Pros: Better overall recording quality over the Uni-Directional ModMic, less popping sounds, can be fitted on any headphone, packaging and accessories, flawless mute functionality, cable length
Cons: Picks up more external sound than the Uni-Directional ModMic, cable gets tangled, needs a (cheap) soundcard to work without static noise, slightly more sensitive than the Uni-Directional ModMic
Review date: February 2016
Review price: £46
First of all I would like to thank Antlion for sending me the Omni-Directional mic for review, after having reviewed the Uni-Directional ModMic 4.0, I was really intrigued to know the differences both in terms of the updated overall package and what the Omni-Directional ModMic 4.0 could offer. The Omni-Directional ModMic can be found for £46 on AmazonUK and $55 on AmazonUSA. I opted to receive the version that had the mute switch.
Furthermore, Antlion also sent me their USB soundcard for review, which I’ll also briefly mention in this review! It can be picked up for $10 on their site.
In order to give you a live-recording of the two ModMics, I suggest watching my video:
Let’s get on with this written review!
Packaging & Accessories
First of all, what do you get within the package?
Antlion have slightly upped their game with the included packaging, as they’ve included a few extra things which will serve as useful for a lot of headphone users.
Within the package you’ll find:
- ModMic (with foam tip)
- Hard carrying case
- Alcohol Prep Pad
- 3M Sticker
- 5 headphone cable attachments
The contents of the package might not seem grand, but the differences are noticeable versus the older generation ModMic, which could have very well been updated since I last reviewed it, but either way, it’s nice to see that Antlion have updated their packaging. For starters, they’ve removed the logo off their case, which makes the carrying case look a lot better in my opinion. The inner part of the carrying case itself hasn’t changed, which is what I expected, considering it was and still is perfectly designed for purpose.
The major new addition to the packaging however, comes from the headphone cable attachments, which serve to route your ModMic cable alongside your headphones. You’ll be surprised, but even with my thick Denon headphone cables, the ModMic’s clasps fit!
Overall the packaging and its accessories are perfect for what the ModMic is served for.
Build quality & Design
Now the design and build quality of the Omni-Directional is identical to the Uni-Directional one, but for the cable.
It’s terminated by a straight 3.5mm gold-plated jack and has a very long cable that allows you to plug it into the back of your computer with ease. As I received the mute-enabled version, the mic comes with a small switch which allows you to mute the mic with a simple flick of a switch. The functionality works flawlessly, and I didn’t notice any sort of pop sounds when I muted and un-muted myself through recording tests I performed.
In terms of how the ModMic is designed, it’s a well thought out design which works flawlessly with any headphone out there on the market. The clasps and magnets work really well together and I’ve had no problem using the Omni-Directional one, let alone my Uni-Directional one I have been using on a daily basis since 2014, and I’m still using the same clasp I installed back then!
Now the thing that really differs to me is the cable. Previously the cable was somewhat soft, malleable and didn’t cause me any problems, however with the new one I received, the cable is a lot more stiff and somewhat feels brittle, which means it often gets tangled with other wires behind my PC and more so just feels slightly odd under my keyboard, whereas the Uni-Directional one was perfect.
Overall, with the cable aside, the build quality and design elements are fantastic.
The most important thing is the recording quality – and this is where, at least in my opinion, where the Omni-Directional ModMic shines.
First of all, I will mention the Antlion soundcard: I actually suggest this to Antlion when I first received the ModMic and funnily enough they were already in the process of developing the USB sound card, as just like me, noticed that there was a lot of static sound with the ModMic 4.0 with certain soundcards. This mainly came from people using the ModMic with on-board soundcards, which in all honesty sound terrible anyway! However, be it sounding good or bad, a USB headset would do a lot better job than a ModMic, simply because it was re-routing the sound recording through USB, rather than a 3.5mm jack which suffered from PC interference.
In this instance, Antlion have made a small USB soundcard, which will allow you to use your ModMic at ease and with a good audio recording quality. I wouldn’t personally use the soundcard for audio headphone output though, but just for recording (ie with the ModMic plugged in and your headphones plugged directly into your 3.5mm audio jack on your PC or laptop).
What I found is that the Antlion soundcard was a lot more bass orientated than the TeckNet USB soundcard I normally use with my ModMic. Whereas my TeckNet one sounded a lot more neutral and flat, the Antlion soundcard sounded a lot more warmer and had a lot more bass, which made my voice deeper than it actually is. To be honest it’s all personal preference here, you could prefer to have a deeper, more bassy recording if you so wish, but in my case, I prefer a more natural, flat-sounding mic.
Overall, I would recommend the Antlion soundcard, as its does what it’s supposed to do just perfectly. Just understand that there are other options out there for you to choose from too.
Now moving on the ModMic itself – boy was I happy with its recording quality!
First of all, the Omni-Directional mic picked up more sounds around the room, which can be something you might not like, given that you might be on Skype or a non push-to-talk program and find that the Omni will pick up your keyboard and even mouse clicks a lot louder!
In order to understand the difference between the two, Antlion has actually written a small piece on their website, which covers the differences between the two technologies used.
Other than what the mics can pick-up, the recording quality is actually different too, which was pleasantly surprising. When I first did my tests, I was expecting a very slight difference, but in fact the differences to me are massive. The Omni essentially has a lot better tonal frequency, where its recording quality is a lot more neutral and less condensed. To me it was like going from a £20 USB mic to a £100 USB mic. The differences to me, was clear, where I could hear myself a lot clearer, felt the accuracy of my voice was improved and the overall tonality was a lot better. If I had to pin it down, I would say the Omni’s mid range is a lot better presented, whereas the Uni’s is more V-shaped and has recessed mids.
This does come at a cost though, where I found the Omni to be slightly more sensitive, therefore it did pick up a little more static noise, but given a USB soundcard was installed, it almost totally eliminated all sounds, where the static could only be heard in a dead-quiet environment with no spoken word. In other words, when you’re not using the ModMic at all, which defeats the point of having a mic!
Overall, the recording quality was fantastic and I was really impressed with it!
It’s clear to say that the Omni-Directional ModMic 4.0 is my new favourite headphone mic, where I now use it over the Uni-Directional one, because of its added recording sound quality. It should be said that it will come down to personal preference, but in my opinion I can’t understand why someone would buy the Uni-Directional ModMic, unless: you don’t have push to talk, have a mechanical keyboard and have a very loud environment around you (ie building work) – this is where I would suggest the Uni-Directional ModMic, as it will pick up less noise around you, meaning the focus of the recording is on you, rather than everything around you too.
Overall, a fantastic mic by Antlion Audio, which has left me really happy with what they’ve done with the Omni-Directional ModMic!
Hope you enjoyed my review!