5 Best Microphones for Action Camera in 2024

Action cameras are fantastic for capturing life’s thrilling moments on the go, from mountain biking down rugged trails to surfing towering waves. But to truly immortalize these adventures, exceptional video quality isn’t enough—crisp, clear audio is just as vital. While built-in mics may suffice for casual use, serious enthusiasts know that an external microphone can elevate the experience, ensuring every heartbeat and breath is as vivid as the visual. To help you pick the perfect companion for your action-packed journey, we’ve compiled a list of the best microphones tailored for action cameras, promising to deliver the robust and clear sound your dynamic footage deserves.

When choosing the best microphone for an action camera, there are several key criteria to consider to ensure you capture high-quality audio to accompany your high-adrenaline visuals. Here’s a simplified guide to understanding these factors:

  1. Compatibility: Ensure the microphone is compatible with your action camera model. Look for any necessary adapters or connectors.
  2. Durability: Action cameras are used in rough conditions, so the microphone should be robust, possibly waterproof or water-resistant, to withstand the elements.
  3. Sound Quality: High fidelity sound is crucial. Look for mics that offer clear audio capture with minimal background noise. Features like wind reduction are important for outdoor activities.
  4. Directionality: Consider if you need a directional microphone (which captures sound from one direction) to focus on specific sounds or an omnidirectional mic (which captures sound from all around) for an immersive audio experience.
  5. Size and Weight: It should be compact and lightweight to suit the portability of action cameras without hindering your activity.
  6. Battery Life: If the microphone is powered independently from the camera, you’ll want one with a battery life that lasts as long as your recording sessions.
  7. Ease of Use: Look for a user-friendly microphone that can be easily attached and detached, with simple controls and adjustments.

By considering these criteria, you’ll be on your way to finding the best microphone to capture the sounds of your thrilling endeavors with precision and clarity.

Features / MicrophoneRode VideoMicroSennheiser MKE 400Boya BY-MM1Deity V-Mic D3 ProShure MOTIV MV88+
Approx. Price$60$200$40$200$250
TypeCondenserCondenserCondenserCondenserCondenser
Pickup PatternCardioidSupercardioidCardioidSupercardioidAdjustable pickup patterns
Frequency Response100Hz – 20kHz50Hz – 20kHz35Hz – 18kHz50Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 20kHz
CompatibilityUniversal (3.5mm TRS)Universal (3.5mm TRS)Universal (3.5mm TRS)Universal (3.5mm TRS)Specifically for iOS devices (Lightning connector)
Power SourcePlug-in power (no battery required)AAA battery (not included)Plug-in power (no battery required)Internal rechargeable batteryPowered by iOS device
Dimension21mm x 80mm67 x 106 x 128 mmΦ22*81mmΦ21mm x 150mm27 x 27 x 77 mm (mic only)
Weight42g93.5g86g198g (with battery)79g (mic only)
Additional FeaturesCompact and lightweightRugged all-metal housing, integrated wind protectionCompact and rugged aluminum constructionLow noise, auto-adjusting gain, shock mountIncludes digital signal processing, multiple stereo width and direction options

As you can see, when deciding which microphone is best for your action camera, you’ll need to balance price, sound quality, how directional you want your microphone to be (how much of the surrounding noise it canciles out), compatibility with your camera, and any extra features that might be important to your recording experience.

Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone

image 1090

Overview

The Rode VideoMicro is an impressively compact and lightweight on-camera microphone, ideal for action camera users looking for an upgrade from their built-in audio solutions. From my experience, the VideoMicro stands out for its ease of use – just plug it into your camera’s external microphone input, and you are ready to go. There’s no need to fiddle with batteries or power buttons since the microphone is powered by your camera.

Its construction quality is noteworthy. The microphone feels sturdy and reliable, a significant consideration for outdoor and action environments where gear can take a beating. Sound quality is where the VideoMicro truly shines. It provides a noticeable improvement in audio clarity and richness, capturing natural ambient sounds while focusing on the subject. This is thanks to its directional cardioid pickup pattern, which does a fantastic job at rejecting off-axis noise. Additionally, the included furry windscreen is invaluable, effectively eliminating wind noise when recording outdoors.

Specs

  • Acoustic Principle: Pressure gradient electret condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Range: 100Hz – 20kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 140 dB
  • Output Connection: 3.5mm TRS

Pros:

  • No battery required, powered by camera
  • Compact and lightweight, perfect for on-the-go shooting
  • Sturdy build quality, fit for rough use
  • Excellent sound quality with a focus on the subject
  • Effective at minimizing wind and ambient noise, especially with the included windscreen

Cons:

  • While it improves audio significantly, it might not satisfy professionals seeking studio-quality sound
  • Lacks the features and adjustments of higher-end shotgun microphones

Price

As of my last check, the Rode VideoMicro retails for around $60, which represents outstanding value. For amateur videographers and action camera enthusiasts, it’s a small investment for greatly improving the quality of your videos.

Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone

image 1091

Overview

The Sennheiser MKE 400 is a compact shotgun microphone that offers an exceptional audio upgrade for your action camera. It’s been designed with mobility and ruggedness in mind, making it a solid choice for adventurers and filmmakers alike. Its sleek, black form factor is not only stylish but also deceivingly robust, packing a punch when it comes to recording quality.

First and foremost, the MKE 400 delivers in terms of sound fidelity. It noticeably rejects side noise when I’m out shooting, focusing on the subject in front of the camera with precision. The audio captured is crisp, clear, and professional-sounding, which is an indispensable asset for any content creator on the go. With its integrated wind protection and internal suspension mount, handling noise is effectively minimized, so your recordings come out smooth even when the action picks up.

The usability is another high point for this mic. Its intuitive controls allowed me to adjust sensitivity levels quickly depending on the environment I was in. The plug-and-play functionality is a relief, too – there’s no complex setup, I simply mount it on my camera, plug it in, and it’s ready to go.

Specs

  • Acoustic Principle: Pre-polarized condenser
  • Pickup Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: -42 dBV/Pa
  • Battery Life: Up to 100 hours
  • Connector: 3.5 mm TRS jack
  • Weight: 93 grams (without battery)

Pros:

  • Superb audio quality with a directional focus
  • Durable, all-metal housing
  • Long battery life, which is perfect for extended shooting sessions
  • Compact and lightweight, it doesn’t add much bulk to your setup

Cons:

  • May require an additional adapter for some action camera models
  • Windscreen could be more robust to handle extreme conditions
  • Priced higher than some competitors, which might be a factor for budget-conscious users

Price

The Sennheiser MKE 400 typically retails around the $200 mark. While it’s not the cheapest microphone on the list, the investment reflects in its performance and build quality. In my opinion, if you’re serious about your audio, the 400 could offer value for money over time, given its durability and superior sound reproduction capabilities.

Please note: Prices are subject to change and may vary depending on the retailer and any ongoing promotions or sales.

Boya BY-MM1 Universal Cardioid Microphone

image 1092

Overview

The Boya BY-MM1 is a compact, budget-friendly microphone that punches well above its weight class when paired with an action camera. My first impression was its build quality; despite its affordable price, the microphone feels solid and ready for rugged use. The BY-MM1 cleverly offers a plug-and-play feature, meaning no battery is required, which I found immensely convenient during on-the-go shoots. The audio quality is a significant jump from any built-in camera microphones, delivering a much clearer and focused sound.

The cardioid pickup pattern is tight enough to capture sound directly in front of the camera while rejecting a fair amount of ambient noise. It’s not just the sound; Boya throws in a shock mount to reduce handling noise, which is a stellar addition for action camera users frequently on the move. Plus, its versatility shines with included cables allowing you to use it with both your camera and smartphones.

Specs

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 35-18KHz +/-3dB
  • Sensitivity: -42dB +/- 1dB / 0dB=1V/Pa, 1kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 76dB
  • Connector: 3.5mm TRS and TRRS connector
  • Accessories: Shock mount, furry windshield, 3.5mm to TRS cable, 3.5mm to TRRS cable

Pros:

  • The microphone is incredibly easy to use; just plug in and start recording.
  • No battery required is a huge plus for anyone who doesn’t want to worry about power supply.
  • It’s affordable without compromising on audio quality.
  • The included furry windshield is excellent at reducing wind noise, which action cameras often struggle with outdoors.
  • The shock mount design is effective at minimizing handling noises.

Cons:

  • The sound capture isn’t as detailed or rich as some of the higher-end models.
  • While it reduces ambient noise, it’s not immune to background sounds, so still, some care is needed in noisy environments.
  • The build, although sturdy, isn’t waterproof or dustproof, so extra care should be taken when using it in extreme conditions.

Price

Given its features and performance, the Boya BY-MM1 is an absolute steal. It’s highly affordable, often found at around $30-40, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve their action camera’s audio without breaking the bank.

In conclusion, the Boya BY-MM1’s value proposition is hard to beat. It’s an all-rounder microphone that helps create better-sounding videos with minimal fuss. For those looking to step up their audio game while keeping the budget in check, this little beast is a contender not to be overlooked.

Deity V-Mic D3 Pro Super-Cardioid Directional Microphone

image 1093

Overview

The Deity V-Mic D3 Pro distinguishes itself in the competitive world of on-camera microphones with its impeccable sound quality and robust design. Aimed at enthusiasts and professionals alike, this microphone proves to be a versatile companion to action cameras that often fall short when it comes to audio capture.

Right out of the box, the Deity V-Mic D3 Pro impresses with its sturdy construction and thoughtful design. It’s noticeably sleek and carries a feeling of durability that suggests it can withstand the rigors of outdoor filming. Upon testing, the microphone’s performance stands out, capturing crisp, clear audio with a warmth that often lacks in on-camera mics. Its super-cardioid polar pattern does an excellent job in focusing on the subject, reducing side and rear noises which is essential during action-packed shoots.

One unique feature is the gain adjustment knob which allows for on-the-fly input level control, a godsend for quickly adapting to different sound environments without fumbling through camera menus. Another standout is the microprocessor that smartly adapts the microphone to work with virtually any device, making it incredibly versatile and user-friendly.

Specs

  • Polar Pattern: Super-Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: -24dB to -44dB
  • Battery Life: Up to 51 Hours with a built-in rechargeable battery
  • Output: 3.5mm TRRS connector
  • Weight: 198g (without battery)

Pros:

  • Exceptional build quality paired with an elegant design
  • Superb audio clarity with minimal background noise
  • Gain control provides precise audio level management
  • Long battery life suitable for extended shooting sessions
  • Automatic device detection simplifies the user experience

Cons:

  • Price may be a barrier for casual users
  • Some may find the microphone slightly bulky compared to smaller alternatives

Price

As for pricing, the Deity V-Mic D3 Pro lands on the higher end of the spectrum, acknowledging the premium features it provides. While the price tag isn’t exactly pocket change, it aligns with the microphone’s professional-grade performance and build. For those serious about their action camera’s audio, the investment in the Deity V-Mic D3 Pro is justifiable and a decision unlikely to be regretted.

Shure MOTIV MV88+ Video Kit with Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone

image 8

Overview:
The Shure MOTIV MV88+ stands out in the world of action camera microphones for its exceptional versatility and professional-level audio quality. Designed for the content creator on the go, it’s a comprehensive solution that offers a level of adaptability and performance that is tough to beat in such a compact package. From vlogs to interviews, this mic kit truly shines with its clear sound capture and robust build.

Specs:

  • Transducer Type: Cardioid (10 mm)/Bidirectional Condenser Cartridge
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Adjustable Gain Range: 0 to +36 dB
  • Sensitivity: -37 dBFS/Pa at 1 kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 120 dB
  • Limiter: Yes

Pros & Cons:
Pros:

  • The audio fidelity from this microphone is stellar, offering crisp, clear, and full-bodied sound that’s a significant step up from your typical action camera’s built-in microphone.
  • Includes a multitude of features like selectable polar patterns and a real-time headphone monitoring jack, which are often missing in other action camera mics.
  • The build quality is superb. It feels durable enough to handle the rigors of outdoor shooting.
  • Shure’s MOTIV app integration is a massive plus for iPhone users, providing fine control over the mic’s settings directly from the smartphone.

Cons:

  • If there’s a downside, it’s the reliance on digital connections, which can limit compatibility with certain action cameras, requiring users to ensure they have the right adapters.
  • The price point might be a bit on the higher side for casual users, but it’s justified given the quality and feature set.

Price:
Pricing for the Shure MOTIV MV88+ can vary, but it generally sits in the premium range for action camera microphones. You can expect to pay somewhere between $150 and $250, depending on the retailer and any ongoing promotions.

In my opinion, if you are serious about your audio game and are looking to elevate the production quality of your action camera footage, the Shure MOTIV MV88+ should be at the top of your list. Yes, it’s an investment, but the difference in audio quality and the professionalism it brings to your content is immeasurable. It’s a tool well-suited for content creators who demand top-notch sound and versatility, whether they are capturing extreme sports or conducting an on-the-go podcast.

Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the best microphone for your action camera can transform the quality of your audio from subpar to outstanding. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie capturing fast-paced activities or a filmmaker looking for crystal-clear sound, there’s a microphone out there that fits your needs. Remember to consider factors like compatibility, durability, noise reduction, and form factor. Upgrading your audio gear with any of the top picks from our list will ensure your action-packed footage is matched by equally impressive sound.

FAQs

Q: Do all external microphones work with all action cameras?
A: No, compatibility varies between different microphones and cameras. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure the microphone you’re interested in is compatible with your action camera.

Q: Can you use a microphone with an action camera underwater?
A: Most microphones are not waterproof. You would need to look for a specialized waterproof microphone or case to record audio underwater with your action camera.

Q: How important is the wind noise reduction feature in an action camera microphone?
A: Wind noise reduction is crucial for clear audio quality, especially in action scenarios like biking or skiing. Microphones with this feature can filter out wind noise, which is essential for capturing usable audio during high-speed activities.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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