How to Monitor Audio on Cameras Without Headphone Jack

In this episode of cinema5D Essentials, Li-Lian and Johnnie discuss how to monitor audio if you have a camera with no headphone jack. Bear in mind that you still need a microphone input in order to be able to use this tip. 

Saramonic SmartRig+

What can you learn in this episode?

Some of the recent small, video-capable mirrorless cameras like the Sony a6500/a6300 and the FUJIFILM X-T20 are equipped with a microphone input but lack a headphone output. This is a major concern when needing to monitor audio during shooting interviews, or when wanting to control audio in general. One of our solutions is to use the modestly-priced Saramonic SmartRig+ 2-Channel XLR Microphone Audio Mixer. In this episode we take a closer look at this device.

Saramonic Smart Rig+ Pros:

  • 2 professional XLR inputs
  • Separate gain control knobs for each audio channel
  • Can be used with a smartphone or a DSLR/Mirrorless camera
  • It provides a standard 48V phantom power
  • Better pre-amps then most DSLRs
  • Offers a headphone jack to monitor audio

Saramonic Smart Rig+ Cons:

  • No headphone volume adjustment, which can get quiet at times
  • No battery level indicator
  • You monitor the sound that comes into the Saramonic, which is not necessarily what makes the camera is recording.

Love this new episode and looking for previous ones? Look no further. Click here to see all our previous episodes.

Music was kindly provided by Art List.

What solution do you use when monitoring sound with your camera?  Do you have any special tricks to help combat the absence of a monitor jack ? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Joachim Richter

After thinking a lot about this topic I use an external monitor with headphone output.

 Erkki Juurus
Erkki Juurus

I’ve got one solution similar to that Saramonic, namely Tascam DR60D Mk2, which has all the same pros plus some, like a slate function and both mic and line level outputs. It also takes care of two of those cons. The third con is trickier to solve, unless you’re using a field recorder for both video and audio. The cons, the DR60D is slightly larger than the Saramonic, and you need six AA batteries to run it. Which are often the easiest to find out in the ‘wild,’ though. My favourite solution is simply to go old school. I just… Read more »


For shooters who want keep their audio rig minimalist, the Saramonic Lav Mic mixer is a smaller upstream alternative.
For listening to playback, a HDMI to VGA + Audio converter plug will be handy.

PiDicus Rex

Great solution, but,.. Still, (yeah, even in 2017) not all cameras stay in Record Mode when a HDMI plug is attached (Pentax K-01, Panasonic G7, I’m looking at you,..), and not all pass audio down the HDMI when in record mode.

Solution – a lot of cameras still have analog outputs, often hidden in the USB port and needing an accessory cable. Plug that in and feed the audio in to a headphone amp.

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