Microphone for FPV – Mounting Mic on Quadcopter

Have you ever consider mounting a microphone on your quadcopter, and getting live audio feed while flying FPV? In this post we will discuss the benefits of doing so and how.

A few weeks ago, I was sent an external microphone to put on my mini quad. At first, I was like, why on earth would you do that? All you get is annoying motors humming and props screaming, right?

After trying it, it kind of changed my opinion and I start to think it could be useful, so I decided to share it.

Benefits of onboard microphone for FPV

FPV flying should not be limited to what you see. Sound is a big part of the experience, and what you hear might actually help your flying! With live audio feedback, you get the following advantages:

  • throttle position – motor/propeller speed
  • low battery warning (buzzer beeping)
  • You don’t get confused with other quads that are flying around you
  • Works as a range indicator too because you always lose audio before video signal

I can’t speak for everyone, but I fly more confidently when I can hear the motors spinning. When the quad is far away and I couldn’t hear a thing, I start to panic a bit.

With the audio feed, you can hear the throttle response even when you are miles away. You can also hear the buzzer beeps when voltage is low, which could potentially be used to replace your telemetry or even OSD.

Negatives

However, some people might hate it!!

The quality of the audio depends on your signal strength just as much as your video. On a good flight it’s like hearing your motors singing to you, but when you get interference, the speaker will shout at you with super loud electric noise.

How to use a mic on a quadcopter

Get sound

There are 3 ways to get audio on your quad:

  • Built-in Microphone on your video transmitter (VTX)
  • Built-in Mic on your FPV camera
  • External MIC

Here is some quality comparison between a VTX built-in MIC, and the External MIC, as well as a GoPro. It was less noisy when I was flying, it got worse when it was recorded on my DVR for some reasons.

An example of VTX that has built-in Mic would be the FX795-2.fx795-2-mic-location

An example of camera that has mic built-in would be the mini 600TVL Camera, or the Runcam Swift 2.

Banggood FPV Mini Camera 600TVL 1.8mm 170 Degree Wide Angle Lens nano

However I prefer to use this external mic from BG, which only cost $2.2 each.

Or this one which has a wider sound frequency range: mic 2.

fpv-mic-external-microphone-quadcopter-flying

The audio quality is also better IMO. Simply power this mic with 12V, and connect the white (signal) wire to your VTX audio inputs and that’s it. There are normally 2 inputs one for left channel one for right, I just connect audio to both channels.

fpv-mic-connected-to-vtx-hawkeye-audio

Play sound

To play the audio, if you are using FPV monitors, there are usually built-in speaker should have an audio input where you can connect directly to your audio output on the VRX (video receiver).

For those who are using FPV goggles, for example on my Fatshark Dominator V2, there is a 3.5mm earphone jack for audio output. I could just plug in my headset or earbud there.

Fatshark-Dominator-V2-earphone-jack

If you think the noise is too loud, and there isn’t a Potentiometer Knobs you can turn down the volume, you can alternatively add a resitor to the signal to quiet it down.

Also, there is noticeable wind noise when you flying fast. You can reduce that by covering the mic with some foam, and put it behind the camera to avoid wind blowing directly on it.

Conclusion

I don’t expect it will make me a better pilot or anything, but somebody might find it useful!

44 thoughts on “Microphone for FPV – Mounting Mic on Quadcopter

  1. Adriyel

    Hi oscar,

    Sorry if this is a repeat question, but will the mic from banggood work on a VTx that is integrated on the FC (Omnibus F4+)?

    If yes, will I connect the wires (mic) to the wiring running from the cam to the board?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Peter

    hello, i would really appreciate it if someone explained to me how i can get live audio to my fpv eachine ev800 goggles using my vtx becuase it says on the vtx that it has audio. I am flying an eachine wizard x220. can someone pls explain to me in detail what i have to hook up in order to do this becuase i am new to fpv drone racing and could really use some help. thx in advance.

    Reply
  3. robert

    Hello, I have a Quanum Cyclops goggles from Hobby King and Eachines Lt200 200w FPV transmitter with a 700TVL camera. I will be installing an FA-MT01-6-12 mic with my transmitter/camera and I will use a PAM8403 3W Stereo Audio Power Amplifier Board Module with Volume Control Pot and a separate 4 pin sterio headphone jack on the goggles powered with a PDB I have in my spare parts box that has a built in lc filtered 5v-12v BEC.
    I believe this setup should work well,,,, I hope!!!

    What are your thoughts on this setup????

    Reply
  4. Simon Ashley

    Oscar I have tried this but all I can hear is a strange repetitive beeping / static sound. I have fatsharks dom v2 and fpv cameras with built-in microphones. If I use the DVR on the goggles the recorded sound is the same.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  5. GB

    What about MEMS microphone? Like this one: sparkfun.com/products/9868
    These are very sensitive, very small and compact.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. GB

      Hi,

      May I suggest more options:
      I was looking for something smaller and lighter for my 3in build (155mm frame). The BG one is too big, in my opinion, when you look at the size of current VTx and built-in mic. After searching over the web and asking people, I found and bought that:

      1/ fpvhobby.com/171-3-5v-nano-microphone.html (amazing sound quality and sensitivity. Really small !!!. I’m using the 3V output of the Tramp HV VTx and the audio line. Clean and efficient setup).
      Others to consider:
      2/ nghobbies.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=814#.WSxT7es19hE (looks like the same as 1), so another source in North America)
      3/ electrodragon.com/product/microphone-max9812-amplifier-breakout/ (Very cheap but bigger than the 1/ and 2/. I bought several but did not use them since I got 1/).

      Hope this helps for more options

      Reply
  6. Everton Leite

    Oscar, is it possible to use a mic from any old device, like a headset? The difference is there is only 2 wires. I tried and it didn’t work, but I may be doing something wrong.

    Reply
      1. Joshua Crane

        I just purchased the (6-12VDC 100-5500Hz Microphone Pickup Aerial Audio Signal Collection For Camera FPV) That you recommend. I have the Betaflight F3 board and I don’t have any additional PDB but I’m running my VTX off of VBAT, Can I merge this power wire in with my VTX. My VTX runs off of 7-24 volts, So I was thinking I can merge the two together and it would work. Does that sound right?

      2. Oscar Post author

        not a good idea. your VBAT is way over 12V and it’s going to fry the mic. You might just have to get a 12V voltage regulator in this case.

  7. Geniack

    Hello someone on banggood mentions you can power the mic directly from a 4S battery:

    banggood.com/3Pcs-High-Sensitive-Audio-Tiny-Microphone-for-CCTV-Security-Camera-p-969680.html?rmmds=search

    “These are fine at 4S (16.8V) on a quad. Cover the end with foam as they are very sensitive and will pickup wind noise. I have 6 of these now, all working on 4S ok.”

    Cheers

    Reply
      1. Geniack

        Whats wrong with this kind of mic? Because I just bought it and planned to connecting it to a 4s battery too, otherwise I have to put in another stepdown module.

      2. Oscar Post author

        Try to get the one I recommended and power it with 12V :) (if you run 4S, use voltage regulator)

  8. Fernando

    Hi Oscar, i have a built in mic on my ft48x VTX, buy i seem to get no audio when i hook up my headphones to my fatsharks, is there anything i have to do in particular in order to get it working? I just think the expirience would be much more imersive if it had audio, thanks

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      I think it should just work! I saw a Q&A on Banggood, they suggest the is on your right audio channel if that helps.

      Reply
  9. xlnzee

    Hi Oscar, I setup a mic after seeing your post, it’s working through my goggles but as soon as I start the motors on my quad it picks up a lot of static noise from the motors, this is with props off and I can barely hear anything anymore. I have it connected from PDB 12V -> LC Filter -> mic/vtx/cam. The reason I installed it is because I wanted to hear the low battery alarm go off, but I can barely hear that between the “noise” when motors start.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      what mic are you using? in order to hear the buzzer you need to place them quite close otherwise it will be overwhelmed by the motors..

      Reply
  10. Pippos

    Hi Oscar,

    Im flying with this kind setup for over a year now and got used to hear the motors if I’m far enough. One thing though is to use only the left or right channel instead of both of them. As I have noticed on quite of few vTx and standalone mics the one channel is always transferring noise. Most of the vtx are sending the signal to one of the channels (L or R), so I have first checked which channels outputs the clean signal .i.e. L CH and custom made a short one earpiece headphone.

    Reply
  11. MTFinger22

    Hi Oscar!
    I’m also using the BG microphone. On my goggles (Quanum DIY V2) I added a “headphone volume” cord so that it’s not screaming in my ears. However, since the audio will be going to multiple things, headphone, DVR, etc. I would rather control the volume on the quad it self. I think this can be done with a resistor on the signal line of the microphone, but I have no idea what value resistor to use or start with. Any ideas?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      i recommend using a pot that can be adjustsed between 0ohm to 1Kohm… tune resistance until you are happy with the volume.

      Reply
  12. Yoav

    Why would you want to mount a mic if you can see the throttle position and “Low voltage alarm” on the OSD (and much more info)?

    Reply
    1. Stuart

      Some people dislike having and OSD because they either forget to look at the numbers or they get distracted looking at the OSD.

      Reply
    2. Jaymzee

      Why would you want to see throttle position and low voltage alarm on the OSD if you could just hear the information?

      Reply
  13. Indy

    Hi Oscar,
    Very interesting topic.
    I’ve a question that would be related…
    How to protect efficiently the mic from the wind?
    I bought a Runcam 2 and so far I’m happy with it, but the sound of the wind is horrible.
    How could I get the great noise of the motors like on the videos I can watch on YouTube?
    Thanks,

    Reply
  14. Salle RC

    To bad it’s 12V, not everyone have that on their 4S machine. Quite common to only have a regulator for 5V for FPV-cam and FC/reveiver. Maybe it will work with less also. Think I set my D-Sun to output 7V since FC and receiver can handle up to 10V. Thanks for the article!

    Reply
  15. Attila

    Hi Oscar,
    It would be great to see a list of (example) VTX / VRX that supports audio!
    I’ve got Eachine stuffs, would they work? Found nothing on www.

    Reply
  16. Dragonsbane777

    Any pilot who cannot hear their quad’s engines is missing out. I use the sound to directly tell me how much thrust I am getting at any one time. Perhaps I played too many racecar video games, or perhaps it was racing around in my own cars. Perhaps it is I am a music teacher for the last 20 years, I don’t know. When I do take off and I have forgotten my earpiece, however, it feels like a scary, unconnected flight. Get that audio going!

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      exactly! I feel very much the same as well when i can’t hear my quad! that’s why i have hated med/long range flying before i have the audio.

      Reply
  17. Joel

    Hi Oscar – I was searching your site last week for this very solution. Thank You!

    Quick question. Where do you get the 12v power? Does this come off of the Naze32 board?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      i am powering my vtx and camera with 12V from my PDB (voltage regulator), so i just use that to power the mic too.

      Reply
  18. George Doukas (fb: geDuke, google+: gDuke68)

    Hi Oscar (very interesting blog!)

    The mic on FPV it’s also an “FPV range indicator”! When you are about to exceed the limits of your fpv transmitter, first you are start to loose the sound and then the video signal!! So when the audio quality are getting bad this is an “alert” that you are about to loose the video signal in a few seconds!

    Reply
  19. Dynamo_fpv

    Awesome write up Oscar.
    I been using that same mic from BG on all my builds in the last 6months and love them!
    Helps allot when flying with others so that you dont get confused by listening to all the miniquads at once but rather only yours.

    Reply

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