In this GoPro Hero9 Black media mod review, I will give you all the important details you need to know about this accessory and will help you to decide if and when you need it most.
Last year, we had the first Media Mod for the Hero8 Black which was impressive in its use of revamping the camera’s usability.
SEE ALSO: GoPro Hero8 Black Media Mod Review
GoPro has not yet made a modular action camera, the Media Mod is technically designed to turn your Hero9 Black into some sort of modular designed camera.
Insta360 is the first company to make a modular design action camera with three interchangeable lens mods and a battery base; the Insta360 One R.
SEE ALSO: Insta360 One R Twin Edition Review
This Media Mod for Hero9 Black has the same features as the one for Hero8 Black, the only difference comes in the slight tweaks made to the directional microphone and of course body size and compatibility.
The Media Mod’s main features are; Directional Mic with Wind Suppression, 3.5mm Mic Port, HDMI Output, and two Cold Shoe Mounts.
The Media Mod will fit squarely on the Hero9 Black offering some slight protection, you can still access all the buttons and touchscreen navigation while the media mod is in use.
This weather-resistant accessory is suitable for Vlogging and trying to make complete use of GoPro’s ecosystem.
You have the option to attach the Display and Light Mods to the Media Mod for Hero9 Black.
Should you spend an extra amount of money and get this media mod for your Hero9 Black? Let’s find out.
What’s in the Box?
With the retail version of the GoPro Hero9 Black Media Mod, you will get the following items:
- The Media Mod for Hero9 Black
- 1 x Foam Microphone Cover
- 1 x Thumb Screw
- 1 x Vertical Buckle Mount
Hero9 Black Camera Media Mod Uses
The Media Mod for Hero9 Black has the same usability as its predecessor.
GoPro says that this accessory is enough to convert your Hero9 Black into a production powerhouse.
You will have the following media options with this accessory:
- Built-in directional mic. There is an added windshield that was not there in the previous model.
- 2 cold-shoe mounts that will allow you to attach the lights, microphones, or LCD screens
- 3.5mm mic port for external microphone connection.
- Micro HDMI-out port for external monitor connectivity and data transfer.
- One USB Type C port for charging and data transfer.
Webcam & Vlogging
Just like the previous model, the media mod for Hero9 Black will allow you to use your Hero9 Black action camera for web meetings and Vlogging.
Something worthwhile to note is that with the dual-screen upgrade for the Hero9 Black, you may simply make use of the front screen in framing your Vlogging shots.
Nevertheless, having a front screen is not the only important aspect of Vlogging and web meetings, the media mod allows you to attach an external microphone which will greatly boost your audio experience.
In addition to the media mod requirement for webcam, you might also need the following items for you to have the great experience from your camera:
- Micro HDMI to HDMI cable
- USB-C to USB3.0 cable or USB-C to USB-C
- Video capture card
Check this guide to learn how you can use your GoPro as a webcam.
The media mod is a very essential tool for turning your Hero9 Black into a Vlogging masterpiece since it also allows the connection of light and display mods.
Design and Outlook
The Media Mod for Hero9 Black takes on the same design language as its predecessor only that it is slightly bigger since the Hero9 Black camera is also bigger than the Hero8 Black.
One of the major complaints I had last year concerning the media mod was the cheap plastic feeling that rocked its body.
GoPro has tried to fix that by introducing a more robust and premium body with a textured coating.
Another change you will easily notice is on the design of the microphone, apart from the foam microphone cover (which is detachable), the microphone is now well designed with some aesthetic touch.
Moving to the back of the Media Mod, you will notice the rubber doors that cover the three ports.
This was not there with the media mod for Hero8 Black. I think this is a nice feature that will be nice in keeping the ports moisture-free.
The foam microphone cover fits on the media mod’s microphone securely and it will not fall out even in rugged situations.
When you have the microphone covered with the windshield, there is still enough space left to mount the light mod.
Despite being chunkier, this accessory is still very portable. When you attach both the display and light mods, you will however have a heavier set-up.
How to Prepare your GoPro Hero9 Black for the Media Mod
Ensure that your Hero9 Black runs on the latest software for you to fully enjoy the perks that come with the Media Mod accessory.
There are two ways of updating your camera:
1. Update via the Smartphone App. After you have linked your camera to the GoPro smartphone App, You will immediately be notified whether there is an available update for your Hero9 Black. If there is an update, you will read the on-screen message on how to go about it.
2. Update your camera manually. You can also do the update manually by visiting GoPro’s update section on their website. Once you visit the site, select your camera (GoPro Hero9 Black) and read the online instructions following the easy steps provided there.
Once the software is ready, you can now proceed with the set-up.
How to Insert a GoPro Hero9 Black into a Media Mod
Inserting the GoPro Hero9 Black camera into the media mod is a very simple and straightforward task.
If you have already used the Hero8 Black media mod before, then the procedure is similar to this one also.
The first step is to open the side door of the Hero9 Black camera, pop it out and place it on an easily noticeable place where you won’t forget.
Open the media mod on the side and slide the Hero9 Black camera into the mod ensuring that the opened door enters first.
You do not need to worry about inserting the camera through the wrong side since the Media Mod only fits in one direction.
The USB Type C connector on the Media Mod will enter the USB C port on the camera, and that is how the camera links up with this accessory.
The final step is to close and lock the Media Mod door. Once locked, the set-up is now ready for use.
Here’s a video by ‘Air Photography’ showing how to fit the Hero9 on the Media Mod, and testing the microphones, which I will discuss in the next section:
How is the Audio Quality of the Built-in Microphones on the Media Mod?
When you insert your Hero9 Black into the Media Mod, it will use the built-in directional microphones for audio recording.
With last year’s model, the Media Mod did not give the Hero8 Black an alternative when it comes to audio quality via the in-built microphones.
Simply put, you could not buy the Media Mod for Hero8 Black just for the directional microphone, the sound quality wasn’t any better.
With the Media Mod for Hero9 Black, the directional microphones have seen a physical upgrade in terms of a foam wind cover/shield.
I will advise using the wind cover when you are in an area with a lot of background noise.
Otherwise, if you are using your Hero9 Black as a webcam inside a quiet building, the wind cover will not be necessary.
The Audio quality from the Media Mod’s front microphone does a slightly better job than the rear microphone.
You can use stereo mode and have both microphones capture audio at the same time.
I noticed that the foam microphone cover blocks some background noise and as a result, it give a somewhat muffled sound output.
Generally speaking, the sound quality from the Media Mod’s in-built microphones is nothing special. It is easily comparable with what the camera can do on its own but slightly better.
One of the coolest features of the Media Mod is the ability to attach an external microphone. Doing this will greatly revamp your audio experience especially for vlogging.
You can also do the processing of your audio in post-production and you will be sure of improving it a notch higher.
How to Connect an External Microphone to the Media Mod for Hero9 Black
One of the key Media Mod features is that it permits the connection of an external microphone to the Hero9 Black.
Having an external microphone for your Hero9 Black is always a good idea considering the impressive audio that is associated with them.
However, if you are buying the Media Mod because of external microphone connectivity alone, then consider getting the alternative GoPro Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter which is also compatible with the Hero9 Black. The adapter will save you some cash and get the job done either way.
Back to our Media Mod, all the ports are placed on the backside of the accessory including the mic port. This is mainly done to prevent the cables from interfering with the lens in action.
If you are having problems trying to figure out which external microphone is the best for you, please check my recommended external microphones compatible with GoPro.
Once your external microphone is plugged in the Media Mod, proceed and select the microphone type in Hero9 Black settings.
To access the settings, swipe the rear screen once from top to bottom.
Proceed and tap Preferences, then Input/Output, and lastly Audio Input. On the right side of the option, you will see several options. You can scroll over them to make your preferred selection.
After you are done making your preferred settings, you can now use your external microphone to make audio recordings.
How to connect your GoPro Hero 9 to a TV or Monitor using HDMI
The Media Mod for Hero9 Black has a micro HDMI port that will allow you to connect the camera to HDMI supported devices.
Most people use this option to connect the camera to a TV or monitor. This connectivity will give you a lively playback of your footage thanks to the massive screens involved.
You will have to buy a micro HDMI to HDMI cable separately since it is not included in the retail packaging of the Hero9 Black camera Media Mod. Once you get your cable, you will use it to connect the two devices.
When the camera is connected to a secondary screen via the HDMI Cable, there are two methods of navigating through your media. You can use either the buttons or the touchscreen display.
To use the buttons, you will have to press the Mode button on your Media Mod for you to perform the navigations. To make a selection of the one that befits you, simply press the shutter button once.
For me, touchscreen control is fairly easy since you will use your fingers to toggle between the available options.
To get a preview of what the Hero9 Black camera is recording at the exact moment, simply select the HDMI setting on your GoPro Hero9 Black to Live or Monitor.
You will then press the camera icon, focus your lens then press the shutter button to start/ stop recording.
Doing this will give you a live broadcast of what the lens is capturing directly to your TV or Monitor.
You will also get the option to switch between Photos, Video, or Time-lapse mode.
GoPro Hero9 Black Media Mod supports the connection of other additional accessories to complete your GoPro ecosystem.
This option is GoPro’s attempt to have a modular designed action camera but we have seen a more worthy competition in Insta360 One R action camera.
You can attach both the GoPro Light Mod and GoPro Display Mod to the Media Mod for Hero9 Black.
GoPro Light Mod
You can use the GoPro Light Mod to illuminate your low-light shots on the Hero9 Black.
The Light Mod is an accessory that can attach to any of the two cold shoes on your Hero9 Black. If you had this accessory for the Hero8 Black Media Mod, it will fit in here too.
The GoPro Light Mod can also be used separately with the GoPro mounts, you don’t need the Media Mod to make use of this accessory.
The Light Mod has 4 levels of brightness maxing out at 200 Lumens. This is more than enough light to be used in the common night conditions.
This Light Mod is also powered with a rechargeable battery that can take you for 6 hours straight usage time.
Having a 5700K light color temperature means that you can use it in swimming pools without necessarily worrying about any serious damages.
Having in mind that the Hero9 Black has a front screen, I will recommend keeping it off whenever you are filming with the Light Mod accessory.
I recommend using this accessory to light up your night shots with the Hero9 Black.
GoPro Display Mod
As you already know by now, the GoPro Hero9 Black has a dual-screen setup featuring a front placed small screen.
The front screen is so handy when it comes to vlogging and framing up your shots.
As such, you might necessarily not need the Display Mod for vlogging.
However, some people prefer a slightly bigger screen for one reason or the other.
In that case, you can get the GoPro Display Mod and attach it to the Media Mod for Hero9 Black for a good vlogging set-up.
The Display Mod features a foldable 2-inch screen which is very key in making the accessory portable. The Display Mod has a micro HDMI connector with an inbuilt rechargeable battery.
Have in mind that the Display and Light Mods will connect to the Hero9 Black via the Media Mod, you cannot attach them to the naked camera body.
HERO9 Black Max Lens Mod
GoPro has introduced a new Mod for the Hero9 Black known as the Max Lens Mod. This accessory is only compatible with the Hero9 Black camera.
It is important to remember that GoPro Hero9 Black features a replaceable lens, this option was not available with the Hero8 Black.
This accessory will give you a wider Field of View up to 155 degrees in SuperView.
Apart from that, you will also be entitled to the Max HyperSmooth which is very effective in producing smoother footage than HyperSmooth 3.0
With the Max Lens Mod, you can also get some mind-bending visuals with 360 degrees horizon lock.
Pros and Cons of the GoPro Hero9 Black Media Mod
As always, added accessories are not for everyone out there. The main reason why people shun away from such is because of the added price tag.
Getting the Hero9 Black camera for your shots is all you need, I can call it the basic need here. Added accessories are only meant to spice up your user experience of the cameras.
I will give you my top good and bad issues I have encountered with the Media Mod for Hero9 Black.
- Has a more premium feel and look compared to the previous model
- The foam microphone cover is good in reducing wind noise in the recorded audio. GoPro says that it muffles the wind gust up to 32 kph / 20 mph.
- The little rubber doors that cover the ports are a nice touch to prevent moisture interference.
- Setting up the accessory for use is a fairly easy and straightforward task.
- The ability to connect an external microphone to my Hero9 Black is a huge plus for me.
- The 2 cold shoe mounts are handy when you want to complete the GoPro ecosystem by connecting the Display and Light Mods to your camera.
- The Media Mod offers a robust vlogging set-up.
- The Media Mod is not waterproof even though GoPro says that it is weather-resistant, stay away from water when using this accessory.
- The Media Mods’ directional microphone is not a worthy replacement for the Hero9 Black’s internal microphone.
- Changing the battery / microSD card while your GoPro is in the Media Mod is a very cumbersome task, you will have to disassemble everything. GoPro has not made any attempt to solve this issue since it was a major concern with the previous model.
- The Media Mod is dependent on the camera’s battery. Using this accessory may have a hit on your battery life, I recommend carrying an extra battery for backup.
I hope you have gained deep insights into how the GoPro Hero9 Black Media Mod looks and performs. The major question right now is whether to buy it or not.
From my user perspective, GoPro has made some slight improvements to the Media Mod that improved my experience.
The textured coating on the Media Mod body aids in giving the accessory a more premium feel.
I like the addition of a foam microphone cover that helps in reducing background wind noise. If you do not want to use the wind cover, you can simply remove it.
The ability to attach an external microphone is always a welcomed idea by any action camera user.
You can use this together with the Display, Light, and Max Lens Mods to get an exclusive GoPro ecosystem vlogging set-up.
Live monitoring and Playback through the HDMI connectivity is a nice feature to have.
I enjoy watching my footage on a bigger screen before judging whether to keep or discard the file.
Going with my GoPro Hero9 Black Media Mod review, I can easily recommend this accessory to anyone who enjoys a more satisfying vlogging experience.
Thank you for reading through my GoPro Hero9 Media Mod review, I hope you enjoyed and found it useful.
If you have any questions or concerns about the Media Mod, please leave a comment down below and I will get back to you ASAP.