The specs (as stated by Antlion) are:
Sensitivity: -38 ± 3 dB
Response: 100 Hz–10 kHz
SNR: >50+ dB
Impedance: 2.2 KΩ
Operating Voltage: 1 to 10V
Max current at 2.0V: 500 µA
Max input SPL: 110 dB
Sound Quality & Pickup
The Antlion ModMic 4.0 (uni-direction with mute version) has good audio quality, as demonstrated in our sample file below, although it does have its drawbacks. We never experienced any static, noticeably bad quality, or other issues, but voice input was noticeably flatter using the ModMic 4.0 than when using the Samson Meteor. On the other hand, the ModMic 4.0 does superbly at only picking up the voice of the user while not picking up ambient noises in the room, like the hum of system fans. You wouldn’t want to use the ModMic as a means to pick up input from multiple users in the room, but it’s also not really built for that. This is largely a solo user device, and it works well in that implementation.
The included foam pop filter helps immensely in preventing plosives from reaching annoying intensity, e.g. words with hard “P” sounds (like “pop” and “pizazz”).
Sample 1: Antlion ModMic 4.0 Voice Recording
Sample 2: Samson Meteor Desk Mic Voice Recording
Overall, the Antlion ModMic 4.0 Uni-directional has superior audio quality to the headsets we’ve tested recently, including the HyperX Cloud, Plantronics GameCom 788, Corsair VOID Wireless, and Logitech G633. Although the ModMic is a little flat sounding, it’s better on the whole in reducing static or white noise in the background and creating a more world-accurate version of the user’s voice (but again, a little flat). True to its unidirectional branding, any noises in front of the mic (IE in front of the user) aren’t easily picked up, which helps to reduce some noise from the mouse or keyboard clicks -- though nothing will stop MX Blues from coming through a mic.
Ease of Use
Above: The ModMic base as mounted to a pair of headphones.
Unlike some mics and headphones, the ModMic 4.0 doesn’t have any crazy software to go with it. There’s nothing to fiddle with other than Windows or Linux settings, and that’s a refreshing change: It’s just hardware.
Physically, the ModMic 4.0 is fairly easy to both install and use. Installation involves using (included) alcohol wipes to clean the side of the headphones, then sticking the base on using the adhesive. After being attached, the mic has a magnetic piece that is attracted to the base to securely attach the mic to the headphones. Taking it off is convenient, as a simple rotation of the mic separates the two magnets easily. Similarly, the mic itself can be easily adjusted (by bending the wire from the clasp to the boom) to be closer or farther from one’s mouth. The clasp on the mic can also be moved up and down the mic if simple bend-adjustment of the boom isn’t sufficient.
My largest issue with the ModMic is having another extra wire to deal with. My mic and headphone wires don’t go to the same place (since I use a DAC & amp), so they both have separate routing. This leads to a frequent tangling or simple mess of wires to deal with. Antlion includes cable clips to help with cable management, but these aren’t helpful for users that want to be able to easily remove the mic from their headphones. Overall, having another wire to deal with is simply annoying, but for users that won’t be removing the ModMic regularly, the cable ties will remove this as an issue almost entirely. If your plan is to routinely detach the mic for use of headphones on other devices, like MP3 players for travel, then it may be more hassle than it’s worth to deal with the extra wiring.
The in-line mute toggle is also mildly helpful, although it is currently $7, so the value of it is somewhat tenuous.
Above: Demonstration of mic "bendy-ness."
The build quality of the ModMic 4.0 is about what would reasonably be expected of it. The wire is decently strong, but I wouldn’t expect it to stand up to unreasonable abuse. Similarly, the mic itself is sturdy and holds its shape well. The build quality of the ModMic 4.0 is more than sufficient for a simple mic.
The Antlion ModMic 4.0 does well to achieve its goal of allowing users to use their own headphones while also having a high-quality headset style microphone. It is very adjustable (something needed for a mic meant for use on many different headphones) and doesn't have any clunky software or parts that require to be fiddled with. The primary downside to the ModMic is having an extra wire to manage constantly, but for those who don’t intend to remove the ModMic often, this is remedied by the included cable ties.
The ModMic 4.0 is our go-to option for those wanting to add a boom mic to their existing headphones. Even at its somewhat expensive price point of $50 on their website (or $43 without in-line mute), there really isn’t a comparative option. Something desk-mounted, like the Snowball or Yeti, would make for higher-quality audio but lose some of the ease-of-use features (like positioning and ambient noise reduction).
The ModMic 4.0 is also available on Amazon for $55 with Prime shipping. We suggest checking how much shipping is when ordering directly from Antlion because Amazon may be cheaper when accounting for postage.
Editorial: Michael “The Bear” Kerns