To take your action camera to the next level, you must use an action camera microphone attachment!
When it comes to video, the worst thing you can do is have lousy audio – It has the potential to ruin everything! Even if you’re video is mindblowing, all of that will be out the window if the sound doesn’t complement it.
But when was the last time you heard someone talk about how incredible the audio in their GoPro videos was? It never happens because most action cameras are made for video and photos, not audio.
They’re not designed to be high-quality sound devices, so the internal microphone on action cameras is usually pretty weak. The fact that their bodies are waterproof also contributes to this.
On top of that, action cameras don’t have external mic ports. But don’t worry! You can still get clear sound from your videos and photos if you use an action camera microphone attachment.
This additional accessory will be greatly useful when shooting in harsh conditions or with loud background noise.
How to Attach an External Microphone to Action Camera
If you’re looking to add some professional audio to your action camera, you’ve probably discovered that it’s not quite as easy as plug and play – one of the biggest problems with these devices is the lack of dedicated audio input ports. However, most action cameras have USB ports.
So the first thing you’ll need is an adapter that can pass the audio signal from your microphone to your camera. The type of USB port on your camera will determine what adapter you need.
External Microphone Adapters for GoPro Cameras
If you’re looking for a GoPro microphone attachment, establish which model of GoPro you have first. The newer models of GoPro typically have a USB-C port, while older models have a micro-USB or mini-USB port.
If you’re using a newer GoPro – Hero 5 or later – you’ll need a 3.5mm adapter that fits into the USB C port on the side of your camera. These last models have a different port than previous models, so generic adapters won’t do. The good news is that the latest models of GoPro also have native adapters.
External Microphone Adapters for DJI Osmo Action Cameras
DJI Osmo Action Cameras have a USB C port but don’t sell native adapters. So if you have a DJI Osmo Action camera, you’ll have to buy a 3.5mm USB-C third-party generic adapter.
Types of Action Camera External Microphones
Your action camera has an omnidirectional sound, which means it captures every sound around; this is not ideal when you want to focus on a specific sound in a video. Other external mics have an omnidirectional sound too, but they are usually way better at reducing ambient noise.
External mics typically go with any action camera, as long as you have the right adapter.
Read also: Action Camera Body Mount Types
There are two main microphones for your action camera: shotgun and lavalier. Both will deliver improved sound quality and wind noise suppression, but they’re made for different needs.
Lavalier External Microphone
Lav mics, or lapel microphones, are the smallest type of external microphone. They’re ideal for hands-free use and are small enough to be worn on a shirt collar or inside a jacket pocket. They work best when recording conversations and interviews, so for voices at a small range. They’re not ideal for recording music or background sounds.
Shotgun and Condensor External Microphone
Thanks to the directional range and focus of these microphones, they are very good at picking up the sound in front of you while also diminishing background noise. These mics help wade-out side noise and other environmental factors that can make your audio sound bad.
Best Action Camera Microphone Attachment
1. Movo VXR10 Universal Video Microphone
This portable and durable mic has a solid aluminum construction and a battery-free design. It includes a sturdy integrated shock mount to minimize handling noise and even comes with a 1-year warranty!
The Movo VXR10 Universal Video Microphone comes with a Furry “Deadcat” Windscreen, a Soft Carrying Case for easy portability, and an interchangeable 3.5mm TRS and TRSS Output cable – for universal compatibility.
2. Rode Compact On-Camera Microphone
An ultra-compact, light microphone designed to improve your videos’ audio quality, and all it takes is a tiny 80-millimeter (3″) footprint and 42-gram weight.
This mic doesn’t require batteries—it’s powered by camera plug-in power (min 3V). It includes a Rycote Lyre shock mount and deluxe furry windshield, so you can be sure that your audio will be as crisp as can be. And best of all? The price is right!
3. Sennheiser MKE 400
This highly directional shotgun microphone is perfect for isolating and enhancing in-camera audio for your videos, with an integrated wind protection system and internal suspension mount that minimize handling noise. Plus, it has a built-in low-cut filter and a 3-step sensitivity switch, making it perfectly adaptable to any situation.
It works for both DSLR/M cameras and mobile phones thanks to its interchangeable 3.5 mm TRS and TRRS connectivity.
4. Rode SmartLav+ Lavalier Microphone
Sporting only 4.5mm in diameter, this lavalier mic is specially designed for your smartphone. But you can also use it with tablets, laptops, and lightning or USB-C headphone adaptors.
This mic is designed to shield against RF interference—which means no hum or clicking sounds in your recordings.
5. Purple Panda Lavalier Lapel Microphone
A budget and durable option that comes with everything you need and is compatible with many devices. Kit includes a lavalier microphone, 9.8ft (3m) extension cord, TRS (2 rings) adapter, mini USB adapter, a fuzzy windscreen, and last but not least: a free ebook!
Rode Wireless Go II
The Rode Wireless Go II is a single-channel wireless microphone system with a built-in microphone and a sleek all-black design. It has a 2.4GHz digital transmission, 128-bit encryption, and rechargeable batteries.
FAQ: Action Camera Microphone Attachment
Do I Need an External Microphone Attachment for GoPro?
GoPro comes with a built-in microphone, but the audio quality is severely limited. An external microphone attachment can drastically improve sound quality by picking up more of your subject’s voice and filtering out background noise.
How can I attach a microphone to a GoPro?
You have to use an adapter that allows you to attach an external microphone to your GoPro. So, for example, if you have a USB-type C port on your action camera, you need to find a suitable adapter that fits that port.
How much do GoPro microphones cost?
It depends on what quality you are looking for. Good audio quality usually equals a spicier price.
Read also: Action Camera Flashlight
Some budget mics – especially lavalier mics- can be in the 30-40$ range (Purple Panda Lavalier). A middle-priced mic that has decent quality could go for about 80$. A top-of-the-line quality mic can cost about 300$, but it will be worth every penny.
Action Camera Microphone Attachment | Final Thoughts
Because of their size, waterproof protection, and other factors, you’re not going to get the same quality of audio from an action camera as you would from a larger device. That’s when you need an external microphone.
See also: GoPro Voice Commands
We presented some great recommendations that fit each need, so let’s conclude:
The Purple Panda Lavalier Lapel Microphone is the best option if you’re looking for a budget lavalier microphone. It’s easy to use, has excellent sound quality, and has all the necessary accessories (so you have the whole kit).
The Rode Wireless Go II is the best option if you need a top-quality wireless lavalier mic. First of all: it’s wireless. It’s compatible with most devices and has everything you need for seamless audio recordings.
If you’re looking for the best shotgun or condenser model, go with Sennheiser MKE 400. This professional-grade microphone will give you high-quality sound in almost any condition and is compatible with most devices.
And last but not least, go with Movo VXR10 for budget models- it’ll still give you great sound quality without breaking the bank!