How to Fix GoPro Audio Problems: External Mic 3.5mm Adapter Review

GoPro Accessories, GoPro Tips

In this post, you'll learn how to fix your GoPro audio issues.

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

In this post, I cover them in detail, including the review video below.

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 of 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.

Coming in at almost $50, 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 

Watch on YouTube.

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.

Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Mic Review (Video)

Watch on YouTube.

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.

audio technica atr3350 review

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 on-board 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 $30 mics, these aren't bad. While the on-board 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 echo, I think these will give us better sound quality.

I am eager to take these mics on our first trip and create some great travel videos. To see our Ecuador-based videos subscribe to our GringosAbroad channel.

Tools Used in This Post:

create online video

We started making web videos with a basic point and shoot camera. We later upgraded to dSLR video. And they have had decent success.

But we have had some audio quality issues – especially for voice. It was time to upgrade.

Until now, we've been using both a new Canon point and shoot and an entry level dSLR for video creation. The video below was shot with our dSLR. The image quality isn't too bad but the audio is very inconsistent. From our office (a small room with little echo) it comes out okay but in a larger space the audio sounds distant and if there is any wind noise it's almost impossible to get good audio.

Because none of our cameras had audio input for mics (except the GoPro) we had to buy another camera. At first I was looking at the newer dSLR cameras that have audio inputs. But that was a little redundant. We already have two of these for photography. Instead, we decided to purchase a Canon camcorder with mic input. It cost much less ($249 compared to $800+)

Last week we received our new gear. Here's what we bought:

I also ordered a 32GB SD memory card.

Equipment we already had:

We are going to continue to use the other cameras to produce videos, but when we need great audio we plan on using this new setup. The tripods are pretty crucial for video creation – especially for interviews and web shows.

Unboxing Canon Vixia HF & Audio-Technica  Microphone

Watch on YouTube

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 video with great audio. The adapter goes from micro usb to 3.5mm audio jack. I'm not sure if we can split it and include two mics. We'll see.

Additional Canon Batteries (Wasabi)

The fourth item I purchased are the Wasabi batteries. Canon batteries are notoriously expensive. Wasabi makes compatible batteries for much less. They ship two batteries and a wall charger with car adapter (camcorder doesn't include one) for less than one original Canon battery.

The Wasabi batteries even last longer:

  • Canon Battery: 3.6V 1790mAh 6.5Wh
  • Wasabi Power: 3.6V 2900mAh 10.4Wh

We are using Wasabi for all of our cameras (GoPro, dSLR and point and shoot) and they all last longer than the original Canon. Because the Canon Camcorder doesn't come with a wall charger you have to charge the battery plugged in to the actual unit. This means you can't use it once the battery dies. With the extra batteries and wall charger, we are set for a full day of travel blogging, press trips and show creation – without any worry about running out of charge.

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

create web video

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.

And we are going to be using these tools to create our new web show on Gringos Abroad. This should be launching within the new month.

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.

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Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is co-editor of ClickLikeThis: GoPro tutorial blog. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of GringosAbroad (Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with ClickLikeThis.

2 comments… add one
  • Gary Sisk Aug 17, 2014, 4:07 pm

    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 Aug 17, 2014, 4:33 pm

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

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