How to Connect a Microphone to a Camera (DSLR & GoPro)

by | Action Cameras, Camera Gear

If you’re looking to improve the audio quality of your videos, then you need to learn how to connect a microphone to your camera.

In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of microphones and how to connect them to both DSLR and GoPro cameras.

We will also talk about the best practices for improving audio quality when shooting video.

So, if you are a beginner videographer or just interested in stepping up your audio game, this post is for you!

Why Connect An External Microphone To Your Camera?

There are a few reasons why you might want to connect an external microphone to your camera.

First, the microphone on your camera is not always the best quality.

External microphones can provide much better sound quality than the built-in microphone on your camera.

Second, using an external microphone can help reduce background noise.

This is especially important if you’re shooting in a noisy environment or if you want to focus on a specific sound (like someone’s voice).

Depending on the style of microphone you use, it may even be possible to place your microphone in strategic spots (on someone’s lapel, or hovering above a subject on a boom pole), further isolating your audio from unwanted noise.

Lastly, using an external microphone gives you more control over the audio of your video.

By having isolated audio tracks, you have more options when mixing your sound in post-production.

Camera Audio Inputs


Most DSLR cameras have a standard 1/8″ audio input.

These inputs will be compatible with most consumer-level microphones (in fact almost all consumer-level on-camera microphones use this style of input).

If you would like to step things up and use a microphone with an XLR connection with your DSLR camera, then you will need to purchase the appropriate cable.

For most applications, a 1/8″ male jack to XLR female input cab should work.

This option by Devinal is a solid choice.


Unlike DSLR cameras, GoPro cameras do NOT include a standard microphone input.

Instead, to attach an external microphone to your GoPro, you need to purchase an adapter.

Once attached to your GoPro, your GoPro will have the same microphone input options as a standard DSLR camera.

Check out the GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter here.

Another specialized option for the GoPro is the Media Mod.

This device attaches to your GoPro like a case and offers both a built-in microphone and audio input.

Check out the Media Mod here.

Audio Mixers

If you have more advanced or professional audio needs, then you may require an external audio mixer to use alongside your camera and microphone.

These devices act as an intermediary of sorts between your DSLR or GoPro and your microphone or microphones.

These devices can plug into your camera’s audio input and offer built XLR inputs for heavy-duty microphones.

Most of these devices also include multiple microphone inputs, meaning you can record audio from multiple sources!

Another great feature of audio mixers is their mixing dials. These dials allow you to mix audio before it is even recorded. Whether that means tweaking the volume of your microphones or cutting some low end, this feature can be very useful.

Some external audio devices are also audio recorders — meaning they can actually record audio directly onto memory cards inserted into them.

There are many options for audio recorders and mixers out there, but the Tascam DR-70D 4-Track Portable Audio Recorder for DSLR Camera is a great option.

On-Camera Microphones

On-camera microphones are small, unobtrusive, and easy to use.

They’re a good choice if you’re just starting out with using an external microphone or if you need to be able to move around quickly while shooting.

This is the easiest type of microphone to set up and use.

How To Connect An On Microphone Microphone

On-camera microphones typically plug directly into your camera’s microphone input using a standard 1/8″ microphone.

It is also common for these microphones to include a hot-shoe mount.

These mounts let you attach the microphone directly to your camera’s hot-shoe.

A small on-camera microphone attached to the hot shoe of a DSLR camera

Lavalier Microphone

A lavender microphone, also called a lavalier microphone, is a small microphone that can be clipped onto your clothing.

Lavender microphones are popular because they’re less visible than other types of microphones and they allow you to move freely while shooting.

How To Connect A Lavalier Microphone

To connect a lavalier microphone to your camera, you’ll need a wireless transmitter. A wireless transmitter allows you to send the audio from your microphone to your camera without being tethered by a cord.

The wireless transmitter plugs into your microphone and then sends the signal to your camera. You’ll need to plug a receiver into your camera in order for it to receive the signal.

Shotgun/Boom Microphone

A shotgun microphone is a long, thin microphone designed to pick up audio from a distance. These microphones are often used on a device called a “boom pole.” These poles help to extend the microphone over a subject to better pick up audio.

This microphone setup is typically used in situations where you can’t get close to your subjects, such as when shooting wildlife documentaries or interviews.

How To Connect A Shotgun/Boom Microphone

Most shotgun microphones are designed for more professional use and are built with an XLR input.

As previously mentioned, it will likely be necessary to purchase an adapter cable or similar device to connect a shotgun microphone to your DSLR or GoPro.

A boom microphone set up being used in an interview

Next Steps

Now, you should have a solid idea of how to attach a microphone to either your DSLR camera or GoPro.

Once you have installed your chosen audio setup onto your camera, your next step should be to get as comfortable as possible with your equipment.

If you are using a simple on-camera microphone, then experiment until you have a solid understanding of how to achieve the best audio possible.

If you have a more complicated setup with an audio mixer, then take the time to learn what each function on the mixer does.

The best way to achieve better audio is to take your time to learn and do things right.

Happy shooting!

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