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How to Fix GoPro Audio Problems (Hero3 & Hero4) External Mic Review

In this post, you’ll learn how to fix your GoPro audio issues with older Hero3 and Hero4 cameras.

fix GoPro audio issues

It’s no secret that I love my GoPro. I’ve created bodyboarding, Galapagos animal, and sunset timelapse videos. It is great for both underwater and timelapse videos.

But all is not well with the GoPro. It has horrible audio! 

And good audio is pretty important. Viewers will tolerate some video issues (shake or poor exposure) – but if your audio is bad then they won’t stick around.

Improving GoPro Audio Quality

We recently purchased a set of new video gear to improve the quality of our audio.

Along with a new video camera, we purchased some new wired mics: Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Condenser Mic

GoPro Audio Sucks

Although nothing will stop me from using my GoPro, I wish that it had better audio.

Of course, the audio is bad when it is inside the waterproof case. It does pick up some underwater bubble sounds – and a little splashing. If someone yells (above water) can pick it up (faintly).

But aside from bubbles and yelling – it gets nothing. If you want to record voice audio – forget about it!

It is airtight, so obviously the sound won’t travel so well through the case.  But even when it is out of the case, it is almost impossible to record any audio.

How to Fix GoPro Audio

While this isn’t a complete fix, it is better than nothing.

This adapter isn’t cheap. But if you want good audio, you’ll want the GoPro mic adapter. It’s USB-C to a 3.5mm connector and works great.

See the difference in the following video.

GoPro External Mic 3.5mm Mic Adapter Review 

Why Connect a Mic to GoPro?

The camera has to be out of the case for the mic to work.

What’s the application? My plan is to (occasionally) use the camera out of the case while traveling.

Now that we have this adapter (connected to the Audio Technica mic) we can produce quality travel videos and adventure videos with one camera.

We have a number of other cameras, but sometimes it isn’t practical to carry them all (kayak trips, hikes in the rain, etc).

With a waterproof bag for the mic and the GoPro in its own waterproof case, we’ll always have what we need. And we’ll never risk damaging our other gear.

Test Results

Setting: The test was shot in my office, with both the door and windows closed. There are 2 full bookcases and lots of work gear so there is almost no echo. It is a pretty ideal audio recording setting.

This is the first video I’ve produced with this camera. The mics on my Canon Vixia HF video camera are decent. They record better sound than expected. Using the “Audio Scene” option “Speech” improved it over the default setting.

When I connected the mics it initially produced a slightly muffled sound when compared to the onboard mics.  The initial contrast made me think that the quality wasn’t as good as the built-in mics. But as I listened it seemed to improve.

For entry-level mics, these aren’t bad. While the onboard mics pick up the audio better, they are limited in situations where there is an echo or other distracting noises. I looked into some higher-end wireless mics that also work with some of the basic Canon camcorders. Something for the future…

Where We’ll Use External Mics

The mics will be especially useful both outside and in a large room where either echos or other ambient noises could affect the audio quality.

In a closed room, I plan to record without a wired mic. But when we are shooting outside or in a room with echoes, I think these will give us better sound quality.

GoPro Audio Input

We also purchased the GoPro 3.5mm Mic Adapter which allows us to connect the same mic to the GoPro. I don’t know if I’ve done something wrong but until now the sound quality has been poor on the Hero3.

We are hoping that this adapter will give us another way to create a video with great audio.

The adapter goes from a micro USB to a 3.5mm audio jack. I’m not sure if we can split it and include two mics. We’ll see.

Read a recent video creation tutorial: How to create a GoPro timelapse video

create web video

Check out our new guide to using a GoPro microphone – just for vloggers.

We are going to be running some tests and publishing the results of the improved video and audio quality. Stay tuned for the full reviews.

More reading: Guide to GoPro Voice Commands

Your Turn

What audio/video setup are you using? Have you used a mic to get quality audio from your GoPro? Please share your tips and experiences below.

Brian

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

Great article but you have to be able to find a mic adapter I bought a GoPro 7 HERO Black no mic adapters to be found anywhere until sometime in July half my writing season will be done very disappointing

Gary Sisk

Sunday 17th of August 2014

I love all the new improvements to your site! I will continue to enjoy your posts and share them with others! You are a truly trusted site for new expats coming to Ecuador! I really enjoyed meeting you and your daughter and look forward to meeting all of you again in the future! I did find you to be a fine and truth-worthy person! Good luck to you in all your future endorsers!

Bryan Haines

Sunday 17th of August 2014

It was great to meet you in person as well. Thanks so much Gary!