Spend a lot of time at your PC gaming or working chances are that you’ll quickly obtain a favourite pair of headphones. Some people use them to block out the world around them, some to listen to music and some for gaming. When you picked those headphones you probably considered comfort, weight and sound quality but if its there at all you probably didn’t think about the microphone quality.
It’s this problem the ModMic set out to fix and they’re now on their fourth generation of hardware. The idea behind the ModMic is simple, take a high-quality microphone and put it on a boom with a magnet on the opposite end. Get another magnet with a sticky pad to put on your headphones and you’ve got an instantly removable microphone to put on your headset. AntLion make two versions, one with an unidirectional microphone and one with an omnidirectional microphone.
So before we get to the sound how is the design and build quality? In a word, good. The boom is fairly rigid and stays where you put in and the magnet is reasonably strong and has an ingenious gear clip surrounding it so that it cannot slip or turn when you don’t want it to. The cable starts with a deliberate solid kink that lets it balance better and the cable itself is a generous 3.3 metres in length with an optional mute switch near the top. The whole package comes in a carrying case, has 5 cable clips to attach it to the headphone cable and has a spare magnet clip so that you can have two locations setup for it. AntLion say it works with the PC and with the correct firmware and adapters on the Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and Mac.
Hook it up to your PC, get it adjusted and the microphone works as well as the design promises. I tried it in all the normally expected situations attached to a pair of microphoneless headphones and it worked perfectly in a quiet room. I stepped up the challenge and with a room filled with the TV and my daughter playing and was still able top get good sound using the omnidirectional version of the microphone. If you’ll usually have a noisy room I’d recommend the uni-directional microphone but this seems to be a matter of degrees rather than absolutes.
So the ModMic does exactly what it promises to do – but can it do more? Voice recognition is becoming far more common and reliable than it used to be and for some people is the easiest and most reliable way to operate their PC. There are a number of microphones out there usually as part of a headset that try and serve this market but we wondered if the ModMic could work there as well. The ModMic is both a magnet and a sticky system and in the last couple of weeks we’ve been trying to put it in everywhere we can think of. We’ve had it on wheelchairs, the sides of screens, attached to high back seats and attached to a free-standing desk stand. The gear clip on the magnet means that unless you attaching it to another powerful magnet you need to use one of their sticky connectors but this isn’t a major drawback. It works. There is a certain amount of inspiration needed to get the perfect location but it’s possible to get the microphone almost anywhere you can think of and the microphone is decent enough quality to support speech to text or voice controls.
Included in the box: ModMic, carry case, quick start guide, alcohol wipe, 2 base clasps, 5 cable clips, spare base sticker.
Paid Extras: Depending on your system you may need a USB or Y adaptor.
Retailer: Amazon +:
About AntLion Audio
AntLion is a trading name of GT Device. The US company is based out of Portland and AntLion concentrates on the various versions of the ModMic and accessories.
Once you get it setup properly, magnetized to your headphones and the cable partnered to your headphone cable it really does feel like you have a headphone set with a microphone built in – exactly as promised.
- Target age range: Preschool, Children, Teens, Adults, Older adults
- Suitable for home or work use at a stationary location but also removable and transportable.
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral all black with no LEDs or gender typing
- Optimized for ambidextrous use and can be fixed to either side of a set of headphones although the solid kink in the boom works slightly better on the left side of a head
- Target audience: Diverse, wide ranging audience or high end professional/niche product/both
- Optimized for indoors use and an ideally quieter environment.
The ModMic lets you add a microphone to almost any headset – or anything else – for a £40. It’s a unique solution which is difficult to compare directly to other product’s cost. Desktop microphones of a similar quality can be had for a range of cost from £30 upwards but headsets with similar quality microphones tend to be significantly more expensive.
In short if you already have a headset you want to add a microphone to the ModMic far more cost-effective than rebuying the headset in a version that has a microphone – if that’s possible – but if you’re starting from nothing and are planning to keep the ModMic permanently in one position it would be more cost-effective with
Jack: Standard 3.5mm
Cable: 3.3m long
Boom: 17.5cm long with internal steel spine
Compatible natively: PC
Compatible with adapters, Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and Mac
Response: 30 Hz-17.5 kHz ± 3 dB
Sensitivity: -26 ± 3 dB
SNR: 58+ dB
Impedance: 2.2 KΩ
Max current at 2.0V: 500 µA
Max input SPL: 110 dB
Warranty: 30 day now quibble and one-year covering manufacturing defects
For the PC 3.5mm microphone output which is likely to be built into most desktop machines but can be added with a USB connector if it is not. Other systems have different requirements – the Xbox One needs the latest firmware update and a modern controller with a headphone socket and Y adaptor, the PS4 needs a Y adaptor through the controller, the Mac needs a USB adaptor and the PS3 and Xbox 360 their respective audio adaptors.
The AntLion ModMic is designed to serve a very specific market – you have or use a specific headset and need to add a microphone or have a better sound quality than that built in. It’s perfectly designed for this and does the job exactly as you’d hope with decent stability and sound quality.
The flexibility of the ModMic is it’s key. I found the best alternative use for it was on my daughter’s child’s headphones. She has a pair that are specifically restricted in how loud they can go and wanted occasionally to be able to use them for Skype – but we were unable to find a children’s headset that would have a microphone – enter the ModMic and problem solved. On the same note, I wear headphones most of the time but only need a microphone occasionally – the ModMic lets me have a microphone only when I need it. Recommended.
The review is based on the Omnidirectional ModMic kindly provided by AntLion
Click to read more about our eco icons and access icons used in this review. This article was first published on the 6th of May 2016.