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Action Camera Microphone Attachment Is Too Expensive?

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Action camera microphone attachment The extreme portability and ease-of-use come at a cost: Moderate audio quality

A couple of weeks ago I was excited by the DJI Mic announcement and concluded that it is the perfect companion for both vloggers as well as on-the-go media creators. It’s not difficult to see the details, as is so often the case. It may be an elegant and effective solution for the right audience but it’s not as easy as you might think.

The charger case is really nicely constructed. A very long battery life is provided

Action camera microphone attachment

The charger case is extremely well constructed. action camera microphone attachment  The charger case is extremely well made. The battery life is exceptional, and the microphone range was never an issue in my testing.

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When I took out the DJI Mic from its packaging, I was aware of the size. It makes sense that the two microphones, a receiver, and a few clips and adapters are larger than headphones.

The whole kit can fit in a pocket but you won’t be able to see it when you put it in your jeans. The kit is a heavy 260g (9.2 oz). Although DJI refers to the size of the kit as a pack of cigarettes, these are heavy-assed, strange-shaped cigarettes.

The device’s form factor is not too bad. If it delivered what it promised, I would keep it in my video bag. Here’s where things get a bit complicated.

The main problem is with the microphones. These microphones look great and are very easy to use. However, the most important thing is the sound quality.

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The audio quality is excellent when you speak directly into the microphone from a distance of at least 50 feet. If you use the mics in small handheld microphones, you will be well-rewarded.

That’s not how they were designed

That's not how they were designed

You can clip them to your shirt with either the provided clip or the magnets. Although the clips are strong and magnets work well, I never was able to position them so that my voice is picked up. It’s almost as if I am always speaking past the microphones instead of into them.

Action camera microphone attachment Although the microphone transmitters may be small, they can still be placed where they need to be. Each microphone transmitter does have a 3.5mm socket where you can plug in a proper, light-weight lavalier microphone which is easier to position, but at that point,

I’m left scratching my head whether the setup still makes sense: the all-you-need-in-a-box nature of the DJI Mic is part of its charm, and having to add additional external microphones feels a little bit like the DJI product team had an extraordinary idea, but were unable to fully execute on its vision.

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If I’m honest, I have difficulty reviewing the DJI Mic. There are no other microphones that can compete with the DJI Mic at $329. These mics will be a great choice if you want to film at a distance of more than a few feet.

You don’t even need to read the manual because of the incredible ease of use. Simply plug the receiver into the receiver and hand the microphone to your interviewee.

It’s up to you whether the product is high-end enough. It’s certainly better than nothing. A set of Sennheiser wireless lavs and the receiver will cost you twice as much, if you are lucky, three times the price of the DJI Mic.

The receiver and two microphones can be seen here

Although the receiver is small, it’s larger than you might think

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The Lightning and USB-C adapters are visible in the case for connecting your receiver to your smartphone. You can also connect the receiver to any camera or recorder on the market today by having a line out. Image credit: Haje Kamps, TechCrunch

It really comes down to how professional you are. For $50, you can get top-quality audio for your video recordings by purchasing a pair wired lavalier microphones and an extremely long extension cable.

You can place them exactly where they are needed, and there is no need to worry about batteries or range. Although less convenient, the quality is still better.

There are better options if you want to enjoy the convenience of wireless but have higher quality requirements.

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Let’s compare the two

You can dive deep into geekiness by comparing a few microphones within the same sound environment (my office with the doors to the outside open for some road noise). The DJI Mic is attached to my shirt. It’s a bit tinny and picks up road noises, which I don’t like.

This second clip shows the same microphone. However, I am holding it three inches away from my mouth and speaking directly into it. It’s a marked improvement in quality — and, if I’m honest with myself, this is what I was looking for when I began reviewing DJI Mic microphones.

This is how it sounds when I speak directly into my Google Pixel 6 Pro’s microphones. It sounds awful. The audio is cut, it picks up lots of background noise and it sounds very tinny.

The fourth clip was shot using the Rode VideoMic Me. It’s my favorite microphone for interviewing people and taking audio notes in noisy places. Although not perfect, it makes it easy to understand the interviewee. The quality of the VideoMic is similar to the DJI Mic, although it is more difficult to use.

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It costs about $70 and is much less hassle. The VideoMic is a more directional boom mic-style microphone than the DJI Mic’s lavalier-style. I plugged in an Audio-Technica AT2005USB microphone to the last sample.

The microphone is about $60 and has the best sound quality. This microphone is a completely different type, however, a cardioid dynamic mic — which cannot be used as a subtle, hidden, or small microphone like the DJI Mic — but it can be used if you are optimizing for sound quality and can handle your interviewee holding a microphone.

The DJI Mic’s purpose is not clear to me. It’s useful but not great. It’s not expensive but it is affordable. Although it wants to seduce you and your camera bag, I resist its temptations.

It seems like it wants to be the convenient jack-of all trades. But in the end, it’s finding that there are better, less convenient, better-priced options for any recording situation.

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This setup is ideal if you value speed, convenience, and ease of use. You can claim that $700 was saved by not purchasing a set Sennheiser wireless lavs, even if you are spending money on it.

The DJI Mic may be the right choice if you want to travel light and audio quality is more important than weight. It’s not a great product for every other purpose. I would be surprised if it gains a large mainstream following.

All that said, DJI launched an action camera that was basically a spin-off from its drone tech. It was hugely successful and has a loyal following. This is the company’s first volley. I don’t think it will be disappointed if version 2 has its teething issues fixed. It may well have a winner.

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