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Best Motovlogging Audio Recorders for a Professional GoPro Setup in 2022

Michael Parrotte

Michael Parrotte

GoPro motorcycle helmet cameras have built-in microphones for capturing audio. They work practically well until it gets windy. In such a situation, you’ll need an external microphone to improve audio quality and add professionalism to your videos.

Most external mics have synthetic fur covers—commonly known as a dead cat or wind muff—to help filter out the wind noise. You need a microphone connector to complete the setup.

Already Know How to Set Up? Here are Our Best Picks Motovlogging Audio Recorders Selection

Best Microphone Adapters

ImageModelCompatibilityPrice
GoPro-HERO-9-Basic-micramotoGoPro Media ModHERO9 Black & HERO10 Black$79.99
Media-Mod-Housing-micramotoGoPro Media ModHERO8 Black$47.99
GoPro-3.5mm-Mic-Adapter-USB-C-micramotoGoPro 3.5mm Mic Adapter (USB-C)HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black & HERO7 Black$49.99

Best External Microphones

ImageModelCompatibilityPrice
Rode-SmartLav-Omnidirectional-Lavalier-micramotoRode SmartLav+ MicHERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black & HERO7 Black$55.35
Purple-Panda-Lavalier-Microphone-Kit-micramotoPurple Panda Mic
HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black & HERO7 Black$33.99
PowerDeWise-Omnidirectional-Lavalier-Lapel-Microphone-micramotoPowerDeWise MicHERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black & HERO7 Black$39.99
Giant-Squid-Omnidirectional-Mono-Microphone-micramotoGiant Squid Mono MicHERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black & HERO7 Black$40.00
Vidpro-XM-L Lavalier Condenser MicrophoneVidpro XM-L Condenser MicHERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black & HERO7 Black$15.95

More of these are below, but first!

What GoPro Cameras Accept External Microphones?

Not all GoPros accept external mics. Here’s a quick roundup of the models that are compatible with external mics.

  • HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black & HERO8 Black (Works with a Media Mod or a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter)
  • HERO7 Black (Only works with a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter)

And just to be clear about it, these GoPro helmet cameras will not accept external microphones: 

  • GoPro Max (360-degree camera)
  • GoPro Fusion (360-degree camera)
  • HERO7 White
  • HERO7 Silver

This means that in addition to buying a mic and a connector, you will also have to buy a camera that accepts an external mic if you want to record great audio with your GoPro.

How Do You Connect the External Microphone to Your GoPro Helmet Camera?

GoPro does not include a dedicated audio port for the newer array of action cameras just like most other brands that compete with it. The GoPro HERO2 was the last one with a dedicated 3.5mm audio input. For the latest models, you’ll need either a Media Mod or a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack converter to input sound from an external professional-level microphone directly into a motorcycle helmet camera.

Notes: Mini-USB to 3.5mm mic jack is the other style of microphone adapter for GoPro, but for this post, we will only be discussing external audio recorders for the current and recent generations of GoPros. The latest models have a USB type C port. Older models (HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, HERO3+ Black, & HERO3 Black) have a mini-USB port. The GoPro HERO4 Black was the last camera with a mini-USB port.

Media Mod Housing

Media-Mod-Housing-Motovlogging-Audio-Recorders-micramoto

GoPro has redesigned its attachment system to make it more suitable for vlogging. The Media Mod is one of the first of their accessories, or Mods. It’s a detachable housing that wraps around the camera’s body, connects to the USB type C connection, and features an updated built-in directional mic as well as a 3.5mm mic jack for connecting an external microphone.

If you want to add external mic capabilities to your GoPro, the Media Mod attachment is a logical choice, but keep in mind that it only works with the HERO8 Black, HERO9 Black, and HERO10 Black. It’s worth noting that each camera has its own Media Mod. They cannot be swapped between models. But the Media Mod for HERO10 Black is compatible with HERO9 Black. They all have the same features; however, the one specifically for the HERO10 Black and HERO9 Black is designed to fit a larger body.

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

USB-C to 3.5mm Mic Jack Adapter

GoPro offers stock versions to adapt external microphones to their cameras. There are other aftermarket variants, which vary in quality.

Here is the best microphone adapter to use:

GoPro 3.5mm Mic Adapter (USB-C), $49.99

GoPro-3.5mm-Mic-Adapter-USB-C-micramoto

Compatibility: HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black, HERO7 Black

This microphone connector is a 106dB stereo ADC that allows you to attach external microphones to your compatible GoPro’s USB type C connection. This adapter also has a 90° connector for charging or data extension on your camera, making it one of our favorite accessories for shooting in remote locations—anywhere we require high-quality sound.

The GoPro 3.5mm Mic Adapter features two jacks: One for a 3.5mm microphone and the other for charging the camera.

You’ll laugh at how easy it is to use the mic adapter. It’s ready to use. There is no need for any setup or adjusting. Simply connect the adapter to your camera and your microphone to the other end, and you’re ready to go.

Notes: The choice between different microphone adapters on the market today will depend on the features your GoPro supports. Most of the other action camera models, like Insta360 ONE X2 (compatible with CYNOVA ONE X2 Dual Mic Adapter), Sena 10C EVO (compatible with Sena 10C-A0101 10C Earbud Adapter Split Cable), and Sony DSC-RXO II (compatible with Sony ECMCS3 Clip Style Stereo Mic), don’t have mic jacks, and they’ll also need this modification.

Review of Our 5 Best Professional-External Mics in 2022

Motovlogging takes your motorcycle journeys and makes stories into footage you can share with immediate friends and family or a global audience. Whatever your reasons for vlogging, bad audio could completely ruin a good video. Nothing says amateur like hissing, low sound quality, or hard-to-hear on-screen speakers. Viewers are typically sympathetic to shaky or improperly exposed footage, but lousy audio will quickly turn them off.

While you can recover overexposed or underexposed video in post-production, restoring terrible sound is more complicated. There is minimal room for error, so get it right the first time. That’s why your motovlog audio recorder matters.

There are two main external mic types: Wired and on-camera. You can’t go wrong with a wired lapel mic for the greatest audio. Because the mic is so close to your lips when you attach it to your motorcycle helmet, it picks up your speech above other background noises.

A good wired lapel microphone is small enough to fit in your motorcycle helmet, easy to mount, compact, robust, and crystal clear. In terms of compatibility, you will want a mic with a TRS jack (three bands on the jack). TRRS has three bands. You will need a TRRS to TRS adapter for it to work properly.

1. Rode SmartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier, $55.35

Rode-SmartLav-Omnidirectional-Lavalier-micramoto

Features:

  • Compatibility: HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black (The 3 work with a Media Mod or a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter) & HERO7 Black (Only works with a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: ≥67dB
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Output Impedance: 3k Ω Typical
  • Sensitivity: -35dB (17.8mV @94dB SPL)
  • Current Consumption:7 volts

The Rode Smart has all the functionality you need for a complete ride setup! It has an integrated top-of-the-line audio recorder with a high-end microphone and an immersive audio experience. This mic is broadcast quality and fixtures a TRRS jack for outstanding sound fidelity (you will need a TRRS to TRS adapter for it to work properly).

No wind or noise will disrupt your audio! The mic incorporates a foam pop cover to reduce wind noise. Its omnidirectional layout also allows it to receive or emit signals in all directions. What’s more, the Rode SmartLav+ uses Kevlar strengthened cable never to stretch or snap. This allows for a hassle-free connection to difficult-to-reach spots. You can use the clip-on mount to attach to your helmet for easy audio recording.

Verdict: The 4.5mm miniature mic will offer the optimum sound for a complete and compact setup. You can record a fast, fun motorcycle ride!

2. Purple Panda Lavalier Microphone Kit, $33.99

Purple-Panda-Lavalier-Microphone-Kit-micramoto

Features:

  • Compatibility: HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black (The 3 work with a Media Mod or a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter) & HERO7 Black (Only works with a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (S/N): ≥55dB
  • Frequency Range: 40Hz to 16kHz
  • Sensitivity: -40(±3) dB
  • Operating Temperature: -20°C to 50°C Polar

Purple Panda is a high-quality lavalier microphone with stereo recording. It will fit inside your helmet without scratching your face, and the kit comes with a fuzzy windscreen that works perfectly to reduce wind noise. The mic has a beautiful balance of voice clarity and exhaust sound at slower speeds and in cities. It will just about suffice without any significant pros or cons.

At highway speeds, it doesn’t crackle but does pick up a bit of wind noise. The exhaust tone is noticeable when the motorcycle accelerates, but it captures the rider’s voice well when motovlogging. The background noise makes it sound loud but not obnoxious.

This audio recorder also has an extension cord and extra communication wires. Apart from the 3.5mm mic jack recorder, the kit includes a mini-USB adapter for your older GoPro (HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, HERO3+ Black, or HERO3 Black).

Verdict: The Purple Panda Lavalier microphone kit is a beautiful stereo alternative for motovlogging and an excellent choice for beginners. It’s robust, light, and doesn’t require batteries.

3. PowerDeWise Omnidirectional Lavalier Lapel Microphone, $39.99

PowerDeWise-Omnidirectional-Lavalier-Lapel-Microphone-micramoto

Features:

  • Compatibility: HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black (The 3 work with a Media Mod or a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter) & HERO7 Black (Only works with a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter)
  • Sensitivity: -46±2dB
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz to 16kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio(S/N): ≥56dB
  • Current Consumption: <0.5mA

The PowerDeWise Lavalier Microphone Kit is one of the cheapest microphones for capturing motorcycle vlogs. It connects to GoPro action cameras using a mic adapter.

You can put this omnidirectional mic anywhere. It attaches to a shirt or collar, and most importantly, picks up a clear sound with an option for helmet mount with included metal clips.

Unlike conventional lavalier mics, the PowerDeWise requires no batteries and just plugs into your motorcycle helmet camera. It also allows you to record clear sound when shooting on the move, thanks to the wind muffs included, helping reduce wind noise.

The microphone is waterproof, so rain won’t be an issue, and it even comes with a year of warranty.

Verdict: The PowerDeWise Lavalier Microphone is the ideal option for motovloggers searching for an economical recorder that is compact, light, and easy to use.

4. Giant Squid Omnidirectional Mono Microphone, $40.00

Giant-Squid-Omnidirectional-Mono-Microphone-micramoto

Features:

  • Compatibility: HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black (The 3 work with a Media Mod or a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter) & HERO7 Black (Only works with a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: -35±4dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (S/N): ≥62dB
  • Current Consumption: 5-9 volts

Giant Squid offers all you need for a mono mic! The microphone has a removable and robust alligator clip to mount on your motorcycle helmet and reach further.

The wire is 6 feet long; you don’t need to fight to connect to remote areas; it is easy to reach and connect to your camera on the go. This gives you a secure and reliable connection on the fly.

A foam cover around the mic reduces wind and noise for hassle-free motovlogging. You may deliver and record your voice without distractions like noise or wind. The product’s omnidirectional polar design covers all directions.

Verdict: No more broken clips during the recording session! The Giant Squid’s 3.5mm input jack for a 1.5 to 9 volts high voltage output will ensure a steady voltage and a fun connection for motovlogging.

5. Vidpro XM-L Lavalier Condenser Microphone, $15.95

Vidpro-XM-L Lavalier Condenser Microphone

Features:

  • Compatibility: HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black (The 3 work with a Media Mod or a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter) & HERO7 Black (Only works with a USB-C to 3.5mm mic adapter)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio S/N): ≥74dB
  • Frequency Response: 35Hz to 18kHz
  • Sensitivity: -30dB +/- 3dB / 0dB = 1V/Pa, 1kHz
  • Output Impedance: 1,000 Ohm or less

VidPro continues to come up with excellent mics for motovlogging that fits different GoPro cameras. And the XM-L Lavalier is no exception. It has all the capabilities you need for a professional-external mic and connects to the current and recent generation of GoPros. The external mic captures sound with better clarity and less noise than the cameras’ built-in mics.

It features a glass and a wind muff to reduce wind and noise. A foam shield covers the mic to prevent wind noise for a clear voice recording. No distractions will stop you! And like the Purple Panda, the Vidpro XM-L, has an omnidirectional layout to receive sounds in all directions.

This recorder also has less sound distortion thanks to the clip-on mount design, with the convenience of, say, the Movo’s GM2, a dual-lavalier microphone system.

For those wondering, the connector is a TRRS 3.5mm jack but comes with a 1/4 TRS adapter, which can be converted easily to XLR for mixing board use. The Vidpro XM-L Lavalier also includes the LR44 battery, which improves performance. No need to worry about battery consumption during recording!

Verdict: Extremely affordable, yet you’ll still have everything you need to enjoy motovlogging. Expect a very slight bit of background noise as many condenser mics have.

Other external microphones in this class include the Edutige Uni-Directional Microphone ETM-008 ($76.00), the Sony Compact Stereo Microphone ($29.99), and the AmazonBasics Lapel Omnidirectional Mic ($16.14).

Also Read: The Best Motorcycle Helmet Cameras to Relive Every Ride

You May Also Be Interested In: How to Mount GoPros on Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet: The 4 Best Sensational Locations

Final Verdict: Which External Microphone Should You Use to Enhance Your Motovlog Setup?

For professional-level motovloggers and especially if you go off-road, you can pick the indestructible Kevlar strengthened Rode SmartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier for high fidelity sound with ample room for torturing the equipment.

If you are just starting out, you can find comfort in the easy-to-use Purple Panda Lavalier Microphone Kit, which also offers an attractive price and value balance. It was Amazon’s Choice when we were writing this review.

The best part is that you can achieve professional audio quality, with the Vidpro XM-L Lavalier Condenser Microphone, on your motovlog on a budget. It’s the most affordable on our list.

With motorcycle lovers often craving an adventure, motovlogging is increasingly becoming a popular way to connect with others who share similar hobbies. Quality audio adds to the action-packed experience of motorcycle travel. And these 5 external audio recorders are a terrific way for capturing great riding shots and making your videos stand out. Remember you’ll need either a Media Mod or a USB type C to 3.5mm audio jack converter to use an external microphone with your motorcycle helmet camera.

About the author:  Michael Parrotte was the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, and a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.

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