It may so happen that you have amazing headphones but they lack a decent headset microphone. My Audio Technica ATH-M30x headphones sound great but are not designed for making skype calls. Without a microphone being available it meant the best alternative was to use my phone instead. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a microphone that could be attached to these headphones? Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to have felt that way. A man called Jimmy Console decided to take action, which resulted in creation of a product called, the ModMic. This microphone is designed to attach itself externally and turn your headphones into a headset! Update: Check out the newer Modmic 5 review!
Clever design that is difficult to break
What you get out of the box is minimal because that is all you will ever require. You will be getting a hard shell cover, the boom microphone with sufficiently long cable, a few cable clips, alcohol prep pad and couple of sticky pads with magnets on them. The magnets are really strong. I am guessing they are neodymium magnets. The hardshell cover has a “Antlion” branding over it. Inside the case, the boom mic and everything else is nicely secured with the help of elastic bands and netting.
Both, the boom mic and the sticky pad both have magnets which make them detachable. The boom of the microphone is made from flexible plastic material. You can twist it in any form you like. The length of the boom can be adjusted by loosening the screw cap just above the magnetic assembly and pulling the boom backward. The magnetic assembly, which includes the sticky pad as well as the boom mic, both have teeth on them which prevent the boom from rotating or pointing downwards with its weight.
The plastic used does seem a little unfinished. By that, I mean the plastic body does show some mould marks which haven’t been removed. That does not affect the build quality because it still feels rock solid and hard to break. There are not really any moving parts that may wear out over time, therefore you are guaranteed that the ModMic will last for quite a while. There is an in-line switch to turn on and turn off the microphone. It does not feel very snappy but gets the job done.
ModMic performance that is hard to go unnoticed
The first time I used this headset microphone was to make a Skype call to my friend in Romania. Like I said earlier, I usually use my mobile phone to talk. With the first call using ModMic, his reaction was, “Wow, your new mic is so clear!”. I did not expect the improvement to be so significant that he would notice straight away.
We usually do not care what we are broadcasting while communicating with players on online games. The person on the other end would be the one hearing you. A good mic would make the game better any day in my opinion, at least for the person on the other side. ModMic really captures the wholeness from the sound of your voice. Technically speaking, this wholeness is equivalent to having the ability to pick up any frequency in the audio band. Most headset mics are able to pick up audio in the range of 600Hz to 5kHz. Apparently the microphone used in ModMic is able to capture a much wider band and this gets reflected in the details this mic can pick up.
Speaking of the “details”, the microphone is a lot more sensitive as compared to microphones in our mobile phones or cheap headsets. It is able to pick up your voice even if you talk very softly while your microphone is floating quite far away from your mouth.
There are two versions of the ModMic, one that has a omni-directional response while the other one has a uni-directional, cardioid response. The omni-directional microphone is susceptible to background noise and has a wider frequency. It is the same model that I am reviewing. The Uni-directional ModMic will be much quieter and capture only the sound coming from your mouth. Additional accessories include a USB audio adapter where you can plug in your headphones and the microphone. This is kind of useful if you own a Macbook or it could be some other situation. A Y-adapter also comes handy when plugging your headset to your Xbox or some other gaming console that can only accept a 4 pole 3.5 mm jack.
The Antlion Audio ModMic costs $49 for the omnidirectional version. It doesn’t feel expensive at first but once you hear your own voice through the mic, you will be amazed at the amount of detail it captures. The provision to stick this mic just about anywhere is very appealing. That leaves us with no compatibility issues between the ModMic and the headphones. All you need is a small flat surface to stick the magnetic nub. Being magnetically attached to your headphones, they can be removed when not in use.
Good quality material and pretty sound quality will definitely make this microphone last for at least a couple of years unless you intentionally decide to break it. It is really very useful to me and many others with mic-less headphones. There are no other products that come anywhere near the ModMic as of yet. Fantastic bit of kit, my advice to you would be to go ahead, buy it for yourself and never turn back.
Jack: 3.5mm plated TRS for use with PCs
Xbox One: works fine through controller via a CTIA/TRRS adapter. Will need latest firmware update! (as of 5/22/15)
Play Station 4: works fine through controller via a CTIA/TRRS adapter. Sounds strange at times if used through mixamp.
Mac/PS3/Xbox 360 headset jacks with proper adapter (Macs will need a USB adapter)
Cable: 3.3 meters length, 2.5 mm diameter, coaxial shielding, mute button ~150mm from end of boom (about shirt pocket height)
Boom: 175mm max length, very bendable with internal steel spine
Clasp: 12.7mm (0.5 inch) diameter circle adhesive pad footprint, ~17.5mm total height of attached clasp assembly.
Response: 30 Hz-17.5 kHz ± 3 dB
Sensitivity: -26 ± 3 dB
SNR: 58+ dB
Impedance: 2.2 K-ohms
Max current at 2.0V: 500 µA
Max input SPL: 110 dB
ModMic 4.0 detachable microphone
ModMic 4.0 gives a much needed high quality microphone input to our favourite mic-less headphones. Really, nothing can go wrong with the ModMic 4.0.