Can you use a regular Mic to USB adapter with the GoPro HERO 5/6/7/8?

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I have a fairly popular video on how to use the GoPro Microphone Adapter on my channel, and due to its high view count, I get a lot of questions on it. The most popular question relates to why we have to use the large and expensive adaptor in the first place. It sells for $50 or $80, if it’s in stock, and it stands to reason that a cheaper alternative for around $10 might do the trick. I’ve answered the question about 20 times already, so to save myself and my viewers some time, I thought I’d draft a thorough response here.

TD;LR – Sadly we cannot use a cheap 3.5mm mic to USB-C adapter. Find out the reasons below.

Why can’t we use a cheaper adapter?

Starting with the design of the HERO 5 camera, GoPro made some internal changes to the electronics, once of which was to externalise the A/D converter. That’s the piece of equipment that transcodes analogue audio from the mic into digital impulses that the camera can record. In addition there’s some digital signing going on inside the box, without which the HERO 5/6/7/8 do not detect a signal. While a straight cheap adapter will physically fit, the audio menu in the camera will be greyed out and no external input will be detected.

Older GoPro cameras, up until and including the HERO 4 were able to use straight 3.5mm to USB adapters (B instead of C), because the electronics needed to convert analogue audio into digital signals were inside the camera. However, with those things now missing on the HERO 5/6/7/8 models, we need that large rubberised adapter to make it work.

Currently (August 2020) the only thing we can use to attach any external audio sources to a HERO 5/6/7 model is the official GoPro Microphone Adapter (if and when in stock):

How about the HERO 8?

The same adapter can be used on the HERO 8, however the door needs to be removed or replaced with a Ulanzi door to make the cable fit. Alternatively, the HERO 8 can use the Media Mod, which is a case that goes around the camera and features a 3.5mm microphone adapter. It’s an overpriced piece of cheap plastic. I regret buying it and cannot recommend it.

I still use the external mic adapter with the HERO 8 and the Ulanzi door.

Does the Mic Adapter work with the White/Silver/Session models?

I’m afraid not, only the HERO 5/6/7/8 Black models are compatible with the adapter. Although some models do feature a USB-C port, it’s only wired up for charging.

Thank you for watching and reading! If you have any other questions, please leave them down below or on the video.

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