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Antlion ModMic 4 and 5 Combined Review: Time To Go Modular?

Hardware Reviews By Christopher Coke on November 18, 2017

Antlion ModMic 4 and 5 Combined Review: Time To Go Modular?

In the world of PC hardware, Antlion Audio is a relative newcomer, but in the short three years since they’ve entered mass production, they’ve made quite a name for themselves with their line of modular headset mics. Do you have a pair of headphones you’d like to use for gaming but they don’t have a mic? Antlion has the answer with the ModMic. Today, we’re taking a look at both the ModMic 4 and ModMic 5 to examine whether they live up to their reputation and which one you should choose. This is our review of the ModMic 4 and ModMic 5.

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ModMic4: The Entry Point

Specifications

  • MSRP: $42.95
  • Jack: 3.5mm plated TRS for use with PCs
  • Cable: 3.3 meters length, 2.5 mm diameter, coaxial shielding
  • Clasp: Adhesive pad, magnet
  • Pattern: Uni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -38 ± 3 dB
  • Response: 100 Hz–10 kHz
  • SNR: >50+ dB
  • Impedance: 2.2 KOhm
  • Operating Voltage: 1 to 10V
  • Max current at 2.0V: 500 µA
  • Max input SPL: 110 dB


ModMic 4 (top) and ModMic 5 (bottom)

If you’ve shopped around for gaming headsets in the last three years, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with the ModMic already. For too long, gamers have faced a headset marked swamped sub-par headphones or driven to unhappy trade-offs. That headset that sounds so great? Probably has a poor microphone. The headset with a stellar mic? The drivers quack with too much bass. Or, even more commonly, the headset looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie.

At a certain point, what we want is a headset that delivers in all areas and doesn’t make us feel silly wearing it. Gamer-chic is a fleeting phase for most of us, but the trend of “gaming” headphones putting looks before performance doesn’t seem to be going anywhere (see our recent reviews for a series of headphones that buck this trend). This is where Antlion Audio and the ModMic comes in.

The idea of the ModMic is simple. Rather than force gamers to buy a headset that might fall short, they can focus on buying headphones that have one job and do it well. The ModMic attaches via a 3M pad and small magnet to marry your high end headphones to an equally excellent mic. Instead of turning to a company to combine two products and hope they don’t cut corners, the promise of the ModMic is in buying two separate dedicated peripherals and combining them yourself to make one really good headset - and hopefully for less money.

The ModMic 4 comes in at just under $43. While that might seem like a lot for a mic, consider than for less than $100 and a little research, you can find excellent headphones to pair with. For under $150, you can easily craft a headset that will challenge much more expensive gaming headsets. And the mic sounds good. Hear it for yourself.

Note that, depending on your motherboard, plugging into the 3.5MM microphone jack will probably produce some white noise the best microphone. To solve this, and give a little more juice to the microphone, Antlion also sells a $9.95 USB adapter that all but eliminates this noise and actually makes the mic sound a little better.

Soundwise, you’ll notice that there is very little compression occurring that takes away from the clarity of the vocal. There’s also an extra bump of bass than most headset mics pick up, making it a great fit for any kind of streaming and podcasting you might want to do this side of a stand-up mic.

The ModMic also includes a second set of clasps for another headset and a handful of wire clips to keep your headphone and ModMic wires running together.

ModMic 5: The Big Brother

If you’ve looked into the ModMic recently, you’ll also have noticed that another entry has entered the line. The ModMic 5. Is it worth spending the extra?

Specifications

  • MSRP: $69.95
  • Jack: 3.5mm plated TRS for use with PCs
  • Head unit: Microphone boom + 20mm of cable to male TRS 3.5mm tip; single-conductor coaxially shielded
  • Cable: 2x detachable: (1) 1m, (1) 2m; 2.5mm diameter; kevlar reinforced, coaxially shielded;
  • Clasps: Adhesive pad, magnet
  • Pattern: Uni-directional, Omni-dicrectional (dual pattern)
    • Sensitivity: -38 ± 3 dB
    • Response: 100 Hz–10 kHz
    • SNR: >50+ dB
    • Impedance: 2.2 K Ohm
    • 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 KOhm
    • Operating Voltage: 1 to 10V
    • Max current at 2.0V: 500 µA
    • Max input SPL: 110 dB

As you can tell from the spec sheet, the ModMic 5 definitely brings more to the table. If the ModMic 4 is your entry point, the ModMic 5 is your premium flagship, though whether or not that’s enough to sell you is another matter.

The biggest defining feature of the ModMic 5 is that it features dual capture modes. Using a small switch just before the wind shield, you can select from omnidirectional mode to uni-directional (found on the ModMic 4). Omnidirectional, as the name implies, captures audio in a circle around the mic rather than just the direction you’re speaking. Depending on your own use case, those dual modes may be a godsend. For my part, I usually left it in uni-directional mode which definitely sounded richer for core vocal capture.

Have a listen and hear it side by side with the ModMic 4:

The ModMic 5 also features several other additions with its higher price. Two detachable kevlar reinforced cables of one and two meters are included in the package. Detachable wires are a mark of quality, as if a wire breaks, it doesn’t mean replacing your whole headset. There’s also a Mute module that can be inserted into the cable chain, as well as a full cable sheath for your headphone and mic cables. Like the ModMic 4, it also comes in a nice travel case and includes accessories like cable clips and extra clasps for a second headset.

Final Thoughts

So far this year, the only other modular microphone we’ve looked at was the V-Moda Boom Pro. Side by side with the ModMic 4 and 5, I definitely find myself leaning toward Antlion. The bass response is richer and, more importantly, these will work with any headset and don’t require any proprietary connection. If you have a set of headphones you love, definitely give a thought to Antlion and give them a whole new purpose in your PC gaming.

The product discussed in this review was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.

Pros

  • Can be used on two headsets
  • Removable so you can still use the headphones elsewhere
  • Includes accessories and travel case
  • Excellent vocal capture and bass response

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey
Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.