External Microphones for the GoPro HERO7, HERO6, HERO5, and 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.

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.

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So if audio is important to the video footage you’re shooting, you’ll get much better results by using an external microphone.

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.

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:

  • 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)
  • HERO4 Session
  • HERO Session

GoPro Microphone Adapter

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, so you have to use the mini USB port (the GoPro HERO2 was the last one with a dedicated 3.5mm audio input).

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.

HERO7 Black, HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, and HERO5 Session

If you’re using one of the newer cameras, these same external microphones will work in most cases. But you’ll need a different adapter. GoPro have done away with the mini-USB port and now use a USB-C port. You can find the new adapter here.

HERO4 Black / Silver

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. And here’s the version specifically for the HERO5, HERO6, and HERO7 models.

Microphone-Friendly Housings

With the standard waterproof 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 one new exception: a microphone that’s also waterproof. It’s 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.

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, inexpensive, and readily available ones.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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

The headline feature of this new 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.

You can find it at Amazon.

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 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 GoPro, 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.

Field Recorders

The GoPro has reasonable sound capabilities built in, 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.

Images and product information from Amazon Product Advertising API were last updated on 2019-10-19 at 20:28.

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This post was last modified on July 10, 2019 10:33 am

View Comments

  • 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 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.

  • Would any of the studio Microphones be good for using in live shows, as fan ? From what i see from them, they can get a really nice sound from the ambient of a show, but they don't seem to be very portable to attache on the camera and just put on your chest and start filming. The first ones, looks good for that but I don't know if they have the same quality.
    Can I have anyone's opinion ?

  • I tried connecting my Blue Snowball to my GoPro Hero 4 via a USB cable through the charging port...aaand I wasn't able to get it working. Can anyone help me find what the problem is?

    • blue mics are usb mics. odds are the camera doesn't have any drivers to use that. It sends a completely different signal than the 3.5 imput that the camera is used to.

  • When i connect the mic to the gorpo silver my LCD screen turns off, and when i unplug it the touch screen is off too. Anyone have the same problem? is there a fix?