Those of you who have been following the site for a while will know that we’ve covered several microphones by Antlion before, and they’re always a highlight in terms of the amazing quality provided by sleek and small kit. The Antlion Kimura Solo is a pair of mixer style in-ear monitors which are designed for gaming, and feature one of Antlion’s signature quality microphones. But can these small and lightweight earphones really give you the same sort of quality as a full size headset with a built in microphone? The great news is that while slightly fiddly to initially put on, the Kimura Solo is yet another fantastic product from Antlion that gives a very different listening experience to your average headset.
The obvious important consideration with any headset is just how comfortable they are, and while the Kimura Solo does take a bit of getting used to, once they’re in place they feel like any other in-ear headphones that you might have used previously. It comes with a range of different sized rubber parts to suit various ear sizes, and fits snuggly and happily over your ears to keep them fully in place no matter how much you throw yourself around while playing. My only real gripe with the Kimura Solo sits at this very point though – they can be a real pain to put on. I was hoping I could slip it into my ear easily and pop the band over my ear in one smooth motion, but that was far from the truth. I wondered if I just needed to get used to them, but every time I fired up a game I had the same fight with my ears for a couple of minutes. When they’re in place they feel amazing, but in that moment of getting them on I felt like a clumsy toddler trying to perform surgery.
The microphone itself is easy to position and generally sits to the side of your mouth, which is handy for avoiding that dreaded popping sound when you get a bit too carried away shouting at people. I did find when streaming directly from the PS5 the volume was quite low initially, but a combination of talking at a more sensible volume (I often speak quietly at night so as not to keep the rest of the house awake) and turning up the volume on the PS5 itself reaped excellent rewards. The microphone is, as you would expect from Antlion, excellent quality combining impressive noise cancelling with crystal clear representations of your own voice inputs. There’s no volume or mute controls to be had, they’re far too lightweight for that, but if you’re happy to use the controls on whatever you’re using (the mute button on the PS5 controller is easier and more accessible than any headset I’ve used, for example) that won’t be a problem.
The sound through the earphones themselves is wonderfully meaty as well, giving booming bass without losing the clarity from the top end sounds as well. I tried a range of games including Ghost of Tsushima, Gran Turismo 7 and Modern Warfare 2 and despite the massively varied sound from each game, the Kimura Solo handled it really well. Music sounded great, voices were clear and the engine growl during a GT7 race was awesome. The difference to me in sound quality between these and my usual headsets I use was minimal enough for me to not notice the difference at all, except the Kimura didn’t give me sweaty ears after 9 minutes, which is a significant win.
For extended periods of play, the Kimura Solo has become my headset of choice. It’s extremely comfortable, weighs hardly anything and gives excellent audio and microphone quality. If I’m just having a quick 20 minutes then I’ll reach for one of my over-ear headsets instead just to save the awkward hassle of getting the Kimura earphones into my ears, but that’s the only real downside I found to this. It’s a great new entry into the Antlion range, and evidence that right now there isn’t much they can do wrong when it comes to audio gear. Very highly recommended.