Out of the box, GoPro mics aren't perfect. If you plan to vlog with your GoPro, you should consider an external mic. Adding an external GoPro microphone makes a huge difference. Here's what you need to know when choosing the best mic and adapter for your specific GoPro.
Vloggers Guide to GoPro Mics
Every GoPro camera, (since at least the Hero3) comes with an internal microphone. And for some settings, it will be just fine. But audio issues are nothing new to GoPro. Back in August 2014, I wrote about how to improve audio on the Hero3 Black (because it wasn't very good).
Since then, audio quality has improved.
Do I need an external GoPro microphone?
There are a few reasons why you should consider picking up an external GoPro mic.
Here are a few audio limitations to your GoPro camera.
- The internal mic just isn't that good. If you want to record your speaking voice to teach or share something important, you might not get the quality you need from the internal mic.
- The waterproof housing will eliminate almost all sound (except the sound of bubbles from submerging under water). Of course, you can't use an external mic under water – but it's good to recognize the limitations of your camera. Some of the older models have waterproof-styled casing with side cutouts for mic and power cables. If you really wanted one for the newer models, I guess you could cut a case with a hot knife for port access.
- Wind, road noise, or other background noise will affect the quality of your footage. The closer you can get the mic to your mouth, the better. When your camera is at the end of a 3 foot selfie stick, your mic is going to pick up lots of nearby sounds.
If audio quality is important to you, you'll need a good mic.
Remember: When you're using an external mic, your GoPro will no longer be waterproof. In order to connect your mic, you'll have to plug the adapter into the USB port. This means that your access door will be open – exposing it to water, dust, and whatever other type of nastiness is in the air.
This isn't a deal breaker – but just remember to plan ahead and to keep your now-vulnerable GoPro safe from rain, salt, and dirt.
GoPro External Mics
Here are a few external mics to consider. There are two primary types: on-camera and wired.
But first, let's make sure that your GoPro model will accept an external mic.
Here are the models that will accept an external mic via the USB port in the side of the camera.
What GoPro Cameras Accept External Mics?
- Hero8 Black (With Media Mod)
- Hero7 Black
- Hero6 Black
- Hero5 Black
- Hero5 Session
- Hero4 Black / Silver
- Hero3+ Black
- Hero3 Black
Which GoPro models don't accept external mics?
This means that all these models don't accept an external mic, even with an adapter.
- GoPro Max or Fusion (360 cameras). This one makes sense. Although their 360-degree cameras are the most expensive cameras they make, a mic wire would make stitching the two images together almost imposible. Be happy this isn't an option – it could ruin hundreds of hours of footage before users realized that there was a floating wire in their shot.
- Hero7 Silver / White
- Hero (2018) / (2014)
- Hero4 Session
- Hero Session
As you noticed, the cameras that don't accept external mics are the low(er) end models, with the exception of the Max and Fusion.
This means that in addition to buying an adapter and a mic, to record great audio with your GoPro, you'll also have to purchase one of the higher-end models.
Ready to choose the best mic for your GoPro? Here are a couple of solid options:
Rode VideoMicro with Shock Mount
The mic comes with two key pieces: shock mount and furry windshield.
- The Rycote Lyre shock mount reduces unwanted vibrations and noise from handling the camera and from cable movement.
- The furry wind shield reduces wind and other environmental noises that can drown you out.
The mic draws power through the cable and doesn't require additional batteries. The mic has a cardioid polar pattern and weights just 42 grams.
To mount this mic to your GoPro, you might want to add a housing like this one by Artman. It fits the Hero5, Hero6, and Hero7 cameras.
It has a hot shoe mount on top – just like a DSLR camera – making a great place to mount your Rode mic.
Lavalier Lapel Mic (Omnidirectional)
This mic includes extension cords, wind muffs, a y-connector, adapter, and storage pouch. And it comes with two lavalier mics. With this setup, you can record an interview or use one for voice and a second for other sounds – like an animal, a cooking dish, or nature sounds.
Don't forget that you'll also need a mic adapter to use your new mic with your GoPro.
For more mic options, check out our guide to the best YouTube mics.
Why do I need an adapter?
GoPro doesn't make mic jacks in their cameras. So in order to use a mic with your GoPro, you'll need an adapter to convert your 3.5mm mic jack into a USB connection.
Because most GoPro owners aren't super concerned with crisp audio (at least not enough to add an external mic) GoPro decided not to include that in the standard camera. Fortunately, they made it possible to add a mic with the help of an adapter.
If you're looking to capture crisp audio, you are in the minority. Hats off to you!
GoPro Mic Adapters For All Models
There are three styles of mic adapters for GoPro.
- Hero8 Black: Media Mod (housing with mic and mic jack built in)
- Hero5, Hero6, Hero7: USB-C to 3.5mm mic jack and second USB jack
- Hero3 and Hero4: Mini USB to 3.5mm mic jack
GoPro Hero8 Black Mic Adapter
The Hero8 Black doesn't accept a microphone, even with an adapter.
To use a mic with this camera, you'll need to purchase the Media Mod – a separate housing with both an upgraded multi directional mic and a 3.5mm mic jack to add an external mic.
This is available at the end of January 2020. We'll cover these in detail once we receive our own. There are other add-ons to the Media Mod, including the Display Mod (front facing screen), and the Light Mod (super bright LED light). Both the Display and Light Mod will fit on the Media Mod at the same time (top and side).
GoPro Mic Adapter: Hero7 Black, Hero6 Black, Hero5 Black)
This simple 3.5mm mic adapter allows you to easily add a standard mic to your GoPro camera. This adapter works for the Black version of the Hero5, Hero6 and Hero7 cameras.
- Choose from hundreds of 3.5mm microphones
- 106dB stereo analog-to-digital converter
- USB-C Power
- Enables stereo mic and line
- 90° connector, keeps the wires close and less clumsy
GoPro Mic Adapter for Hero3 / Hero4
There are a couple of options for the older Hero3 and Hero4 cameras. The first option is a an all-in-one.
The Movo GM100 fits the following GoPro cameras:
- Hero3 Black
- Hero4 Black and Silver
Please note: This doesn't fit the Hero4 Session.
This mic and adapter is well rated and super economical. Already have a 3.5mm mic and just need the adapter? Movo sells this too. Check out the Mova GMA100 GoPro adapter.
Of course, GoPro makes the “Official” 3.5mm mic adapter. It'll cost a bit more but might be worth it. Have a look here. I have a couple of them and they work great.
How to use a GoPro mic adapter
It is so simple, you'll laugh. Both style adapters (for the Hero3/4 and the Hero5/6/7) are plug and play. No setup or tweaking required.
Literally, just plug the adapter into your camera, and then your mic into the other end and you're good to go.
Here's our recommended vlogging equipment setup
And that's our guide to GoPro microphones. Have a tip to share? We would love to hear it. Join me below!