There are several different types of security cameras that can integrate sound. Depending on the type of security camera sound integration differs. Some cameras already have sound integrated with the capability to communicate in two-way fashion and some you may have to connect a microphone via an audio input.
How do you get sound on a security camera? First, you will need to assess your security camera features and technical specifications. You may already have sound integration with built-in microphones that just need to be enabled. If not, you will need to determine what type of audio wires are compatible, which we will discuss later in this article.
In this article, we will be going over the different types of security cameras on the market today and if sound is already integrated. If not, what compatibility is available and how to get sound on the camera. Keep reading to find out more about these cameras and what options you may have. We will also go over how to tell if a camera has sound integration.
Understand that privacy and regulations are important. Most older cameras do not incorporate microphones for sound integration. In fact, it is estimated that 95% of cameras do not have sound integration. However, smart cameras will generally always have sound integration included as a feature. Take this into consideration as you are shopping for your next security system.
Types of Security Cameras
Security cameras are used everywhere today. They are used in homes, outside of homes, in office buildings, outside of office buildings, farms, stores, public areas, etc. The type of camera you use depends on where you will mount it and what you want to monitor, but first, let’s cover the different types of security cameras.
- Bullet Camera
- Dome Camera
- IP Camera
- Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
- Day and Night Cameras
- Wired and Wireless Cameras
- Smart Cameras
Depending on what type of camera and sound you are looking for, use the following to help you narrow your search.
Bullet cameras are highly recognizable and visible. They are long and cylindrical and are difficult to hide. In fact, most people that use these are not trying to hide them. They are placed in plain sight in an effort to deter burglars. Bullet cameras have been popular for many years and are used as a security camera in security plans quite often.
What are some of the advantages of bullet cameras?
- Variety of technology: night vision, motion sensors, optical zoom
- Location: the ability to mount them in almost any location due to its mounting arm
- Adjustable: the ability to adjust the camera via its neck for the best viewing angle
- Weatherproof: IP rating on all cameras are excellent with the ability to sustain storms
The bullet cameras are popular among homeowners and business owners because of the advantages and price. Most bullet cameras have sound integration already allowing you to hear audio. However, make sure you read the technical specifications.
Dome cameras are used in homes and professional environments alike. One of the best things about them is the inability to tell which direction it is recording. The dome camera field of view is very inconspicuous. Although they have a wide angle of view they do not have as good of a viewing angle as some other cameras.
Two of the top-rated dome smart cameras with sound integration are the Reolink PoE IP Camera Outdoor and Amcrest 4MP UltraHD Indoor WiFi Camera, Security IP Camera.
An IP camera is an internet protocol camera which sends and receives content over the internet. IP cameras are very different to CCTV cameras in that they record locally. IP cameras will record to the cloud using your home or business router. All you need is an internet connection, a router, and your cameras.
Cameras that use wireless IP connection include Nest, Ring, Lortex, Arlo, etc. IP cameras are the way of the world, for the most part, these days, especially for home security systems. They are much cheaper to set up and extremely convenient.
Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
Several companies incorporate indoor and outdoor cameras to their line of products. Outdoor cameras are typically weatherproof so that they can withstand rain, sunshine, storms, etc. Both cameras usually incorporate night vision which we will discuss next. The main difference between the two is the protection of the internal hardware. Outdoor cameras are going to be a bit more intrusive, typically speaking to withstand the elements.
It is suggested that you place your cameras a bit higher to capture more sound and avoid being detected.
The best indoor cameras:
- Nest Cam IQ Indoor
- Nest Hello Doorbell
- Arlo Ultra HD
The best outdoor cameras:
- Arlo Pro 2
- Arlo Ulta
- Ring Stick Up Cam Battery
Each of these also incorporates sound where you can hear during audio playback making them essential and easy for installation.
Day and Night Cameras
Day and night cameras are incredibly important. Being able to have security footage during the day and at night is essential to security. Night vision technology has improved over the years and is included in most cameras today using infrared technology. Some of the best night vision cameras include:
- Nest Camera Outdoor Security Camera
- Ring Spotlight Camera
- Arlo Pro Security Camera
- Lorex Security Camera
The second most important question is do these have sound integration? Absolutely. Every one of them has a microphone built in with no wire attachments necessary. They also integrate with either Amazon Alexa or Google Home Hub.
Wired and Wireless Cameras
Wireless cameras are preferable due to their ease of installation. You have more options for mounting and placement to obtain the best angle for video coverage. Wireless cameras are also operated off of battery making them less vulnerable at times; however, wireless cameras also send all their recorded videos to the cloud. That is a personal preference for safety. Some people prefer having their video on a DVR at home or their business.
So, what are the pros and cons?
|Wired Camera System||Wireless Camera System|
|Permanent installation||Less vulnerable to power outages|
|Must have a DVR for recording||Battery operated|
As for sound integration, newer wired and wireless security camera packages will have sound. However, for some CCTV systems, you will need to add a microphone kit to your system. This includes getting speakers for your DVR system so that you can hear the audio. To set up the microphone:
- Insert the microphone into the male power cable
- Insert the white audio plug from the microphone cable into the male audio cable
- Insert the female power cable on the DVR into the power adapter
- Plug the power adapter into the power source
- Insert the male audio cable into the Audio In input on the DVR
Note: The DVR system you use must have an audio input for this to work and whatever TV or monitor you are using must have speakers so that you can hear the audio
Smart Cameras are the most popular cameras today due to their ease of installation and functionality. Many smart cameras have sound integration built-in with alerts along with many of the options outlined above. Smart cameras are available in bullet, dome, indoor and outdoor, wired and wireless, day and night, etc. The versatility is endless with ever-changing technology. The best sound features include:
- Sound Detection Notifications (dog barking, someone talking, etc.)
- Two-way Communication (you can speak to someone in your home, at your door, etc.)
- Integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home Hub (turn on doorbell video using your voice)
Smart technology is only going to get better and the integration of voice and sound has made security cameras even better.
How to Tell If Your Camera Has Sound Integration
Generally speaking, there are four ways to tell if your camera has sound integrated into the camera already.
- Address the product technical specifications or product pages
- Look for a small hole on the camera itself, as that will be the microphone hole
- Contact product support or visit your local store to inquire
- If you already have the camera create a quick recording and play it back
Most cameras today have a way to integrate sound. I recommend doing your research prior to buying. If you know you want two-way audio communication you can ensure you get that. As I said, there are plenty of products on the market that will be able to fit your needs.
Is It Illegal to Have Sound on Your Home Security Cameras?
The short answer is absolutely not. Your home security cameras are legal and you can record without the consent of others because the cameras are in your home; however, you do need to consider privacy concerns. It is illegal to record in areas where a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ should be taken.
It is illegal to record in public areas such as office buildings, stores, a car, or other areas where both parties have not consented to the recording unless certain precautions have been followed. You may recall that most stores, offices, or banks have signs posted in visible locations stating that you are being recorded. Even then, most business only use video recording for privacy protection.
Note that most union works have agreements in place to never been monitored by security cameras. It is important to check your state laws to understand exactly what can and cannot be done.
To avoid legal issues never put cameras in public workplaces, public stores, or public areas unless signage has been posted stating that recording is taking place. Again, you can record interviews and other engagements as long as both parties have consented.