All FPV pilots should know how to add a camera onto their quadcopter. However, far fewer know how to
add a live audio feed onto their drone too. In this post, I’m going to teach you exactly how you can add audio onto your quadcopter and then I will explain the negatives and benefits of doing so.
In a nutshell here is what happened. I bought my first ever external microphone a few weeks back and mounted it onto my drone to see what would happen. Originally, I thought that this would be a silly idea – why would one wan’t to listen to the humming of the motors and the gushing sounds of the wind? However, my pre justice proved to be wrong and my opinion of these microphones has changed.
I’ll explain both the negatives and positives of a microphone on a drone further down this page, however first let me explain how you actually mount a mic.
How To Mount A Microphone Onto A Quadcopter
Step One: Get Sound
The first thing that you need to do is get some sound. There are three ways to do this:
- Use a Built-in Microphone on the video transmitter
- Use a Built-in Microphone on your FPV camera
- Use an External Microphone.
I will compare each of these different variations of microphone placement in the video below. The video compares the quality of the VTX built-in microphone, the external microphone and a go-pro. Take a listen, your going to be surprised!
A good example of a VTX that has a built in microphone would be the FX795-2 (as shown in the picture below!)
The mini600TVL Camera and the TBS ZeroZero camera are powerful little cameras that also have built in mic’s.
However, as shown on the video above, the best sound quality comes from an external microphone. This is because it is dedicated in fulfilling just one job in recording sound. This external microphone only costs a few dollars.
I find that the IMO has much better audio quality. It only requires a 12V power source and then after that you can attach the white signal wire to your VTX audio inputs. Done.
(If your VTX has two inputs then just connect the audio channel to both.)
Step 2: Play Sound
One you have all your connections setup, you now need to actually play the audio sound in itself. If you are useing FPV monitors, you should have built in speakers and an audio input where you can connect your video receiver (VRX).
If your an FPV goggles user you should have an earphone jack somewhere which you can connect headphones to. For example, on the Fatshark Dominator V2 there is a 3.5mm audio jack.
Step 3: Editing The Sound
Sometimes, you are going to think that the noise going into your ears is just too loud. Usually, you can just turn down the noise using a potentiometer on your headset. However, if you are unable to do this then try adding a resistor to the signal to reduce it.
Naturally, the faster you fly the more noticeable the wind noise. Therefore you can reduce this by covering the microphone with some foam and then put it behind the camera. This will avoid the wind blowing directly onto it.
The Benefits Of Having A Mic For FPV
One of the main reason that people take up drone flying as a hobby (and especially FPV drone flying) is that they want the surreal experience of being able to move in the air almost as if you were there on top of that drone. However, having sound only heightens this experience and make the FPV part of flying far more genuine and appealing.
You are also able to hear the low battery warnings, don’t get confused when other quads are flying around you and it is great as a range indicator as you lose audio before you lose signal. Personally (and this is just my opinion) when I can physically hear the motors spin, I feel much more confident piloting the drone.
The Negatives Of Having A Mic For FPV
You may find it really annoying having a constant sound in your ear. It may distract some people from the skill of flying as they focus more on what they hear and not what they see.
Microphones are like marmite – you either love them or you hate them. I personally recommend getting an external mic as the are really cheap and may enhance your flying experience and take it to the next level!