If you’re looking for the best way to improve the audio quality from your GoPro or action camera, you need to get one of these external microphone attachments.
External microphones are the quickest and simplest route to high-quality audio capture.
They can help reduce wind noise and ambient audio and drastically improve the clarity of voice recordings.
(You’ll also need a mic adapter to be able to use an external mic with your action cam – see the section below to learn more about this.)
An action camera microphone attachment will help you get better audio quality on your Insta360, DJI Osmo, GoPro or any other action camera.
Let’s take a closer look at the top models of the year.
Table of Contents
5 Best Action Camera Microphone Attachments in 2023
1. Rode Wireless GO II
- Record up to 2 sound sources at once
- Internal storage for up to 24hrs audio
- Up to 7 hours of battery life
- Wireless Up to 200m range
- Clip’n’go system
- Comes with 3 units
- Fine-tuning gain controls are only available on the computer
Why would you want an action camera if you can’t move freely because of all the wires? Well, that’s why the Rode Wireless Go II is the best action camera microphone attachment of the year.
The first version was excellent, but this latest V2 adds on some handy features making it even more useful for high-quality run and gun style audio recording.
It’s still compact and lightweight and paired with its unique clip’n’go design, it’s incredibly versatile and easy to use.
The equipment consists of three units: two transmitters and one dual-channel receiver – each of them weighs only 31g. The transmitters are 44mm x 45.3mm x 18.5mm, and the receiver is 44mm x 46.3mm x 18.5mm.
The key benefit of this second generation Rode Wireless Go is its ability to record two sound sources at once, making two-person interviews a cinch, or even to create a backup recording of a single source.
The built-in internal storage is also a handy feature, allowing for up to 24 hours of compressed audio to be saved within the unit – with uncompressed recording, you’ll have about a 7-hour limit in the internal memory.
Take a look at the video below where Mark reviews the first version of the Go to get a better idea of how it can be used outside.
Note that the first version had a 70m transmission distance, whereas this latest model uses Series IV 2.4GHz digital transmission technology with 128-bit encryption, allowing you to get a range of up to 200m (656ft) in open space.
The Rode VideoMic Pro is compact and lightweight, but it’s also a piece of professional graded equipment, so you’ll get excellent sound quality.
This is arguably the most common action camera microphone attachment in 2023 for vloggers and YouTubers, despite it being rather large for a GoPro – you’ll sometimes see it being used as part of a rig or ‘cage’ which supports other accessories such as action camera lights or external screens.
Its sturdy build makes it perfect for use outdoors, and it has a built-in high-pass filter for ambient noise reduction.
This shotgun mic also features an integrated Rycote® Lyre® shock mounting for better noise isolation and a high-quality foam windscreen that ensures the highest sound quality.
The Rode VideoMic Pro uses a 9-volt battery that gives you up to 70 hours of use. The equipment comes with a one-year warranty, but it can be extended for free to 10 years if you register.
As with all things to do with action cameras, we recommend you opt for the extended warranty for peace of mind when filming extreme sports or energetic POV footage.
One thing worth noting if you do a lot of teleconferencing or working from home is that a shotgun microphone can also be used for Zoom.
3. Sennheiser MKE 400
The Sennheiser MKE 400 is a shotgun unidirectional mic. The design helps to reduce the ambient noise as well as the vibrations when you’re on the move.
(If this isn’t enough, you can use the furry windshield that comes included with the microphone to capture sound in particularly windy situations.)
Audio quality is excellent, as is to be expected from Sennheiser, a brand synonymous with top-notch audio recording and reproduction.
It has a headphone jack with built-in control, which comes in handy if your action camera has a headphone jack too.
It features a TRS to TRS cable to connect it with your camera. You can also get the MKE Mobile Kit to have a Manfrotto tripod and a TRS to TRRS cable to connect to mobile devices.
The MKE 400 runs on two AAA batteries that give you an impressive 100 hours of audio recording. It has a cold shoe mount to fit any camera and weighs 344g.
As with the other action camera microphone attachment options on this list, we recommend using it in conjunction with a case or mount.
4. Rode VideoMicro
- Light and compact
- No battery required
- Good value for money
- The windscreen is too big for some action cameras
- It can feel wobbly on some action cameras
The compact and lightweight design make the Rode VideoMicro an excellent choice as an action camera microphone attachment. It weighs only 42g and is a minute 21mm x 21mm x 80mm.
The Rode VideoMicro has incorporated a Ricote® Lyre® shot mounting and comes with a furry windshield to help isolate external noise.
One of its greatest qualities is that you don’t need to change the battery or recharge it because it’s powered by the action camera itself.
The Rode VideoMicro is a condenser directional microphone that provides better sound quality to your footage even when registering outdoors.
You can use it with any action camera that supports external microphone input and even a smartphone.
The only downside we found when reviewing the VideoMicro is the slightly flimsy supporting structure, which is designed to make the microphone unit ‘float’ above the action camera – any slight camera movements cause it to bounce around.
Admittedly, the sound quality isn’t effective by the bouncing, but it can be a little disconcerting to see it wobbling while recording!
5. Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Condensor Microphone
- Good value for money
- Super lightweight
- Easy to use
- Not great for windy situations
- Pro app is sold separately
- Wire can get in the way
The Rode SmartLav+ is an omnidirectional lavalier microphone. It’s extremely light and compact with an easy to use clip-on system.
The sound quality on the Rode SmartLav+ is far superior to the original Rode SmartLav, so it’s really worth the upgrade if you had the original version. Look out for the grey connector to differentiate the new version from the previous one!
You simply connect the Rode Smartlav+ to your smartphone or action camera and register the audio signal to instantly improve the voice recording in your videos.
You can download the Rode app on your smartphone, but the light (free) version doesn’t give you access to advanced settings, and it offers fewer file formats to register – the Pro version is paid.
To use the Rode SmatLav+ with some action cameras, you’ll need the 6m long SC3 adapter, available from Rode.
What Mic Adapter Do You Need for your Action Camera?
You’ll also need an additional Mic adapter to be able to connect an external microphone to your camera.
This is because action cameras don’t usually have a dedicated 3.5mm audio input port.
The adapters listed below work by connecting the external 3.5mm jack external microphone to the USB port of your action camera.
- Mic Adapter for GoPro Hero Cameras (Hero5 and onwards)
- Mic Adapter for DJI Osmo Action Cameras
- Mic Adapter for DJI Osmo Pocket
- Mic Adapter for Insta360 ONE R
- Mic Adapter for Insta360 ONE X2
Note that not every GoPro will accept an external microphone – here are the GoPro models that will: HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black, HERO7 Black, HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO4 Black / Silver, HERO3+ Black, HERO3 Black.
What Type of Action Camera Microphone Attachment is Right for You?
With the wide variety of external microphones available in 2023, which kind is best for your needs?
Microphones can be categorised according to how they record audio, according to the connection, according to their polar pattern, and even according to shape or use.
Here’s a quick summary of the types of mics that fit action cameras:
- Dynamic mics – This category is based on how the microphone records sound – they use electromagnetism to convert sound into an electrical signal. These are the most versatile types of microphones. They are usually not very expensive, and they work great for studio setups.
- Condenser mics – These microphones are more accurate and deliver a higher quality of audio than dynamic mics – they are also more expensive. Most of them are omnidirectional or bidirectional.
- Shotgun mics – These types of mics are highly directional, thanks to the design that looks like a shotgun barrel (hence the name). They are a great choice if you want to isolate the environmental noise and just focus on one sound source – although off-camera mics are more directional than the on-camera ones. However, to better choose the sensitivity, you should look at the pickup pattern, which can be super-cardioid, hyper-cardioid, or ultracardioid.
- Lavalier mics – These small microphones are often called lapel mics or clip-on mics because they are designed to be on the broadcaster’s clothes or directly attached to their body. That’s why they are mostly used for broadcasting and films where you need to record dialogues. You usually need to mount the lavalier about 20-30cm from the mouth (or the sound source) for clear audio.
There’s one final alternative to an action camera microphone attachment and that’s by using digital voice recorders.
In this way, you don’t need any microphone adapter or microphone attachment per se – you simply place the voice recorder near to the source to capture audio.
Remember that if you’re filming someone talking and using digital voice recorders, you’ll need to time sync the audio in post-production to ensure it aligns with the source.
Action Camera External Microphone FAQs
Can you connect a microphone to an action camera?
Yes, you can connect external microphones to an action camera. However, depending on the camera, you might need a microphone adapter. You can directly plug in an action camera microphone attachment if it has a 3.5mm audio jack and the microphone has a male jack of that size. Other cameras have different ports, such as USB type C – in this case, you need an adapter cable. For some GoPros, you can use the Media Mod, which has a 3.5 jack for external mics as well as a built-in microphone.
Do action cameras have sound?
Most action cameras and 360 cameras have a built-in microphone to capture sound. If you want to improve the sound quality, you might want to add an external microphone though.
Can I plug a microphone into a GoPro?
It depends on which GoPro you have. If your GoPro has an audio jack, you’ll need the Pro 3.5 mm Camera Mic Adapter to plug in the microphone.
Which GoPro has an external mic?
You can plug an external microphone on the GoPro Hero 10 Black, GoPro Hero 9 Black, GoPro Hero 8 Black, GoPro Hero 7 Black, Go Pro Hero 6 Black, GoPro Hero 5 Black, GoPro Hero Session, GoPro Hero 4 Black and Silver, GoPro Hero 3+ Black, and GoPro Hero 3 Black.
Improving Your Action Camera Sound Quality: Final Words
I hope you found this article helpful to clarify which action camera microphone attachment you should get to produce the best audio for your video footage.
Action cameras are amazing little devices, and surprisingly affordable if you’re not too fussy about the very latest model.
High-quality video from modern action cameras is a given, but if you want to improve the audio quality, make sure you try out one of the recommended external mics in our guide.
If you have any questions or you want to recommend your favourite external microphone for action cameras, please do so in the comments section below.