In this review, I’m checking out the Antlion Audio Kimura microphone cable and Duo in-ear monitors. The Kimura can easily add a high-quality microphone to any standard MMCX or 2-pin IEMs. The Duo is a hybrid dual-driver IEM and comes with the Kimura included. Kimura is priced at $60 and the Duo (including the microphone) retails at $150.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Antlion Audio for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Antlion Audio Kimura and Duo
In layman’s terms, the Antlion Audio Kimura is an IEM cable with a built-in headset microphone. The majority of IEM cables with a microphone place an in-line mic further down the cable. These in-line mics often come with in-line controls that let you adjust the volume, pause the audio, answer and end calls, or skip tracks on your smartphone or DAP.
The microphone is attached to some fairly stiff memory wire which enables you to easily position it in just the right position close to your mouth. The only downside is that you need to do some slight readjustments each time you put your earphones on (but it only takes seconds).
Kimura comes with a dual-cable design and terminates in two 3.5mm outputs (TRS terminations), perfect for reducing echo or feedback due to shared grounds. In addition, Kimura comes with a Y adapter for headset jacks for gaming consoles, and laptops.
While in-line mics work fine, they do not offer the same level of audio quality as a headset mic. This is because the microphone in a headset is placed closer to your mouth, and as a rule of thumb, microphones sound better when they are closer to the sound source. Therefore, if you require high-quality audio, a headset mic is a better option than an in-line mic.
Kimura is available with either MMCX or 2-pin connectors. This means that you can easily use it with your favourite IEMs. Or, you can use them with Antlion’s own Solo or Duo IEMs – mine came with the Duo and I’ll talk about that later in the review.
But for now, it’s time to talk about the microphone quality. My expectations were high after my experience with the ModMic Wireless and the Kimura did not disappoint. I’ve been playing way too much DMZ in COD Modern Warfare 2, so I had lots of opportunities to test how the Kimura works in games.
Long story short: the Kimura sounds amazing. In fact, it sounds even better than I was expecting. When using the Kimura, my voice sounds rich and full-bodied. It doesn’t sound nasally or hollow like most gaming headsets and the clarity is excellent.
Furthermore, Kimura doesn’t distort or clip even when the action is hot and you get excited. My teammates never had any trouble hearing or understanding what I was saying (well, they might have had some trouble with my Australian accent from time to time).
Most pseudo-custom style IEMs these days have hollow 3D-printed shells. However, the Duo IEMs have clear solid resin shells. First of all, I think they look fantastic. You can see all of the internals through the clear body. The faceplates are a sapphire colour with a gold Antlion Audio logo in the middle.
These earphones are comfortable too. And thanks to the solid resin shells, the passive noise isolation is well above average, so there are minimal distractions while you’re gaming or making calls.
To be honest, I was kind of expecting the Duo to sound terrible. That bias comes from years of experience with overpriced and underperforming gaming gear. Those expectations were shattered the moment I put the Duo in my ears. The reason? These actually sound legitimately good.
For a start, the sound signature is quite balanced. These aren’t bass canons like I was expecting. Conversely, the level of the bass is rather light and the quality of the bass is good. It’s tight and controlled, so there’s no bleeding into the mids and it doesn’t drown out the important details such as footsteps or surrounding sounds during gameplay.
There’s an emphasis on vocals, plus the upper mids are boosted – perfect for hearing enemy footsteps in games. The treble gets a lift as well, so you will hear lots of small details in both games and music.
In terms of resolution, the Duo scores pretty well too. It actually does better than a lot of similarly-priced ChiFi IEMs in this regard – most notably in vocal articulation. I can hear and understand lyrics with these that were hard to pick up with some other IEMs.
Overall, the Duo is an IEM that is tuned perfectly for first-person shooters and movies but is surprisingly adept at music playback too.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the Antlion Audio Kimura and Duo earphones. The Kimura microphone offers outstanding quality and clarity while maintaining a rich and natural tone.
As for the Duo in-ear monitors, they are superb for gaming but also great for enjoying music and video. Whether you buy the microphone separately or as a bundle, you’re sure to be impressed. Recommended!