Turning headphones into gaming headsets: Hands-on with the entire ModMic lineup [Video]


While gaming headsets are getting better and more options are available, if you already have a good pair of headphones, there is another way to get clear communications with teammates. The ModMic lineup augments a pair of headphones by attaching a microphone on the earcup. We got our hands on every ModMic available. Be sure to hit the video below to see and hear how they perform. 

ModMic lineup overview

When I first really started getting into PC gaming, I already had a pair of AudioTechnica m50 headphones. Rather than purchasing another headset that I wasn’t sure how it was going to sound, I opted for picking up a wired ModMic. Many years later, we have the entire current line-up to check out and compare. 

It’s all too common in my gaming headset reviews that the microphones typically leave more to be desired. The typical thin sound might be good for tactical communication, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of a natural-sounding voice. Even the latest $230 Astro A3 lacked a natural-sounding microphone. 

The appeal of the ModMic line is that you can take your favorite pair of headphones and turn them into a gaming headset by magnetically attaching the microphone. There are wired and wireless versions as well as a USB sound card. We’re going to go through the line from most affordable to most expensive and compare how they sound. 

ModMic: Video

ModMic Uni

As the entry-level choice, the ModMic Uni is the simplest form of this add-on microphone. It’s wired and comes with cable clips to make mounting it to a pair of headphones simple and help manage the extra cable. 

Other than the removable pop filter there isn’t much to this microphone. Included in the box is an additional magnetic mount, some more adhesives, and a few cable clips to run the wire with the wire from the headphones. 

Installing it is the same process for all of the ModMics. An alcohol wipe is included for cleaning the area where it will be mounted. Then, remove the adhesive backing from the magnetic mount and press and hold it for 60 seconds. Then, ModMics suggests letting it sit for at least an hour before use. 

How does it sound? 

For being the most affordable mic in the line-up, the ModMic Uni still sounds much better than most gaming headset microphones out there. It has a natural profile that keeps plenty of body for a round sound. 

USB Sound Card

Depending on the application, a USB sound card with the ModMic Uni might be necessary. This Small accessory houses ports for both a headphone and microphone if separate plugs aren’t otherwise available. This can be purchased separately or comes in a bundle for just $5 more than the mic itself. 

ModMic USB

Next up is the ModMic USB. Priced at $85, this mic terminates in USB rather than the standard 3.5mm port. Additionally, the USB version has two microphones – the omnidirectional as well as a noise-canceling uni-directional mic for noisy environments. 

ModMic Wireless

If you can’t stand the thought of running another cable to your gaming rig, the ModMic Wireless cuts the cord and is priced at $140. The wireless version still attaches the same way to headphones. The magnet does appear to be a bit stronger to hold onto the larger microphone. 

Included in the box is the wireless receiver as well as a USB extender cable. ModMic suggests using the extender to ensure line-of-sight to keep an eye on the status of the microphone. There are indicator lights for connection and if the mic is muted. 

While the other ModMics are minimal and don’t take up much space, the wireless variant is larger and much more noticeable. That is the price of wireless technology, it seems. 

Once I got it plugged in and tested the sound, the first thing I noticed was how much louder it was than the other microphones. I had to turn it down significantly in my system settings.

I was immediately impressed with how the wireless mic sounded. Typically in my reviews, the microphones on wireless headsets don’t sound as good as wired ones. From my understanding, that can come down to the fact that there is only so much bandwidth for audio in a wireless connection and typically companies favor the sound of the headset over the microphone. 

But I really enjoy the sound from the ModMic wireless. It has a natural sound with plenty of body – not nearly as thin as many gaming headsets microphones can sound. 

9to5Toys’ Take

While a ModMic can get close to the cost of a decent gaming headset, if you already have a good pair of headphones that you enjoy, slapping on a mic can make it more useful. I find the entire lineup to sound better than most gaming headset microphones. Since I am using wired headphones, I would opt for the ModMic Uni to save some money. But again, now is a great time to pick one up.

Going with a dedicated condenser microphone can also be a great option like the HyperX SoloCast which I’ve featured a few times. It’s affordable by itself, but can be easily upgraded to be more functional.

Buy ModMic

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