If you’re using a Kodak Zi8 or other such video camera for social media videos and are using an optional microphone, you may only be talking out of one side of your mouth and may not know it.

The 3.5mm microphone jacks on most late-model video cameras, or at least the ones smart enough to sport them, are stereo.  Oddly, most 3.5mm microphones have mono plugs.  This is why you may only hear sound coming out of your left speaker when you watch a video on YouTube, and it can be a frustrating experience for your audience.

Enter the 3.5mm mono-to-stereo adapter.  It may not be an earth-shattering invention, but one that most folks never bother to consider.  Putting one of these between the camera and microphone will ensure that your voice reaches both speakers for your viewers.

But not all adapters are alike.  You may see some retailers offering 1/8-inch adapters interchangably with 3.5mm ones, but the tiniest of differences between the two sizes makes a big difference.  A 1/8-inch adapter paired with a 3.5mm microphone plug may fit loose, resulting in sputtery, buzzy or just plain inaudible sound.  Make sure you get one that’s 3.5mm if your camera and microphone both come with 3.5mm fittings.

I highly recommend the adapter from Monoprice, which is catalog part 7160.  Not only is it less than the cost of a postage stamp — and a fraction of a fraction of Radio Shack prices! — it is also a solid adapter with gold plating for fantastic performance.

Make sure your heard two ears at a time, and pick up a mono-to-stereo adapter for your 3.5mm microphone.  Your clients will be glad you did!