say for example ambient environmental sounds. Correspondingly, you can switch back to the directional mic when you decide to use ModMic with your headset for a Skype call.

I didn’t really feel the ModMic needed a stiffer boom than the one offered on the 4.0. Nevertheless, we have a thicker, stiffer boom on the new ModMic. The extra stiffness allows the mic to retain its shape during rough use. Another thing is that the new shape is flatter instead of being round. One advantage of having a round boom is that you can bend it in any direction. On the contrary, a flat boom would let you bend it only along its flatness and not in any other direction. You can bend the flat boom in the other way but it requires more force. I would have definitely preferred to have a round boom instead of a flat one.

The new boom design.

Sound quality

Not a lot has changed in terms of sound quality between the ModMic 4.0 and the ModMic 5. While using the microphone for team chat in Battlefield 4, the sound quality was better than what you would get with an average microphone.

Switching to an omnidirectional microphone causes a noticeable difference in audio. It tends to pick up more white noise which you can hear in form of a continuous hiss. In addition to that, your voice will also seem to be much more lively. This is obvious because your mic is now picking up sounds from a much wider area. In short, the audio from omnidirectional mic has some sort of fullness to it. Wind noise will be a significant factor to take into consideration if you plan to use the omnidirectional mode while on the beach or any windy area.

I find the omnidirectional mode to be useful during a call when you have people around you who wish to speak into the mic. The results have been really good with crystal clear voice being heard on the other end of the call.

Directional microphone pros and cons

On the other hand, the directional microphone makes your sound appear blunt. The hiss drops down to much lower levels where you stop being conscious about it. Unfortunately, it does present a new problem: Pop noise. The small foam pop shield, unfortunately, doesn’t prevent it. It has to be said the issue is not bad enough to create problems for an average user though.

Comparing the unidirectional and omnidirectional microphones, the latter has a wider bandwidth ranging from 30Hz to 17.5kHz with lower sensitivity levels of 26dB. Whereas the unidirectional microphone has a frequency limit of 100Hz to 10kHz and a higher sensitivity. The lower bandwidth contributes to the dullness in your sound when using the unidirectional mode. Both the mics can withstand Sound Pressure Levels of 110dB. This ensures that the loud sounds will not be clipped and distorted.

Conclusion

Is spending $70 for the ModMic 5 really justified? For the extra $20 you put over the price of ModMic 4.0, you get better cable management that includes 10 clips, extra stickers, long and short cables, a nylon cable wrap, in-line switch and finally an additional omni microphone. The Antlion Audio ModMic 5 is a much refined product which can be plugged in to just about any device that takes a microphone input. It goes well with just about any headphone on the market. The standard 3.5 mm jack fits into most of the devices out there. You would have much better sounding audio in any case. If you are unwilling to spend the extra $20, the ModMic 4.0 is not bad at all, but if you have a liberal budget, do check out the ModMic 5. It won’t disappoint you.

United States: Amazon, Newegg

United Kingdom: Overclockers

International: Antlion international stockers list

Mic was easy to install and set up. Sounds very good in game on both omni and uni direction settings (Andrew, Amazon US)

Its a damn good microphone. the people I talk to certainly enjoy the improved quality. (Isaac, Amazon US

I don't quite see the point in investing more than the 4.0 and/or upgrading from the ModMIc 4.0 (TotallyDubbed)

What's included:

  • One ModMic 5 head unit with dual microphone capsule
  • Antlion mute switch module
  • 1m and 2m cables, each with 3.5mm jack
  • Durable carrying case
  • Two base clasps, one top clasp with cap
  • One foam pop filter
  • 2m cable wrap and 10 cable clips
  • Extra 3M adhesive
  • Instruction Manual

Dual microphone capsule specs:

  • 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
  • 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

 

 

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About The Author
Salil Tembe
Salil is an electronics engineer who loves to play around with the technology. He has a passion for expressing his love for technology through writing. Also, he firmly stands for open sourcing everything that makes our lives better, so that it can get even better.

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Sound Quality
Appearance
Worth it?
Ease of Use
Hardware
Features