Sennheiser recently sent me their new MKE 2 elements action mic for GoPro Hero 4 cameras. The MKE2 elements is an external GoPro mic, which is something I'd never tried before, so I was happy to check out the MKE 2 from Sennheiser!
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If you have a GoPro Hero4 camera or older, then you are probably familiar with the clear plastic waterproof housing that is required to keep the GoPro safe from water damage.
You may also be familiar with the poor audio quality (low, muffled) that results in shooting in the waterproof housing.
The Sennheiser MKE 2 elements mic is a brand new product from Sennheiser, a popular brand in the audio market, known for top notch audio gear. The MKE 2 is actually an external microphone attached to a “back door” for the Hero4 housing. When the mic is hooked up, it looks like your Hero4 has a little poof ball on the side, and that's the microphone wind cover (which comes off for easy cleaning).
In my review video, you'll see what I mean – you remove the regular backdoor from your Hero4 housing, and replace it with the Sennheiser backdoor. It's really simple to do!
My kids and I tested out Sennheiser mic with a Hero4 Black, and compared it to the audio from the Hero5 Black (which has waterproof microphones built in and can be used in the water without a special housing).
By the way, the Sennheiser MKE 2 elements is an official “Works with GoPro” product!
Hooking up the GoPro external mic is really easy
First, you need to remove the backdoor of your waterproof housing. It should snap right off. Then install the backdoor of the Sennheiser.
It should be perfectly secure so that when you close and latch the housing, there is a waterproof seal (otherwise, you risk ruining your camera, of course).
Next, you'll need to remove the little access panel on the side of your GoPro. Plug in the mini-usb of the microphone to your GoPro here.
Important: make sure the little clear plastic tab stays facing forward toward the front of your camera, so it doesn't get caught in the housing's seal.
Once the mic is hooked up to your Hero4 and the Hero4 is inside of the housing, you can put one of the blue spacers in the back part of the housing. This keeps the camera in place when you're using it, so it's not sliding around in the housing.
Then just snap your housing shut, being very careful not to let the mic cord interfere with your seal, and you'll be good to go!
All you need to do now is turn your GoPro on and hit record. The external mic will automatically pick up the audio.
You will need to watch the video to see the audio comparisons, but if you want to skip that – I can tell you for sure, the Sennheiser MKE 2 elements is 1000% better than using the Hero4 in the housing with its internal mic.
I also found that the audio quality turned out better on the Hero4 with the Sennheiser than on the Hero5 Black, which is the newest GoPro Model.
There is a part in the video (click here for the exact moment) where my daughter is holding both cameras, and inadvertently rubbing the Sennheiser mic up against the side Hero5, essentially rubbing two mics together (YIKES, right?). But the windscreen on the Sennheiser made it so that no additional rubbing noise was picked up, whereas, on the Hero5, it's very scratchy.
The MKE 2 runs about $200, and this is a top-notch brand when it comes to pro level audio, so as far as pricing I think it's a great price. It's an excellent mic, so you're upgrading your audio altogether, even if you're using your GoPro naked with no housing, and then add on to that the fact that this mic is waterproof as well, I give it two thumbs up.