AntLion ModMic ReviewBluePanda -
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If you've ever had an amazing pair of headphones and could just never find a reasonably priced headset to game with, AntLion has solved your woes. The only product AntLion sells is the ModMic, a simple mic to add to any headphones you own. As long as you have a dime-sized location to place on the magnetic mount, you can now use your headphones as a gaming headset. Whether you play WoW, L4D, Borderlands, any MMO, or just want to call your mother on Skype – the ModMic is an easy, quick solution to fast communication. You no longer have to ditch your favorite headphones for some crappy stereo headset just because it has a mic. It's innovative, but how well does it work? Today we take a look at the AntLion ModMic.
Not knowing this product was coming to my house for review, and having not heard of AntLion before, I honestly thought someone had mailed me a tube of ants. If any of you remember the mail order ant farm kits that you could send away for, you might have thought the same. It was simply a bubble package with "AntLion" labeled on it and a cardboard tube inside…you wouldn't really know what was there either.
Laughs aside, I thought the cardboard tube was one of the more creative methods of shipping I've seen in a while. It keeps down the non-biodegradable plastic waste and recycles cardboard and other paper waste into a simple sturdy packing device (if you ignore the bubble pack it came in). The tube is printed with the AntLion logo and six quick steps to "installing" the ModMic. Unfolding the ends, the product is just coiled up inside. Shaking the contents out one end, you find an alcohol wipe, two 3M NeoClasp mounting pads (for use on two sets of headphones) and the mic itself.
Tossing the tiny toilet paper-like tube aside, we can take a look at this mic. It almost looks like something you would stick around your ear and plug into your phone back when the first hands-free devices came out. The mic itself is super bendy; you can see it will take about any form, even a semi-sine wave if you desire. It's easy to shape and it stays pretty much where you put it until you move it again; a rather nice feature for a mic to keep all those mouth breathers and their mic from "moving" closer after hours of game play. Up close, it's got a domed AntLion logo on the end and a bit of a sturdier cable coming right out of the connecting piece. It then flows into your standard headphone-sized cable with about the same flexibility. The first thing I noticed is the cable is super long (11.5 feet), enough to keep up with most longer-corded headphones.
Flipping it over and taking a look at the connection system, it's a simple notched magnetic setup. Using the ever popular neodymium magnets, it holds together well. It has rather discrete locations of placement which you might want to consider when putting it on your headset. You want to make sure you won't have to add an extra silly bend to accommodate bad placement on your end.
So I've got an old set of headphones, Phillips HP250 to be specific, that have pretty good sound. I love using them for movies or listening to music, but they really aren't optimized for playing games. Without a mic they've sort of found their place on the upper shelf of the closet. They are a bit old and show it through what's stuck on them; don't mind the collection of stickers from years past. Clearly ATI and NVIDIA have fought for their spot in my heart over time. You have to put all those stickers somewhere…and before the beer fridge, this was their home. I've decided to stick with standards and place the mic on the left side — so here's a couple shots to get yourself familiar with these "old" things.
After cleaning up the left side with the included alcohol cloth I stuck on the little nub. I recommend, as do the instructions, to place your headphones on and make sure the mic will reach from whatever point you plan on mounting it. I ended up placing it closer just to avoid it sitting on the little raised edge there. That's the only installation really that you have to do — a little cleaning and sticking on yet another sort of sticker. Pretty easy, if you ask me.
The mic is designed to go on either the left or right side of your headphones. However, depending on which side you choose, you might need to put one more step of effort in. The part of the mic where it connects to the magnet stuck on your headphones unscrews to allow you to flip the mic over. This makes sure your cables drop down and behind you rather than up and over. You'll know if you need to flip it over; if you put it on your headphones the cable will go up, rather than just down the side. No matter, it's a quick change, and not difficult at all. That's it... now you've got a mic on your favorite headphones!
Here's an "in action" shot of a fellow OCC member; you might know him as Waco. You can see it doesn't look that different from any ordinary headset on the market besides the added cable, which unfortunately is a bit annoying to deal with. There's no real "good" solution to this. If you think you are going to wrap it around your headphone cable, plan on using some zip ties and "permanently" fixing it this way. It comes unwound rather easy. The Velcro on the end is designed to coil up and stow away the excess cable. However, if you're like me, my headphones have an epically long cable, longer than the 11.5' mic cable, which creates an odd cable mess. The concept is still great. Some coil cable mods might be a nice way to wrap this up, but this seems to be the only real issue.