There is something to be said about a cheap and simple device. BoomPro is a smart idea that runs almost perfectly. Microphone (with flexible arm for easy repositioning), volume control and mute switch in a single cable. Instead of the 3.5mm audio cable you normally plug into your favorite wireless headphones, it can instantly transform it into a much better communication tool.
For years I’ve been using V-Moda’s BoomPro microphones to chat with people while playing games. During the pandemic, I also regularly used the $35 accessory to improve audio quality at the end of a conference call.
This week, V-Moda announced a new evolution of the idea. The $45 BoomPro X has a tuned design, improved microphone and more streamlined controls. But otherwise adhere to almost the same formula. Whether you’re sitting down for multiplayer or joining a Zoom meeting, you can plug it in, disconnect the cable when you’re done, and use your headphones as usual. Antlion’s ModMic products are similar in concept but use magnetic attachments.
The best thing about BoomPro X is its versatility. Instantly convert any headphone you already own into a gaming or conference call headset. Of course, the V-Moda will love using it with the company’s own headphones. But it works equally well with others like Sony’s WH-1000XM4 or Microsoft’s Surface Headphones 2. 3.5mm cable, all set up.
Some headsets, such as Bose’s, use a smaller 2.5mm jack, but even then you can use a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter to operate the BoomPro X. A USB-C adapter also works fine. In many cases, using the headphones you already love will give you better sound quality than buying a single-purpose gaming headset.
Compared to the original BoomPro, the V-Moda has made a few changes. The most important difference is the type of microphone used. To help reduce background noise, directional unidirectional microphones are now designed to pick up only sound coming from a designated area. The older BoomPro used an omni-directional mic so you could hear more of your surroundings. But now, even on a business call or busy schedule, your voice needs to be better separated. Call of Duty: Warzone matches. I regularly turn on the air conditioner or run the fan to combat the summer heat in New York, and so far I’ve barely heard anything like that from my new mic recordings.
In terms of microphone audio quality, the BoomPro X certainly won’t come close to a proper podcast setup or professional microphone. It seems to favor lower frequencies and lacks a bit of clarity. but definitely obvious, and the built-in microphone of the wireless headphones will give you much better results than usual. The boom arm makes all the difference for clarity and you don’t have to worry about ambient noise picked up by your laptop’s microphone during business meetings. In testing on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, everyone said my voice came out loud and clear, without annoying audio hiss or other distractions.
The onboard controls have also been redesigned and reduced in size. It now looks a lot closer to the inline controls on many headphone cables, and the housing is much thinner and lighter. The previous controls were so great that the V-Moda included a fixed clip for attaching the plastic to clothing, but that’s gone. The same goes for the occasional pull and pull you felt with the heavier controls before.
However, the control itself has also changed. V-Moda switched to a slider instead of a dial to adjust the headphone volume. It does the job but something about the dial felt more natural to me. On the other side is a mute switch that works exactly as expected. Both controls now use similar slider buttons, so it’s hard to tell them apart by feel. This is another reason I prefer the old volume knob. However, I don’t think the V-Moda has much choice given how small the new controls are.
The BoomPro X cable is shorter than the original, but if you need a longer length between the device and the headphones, there is an extension cable in the box. (Both the standard cables and extensions are 1 meter long.) I like it because it doesn’t always require extra cords when connecting to a game controller or a nearby laptop. A Y-adapter is also included. New to the BoomPro X, V-Moda offers 5 small microphone covers in different colors. The company is known for its custom earcup shields, but the mic covers are much more subtle.
I like the BoomPro enough to put it in my headphone case and take it with me, and the improved unidirectional microphone makes the BoomPro X even more satisfying. It’s easily worth an extra $10, and in return I’ve gotten a simple gadget that allows me to sound better when I’m playing games or working from home.
Photo: Chris Welch / The Verge