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Do Security Cameras Have Audio & Is It Legal for CCTV to Record Sound

do security cameras have audio

Let’s face it: you are caught on security cameras almost every day! Compared with video only monitoring, audio recording without your notice can be more worrisome. So, as you may wonder, do security cameras have audio? Can CCTV security cameras record sound? And how to tell if security cameras have audio? With the above questions in your mind, you’ll get all the details by the time you’re done reading this post.

Do Security Cameras Have Audio?

Yes, many modern security cameras come equipped with microphones and speakers for audio capabilities.

These features can include:

  1. Two-Way Audio: Allows users to both listen to the audio from the camera's surroundings and speak through the camera to communicate with anyone nearby.
  2. One-Way Audio: Enables the camera to capture audio from its surroundings, which can be useful for recording events and enhancing security monitoring.
  3. Audio Alerts: Some cameras can be set up to send alerts or notifications when specific sounds, like breaking glass or loud noises, are detected.

Can CCTV Cameras Record Sound – Yes, in Terms of Technology

If you ask: can security cameras record audio?

The answer is definitely YES in terms of the camera technology.

In virtue of the built-in microphones that are sensitive enough to pick up the sound within the monitoring zones, the IP cameras are capable to record both audio and videos.

For some of the security cameras with audio input, they can also allow you to add an external microphone for sound recording, like the 4K battery-powered security camera, Reolink Argus 4 Pro.

There is no doubt that security cameras with audio offer you unparalleled benefits. For example, you can listen to your baby, pets or visitors from afar without physically being there.

Reolink Argus 4 Pro

4k 180° Wire-free Color Night Vision Camera

4K UHD 180° Blindspot-free View; Color Vision Day and Night; 30% More Battery Life; Dual-band Wi-Fi 6; Smart detection.

But an unavoidable fact is that, CCTV cameras with sound recording could infringe on people’s privacy if not used properly.

And that leads to the following question we are going to discuss: Can security cameras record sound from the perspective of laws?

Can Security Cameras Record Audio Legally – That Depends

The audio surveillance laws by state vary from place to place and are generally stricter than video monitoring regulations.

And that’s also explains why not all security cameras have audio.

To help you learn whether it is illegal to have security cameras with sound in your location, here are a few factors you need to check out.

Where are the CCTV cameras with voice recording installed?

If you are a homeowner, you have the right to use security cameras with audio on your property, but you still have to make sure no laws are violated.

Even at home, you cannot record someone else's conversation without their knowledge or permission. So if you have visitors, you'd better inform them that there is a CCTV camera recording audio.

When it comes to places where people have the expectation of privacy, such as the bedrooms, dressing rooms, toilets, etc., both audio and video recording are not allowed.

The legality of audio recording in public places can be more complicated and you’ll have to consider other factors (listed below) as well.

According to the privacy laws in most states, CCTV cameras cannot record sound unless you obtain the consent of at least one party involved in the conversation.

In such places as California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington, all-party consent is required before your security cameras can record sound legally.

You can check the recording laws of different states here.

Also, putting up signs which specify that audio recording is taking place can also be regarded as consent in most states. For example, small business owners usually would place a sign indicating the use of retail store security cameras.

The most reliable way to learn if security cameras can record audio legally is to search related local, state, and federal laws or to consult your attorney directly before you have one camera installed.

How to Tell If Security Cameras Have Audio

If you notice an IP camera in public places and want to check if this CCTV camera is recording audio, maybe you can only ask the camera owner as the microphones are normally unnoticeable from a distance.

However, there are multiple ways available for you to tell if your newly bought CCTV camera has audio.

  • Look through the product page as well as the tech specifications to see if audio recording is listed as a highlight of your security cameras.
  • For the security cameras that have audio or sound recording, generally there is a small hole (microphone) in the camera housing for sound pickup, just like the one in the picture as showed below.

Security Camera Microphone

  • Download a video clip and play back the recorded footage to see if your security cameras do have audio.
  • After all, the quickest way to tell if your home security camera has audio is to inquire the support team of your camera seller.

And if you’ve got any experience about how to know if CCTV has audio, please don’t hesitate to share your ideas with us so we can add more helpful tips here.

More Hottest Questions About Security Camera Audio Recording

Besides the most frequently asked question that do security cameras have audio, here we’ve collected more hot problems and solutions concerning security camera audio recording.

Q1: What’s the Audio Range/Quality of CCTV Cameras?

As you can guess, the audio range and quality of security cameras vary with different brands.

If you want to buy the CCTV cameras with high quality sound recording, go for the reputable brands that have a large customer base and enjoy high appraisal.

The video samples with voice recording can also offer your some reference to judge the audio quality of IP cameras.

Taking Reolink security cameras that can record sound for example, the audio range can reach as far as 6 meters with clear voice. And below is a video sample with voice captured by Reolink RLC-410.

Video Transcription

A car accident was shot by the home security camera with audio Reolink RLC-410. In the video, you can also clearly hear the bird singing and the car crashing.

Q2: How to Turn off Audio Recording of Security Cameras?

In some situations where you’d like to disable security camera audio recording, you can easily achieve this on your smart phone or PC.

Simply log into the security camera software, and untick the box before “Record Audio” under the camera settings (like Reolink cameras below).

Disable Audio Recording


①Quora: Do security cameras have audio? How can I check that this CCTV camera is recording audio?

②The Security Installer: Is it illegal to have microphone/audio on camera/CCTV kit?

③CCTV Forum: Does anyone know if it's legal in California for audio recording?


All Comments Are Welcome

Yolanda is an editor of Reolink, and also an independent writer showing great interest in technology and art. She has studied home and business security issues for years, and always shares useful tips and tricks with her fans.