These days a good pair of headphones can cost you between $100-200, and that's if you're seeking the best quality both in audio and comfort. So imagine getting deep into online gaming or -- in my case -- Podcasting, and the urge to communicate with your fellow players and talking heads grows ever substantially. In most cases, you'd have to drop another $100 at least for a strong gaming headset. That's where Antlion Audio comes in with the ModMic 5, a peripheral that transforms any over-the-ear headphone pair into a bonafide gaming headset.
The ModMic 5 comes with a plethora of accessories that can turn any headphone into a high-ranking headset. Along with the microphone itself, the box contains a mute switch modular, 1 & 2 meter adapter cables, a few extra adhesives to use on multiple headphones, and a sturdy carrying case. While the look of so many wires might seem overwhelming at first, I can assure you readers that putting this accessory together isn't as difficult as it seems.
For the usage of this review, I had bought a pair of Bass Jaxx Eclipse headphones, which you can usually grab at any Five Below or Big Lots. (Although these sorts of headphones lack in bass power, they do deliver a good amount of sound when playing music or watching a YouTube video.) To piece together the ModMic 5, you first stick the adhesive part onto either the left or right earbud, depending on which is comfortable. (To switch the mic's direction, you can easily bend it so it fits with whichever side you choose.) Holding it down for half a minute usually is good to keep it at bay, although before usage, it's best to let it sit for an hour before diving into gaming.
For gaming and recording on the PC, all one has to do is hook the headphone and mic parts into their respective ports. However, those wishing to game or use it with their cell phone will require grabbing a Y adapter to get proper usage out of it. For Mac users, a USB adapter will be needed. The downside is that these adapters don't come equipped with the ModMic 5, although these days you can probably find them for cheap in any store. Those not reading the box carefully and hoping to just hook it to their PS4 or Xbox One will be greatly disappointed, so make sure you nab these accessories beforehand.
After piece all of this together, I decided to give the mic a test run. Using Audacity, I tested out its omni-directional setting, which is supposed to capture your voice at a much higher quality. With the mic set near more my cheek than the mouth (as the mic being too close can amplify high constant sounds like P's and B's), I gave reading a few poems and recent news stories a go as I recorded. Even as I was recording, I noticed that the ModMic 5 was capturing my mic at a high volume. Listening to the end result, what came out was surprising great in quality. My voice was coming out loud & clear, and there was only a minimal hum from the background noise.
Sadly, the same cannot be said about its uni-directional setting. Testing this out, I made sure to play something loud in the background to see how well the noise-cancelling aspect was. Although it did a decent job eliminating some of the noise, my voice sounded a bit too distant compared to the omni-directional setting. One would be curious to hear how it would sound in something like a loud gaming tournament event, but in a small room with simply loud music playing, the way it captures your voice isn't quite strong.
- Easy to set up
- Great omni-directional mic quality
Can switch from headphone-to-headphone simply
- Uni-directional quality isn't too strong
- USB/Y adapters sold separately
For its $70 price tag, the ModMic 5 is a pretty good alternative to buying a high-end headset. Although the uni-directional setting isn't as strong for loud areas, one cannot deny the quality of the sound it captures when in omni-directional mode. Those seeking just a good mic to go with their already-expensive headphones will be very pleasantly surprised with what the ModMic 5 offers in the quality department.
Promotional consideration provided by Joseph Lieberman of Antlion Audio