It seems I'm the only person who doesn't understand why Mic out port on Sony ecm-xyst1m external microphone doesn't work with headphones, while having the same jack.

I bought that one and first thought it is broken, but at service they told it is not supposed to be used with headphones. I tried to google the topic but it seems nobody even care about that. At the same time very similar microphone from Sony, just wireless - Sony ECMW1M does have headphones output.

Taking into account that A6000, A6300 and even A6500 cameras doesn't have headphones output as well, that sounds like a really stupid design from Sony.

What's the point of having all those switches on sound recording if you can't hear what is being recorded?

2 Answers 2


Microphones output at mic level, which is a signal that ranges from around 0.001 volts to 0.01 volts. Headphones work at closer line level, which is around 1 volt. Based off that information, you can see there isn't enough power in the output of a microphone to hear it by directly plugging headphones into the microphone. Just because they have the same connector, doesn't mean that the signals are compatible. This isn't Sony design flaw, it is how all microphones work.

Instead of plugging the headphones directly into the microphone, you need to use a headphone amplifier. Connect that directly to the mic and then plug your headphones in to the amp. There are headphone amps available in a number of price ranges, depending on the features and quality you need.

  • Thank you for explanation and workaround! But I'm still not considering it right from Sony to not provide a normal way of hearing the recording.
    – Sasha
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 8:29
  • I'm not sure how you think you are going to record anything if you are using the mic out for monitoring. The proper way to monitor would be through your recording or mixing device as a first choice. The second choice would be with an inline headphone amp, as mentioned above. That way you can record and listen at the same time. Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 22:14
  • Michael, Sony doesn't provide any way to monitor recording in their mirrorless cameras (it is supposed to be included in microphone and one option has headphone jack in fact, but this model doesn't for some reason). Also, do you think "FiiO A1 Silver Portable Headphone Amp A1" will work for this task? I'm not sure it is intended to recognize such low signal voltage and it seems nobody on Amazon knows...
    – Sasha
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 14:39
  • 1
    Whatever amplifier you buy has to have a mic input—one that can take the very low power signal from the mic and amplify it for headphones. It also needs two outputs, one for your headphones and one for the recording device. Since it will most likely output at line level (0-1v) you'll need to make sure your camera can take a line level input.
    – stib
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 7:37

Because it's a line out jack and is meant to go to the Mic In of a recorder. That device is used as an external microphone.

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Excerpt from manual, from your link

What's the point of using the external mic as a hearing aid?

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