ModMic 5 hardware review

You've probably seen the ModMic mentioned online before. It's considered a universal solution to having a headset-mounted mic for online gameplay without having to give up your favorite headphones in order to use it.

Antlion's previous release was the ModMic 4, which has seen a great deal of success. Their follow-up is the ModMic 5, which aims to address some of the criticisms of the ModMic 4 while delivering the same product that their customers have supported over the years. I've always been curious about how well the ModMic served its purpose, and this was my first encounter with one in the real world.

The biggest change that people will notice is that the ModMic now has cable extensions instead of its prior design of having a long line to be used in microphone ports. This should please a lot of customers, as it allows for more customization with the ModMic. In this way, the ModMic 5 lives up to its name more comprehensively than its predecessors.

From what I can tell, almost everything else is similar enough that it hasn't changed, or improvements will be tiny tweaks that won't make much of a difference from the ModMic 4. That said, Antlion's ModMic really does deliver a modular solution to pairing headphones with a great little headset microphone.

For the last couple of weeks, my AKG 550's have hosted the little magnetic puck where the ModMic attaches in times of use. I quickly learned my first lesson about selecting headphones with a separate microphone, as the AKG 550's do such a great job of isolation that I spoke a little louder than necessary in conversations. I would recommend open-back, or even more appropriately a semi-open model to keep from overcompensating for what you can't hear with a closed-back headphone. You'll annoy your friends a lot less.

With each new thought, I find myself taking the whole package of headphones/headset into consideration when it comes to the ModMic. It's so streamlined that I keep forgetting my headphones aren't a part of the package, so that must be a sign that the ModMic has surreptitiously integrated itself fully into my perception of the headphones I've owned for years. That was fast.

As for the microphone itself, it sits at the end of a bendable mount which can be shaped for ideal placement. There's a switch to change between omnidirectional and unidirectional detection, and unless you're in a loud setting such as a LAN event or noisy apartment, you'll probably stick with omnidirectional, as it picks up a more natural composition of your voice and environment. It just sounds more balanced.

Audio quality is more than acceptable. From testing online and recording my own audio, I found it to be a bit below desktop microphones such as the Snowball, but still incredibly competent. It's been a long time since I've used a headset with a mic, but the sound quality is about what I expected, no distortion and a pretty competent representation of what the microphone picks up.

There are a few accessories which can be applied, such as an in-line mute switch, and also adapters for combining microphone and headphone inputs into one auxiliary combo, or USB if you prefer that. These aren't included with the ModMic 5, but that's understandable as they probably aren't needed in the majority of use cases.

Some bits included are a cover mounted on the microphone to protect form noise pops, which you won't find on some chat headsets upwards of twice what the ModMic 5 costs. Finally, there are also two solutions for cable management, one being a liner sleeve to combine both cables, and another with clips that provide a less permanent fixture.

Overall, the ModMic 5 is exactly what Antlion has advertised all this time. It's a modular solution to preserving the sound of your favorite headphones with an attachable headset microphone. The microphone itself is easy to remove, or adjust to be sat upright when not in use. I never felt that it was lacking when compared to other gaming headsets I've used, and the fact that I don't think twice when looking at my headphones with their new microphone is kind of creepy.

Go ahead and ask me how long the ModMic has been there. Wait, it wasn't on the AKGs when I bought them? Well, thanks for stopping by ModMic-Age!