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GoPro Media Mod Teardown

Posted by Mark Kirschenbaum on

Built for Vloggers the GoPro Media Mod allows users to accessorize their GoPro with an external LCD and microphone. Code named "Borg" it finally shipped three months later than the original GoPro HERO8 release date. From our analysis, this delay was caused by the software lagging the hardware. 

GoPro Media Mod Ports and Gasket

Features

  • User configurable stereo audio input:  
     (Standard Mic, Standard Mic+, Powered Mic, Powered Mic+, Line In)
  • Unidirectional built in microphones. Media Mod front or rear.
  • Micro-HDMI output for monitoring, playback, & recording. 
    Monitoring / Playback 4K (3840x2160@30Hz) max
    Recording 1440p for 4:3 content and 1080p for footage shot in 16:9 max
  • USB-C based charging while operating
  • USB-C USB 2.0 data communication via MTP.
     Disables recording functionality. 

Construction

It's very important to know the media mod removes the waterproof rating of your GoPro Camera. With that said, the ports are sealed, and there is a gasket which mates the media mod with the battery compartment. A membrane does exists for the microphones, but due to them wanting decent sound, I'm assuming it's not as robust as the membrane found on the camera. Also, if water does enter into the microphone screen, its going to have a hard time getting out. 

Only time will tell how this does in the elements, snow, and the worst possible: saltwater. If you do get salt water into the ports, be sure to remove from the camera and flush the ports with distilled water immediately!

GoPro Media Mod Construction

GoPro Media Mod Sealed Ports
Thankfully, sealed ports

Design Wins

As always, I enjoy looking at the main components of the system. Nothing really surprising here from our initial assumptions.  

GoPro Media Mod Teardown PCB Bottom Side
Bottom Side

GoPro Media Mod PCB Topside
Top Side

Part Usage

Cypress CYPD2122-24LQXI

USB Type-C Power Delivery Controller.
Non secure code.
"Monitor" type

Analogix Slimport ANX7737

DisplayPort™ to HDMI® (Ultra-HD, 4K) Converter

2 wire, muxes A2, A3

Synaptics-Conexant CX20811-15Z

Four-channel High-Performance Analog-to-Digital Converter with
Programmable Preamplifier for Microphone Array

I2S to camera

Same as used in Mic Adapter

Atmel ATSHA204-MAH-DA-T

Authorization IC 
See our GoPro Anti-cloning technology blog post

i2c to camera

Pericom PI3USB9281

USB 2.0 Port Protection with Charger Detection

i2c to camera

SMPS controller labeled BE15 SMPS controller
SBK TI 95i AL56 Phantom Power switch or Op Amp

2x MEMS Microphone Labeled
EY19 AP06

Mono Microphone

Hacking

There really isn't too much you can do to the GoPro Media Mod. With that said, you can simply read out the Cypress CCG2 chip as it is non-secured. The product identifier for this accessory is '8' as we added onto our Herobus Research list. Cloning is limited via their ATSHA204A part which performs "Identify Friend or Foe." The authorizing MCU on the GoPro HERO[5-8] can be unlocked to allow non-authorized devices, but no one has released this exploit yet. 

GoPro Media Mod SWI & Debug Pins
Cypress Programming and Debug Pins

Directional Microphone Layout

Interesting enough there are only two build in MEMS based microphones in the GoPro Media Mod "pointing" front and rear. I missed the copy on the website that says "directional mic," and just assumed there would be stereo sound. If you want stereo sound, you can chose to use the microphones on the GoPro HERO8 itself. These are unfortunately covered up by the Media Mod's cage so sound may be affected. 

 GoPro Media Mod lack of microphones

GoPro Media Mod Microphone Layout

GoPro Media Mod Front an Rear Microphone

Not so directional...

If you bought the media mod for better audio, you're going to be disappointed. An external microphone is needed. The built in microphones are not really directional at all, but in the same chamber only a centimeter apart and orthogonal to the sound wave. I'm not a microphone designer, but this seems suspect to me. Perhaps they do some DSP processing to the signal, but my guess was this whole assembly was designed differently and cost reduced. That center cut was most likely for the signals to pass through and the two hole for the fasteners to the microphones. It would be interesting to see if "reviewers" got a different model. 

GoPro Media Mod fake "directional" microphones

Accessories

  • Display Mod - It's just a tiny LCD monitor with a built in Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery. No audio out unfortunately. Pros, check out the Atomos product lines in particular the Shinobi.
  • Light Mod - Pretty laughable with how many lighting options are available now days, but it you are a GoPro fanboy, go for this accessory. 

Final Thoughts

The Media Mod is definitely a huge improvement over the horrific GoPro Mic Adapter brick built for the GoPro HERO[5-8]. Although, an audio meter UI should be forthcoming, a headphone jack would have been super helpful to tune the input levels. The construction is acceptable, but really would have really loved to see some port protection for those in salt water climates who are not using all the ports. Overall, it's worth the $79 if your need HDMI and/or better audio input for a microphone or line-in. We buy all our GoPro products and are obviously not endorsed by GoPro Inc or their competitors.  

GoPro's Links

Missing Media Mod User Manual
Product Page

LEGAL: This product and/or service is not affiliated with, endorsed by, or in any way associated with GoPro Inc. or its products and services. GoPro, HERO, and their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of GoPro, Inc. HEROBUS and BACPAC are trademarks of GoPro Inc.


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