There is something to be said for cheap, simple gadgets. The BoomPro is a clever idea executed almost perfectly. With a single cable you get a microphone (with a flexible arm for easy repositioning), volume controls and a mute switch. It can replace the 3.5mm audio cable you would normally plug into your favorite wireless headphones, instantly transforming them into a much better communication tool.
For years I’ve been using V-Moda’s BoomPro mic to chat with people while gaming. During the pandemic I also have regularly use the $35 accessory to improve audio quality at the end of conference calls – when I don’t want to worry about my desk-mounted Rode microphone.
This week, V-Moda announced a new evolution of that idea: the $45 BoomPro X has a modified design, redesigned microphone and more streamlined controls. But otherwise it largely remains with the same formula. You can plug it in when you sit down for multiplayer or join a Zoom meeting, then just unplug the cable when you’re done and use your headphones as normal. Antlion’s ModMic products are similar in concept, but they use a magnetic attachment.
The best aspect of the BoomPro X is its versatility. You can instantly turn any headset you already own into a headset for gaming or conference calling. Of course, V-Moda would love it if you used it with the company’s own headphones, but it works equally well with other pairs like Sony’s WH-1000XM4 or Microsoft Surface Headphones 2. As long as you have headphones with a detachable 3.5mm mm cable, you are all set.
Some headsets (like Bose’s) use a smaller 2.5mm jack, but even then you can use a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter to get the BoomPro X to work. USB-C adapters also work fine. In many cases, using the headphones you already love will also provide better sound quality than buying a single-purpose gaming headset.
Compared to the original BoomPro, V-Moda has made quite a few changes. The main difference is the type of microphone used: to help reduce background noise, it is now a cardioid unidirectional microphone designed to only pick up sound coming from wherever it is directed. The older BoomPro used an omnidirectional microphone, which allowed more ambient noise to come through. But now your voice should be better isolated during work conversations or in the middle of a hectic Call of Duty: Warzone matching. I regularly have an air conditioner on or a fan blowing to combat the New York summer heat, and they’re nowhere near as audible in my recordings with the new mic so far.
In terms of microphone sound quality, the BoomPro X certainly won’t come close to a good podcasting setup or professional microphone. It seems to prefer lower frequencies and lacks some sharpness. But it’s for sure Transparent, and you’ll get much better results than you normally would from the built-in microphones on wireless headphones. The boom arm makes all the difference to clarity, and you don’t have to worry about nearby noises that your laptop’s microphones would pick up during a work meeting. In my testing on both PS5 and Xbox Series X, everyone said my voice came through loud and clear with no annoying hiss or other distractions.
The onboard controls have also been redesigned and reduced in size. They now look much closer to the inline controls on many headphone cables, and the housing is much thinner and lighter. The old controls were so big that V-Moda included a non-removable clip to secure the plastic to your clothes, but that’s gone – and so has the occasional pulling/dragging of the previous, heavier controls.
But the controls themselves have also changed. Instead of a dial to adjust the headphone volume, V-Moda switched to a slider. It does the job, but something about the dial felt more natural to me. On the other side is a mute switch, which works exactly as you would expect. Since both controls now use similar sliders, it’s hard to tell them apart by feel, which is another reason I preferred the old volume knob. But I don’t think V-Moda had much choice when you consider how much smaller the new controls are.
The BoomPro X cable is shorter than the original, but in the box you get an extension cable if you need more length between your device and the headphones. (Both the standard and extension cords are 1 meter each.) I like that because you don’t always want a lot of extra cords when connecting a game controller or laptop nearby. A Y-adapter is also included. New to the BoomPro X, V-Moda also throws in five different small microphone covers in different colors: this company is known for its customization and personalized ear cups, but the microphone covers are much more subtle.
I liked the BoomPro enough to carry it in my headphone case for a long time, and I’m even happier with the BoomPro X thanks to the improved, unidirectional microphone. That’s easily worth the extra $10, and in return I get a simple gadget that makes me sound better when I’m gaming or working at home — all with the headphones I’d wear anyway.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge