The best action camera microphone attachment solves a major problem. Bad sound quality is more of a turnoff in a video than bad video quality. If you rely on your camera’s microphone for sound, you will most likely be disappointed at some point.
With an action camera, the solution isn’t as simple as buying an external microphone. You will need an action camera microphone attachment. This is because most action cameras don’t have a microphone input.
Our top pick is popular, compact, and gives clear audio for your videos. The Rode Wireless GO II is one of the most popular microphones available today. And for good reason.
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What Is the Best Action Camera Microphone?
We’re going to look at two main types of microphones for your action camera—shotgun and lavalier. Which one is right for you will depend on your needs.
Microphones collect sound in similar ways but are designed for different purposes. An action camera microphone will be omnidirectional. This means it gathers sound from everywhere. But realistically, these microphones capture sound from a 180-degree field.
A shotgun mic gives you a more directional sound. It also delivers improved sound quality and better wind noise suppression. It will exclude or reduce sound coming from the side and rear, focusing on what is directly in front of the mic.
A lavalier microphone collects sound much like the action camera mic. Its advantage is it gets you up close for interviews or narration. This improves ambient noise reduction. But with an action camera, it makes no sense to tie yourself down with wires. So we’ll just look at wireless solutions.
- World's smallest and first truly wireless microphone
- Dual-channel receiver and single transmitter
- Universal compatibility with cameras, mobile devices, and computers
- Extended range (200 m line of sight) and improved transmission stability
- Onboard recording capabilities and rechargeable batteries
- All-in-one storage, ready to use
- 820 feet (250 m) of range
- 5.5 hour battery life
- Magnetic attachment
- OLED touchscreen display
- 164 ft (50 m) transmission and DSP technology
- Digital 2.4 GHz and auto-pairing
- Low-cut filter and mono/stereo output
- Long working time and indicator lights
- Rechargeable lithium battery and charging while recording
- Professional-grade video microphone with unparalled clarity
- Highly accurate supercardioid delivers crisper audio
- 101-year warranty for peace of mind
- Battery-free design with compatible recording devices
- Includes shotgun microphone, shockmount, windscreens, and adapters
- 20 dB stepless analog gain adjustment dial
- Broadcast-quality sound
- Smart 3.5 mm TRS/TRRS mic output
- 75/150 Hz low-cut filters
- Intelligent power on/off
- Compact microphone designed to improve audio quality
- Only 3 inches (80 mm) long and 1.5 oz (42 g)
- No battery required, powered by camera
- Includes Rycote Lyre shock mount and deluxe furry windshield
- Requires adapter for new iPhones
- Compatible with smartphones, DSLRs, camcorders, and PCs
- Rugged metal construction
- No battery required
- 3.5 mm TRS and TRRS connection
- Includes professional furry windshield and shock mount
What Is the Best Wireless Lavalier Microphone?
We’ve got a selection of wireless lavalier microphones for you to consider. Let’s look at them in more detail.
1. Rode Wireless GO II
|Power||Rechargeable battery (built-in)|
|Other Key Features||Combined transmitter and mic in a single unit|
|Best For||Vlogging or interviewing|
The Rode Wireless Go II is a great example of why Rode is so popular. There are two versions of this microphone. You can choose either one or two transmitters.
They are compact, square, and easily portable. The transmitter attaches to the subject’s clothes and the receiver mounts on a cold or hot shoe. You will also need to connect the receiver to the 3.5 mm input port of your chosen adapter.
The transmission range for the wireless is quoted as 660 ft (200 m). Realistically, anything closer than 330 ft (100 m) shouldn’t be a problem. The transmitter provides onboard recording. This means you won’t lose the audio even if the transmission drops out.
The Wireless Go II uses Rode’s safety mode. This records a second audio track at -20 dB. The transmitter saves your sound at a lower volume without clipping, even if you get overexcited as you plummet out of a plane. The Rode phone app allows control of safety mode and other features. The receiver also has a clear color LCD screen for monitoring several parameters.
2. DJI Dual-Channel Wireless Lavalier Mic
|Power||Built-in rechargeable battery|
|Other Key Features||Combined charging/carrying case|
|Best For||DJI Osmo action cameras|
The DJI Wireless Lavalier Mic is specifically designed for the DJI Osmo Action. It comes with a cold shoe adapter allowing you to use it with other cameras, including your action camera.
There are two microphone/transmitter units and a receiver. And they can all be safely stored in a solid charging carry case. This makes transporting, pairing, and charging the units simple.
You can clip the transmitters to clothing. If that’s not possible, they also have a magnetic mount. This is a useful solution for T-shirts or unbuttoned shirts, for instance.
The battery life is 15 hours and will far outlast the recording time on any action camera. And the included dead cats will reduce wind noise.
Like the Rode Wireless Go II, the DJI Mic has onboard recording and a safety track (of -6 dB). It also has adjustable gain levels. So you can match the receiver’s output to the needs of your action camera.
3. Synco G2 Professional Wireless Lavalier Microphone
|Power||Built-in rechargeable battery|
|Other Key Features||Auto-pairing for easy setup|
|Best For||Anyone needing a budget wireless lavalier setup|
I’m including the Synco G2 as a contender in the budget external microphone field. It operates on the same principle as the previous microphone systems. But it lacks onboard recording. So if your audio drops, you lose that section of the recording. And it doesn’t have a safety track either.
Listening to the Synco G2 and Rode Wireless Go II side by side, the Rode has superior sound quality. There is less noise and the sound is richer. The Rode provides better audio quality than the Synco G2.
All things are relative, though. The Synco will give you better voice recording at a distance than the action camera’s built-in microphone. If you don’t want to spend the money on the Rode, the Synco G2 is worth a look.
What Is the Best Shotgun Microphone?
Now let’s look at the options if you want a camera-mounted directional microphone. Here are our recommendations in more detail.
4. MOVO VXR10 Shotgun Microphone
|Other Key Features||Earphone socket for monitoring your sound|
|Best For||Anyone looking for a budget shotgun microphone|
The Movo VXR10 Pro shotgun microphone is a shock-mounted compact shotgun mic. The mic comes with cables that connect to your action camera or smartphone. It also comes with a travel pouch and a dead cat windshield.
The VXR10 Pro has a richer sound with less high-frequency response than the Rode. The downside of this is that in very windy conditions, the Movo tends to pick up too much wind noise. This is true even with the dead cat installed.
This might be a problem given that action cameras spend so much of their time in the great outdoors. At this price, it’s no surprise that there’s no high-pass filter or gain control. But there is a headphone socket so you can monitor your recording. The Movo VXR10 Pro is still a contender at the budget end of the market.
5. Deity V-Mic D3 Shotgun Microphone
|Other Key Features||Stepless gain control of 20 dB|
|Best For||Anyone looking for a general purpose shotgun microphone at a good price|
The Deity V-Mic D3 has a number of impressive features. Perhaps most notably, it has a stepless gain control. This means that you can increase it to pick up quieter sound sources. Or you can turn it down to stop a noisy rock concert from clipping your signal. It’s much more versatile than a fixed -10 dB signal cut, for instance.
The battery life, at 50 hours, is also impressive. And it is very handy that the microphone detects what it is connected to. So there’s no need to carry different cables for different devices.
Of course, sound quality is the most important aspect. And the Deity does not disappoint. I could not tell the difference between it and a Sennheiser MKE600. And that microphone costs about twice as much as this.
Finally, the build quality of this Deity mic is as good as its sound. It’s a “sound” choice for an action cam mic.
6. Rode VideoMicro Compact Microphone
|Other Key Features||Eliminates frequencies below 100 Hz|
|Best For||Vloggers and others working in noisy outdoor environments|
The Rode VideoMicro is one of many Rode offerings. And it has helped Rode to become a dominant force in the world of vlogging and YouTube. It seems the Rode sound seems to meet the expectations of content creators and consumers.
The VideoMicro can sound a little lacking in lower frequencies compared with others. This is because the frequency response almost completely eliminates the sub-100 Hz range. This is great for subduing traffic noise. It also makes the mic very effective in windy conditions. And this is especially true when using the included dead cat windshield.
The human voice largely relies on the higher frequencies as well. Perhaps the affection for this brand is because the Rode VideoMicro captures speech clearly. It also cuts through the background clutter.
7. BOYA MM1 Universal On-Camera Shotgun Mic Microphone
|Other Key Features||Comes with phone mount and hot shoe attachment|
|Best For||Anyone looking for a budget supercardioid microphone|
Regarding sound quality, it is hard to tell the difference between the Rode VideoMicro and the Boya BY-MM1. However, your wallet will notice the difference as the Boya is roughly half the price.
The BY-MM1 has the extras we would expect from this type of microphone. It comes with a dead cat, shock mount, cables, and carry pouch. The BY-MM1 is a solid performer, and I prefer the sound from the Boya to the Rode. But the slightly inferior performance in the wind might be a deciding factor for you.
Buyer’s Guide—Best Action Camera Attachment
How to Attach an Action Camera Microphone Attachment
The first obstacle to overcome is the lack of an audio jack. You need to get your audio signal into your action camera. Action cameras lack an external microphone input port. This means you will need a microphone adapter to use an external microphone. But with some older or cheaper action cameras, there might not even be an option available.
This review assumes that compact usability is a priority for action cameras. All these external microphones will connect to an audio recorder, but that isn’t the focus here. (As a side note, an audio recorder takes you to the next level of sound quality. Mainly because it improves the microphone pre-amp enormously.)
Assuming this isn’t the case for you, then let’s proceed.
External Microphone Adapters for GoPro Cameras
For a GoPro HERO3 or HERO4 action camera, you will need a 3.5 mm to USB mini B adapter to attach an external microphone. This might just be an unsophisticated dongle. But it allows you to connect an external microphone to your GoPro.
For the GoPro HERO5 and later, things become a bit simpler. GoPro makes an adapter that connects to the USB C socket and provides a 3.5 mm and USB C port. This is the simplest solution for the HERO5/6/7 action cameras.
The neatest product for the HERO8 through HERO11 is GoPro’s own Camera Media Mod. (Although similar, the HERO8 Media Mod does not fit the other action cameras.)
The Media Mod is a wraparound adapter that connects to the USB socket on the action camera. It adds a directional microphone, two cold shoe mounts, and 3.5 mm, USB C, and mini HDMI ports. The integral external microphone is already better than the action camera’s own mic. The mount and the 3.5 mm socket add a tremendous range of possibilities.
But there are two downsides. The mod isn’t waterproof and will compromise the action camera’s waterproofing. This means you can’t use it if you think the camera might get submerged. It also adds a layer of complexity to changing the battery, as the Media Mod has to be completely removed from the camera to do so.
An alternative is the Ulanzi range of GoPro action camera housings. They don’t have the integral external microphone found on the Media Mod. But they do offer more flexibility for mounting accessories. The housings allow easier access to the battery and SD card. They also provide both tripod screw and GoPro finger mounting options. But you will still need a USB to 3.5 mm adapter.
External Microphone Adapters for DJI Osmo Action
Generic dongles with a USB C to 3.5 mm should work with the DJI Osmo Action. But it’s a good idea to always check compatibility before you buy. The CYNOVA Osmo Action Dual provides a more modular-looking solution and adds a USB C port. As with the GoPro Media Mod, using the adapter compromises the waterproofing.
So, we’ve sorted out the adapter situation. Now let’s look at choosing an external microphone for your action camera footage.
How to Choose a Lavalier Microphone
The lavalier microphone is sometimes called a lapel or tie-clip mic. It is familiar to us all from television. What isn’t always obvious is that they are used in dramas and films, hidden from view. Audio professionals like them because you can place them close to the sound source.
The lav mics for action cameras we have chosen for this review look different from TV ones. That’s because they combine the transmitter and microphone in one unit. It’s not so good for TV, but great for convenience when on the go. It means there are no trailing wires, which is important for the action camera user.
Conclusion: The Best Action Camera Microphone Attachment
One of the appeals of an action camera is its compact size and portability. Adding a relatively bulky microphone might seem counterintuitive. But there’s really no other option if you want to capture acceptable sound.
We think the Rode Wireless GO II gives you the boost you need for your sound. But it does it without adding too much bulk or inconvenience.