Most action cameras come with built-in microphones to record audio. Many do a decent job and would not need the help of mic attachments.
Sadly, a considerable number of onboard mics don’t perform to the expected optimal levels.
If you are in such a situation, it might be time to look for the best action camera microphone attachments.
This way, you can level up your game and shoot content that will be immersive.
Content creation has raised the demand and use of action cameras. Action cameras are great for capturing video from a first-person perspective.
The built-in microphones can’t usually provide the level of audio quality you want. They record handling and footstep noise.
Users have also complained of low-quality audio when using these cameras in noisy places. As such, acquiring an external mic for an action camera is the best solution.
Read on to find out which attachment microphone is best for you.
What Are the Best Action Camera Microphone Attachments?
The RØDE Wireless GO II is the best action camera microphone attachment.
The Rode lineup of microphones has gained quite the praise among content creators.
The Wireless GO II is easy to use and an excellent choice for videographers at all experience levels.
It is wireless; you won’t worry about wires getting in the way while recording.
At 0.016 ounces (0.45 grams), the portability and compactness make this an ideal choice. Its traffic noise cancellation makes it excellent for travel vlogs.
Let’s look at the best action camera microphone attachments you should explore:
1. Rode Wireless GO II
Rode Wireless GO II is always a go-to for many content creators because it can work with practically any camera out there.
Versatility aside, this dongle stands at the top of this list because of its outstanding performance.
It produces professional-quality audio and has internal memory storage that lets it run on its own without depending on a camera.
When it comes to storage, it keeps up to 24 hours of compressed audio and about 7 hours of uncompressed recording.
Rode Wireless GO II is also highly favored by many because it captures sound from different sources.
That makes it reliable for backup recordings and two-person interviews.
If you get to a place where moving around is prohibited, you simply need to fire up its wireless connectivity. It will hold itself well for a max range of 200m.
Plus, its miniature size makes it a breeze to carry around.
Prioritize Rode Wireless GO II if you shoot outdoors. Its construction is composed of rock-solid materials.
So before you ask, yes, it can withstand harsh use and weather elements. And when ambient noise knocks in, the integrated high-pass filter will jump in and minimize it.
At its price, given its incredible performance and durability, this dongle is an absolute steal.
- Produces professional-grade audio signal
- Universal compatibility
- Miniature size
- Can operate wirelessly
- Has a long-lasting battery
- It’s fairly expensive compared to many others
2. Rode VideoMicPro
Okay, of course, it is another offer from Rode but just say hello to this big bad wolf. There’s a reason he is wandering these corners.
Rode VideoMicPro is a beast that suits those running mirrorless rigs, camcorders, and DSLRs. Those with DJI Osmo prefer it as well.
Here’s why Rode VideoMicPro stands as one of the best action camera microphone attachments.
First, this is a shotgun mic attachment.
Therefore it comes in handy when you want great audio from a distance as opposed to lapel mics that are always in view.
Its ½“ condenser capsule is in charge of ensuring the sound quality is excellent while the Rycote Lyre shock mount deafens background noise.
The attachment’s super-cardioid polar pattern draws in the sound to the front while ensuring ambient noise to the sides and behind the action is muzzled.
The foam covering on Rode VideoMicPro is not pointless. It minimizes wind noise thereby leading to crisp clear audio recordings.
Despite appearing bulky, this dongle only weighs 85 grams. So it’s not such a big load.
- Delivers amazing sound quality
- Simple to set up
- Can be stacked to a boom pole
- Great for keeping external chatters at bay
- Not great for shooting distant subjects
3. RØDE VideoMicro
The RØDE VideoMicro is lightweight and can be mounted directly on the camera. It is a smaller, lighter alternative to the VideoMicPro, weighing 42 grams.
It has a shock mount to reduce vibrations. The audio quality is outstanding, and can pick up sound from a distance.
- Easy to operate
- Small and compact
- In-built shield to reduce wind noise
- Cable is removable
- Incompatible with some cameras
- Extremely noisy
- Incorrect mounting may cause the windshield to obstruct the view
4. Rode SmartLav+ Lavalier Microphone
Those into action-packed thrills like riding prefer Lavalier or clip-on microphone attachments because of their portability and reach.
A choice that has been ruling for a while was PowerDeWise Lavalier Clip-On.
However, its noise-cancellation feature that is always on can easily cut off the audio you are interested in because it detects unwanted noise.
The good thing is that its cable is pretty long. Rode SmartLav+ Lavalier seems to be a suitable replacement for PowerDeWise Lavalier Clip-On.
The attachment works well with any action camera with a 3.5mm jack. But you will need to get a good adapter.
It is also compatible with laptops, smartphones, and tablets too.
Rode SmartLav+ Lavalier is an omnidirectional mic that aims at producing crystal clear audio. It pulls impressive performance compared to those $20 Lavalier mics.
The only con is its short cable. You’ll need an extension cable if you need more length.
- Affordable Lavalier mic
- Kevlar-designed for longevity
- Excellent at canceling background noise
- Works with a paid Rode Rec app
- The cable is too short
5. TAKSTAR SGC-598
TAKSTAR SGC-598 is one of the cheapest yet most versatile action camera microphone attachments you find out there.
Whether your action cam is a DSLR, a GoPro, or a frameless rig, they will connect harmoniously.
The unit has a condenser transducer and its sensitivity range dangles between -32dB+/-3dB. Hence, the sound quality is of decent levels-not Hollywood standards though.
The attachment has a hot shoe connection that lets it rest on top of your camera and still communicates with it.
TAKSTAR SGC-598 is battery-operated and can handle up to 100 hours of audio recording. That’s actually a great stretch.
Plus, it has a low power indicator that will flash up to signal when the charge is critically low.
Inside this attachment’s package, you’ll find a carry bag as well as a foam windscreen to reduce noise.
- Comes with a convenient foam windscreen
- Universal construction
- Produces decent audio quality
- Long-lasting battery
- It has a fairly bulky design
6. Sennheiser MKE 200
Sennheiser MKE 200’s 3.5mm jack, TRS and TRRS cables ensure that it works with your mobile devices, DSLRs, and mirrorless rigs.
It’s one of those attachments with tried and true super-cardioid capsules and therefore supremely focused on sound waves while rejecting background noise.
With the right adopter, you can use MKE 200 on GoPro cameras.
To the advantage of many outdoor buffs, this compact unit is battery-free and that means less weight to carry around.
Sennheiser MKE 200 comes with a built-in windscreen which is very good at blocking noise.
That is a nice feature for anyone who doesn’t want to wrestle with foams and deadcats every time.
There is a shock mount too to take care of handling noises that could easily cripple audio clarity.
- Universal construction
- Compact and lightweight
- Has a super-cardioid capsule for better sound sensitivity
- Boasts built-in shock mount and windscreen for advanced noise reduction
- Its price is a bit on the higher side
7. Sennheiser Professional MKE 400
It has a professional-grade shotgun mic that provides clear audio even in noisy environments.The mic also has a windscreen to reduce wind noise.
It’s made for DSLRs, but it also works with GoPro cameras. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth it for the quality of audio it captures.
The 2 AAA batteries with this camera give 100 hours of recording.
It is compatible with both ther camera and your smartphone via a 3.5mm jack connectivity. It allows digital control of volume , which you can adjust to +20dB, 0dB or -20dB.
We recommend using a Noga arm to add this mic to the side of your camera for a practical set-up.
- It comes with a free mini tripod and a smartphone clamp
- It has a double battery set-up
- Performs well in outdoor recording
- Heavier than its counterparts, weighing approximately 300 gms
- Less portable;13 centimeters in length
Features to Consider Before Acquiring a Microphone Attachment
There are a few things you need to go through before jumping straight to the market for an action camera mic attachment.
Make an informed choice by ticking these boxes off your checklist.
Compatibility With the Camera
You need to understand that some microphone attachments are designed specifically for various camera brands.
There are those that are unique to DSLRs, mirrorless rigs, or GoPro cameras.
You, therefore, need to be sure that what you are about to spend your hard-earned cash on will actually work with your rig.
If it gets challenging to find an attachment that works specifically with your camera, you could settle for a universal model.
Such a design can accommodate practically any camera.
Availability of an Adapter
Get an external mic with an adapter. Adapters come in handy when using a camera without a 3.5mm jack.
The mic adapters listed below are recommended
- The Movo GMA100 Adapter (best used for Hero3+, GoPro Hero3, and Hero4)
- The GoPro 3.5mm Adapter (recommended for use with Hero6, GoPro Hero5, Hero8, and Hero7)
- Osmo Pocket Adapter (connect to DJI Osmo)
- USB to the 3.5mm Jack
The Polar Pattern of the Mic
This is the direction that the microphone attachment is designed to pick up audio signals the best.
Some gears have only one setting while others allow you to switch between a couple of them.
Here are the three types of polar patterns: unidirectional, bidirectional, and omnidirectional.
This is the most popular polar pattern in the market.
Unidirectional attachments will focus on the sound that is in front of them only while ignoring the rest.
So if you plan to do plenty of one-person interviews with no prospects of another guest joining in, cardioid microphone attachments will do just fine.
They are also ideal for personal vloggers.
If you see an attachment marked or described as “super-cardioid,” it just means it is more laser-focused to the front of the camera.
Unidirectional mics detect sound if placed directly in front of the person speaking. So get these if you only need to record one person.
- Shotgun – These mic attachments are unidirectional. The devices will ignore any sound close to 30 degrees on the sides while still being able to pick up low-signal sounds straight ahead of them. Shotgun mics reduce ambient noise and are the best in direction focus. The Sennheiser Professional MKE 200 is a perfect example of this.
Bidirectional mics deliver the same performance as shotgun equipment.
The only difference is that bi-directional attachments focus on sound both in front and the back of the mic.
Think of the pattern to be something like a fat number eight.
Omnidirectional attachments will focus on sound coming from every direction. They are a great asset for those having round table interviews and discussions.
It’s typical to find lapel microphones having this polar pattern because they are not necessarily positioned in front of a person.
Lapel mics are omnidirectional, detecting sound from all sides.
So from the list above, get the Wireless GO II omnidirectional microphone for group interviews and debate session recordings.
Type of Shock Mount
Action cameras record high-octane scenes with lots of noise. Such noise is likely to dampen or distort the overall audio quality of your videos.
Therefore, it is always a good idea to buy attachments that come with shock mounting to lower background interference.
Specifically, get a mic that stops the noise of the footsteps if you vlog while walking.
The Type of Windscreen
Microphone attachments boast two key types of windscreens: foam or deadcat.
Each has its own advantages and trade-offs but are far better than not having any.
- Deadcat mics have a furry appearance and block noise from the wind when recording outside. The thick fur is extremely effective in blocking wind noise as well as other higher-frequency sounds.
- Foam screens are widely popular for reducing noise interference as they are also relatively cheaper. There’s a small setback though. They have less reliability compared to deadcats when it comes to blocking wind noise. However, it is still a good option in case you need a mic on a budget.
Type of Shoe Mount
Shoe mounting is a slot on the microphone attachment where it locks with the camera for communication.
There are two types of mounting: a hot mount and a cold mount.
- A hot mount allows for electrical contact, creating a direct connection to your camera.
- You don’t get to enjoy a direct connection with the cold mount. It lacks electrical connectivity between your camera and the mic accesories.
The microphone’s audio sensitivity indicates how well it can pick up sounds. Reliable metrics range somewhere between -42 to -30 dBV/Pa or 8 and 32 mV/Pa.
Go with an option that detects audio at a vast distance range.
Form of Transducer
Those who don’t pay attention to the type of transducer in a microphone could easily end up complaining about poor audio quality.
Let’s go through some basic science for a second.
Microphones are transducers. Meaning, they convert sound waves into electrical signals that need to pass through wires.
As such, the microphone whose internal mechanisms are stellar will ultimately produce the clearest audio.
There are three types of microphone transducers: dynamic, ribbon, and condenser.
- Dynamic Mics: A dynamic microphone will serve you well if you don’t need to record every last nuance with crystal clarity. Use these mics for podcasting and recording outside.
- Ribbon Mics: Ribbon microphones are pricey and delicate, so they wouldn’t work very well with an action camera.
- Condenser Mics: Use these for recording voice-over audio files. The quality of the voice produced is top-notch. If audio quality is vital for you, these are your best bet.
Types of Microphone Attachments for Action Cameras
Here are the different types of action camera microphones you may find on the market:
Also called clip-on or lapel mics, these are compact models that get attached to the person speaking.
They are pretty standard in broadcasting houses and among filmmakers.
Travel vloggers will appreciate the lightweight and portability of these mics.
Shotgun mics have long slotted tubes to the front which makes them look like guns, hence the name.
The tube’s work is to block any sound that comes outside a 30 degrees angle from the front.
Instead of mounting to the camera, these are held by the hand. Alternatively, place the mic close to your camera while recording.
Fast-paced actions don’t need the mic to be handheld. Nevertheless, you can find some.
Even lavalier and shotgun mics can become handheld if you choose to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let us solve some of your concerns in this section.
How Can I Improve the Sound Quality of My Camera?
Invest in an external microphone to supplement your camera’s microphone.
How Can I Use an External Microphone With an Action Camera?
Two technological options will allow you to connect an external mic to your camera: the type C USB ports and the 3.5-millimeter jacks.
Are USB Mics Compatible With Action Cameras?
Some cameras have USB ports, allowing you to connect your USB mic.
Does the GoPro Require an External Microphone?
A mic attachment for GoPro is more of an accessory than a necessity.
Should I invest in a GoPro mic adapter?
GoPro Hero5, Hero7, Hero6, and Hero5 Session accept USB-C and some have an HDMI output.
So only an adapter will make it possible to link a 3.55mm jack with the USB-C port.
Where do you attach the microphone to an action camera?
Action cameras with USB-C cables will demand the use of an adapter to accept a microphone.
However, those with a 3.5mm jack allow you to simply plug in the microphone dongle.
Can a microphone pick up noise from an arm movement or a motor when the camera is attached to a gimbal?
This largely depends on the sensitivity of the microphone attachment. Some can detect any proximity noise including that from handling.
For that reason, it is best that you consider units with built-in shock mounts.
If you have an action camera with a built-in microphone, capturing high-quality audio while filming your adventures can be difficult.
With the seven options recommended in this article, you can now get and attach a microphone to your camera to get the best sound possible.
Whatever option you choose, the quality of your audio recordings is bound to improve.
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