Two-way audio security cameras are a popular choice for keeping homes and businesses safe as they allow you to listen-in and talk through the camera using a smartphone app. However, many people find that the audio quality from cameras made by big brands like Nest and Ring isn't great. Often, the speaker's sound is too quiet or just not clear, and the video isn't as sharp as it could be. This can make it hard to hear you when you're talking to the person at the camera, which isn't ideal for the purpose of having a two-way conversation from a security camera.

But there's a better way to get both top-notch sound and video. By pairing an IP security camera from CCTV Camera World with an external microphone and speaker, you can create a pro-level two-way audio video security system. What's cool about going with an IP camera that allows for external line-in/out audio connections is the bump in video quality you'll get. We offer professional surveillance cameras that provide up to 4K video resolution while also connecting to our external audio mic and speaker devices.

This setup – combining 4K video with our two-way audio mic and speaker combo – gives you a two-way audio security camera system that's way better than the ones with a built-in speaker. So, if you're looking for a surveillance setup that lets you see and hear everything, this is the way to go.

To get setup, keep in mind you'll want to make sure you have a two-way audio security camera that has the line-in and line-out audio inputs pictured below.

2-way mic and speaker combo with two different types of 2-way audio security cameras

Two Types of Audio Connections For Cameras

Before diving into the specifics of connecting our two-way mic and speaker combo to our IP cameras, it's critical to understand the types of connectors your camera might have, based on the model you purchased. There are two types of external audio connectors for cameras:

A) Cameras with 2-Lead Wire Audio Connectors

These cameras come with a 2-lead wire, requiring separate connectors for terminating an RCA audio connection. Within this setup, one wire serves as the audio-input, connecting to the microphone, while the other acts as the audio-output for the speaker. Finally, the third wire is a ground wire.

2-lead wire audio connector on IP camera pigtail

B) Cameras with RCA Connectors

For cameras with RCA audio connectors, the process is greatly simplified. These cameras feature built-in RCA connectors on the camera’s pigtail, clearly labeled for easy and straightforward setup, eliminating the need for the additional step of terminating the two-lead wires with RCA adapters.

RCA audio connectors on IP camera pigtail

What’s Needed?

Besides the cameras, there are a few pieces of equipment you are going to need to follow this guide and successfully connect audio to your camera.

Audio Devices

Our focus in this guide is using our microphone-speaker combo designed for two-way audio communication. It comes with all the accessories, as pictured below in the product picture.

two way microphone speaker combo device

We also carry a two-way audio kit that includes a separate outdoor-rated microphone and speaker, complete with all necessary connectors for installation.

Connectors and Power Accessories

Making this setup as simple as possible using the two-way audio combo device involves the use of the following connectors and accessories:

  1. PoE Power Splitter - takes power from your NVR, PoE switch or injector and converts to 12VDC
  2. 1-to-2 12V DC Power Splitter - Splits the 12VDC power into 2 plugs
  3. Female DC Power Coupler - Bridges the power connector on the combo device to the 12V splitter
  4. Option A (2-Lead Audio) Only - (2) Female RCA Audio Balun -  terminates the audio wires to RCA
  5. Option A (2-Lead Audio) Only - A small section of wire

Connecting the Two-Way Audio Mic and Speaker Combo to an IP Camera

With your IP network camera and the necessary connectors in hand, you're ready to connect the microphone and speaker. The instructions below use the microphone-speaker combo. If you have separate audio devices, adapt these instructions by using an additional 1-to-2 DC splitter or a 1-to-4 DC splitter to supply power to both audio devices.

Option A) Camera with 2-Lead Audio Input and Output

Option A with 2-lead wire audio connectors

Refer to the provided diagram above and the steps outlined below to connect your camera:

  1. Connect the audio input and output wires from the camera to the positive terminals of two separate female RCA audio baluns.
  2. Fasten the audio ground wire from the camera to the negative terminal of one balun.
  3. Use a separate short wire segment to link the negative terminals together, grounding the second balun.
  4. Pair the RCA audio baluns with the microphone and speaker using the appropriate connectors. For this example:
    • The red wire from the camera is paired with the white RCA connector from the speaker
    • The white wire from the camera is paired with the red RCA connector from the microphone
  5. Use the PoE Power Splitter by connecting a PoE cable from your NVR or PoE switch to its input.
  6. Plug the splitter's Ethernet output into the camera’s Ethernet port.
  7. Attach the 1-to-2 12V DC power splitter to the PoE splitter’s 12VDC connector.
  8. Connect one output of the 1-to-2 splitter to the camera and the other to the female DC power coupler.
  9. Finally, connect the male DC power connector from the microphone-speaker combo to the female DC power coupler.

Option B) Camera with RCA Audio Input and Output

Option B with RCA audio connectors

Refer to the provided diagram above and the steps outlined below to connect your camera:

  1. Pair the RCA wires from the camera with the microphone and speaker, using the appropriate connectors. For this example:
    • The yellow RCA from the camera is paired with the white RCA connector from the speaker
    • The white RCA from the camera is paired with the red RCA connector from the microphone
  2. Use the PoE Power Splitter by connecting a PoE cable from your NVR or PoE switch to its input.
  3. Plug the splitter's Ethernet output into the camera’s RJ45 Ethernet port.
  4. Attach the 1-to-2 12V DC power splitter to the PoE splitter’s 12V connector.
  5. Connect one output of the 1-to-2 splitter to the camera and the other to the female DC power coupler.
  6. Finally, connect the male DC power connector from the microphone-speaker combo to the female DC power coupler.

Video Tutorial on Making The Connections

In the video below explain the different connection types, and how to connect our two-way mic and speaker combo to one of our two-way audio capable IP cameras. Watching the process in video form is a lot easier to follow along and get your setup done as well.

Enabling Audio and Adjusting Settings

With the microphone and speaker connected to the Avalonix Premium Series IP camera, you’re ready for the final steps to get two-way audio working, which involve accessing the camera's web interface over the computer network and enabling audio encoding from the line-in and line-out connections on the camera.

Accessing a two-way audio camera connected to an NVR

If you own an Avalonix Premium Series NVR and want to tweak the settings of your Avalonix two-way audio camera that is connected to the NVR, you'll want to make sure you are on the same local network as the NVR. By using Microsoft Edge or Chrome on your PC, you can access the web browser interface of the NVR, which is a direct and simple method. Once you have access to the NVR's web interface, you can port over in to the camera's web interface and change its settings.

The detailed tutorial video below guides you through accessing your NVR's web interface and navigating to your camera settings. Here, you'll learn how to enable two-way audio and fine-tune the microphone and speaker volume to your preference.

Accessing a camera over a local computer network

PoE IP cameras are also commonly used as standalone security cameras for a wide variety of purposes. You can learn more about how to use the PoE cameras we carry as self-contained solutions in our guide on how to use security cameras as standalone guide. In a standalone scenario, cameras are typically connected to a computer network for local viewing, management, and remote access. Using your PC or Mac, you can use a web browser to connect in to the camera's web interface directly by entering its IP address on the local network. In the video below, we show the process of finding one of the Avalonix Premium Series IP Cameras on the local network using their Config Tool, connecting to the camera and then altering its audio settings to enable line-in and line-out connections. Please note these settings are offered in two-way audio capable cameras only.

Matt Rossi is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading CCTV Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. He is a technical support expert for everything video surveillance related.

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