The $29 XLR hack for the Panasonic Lumix GH4 (also works with Canon, Nikon, Sony)

The $29 XLR hack for the Panasonic Lumix GH4 (also works with Canon, Nikon, Sony)

this video was shot with the Sony A7r and the kit lens in 1080/24p

The Panasonic GH4 is currently the most powerful video tool you can get in a hybrid camera. With crazy high bit rates for HD shooters, 4k recording to internal cards pretty much destroys the competition. But we have one problem: No XLR input unless we spend another 1600 bucks for the interface brick. Check out the video for the $29.99 solution and get all the links to the products shown in the video after the break

To protect the cables and connecter I used part of a punctured road tube and home made rubber bands from punctured mountain bike tubes. You can also use velcro to attach the unit, I prefer the rubber bands in case I need to replace something on set.

First, you will need the Irig Pre, you can get it here at BH and here on ebay.

I got my splitter cable here on ebay from this USA seller.

I got my brackets here on ebay.

and this clamp here from BH.

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43 thoughts on “The $29 XLR hack for the Panasonic Lumix GH4 (also works with Canon, Nikon, Sony)

  1. Andy

    Followed Mike’s excellent idea and put this system together for a GH4. Not had a chance to test on a rugged shoot as yet but looking (and sounding) great so far.

    A few observations:
    To answer my own query below, the bracket comes with knobs with both male and female 1/4 screws so you can attach the tripod plate to the bracket.

    I will usually be using a rifle mic with either a long XLR lead (not sure why but it feels safer to knot the lead on the bracket before plugging into the iRig), or the rifle mic hooked up via a radio mic transmitter (the receiver fits nicely on the bracket). With these configurations you can use the space taken by Mike’s on-board mic to mount a light (female 1/4 – hot shoe adapter needed).

    I found velcro a neater looking solution for mounting the iRig, this also allows for easier access for a battery change.

    I would echo Mikes comment about carrying spares – I had to order the splitter from China, so I would say it is defiantly worth buying two and a spare iRig would be a good idea if you are going away on an important shoot.

    Slightly off topic, I should say I am new to the GH4 and something that is puzzling me is that having the sound output set to monitor recorded sound – whilst using the in-camera mic I get the expected delay, whereas using an external mic, with the iRig or plugged direct into the camera, I’m not hearing the delay – so I’m wondering what I’m listening to?

    If anybody has any thoughts on this, be much appreciated.

    Nice work Mike, thanks.


  2. Andy

    Thanks Mike

    Sorry just to be clear you mean you can attach the plate using it’s own screw? and do you have a link to the basic 1/4 screw knob please.

    Thanks for your help.


  3. mike.kobal Post author

    that is the correct splitter cable. You can only attach a tripod plate on the tightening screw. To attach the mic holder, I used a basic 1/4 screw knob.

  4. mike.kobal Post author

    doesn’t look like it, you need a splitter separating the headphone out signal from the mic in signal. Not sure where to find it at this point. /:

  5. RR

    …and..the iRig PRE is small enough you could probably glue a shoe mount piece to bottom of iRig PRE, get a dual shoe mount (or shoe bar) to hold the iRig PRE and mic right on top of cam…no side bracket required. of course, would help to shorten the cables in that case.

  6. RR

    Great hack! Would be interesting to combine two of these for real-time independent control to each channel of GH4. I guess you’d need a dual 1/8″ TRS to 1/8″ TRS connector/adapter..hmmm.

  7. Charlie

    I’ve finally procured all of the parts and I’m uncertain what I’m doing wrong. Is it possible to be using the wrong y-splitter cable? I can only hear audio from the mic when the cable coming from the iRig is halfway inserted into the y-splitter. Otherwise I record no sound except a loud humming of distortion.

    The headphone jack only needs to be plugged in if you plan on monitoring the feed from the iRig headphone jack, right? You only need the mic plugged in?

    Then I have no idea what the issue is.

  8. mike.kobal Post author

    Check your settings, has nothing to do with the irig, the camera doesn’t know whats plugged in. You might have a high level set in memory and every time you turn it off and on it reverts to the orig stetting

  9. Sean Kernan

    I tried this with my 5d III, and it worked well, BUT when I dial down the manual setting on the camera, shoot, stop shooting and then start again, the level on the camera reverts to a much higher setting. I did not notice this the first few times and got some horrible sound. I wonder if others have had this problem, and how one can set the manual level and maintain it.

  10. Wayne Krszwda

    hi Mike…my iRig Pre arrived yesterday so I’ll order the rest of the parts soon. I have the XLR to 3.5mm adapter….wouldn’t this be ok to use as well for the mic input on the GH4?

  11. Wayne Krszwda

    Ok …got it Mike…thanks. I have to send my GH4 back to Panasonic for repair and I’m happy I came across your video. I don’t know if anyone knows this about the GH4, but I saw a video on the GH4 (YouTube) and the guy explained there’s an audio glitch in the GH4 when you plug a mic in the audio input i.e., the audio does not sync with the video – it lags behind by a few milliseconds. I was sceptical about this until I actually tried it myself – I down sampled 4K to 1080p and recorded to an external recorder while live streaming at the same time and sure enough, when I played back the file, the audio lagged behind by a few milliseconds. Although this glitch can be fixed in post by pulling back the separate audio track and matching it up with the video track, this can be a time consuming practice and for a camera like the GH4 and the price, we shouldn’t have to do this.

    So…a few weeks back I called Panasonic support here in Canada and told them about the audio out of sync issue. The lady on the phone was surprised about my issue and told me that Panasonic listens to its customers and that she would forward my concerns off to the powers to be. After talking with her, I said to myself: “yeah…right…I’m just another consumer and Panasonic is so big, my concern will probably be tossed in the waste paper basket.” But lo and behold, I called them back yesterday and they acknowledge the audio glitch and will repair my GH4. So Mike, please inform your followers of the audio out of sync glitch ( maybe not all GH4’s have the problem). As well, I thought Panasonic would not really listen to my concern but they did – and they took the correct action very quickly indeed. So…it we call Panasonic and ask for improvements to the GH4 ( bigger sensor…better low light capturing capacity) they will indeed listen. Thank You Mike – really appreciate it.

  12. Wayne Krszwda

    HI…I own the GH4 as well…can’t seem to find the link to the splitter that you provided. Any other neat stuff about the GH4 that you can provide? Thanks. Wayne Krszwda

  13. mike.kobal Post author

    Yes you will need the splitter cable to get rid of the head phone contact points because the iPhone has mic/headphone input in one plug. If you just use a3.5mm stereo cable it causes a short resulting in very muted low vol sound, you can just cut off the headphone cable part on the splitter cable and only keep the mic plug. Unfortunately there is no way to monitor audio via headphones on cameras without a headphone jack

  14. JH

    Hi Mike

    I have a 5DmkII until I upgrade to gh4. Will this work with that body? Do I need the splitter since there’s no headphone jack on the canon?and does this mean I can’t preview audio through headphones?

  15. Jae

    Mike’s been so helpful I thought I’d leave a note regarding my earlier question about battery life using phantom power. I recently shot a project where I left it on almost the whole day, 5 or 6 hours with about an hour or so of actual shooting and never had a problem with the battery. In fact, I often had about 60% left on a standard 9v duracell. That said, I would replace the battery after each day as I did notice some issues when I tried going the 2nd day on the same battery. Happy shooting.

  16. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Javier, haha, yes I have done it, although the plug fits, for some reason it reduces volume to an unacceptable level. I know the extra cable is annoying, I just cut off the headphone cable right at the base since I am using the camera headphone jack.

  17. Javier

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the test and sharing. Trying to avoid one extra cable (the adaptor/splitter cable) I wonder if you have tried to connect the Irig Pre directly to the GH4 (I know you have done it) and then set in camera Mic Level to 0dB (not to -12db, which is the most common). Do you know if that provides an acceptable signal?
    Thank you

  18. Jeff G.

    I have a Sony a77 and it doesn’t appear to have a headphone jack (only mic), will the Irig Pre still work and how would you connect it?

  19. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Jae, I haven’t done a battery drain test, I have used it for about 10 hours until now and the battery is fine. The manual states 15 hours for phantom powered mics. 40 hours for battery powered mics.
    It should get you through a 10 hour day without problems.

  20. Jae

    Thanks, Mike. One last question – what’s the battery life when supplying phantom power to a mic? Few hours or a full day?


  21. mike.kobal Post author

    HI Jae,
    the splitter’s female plug is TRRS and the male plugs are TRS. I too was under the impression I could just plug the irig pre in the GH4 directly, however, the volume drops significantly, appears to cause a short, but works as it should with this splitter cable.

  22. Jae

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for posting all this great information. Just a question about the splitter. The one you have looks like a TRS when GH4 uses TRRS. Does that not matter or am I wrong about that splitter?


  23. david

    would love to see a video on youtube demonstrating the noise and how it sounds.
    please post

  24. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Walter! It is receiving the audio signal from the camera. look at it as an extended audio cord, it work with the irig turned off and without battery and you hear exactly what you would hear if you had the headphones directly plugged into the camera.

  25. Walter


    Curious what you are listening to when you plug your headphones into the iRig: are you listening to the audio at the point of the rig, or is it receiving the signal at the from the headphone jack of the GH4? I.e., it would be the same signal as if monitoring from the GH4 directly…

    Thanks for the heads-up. Might be a nice backup to my JuicedLink.


  26. Peter Miranda

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for sharing.
    Cant wait to get my hands on this baby in a fwe weeks..
    Hopefully before my trip to NY on the 28th of May..

    Thanks for sharing

  27. mike.kobal Post author

    of course it fits perfectly BUT since it powers mic and headphones simultaneously, you have just plugged the mic AND headphones into the mic jack. I tried it and the result is an almost inaudible mic signal with the amplifier turned all the way up, the only way to get a proper mic signal is the splitter cable or you can modify the wiring on the irig pre directly. however, you don’t have to plug in the headphone jack from the splitter cable, you could plug them directly into the camera, it doesn’t make a difference.

  28. JB

    The splitter cable or “hack” is not needed to acheive stereo sound using the iRig & GH4. The iRig’s 3.5mm TRRS plug fits perfectly into 3.5mm TRRS mic input on the GH4.

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