External Microphones for the GoPro HERO9, HERO8, HERO7, HERO6, HERO5, & HERO4

If you're looking to improve the sound quality of your GoPro videos, using an external mic will make a big difference. Here's a rundown of what mics will work with which GoPro.

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GoPro is running a Black Friday deal on the new HERO9 Black. The $200 Savings HERO9 Bundle includes the HERO9 Black, a 1-year subscription to GoPro, a Magnetic Swivel Clip, Floating Hand Grip, and Spare Battery, as well as a case, 32GB SanDisk Extreme SD card, and 2-day shipping. It comes to $349.98. You can find the deal at GoPro.com.

All GoPros come with built-in microphones. They do a serviceable job for casual use, but the sound quality of the on-board mics frankly isn’t great.

And one of the casualties of the newer design of a built-in waterproof casing is that the on-board sound quality isn’t as good. So if audio is important to the video footage you’re shooting, you’ll get much better results by using an external microphone. Adding an external microphone is the single best thing you can do improve the sound quality on your GoPro videos, whether you’re recording regular knock-around footage or using your GoPro has a webcam for Zoom meetings.

There’s a huge variety of external microphones available on the market. Some are better for recording speaking voices, others for music, and others for ambient sounds. So here’s a rundown of some popular external mics to use with recent GoPros.

The lists below aren’t by any means exhaustive, but they’re a combination of ones that GoPro officially recommends as well as others that are known to work well.

Top Pick

If you just want to cut to the chase, the Rode VideoMicro would be my overall top pick at the moment. It’s very good-quality, readily available, and reasonably priced. It’s also simple to use and doesn’t require its own batteries.

You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Mic
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Don’t Forget the Mic Adapter!

Don’t forget to pick up the mic adapter that you’ll need to connect the mic to your GoPro. There are a couple of different versions, depending on which model GoPro you’re using. There’s more detail below, but here’s the quick version.

For the HERO9 Black, the best bet is to get the dedicated Media Mod accessory. Note that this is a dedicated version of the Media Mod for the HERO9 Black–it’s not the same as the one for the HERO8 Black. In addition to adding line ins for an external mic, it also has its own built-in directional mic. You can also use GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter instead.

For the HERO8 Black, the best bet is to get the dedicated Media Mod accessory. Note that this is a dedicated version of the Media Mod for the HERO8 Black–it’s not the same as the one for the HERO9 Black. In addition to adding line ins for an external mic, it also has its own built-in directional mic.You can also use GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter instead.

For the HERO7 Black, HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, and HERO5 Session–all cameras that take a USB-C cable–you’ll need the GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter.

For the HERO4 Black and earlier models, you’ll need the older mini-USB version. You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Which GoPros Accept External Microphones?

Not every GoPro is compatible with external microphones. Here’s a quick roundup of the models that do accept external mics. And some models that are compatible with external mics have more compatibility than others; more on that below. So before we get into the microphones themselves, here’s a rundown of the GoPros that are compatible with external microphones:

  • HERO9 Black
  • HERO8 Black
  • HERO7 Black
  • HERO6 Black
  • HERO5 Black
  • HERO5 Session
  • HERO4 Black / Silver
  • HERO3+ Black
  • HERO3 Black

And just to be clear about it, these GoPros will not accept external microphones:

  • HERO7 Silver / White
  • HERO (2018) / (2014)
  • HERO+LCD
  • HERO4 Session
  • HERO Session

GoPro Microphone Adapters

But first, you’ll need a way to attach your microphone to the GoPro. The current and recent generations of GoPros don’t have a dedicated audio input port (the GoPro HERO2 was the last one with a dedicated 3.5mm audio input). So you can’t just plug in a microphone with a standard 3.5mm plug directly.

They do have USB ports; the specific type of port varies between GoPro models. The newer models have a USB-C port. Older models have either a micro-USB or mini-USB port. So you’ll need an adapter that goes from the microphone’s own connection to the USB port on the camera.

To do that, you’ll need an adapter to go from a 3.5mm plug (or 1.8″) to either mini USB or USB-C, depending on which model of camera you’re using. If your mic uses something other than a 3.5mm plug, such as XLR, you’ll need an adapter to go from that to mini USB or USB-C. A few of the mics below come bundled with an adapter, but most don’t (and make sure it’s the right one for the camera model (see below)).

GoPro makes their official versions. There are also aftermarket versions; the quality of them varies.

For the HERO9 Black

There are two ways you can go with a mic adapter for the HERO9 Black. One is to get the new Media Mod accessory that does offer a mic adapter as well as other features. The other is a simpler approach of just using a mic adapter only.

Media Mod for HERO9 Black

There’s a GoPro.comMedia Mod specifically for the HERO9 Black. Feature-wise it’s the same as the one for the HERO8 Black, but it’s built to fit on the larger body of the HERO9 Black.

It wraps around the body of the camera, attaches to the USB-C port, and includes a built-in directional mic and a 3.5mm mic port. So it’s the obvious choice if you’re looking to add external mic capabilities to the HERO9 Black.

You can get them at GoPro.com.

GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter

If you’d rather not get the Media Mod–or you can’t find it in stock–you can also use GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter instead. It’s a simple adapter that goes from the 3.5mm adapter on the mic to the USB-C port on the HERO8 Black.

For the HERO8 Black

There are two ways you can go with a mic adapter for the HERO8 Black. One is to get the new Media Mod accessory that does offer a mic adapter as well as other features. The other is a simpler approach of just using a mic adapter only.

Media Mod for HERO8 Black

With the HERO8 Black, GoPro has reconfigured their accessory system to make it more vlogging-friendly. And one of the first of their accessories, or Mods, is the Media Mod. It wraps around the body of the camera, attaches to the USB-C port, and includes a built-in directional mic and a 3.5mm mic port. So it’s the obvious choice if you’re looking to add external mic capabilities to the HERO8 Black.

Supplies have been a bit limited since launch, but you can order them from GoPro.com.

GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter

If you’d rather not get the Media Mod–or you can’t find it in stock–you can also use GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter instead. It’s a simple adapter that goes from the 3.5mm adapter on the mic to the USB-C port on the HERO8 Black.

Alternative Side Door for the HERO8 Black

One of the things that changed with the HERO8 Black was a new door design. To access the USB-C port to plug in the mic, you’ll need to open or remove the door (it has a tendency to fly off easily). And that means that the battery can potentially come loose. One good option is to replace the door with one made by a third-party manufacturer that’s specifically designed to allow access to the USB-C port. The one I’ve been using is this one, and I have a more detailed write-up on it here.

For the HERO7 Black, HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, & HERO5 Session

If you’re using one of the newer cameras that has a USB-C port, the same external microphones listed below will work in most cases. But you’ll need a different adapter.

All of these cameras take a USB-C cable and don’t have a direct audio input. So you’ll need the GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter. You can find get themdirectly from GoPro, B&H Photo, and Amazon.

For the HERO4 Black / Silver, HERO3+ Black, & HERO3 Black

The HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, HERO3+ Black, and HERO3 Black have a mini-USB port. GoPro has its own branded adapter, but there are third-party options that are cheaper. Some work well, but many users have found that there are third-party adapters that are marketed for use with the GoPro but that don’t end up working because the camera fails to recognize the microphone when using that cable. Some work well, but a few don’t. If you want to play it safe, stick with the GoPro one.

You can find them at at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Lavalier Mics / Lapel Microphones for GoPro Cameras

Lavalier mics are also known as lapel microphones or tie-clip microphones (or lav mics). They’re small, designed to be hands-free, and usually come with a clip to attach to clothing. They work best for voice at close range and aren’t great for music or ambient sounds.

In general, any lavalier mic should work with the GoPro so long as you have the appropriate adapter. Here are some popular choices.

Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Condensor Microphone

While not the cheapest available, Rode makes good-quality mics. And this one can plug in directly to your smartphone as well (if your smartphone still has a 3.5mm port).

You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

VidPro Lavalier Mic

This is bundled with a foam windscreen and a GoPro 3.5mm to mini USB adapter, so you don’t need to get that separately. It also has a long 20-foot cable.

Available from Amazon.

Sony ECMCS3 Clip style Omnidirectional Stereo Microphone

A small, stereo lavalier mic, it’s a simple and inexpensive way to improve voice recordings. You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Vidpro XM-L Wired Lavalier Microphone

Similar to the mic above, this version has a slicker power control but doesn’t come with the GoPro mic adapter.

Available from Amazon.

Neewer Mini Lapel Microphone

A very simple and very inexpensive option that’s not going to give the same quality the more expensive mics but will still perform well in many situations where you need to improve the recording of spoken voice. So it’s good for things like interviews or general use.

You can pick them up at Amazon where they’re also available in multipacks.

Shotgun and Condensor External Mics for GoPros

Many of these are shotgun mics, which are often used for video recording because they have a very focused, directional range.

Rode VideoMicro

As I said above, this would be my overall top pick at the moment. It’s very good-quality, compact, readily available, and reasonably priced.

You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone with Rycote Lyre Shock Mount
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Rode VideoMic

Rode VMGO Video Mic GO Lightweight On-Camera Microphone Super-Cardio, is cost-effective, straightforward to use, and overall a good option for using with a GoPro.

Rode VideoMic GO Lightweight On-Camera Microphone with Integrated Rycote...
  • Delivers clear, crisp, directional audio with incredible ease of use
  • Rode designed the videomic go with a tight pickup area that focuses directly in front of the mic

There’s also a compact condenser mic, the Rode VideoMic Pro Compact VMP Shotgun Microphone, that’s a also a good choice if your budget stretches a little further. Here are some more configurations.

There are other a number of other mics in Rode’s VideoMic series–they’ll also work well with GoPro cameras. But note that some Rode mics will require a TRRS to TRS adapter to work properly. You can find details on that here.

Sennheiser MKE 2 Elements (for HERO4 Black / Silver)

This only works with the HERO4 Black and Silver. The headline feature of this omnidirectional mic from Sennheiser is that it’s waterproof and designed to go places that more fragile mics can’t handle.

It attaches to a dedicated back door for the waterproof housing of the HERO4 Black and Silver and makes the whole package submersible to at least 1 meter for at least half an hour (ie. it’s rated to IPX7). It comes with a windscreen. It’s only compatible with the HERO4 cameras and own’t work with the other models.

This is an old model for an old camera, so it’s hard to find them in stores these days. If you’re looking for it, don’t forget the “Elements” bit in the model name–confusingly, there’s are also MKE 2 and MKE 2 Digital models, both of which are quite different mics.

Sennheiser MKE 400

Solidly made, powered by a single AAA battery, and with an integrated shock mount, the Sennheiser MKE 400 is a compact shotgun mic designed for video cameras and DSLRs.

It uses the 3.5mm plug, so you’ll need to pick up an adapter to make it work with a GoPro.

Find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

There’s also a higher-end (and larger) model, the MKE 440, that also works well with GoPros.

Opteka VM-100 Video Condenser Shotgun Microphone

Designed to mount on the hotshoe of a DSLR, this is a condenser shotgun mic that comes with its own shock mount and fuzzy windscreen. It doesn’t come with the GoPro adapter, so you’ll need to get that separately.

Find them at Amazon.

Shure VP83 LensHopper

Another condenser mic that’s built to sit in a camera’s hotshoe, this one is from one of the market leaders in microphones. GoPros obviously don’t have a hotshoe built in, but you can add one by putting the camera in a cage housing.

You can find them at Amazon.

Polar Pro Promic GoPro Microphone Kit

A straightforward stereo mic kit that’s designed to mount on the side of the camera. It comes with a wind shield and a right-angle 3.5mm to mini USB adapter, so you don’t need to get the adapter separately. The mic is light, but all its weight is on the mini USB port, so it’s not ideal in situations where the camera is moving and potentially agitating that port and wobbling about (adding noise and potentially damaging the port).

Available at Amazon and B&H Photo.

External Mics for the HERO4 Black

All of the mics listed so far will work with both the HERO4 Silver and Black editions. But the Black also supports compatibility with many studio mics.

The camera, of course, is primarily a video and photo device, and although its audio capabilities are improving with each generation, it’s still not going to give you the quality or control you have with a dedicated sound recorder setup, no matter how good the microphone is that you stick on it.

Studio mics are also often quite big and aren’t designed for mobility. But perhaps you want to keep things simple in post-production, maybe you already have the mics on hand, or maybe you want to keep the separate pieces to a minimum. So if you want to use a studio mic with your GoPro, here are the ones that GoPro officially supports as being compatible with the HERO4 Black.

XLR to USB Adapter

But again, first you’ll need a way to plug the mic into the camera. Studio mics typically use an XLR connector rather than a 3.5mm plug. So to connect a studio mic to a GoPro you’ll probably need another adapter to go from XLR to USB. It not only adapts the plug but also converts the signal. Shure has one, as does Senal and Blue Microphones.

Shure SM57

One of the best-selling microphones for half a century, the Shure SM57 is available by itself but is now also available in a kit with Shure’s own XLR-to-USB adapter.

The adapter is also available separately.

Available at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Shure SM58

For nearly half a century, the Shure SM58 has been one of the most widely-used microphones for live vocals. They’re everywhere and still going strong.

It’s available as the mic only, but Shure has packaged a version with their own XLR-to-USB adapter. The adapter is also available separately.

Available from Amazon and B&H Photo.

Sennheiser MD421 II

This is an updated version of a microphone that’s been a staple of music recording for decades.

You can find them at Amazon.

Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7BA is a favorite for studio vocal recording and features a clean, natural response.

Available at Amazon.

Electro-Voice RE20

It looks like something that NASA would have designed in the 1960s, but the Electro-Voice RE20 has long been a favorite for broadcast radio and voiceover work. It also costs as much as the camera.

You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Wireless Mic Systems for GoPros

Just as with regular mics, it is possible to connect them via a wireless setup. But you’ll need an extra piece of gear–or more precisely, two: a receiver and a transmitter to relay the sound from a mic to the camera. Add a system like this does add more moving parts–and more things to keep charged–but it can be very convenient to have the extra flexibility of not being tethered by a cable to the camera.

There are now some small, quite simple, and cost-effective options. While they’re not designed exclusively for GoPros–they’ll work with any other camera with a mic input–their small size and attracting pricing makes them logical options to use with GoPro cameras. They’re especially effective for using with lavaliere mics to capture voices.

Pixel Wireless Lavalier Microphone - Compact Wireless Microphone System...
  • 【UHF Wireless Microphone】The frequencies of it operate on 570-606 Mhz,You can mount the receiver to...
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Rode has come out with an ultra-compact wireless mic system, and their gear typically offers a step up in quality. It’s the Wireless GO.

Field Recorders

The GoPro has reasonable sound capabilities built in—at least, with an external mic—but if you really want to increase the sound quality a lot more you’ll probably want to move to a dedicated sound recorder like a mobile field recorder. Of course, that makes for a more complicated setup that isn’t quite as portable. It also means you’ll have to put the audio back with the video in post-production.

These separate out the audio and video recording, so they’re not specific to GoPros–they’ll work with any camera because they work independently of the camera. The sky’s the limit when it comes to mobile field recorders–if you have a spare $43,000 dollars burning a hole in your pocket you can pick up this cinema-quality recorder from Sony–but here are some much more affordable options that provide very good quality.

Zoom H4N Handy Portable Digital Recorder

With XLR inputs, 24bit/96kHz Linear PCM, and stereo X-Y microphones built in, this is a battery-powered mobile recording studio that’s almost pocket-sized.

Available at Amazon and B&H Photo.

TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder

By using the 2 built-in mics and the 2 external mic input simultaneously, this becomes a 4-track recorder that fits in the palm of your hand from one of the most respected names in studio recording equipment.

Available at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Microphone-Friendly Housings (HERO4 and Earlier)

New GoPro models don’t come with an external housing by default. So if you’re using a camera since the HERO5 models, you probably won’t be using an external housing under normal shooting conditions.

But if you’re using a HERO4 or earlier model that is typically used with the standard housing, there’s no way to access the mini-USB port without taking the camera out of the housing. So you’ll be wanting to either use the camera naked (that is, without a housing) or, more likely, use one of the alternative housings that allow access to the ports during use.

Using a housing means that you can still make use of the mounting systems that are attached to them. But these housings with cutouts, obviously, aren’t waterproof or weatherproof. If you’re up for a DIY project, it is possible to modify a waterproof housing to allow access to the mini USB port, but you run the risk of creating a leak that definitely isn’t covered by the warranty. And most microphones aren’t waterproof.

The most common approach is to go with the official GoPro skeleton housing. They’re made of the same kind of plastic as the regular waterproof housing, so they provide a reasonable amount of protection, but they have cutouts to allow access to the ports (so they’re obviously not waterproof). They also have cutouts in the back door.

There are also third-party ones, like this one that do the same thing but are significantly cheaper.

There is also an exception: a microphone that’s also waterproof. One for the HERO4 Black is the Sennheiser MKE 2 Elements; more on it below.

Another approach is to go with a minimalist frame. They don’t provide much in the way of protection, but they do allow you to use the regular GoPro mounting system.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2020-11-13 at 20:08. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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This post was last modified on October 9, 2020 2:50 pm

View Comments

  • Hi David,

    Great article, thank you very much.

    Could you please tell us if Gopro 8 with the media mod will work with any binaural microphone/headphone with a 3.5mm jack? I am thinking of the Kinden or Roland CS-10EM

  • Typo report....
    In your section regarding the type of USB connector you mention the following:
    "The HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, HERO3+ Black, and HERO3 Black have a micro-USB port."

    I cannot speak for the Hero 3 cameras but the Hero 4 has only two ports... HDMI and a Mini USB. In your previous section regarding Microphone Friendly Housings you aso indicate that the Hero 4 has Mini USB.

    Question: I have verified that my stereo Pannovo mic is indeed recording in stereo, by lightly tapping/scraping on the windscreen on each side, and hearing the result clearly in headphones as discrete L and R channels when I play back the MP4. However, when dropping the resulting MP4 into a video editor, the audio file is always displayed as mono and the recorded stereo positional sound is only heard dead center when monitoring during editing. Is this a problem or "feature" of the video editor (NCH VideoPad) or is there something else I need to do with the GoPro settings when recording?
    Thanks.

    • Thanks for catching that--fixed. Mini-USB and micro-HDMI. If only they could keep it simple. :)

      I haven't tried that combination--or NCH VideoPad, although I've used some of their audio apps for years--but the first thing that comes to mind is to check the settings when setting up the new project in the video editor. You should be able to specify the audio track type along with resolution and framerate, etc. If that's set to single-track mono, it won't matter what you feed into it--it only matters what the editing stage is set to. If it's not that, I'm not sure.

  • Please advise as to the best way to block the wind with my Hero 7 silver...I am sad to learn too late that we cannot attach an external mic to it. What are some tips to help with the wind while using it? Is there perhaps a mouse house for the go pros with out wind screens?

    • There are some windslayers available, but I haven't tried them to see whether they work with the shorter lens barrel of the HERO7 Silver and White. GoPro used to have an official version. They've discontinued it, but you can find aftermarket versions like this.

  • I have a hero 5 black and an evo ss gimbal, I need better wound quality and have been looking at external mics. My concern is how will the extra weight of the microphone affect the gimbal. What would you recommend for a good set up?

  • PLEASE HELP!
    I have Gopro Hero black 5, Shure x2u and sm57 mic, but when i connect mic to the camera it doesnt seem to power up the x2u addaptor? and it just record through integrated mic... Is there anything i should do in settings of gopro ? Let me know how to correctly set this up please.

    Looking foward to reply.

  • Is there any external mic (wired or wireless / Bluetooth) that works on the GoPro Hero 4 Session?
    I've seen yes & no, but cannot believe that there is not a solution out there.... Every GoPro in the world can have an external mic - except for the one I got - ARE YOU EVEN FREAKIN KIDDING ME ???

  • I am about to buy the Sennheiser MKE 2 Elements. Does anyone know if it is really protects against wind of 50 km/h and all the rattling from mountain bike ? I am so bored about all the GoPro films with just music overlayed.

  • The external microphone is not on. The offer GoPro not turn off the microphone internally. interni still sound spoils.

  • I bought a Rode microphone which works great on my dslr, but it makes a crazy static noise on the gopro. Anybody else out there who has the same problem? I have a hero 4 silver, with a gopro conversion cable and I've switched off the wifi and the screen to try and get rid of the noise to no avail... please help!!!

  • I'm not crazy. For excellent sounds recording in stereo with no adapter google immortal mics' "monkey nuts."
    They are niche, but at fifty bucks the quality and radio of use is hard to beat.

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