Hacking an External Mic Port onto a Camera

A sub-$100 camera competing in the 4K market, the Akaso EK7000 has a few features typical for the range: wifi, 12MP photos at 30 frames per second, and the like. [Foxx D’Gamma] wanted to add an external mic jack to his camera, replacing the internal mic, which featured poor sound pickup due to being buried in the heart of the camera. [Foxx] spent a considerable amount of effort getting the enclosure apart, working gingerly to avoid damaging the display’s ribbon cable, which can’t be disconnected. He also had to deal with the button covers falling out when the case was opened.

[Foxx] desoldered the button mic and added the jack’s wires, and the next challenge presented itself: getting it back together again with the mic port looking good. He had to make sure the jack projected just the right amount from the housing, to ensure the external mic could plug in. Check out both videos below the break.

We’ve featured several cheap camera hacks recently on Hackaday: the ruggedized cheap camera, the cheap 360 degree camera, and the full-spectrum camera all come to mind. It’s a fertile field for not a lot of money!

Thanks, [Corrosive] for the tip.

17 thoughts on “Hacking an External Mic Port onto a Camera

  1. I’d be inclined to use the on-board camera microphone purely for synchronisation purposes and have a completely separate device record the audio.

    I quite often do this with regular digital cameras in video mode, which typically have awful sound recording capability. Hit record on the camera and the audio recorder, make a sharp clap in front of the camera for sync purposes, then record your scene.

    When editing, split out the audio track from the camera’s video, bring it, and your separately recorded tracks into Audacity, and align your external audio tracks by looking for the clap noise (it’ll be dead obvious).

    Drop out the crappy camera audio, export the remaining *good* audio tracks, then re-combine those with the silent video from the camera. Et voila… you now have good quality sound with the video.

    1. I’m surprised no one has invented a device for synchronizing video and audio streams yet.
      Some sort of device that emits a sharp sound, and at the same time gives some identifiable visual clue.
      Maybe in time someone can hook an LED up to an Arduino with a speaker shield.

      Joking aside, I quite like your idea of using the internal mic to sync.

      1. I just find a feature that’s easy to identify in both tracks, align roughly first, then shift bit by bit until the echo disappears.

        It’s still a huge pain in the arse to do, especially when you have many short clips and you can’t always clap when recording real life situations.

        Having good embedded audio track is a huge time saver.

    2. Not always the easiest way to do things. Motovloggers like external mics for inside the helmet. Camera on the helmet, mic inside the helmet. Sure you can use an external voice recorder, but it’s another cable to deal with, it’s more stuff to haul, etc. and it’s a pain.

      Everyone uses the Clap, Sync… :) it’s a low buck trick for syncing multiple camera’s and Audio.

      I believe Final cut will even Sync it for you. I know it will sync multiple camera angles.

    3. Easier still using an actual DAW program, which lets you load up the multiplexed audio video track or tracks along with multiple separate audio tracks. For multi camera work, I use one audio recorder running the whole time, start and stop other recorders and cameras any time, and use the PluralEyes plugin to sync it all up.. No clipboard necessary. Kind of surprised no one’s done a FOSS replacement for this yet.

  2. I have one variant of those GoPro-knockoff type cameras… they shoot ok video (once you refocus the lens, and there are several firmware hacks out there for optimizing the video processing). Yes there will be improvements with an external mic, but I think most of the these cameras have limitations on the bandwidth and streaming rate, and they don’t exactly have a state of the art mic preamp in there, either.

    Like others here I will mainly use the camera audio to help sync the picture with a separate high-quality audio recording.

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