Pop filters are a must-have for recording in enclosed spaces. This nylon or metallic object acts as a shield around your microphone. They filter any mechanical sounds made from misplaced instruments. A pop filter also reduces any whooshing sound made from fast-moving air from singing.
Plosive air is inevitable when someone is too close to the microphone. Misspoken words or loud clicks are more audible this way. Even if they’re not usually heard, microphones tend to amplify them. This is why pop filters are so handy. Let’s take a closer look at this practical device.
Uses of Pop Filter
Pop filters are a blessing. You can’t control a sudden blast of plosive air in the middle of singing. They tend to be noticeable if the speaker or singer is close to the microphone. That can’t be helped either. So to avoid such mishaps in your room or studio, having a pop filter attached to your microphone helps heaps.
So why does plosive air affect your audio so much? Some microphones come with high-pass filters. However, the sound gets amplified when the air hits the microphone no matter what the setting is. Omnidirectional microphones, for all their benefits, are susceptible to this effect more. Proximity overtakes safeguard features.
The real question is, do you need a pop filter to have a superior vocal take?
Are Pop Filters Necessary?
Simply put, no. You don’t need a pop filter to have a glorious recording. There’s a neat technique for positioning your microphone. Just place it a tad off-axis. This will help you avoid directly singing into the microphone. Mind you, it’s not always effective. Singing sideways into the microphone isn’t necessarily comfortable either.
Here are two factors to consider.
1. Low-Pitched Tones
However, pop filters (if improperly placed) can make your voice sound flat. If you have a low-pitched voice, it’s best to avoid this equipment. The same goes for those singing altos and basses. There’s a way around this though. Nylon pop filters have wired meshes. You get to avoid sounding flat and eliminate plosives.
2. Frequency Losses
Most brands will claim that the highs absorbed by these filters won’t affect your vocals or music. As a singer, you’ll be able to notice better. If you think it’s affecting your tone, invest in nylon pop filters. Metal ones help too. They reduce high-frequency loss. This is because they have wide-spaced meshes.
Benefits of Using Pop Filters
Editing is a crucial part of making songs or podcasts. It adds to your creative genius. Pop filters come in handy here. They make recording and editing audio files easier. What does this mean? Better demos and polished audio files. Not impressed yet? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits.
- Produce high-quality audio files.
- Eliminate echoes that are found in audios recorded in enclosed spaces.
- Reduce unwanted ambient sounds and frequency changes.
- Lower popping sounds resulted from mechanical impacts.
- Cuts down plosives from words ending with Ps and B.
- Reduced sibilance from S sounds.
- Adds a layer of protection on your microphone against dirt.
Pop Filter Buying Guide
If you’ve settled on buying a pop filter, great. Your work doesn’t end there though. There are several things you need to consider before making your purchase. Here’s a quick breakdown.
You don’t want a pop filter that is too big or too small for your microphone. The pop filter must complement your mic. You may want to consider getting a larger pop filter if you move around while singing. If you’re stationary while recording, a smaller size will do. Just remember the diameter matters.
How do you attach the pop filter to the microphone? Is the mount sturdy and easy to attach? Most pop filters have a gooseneck mouth. You need to screw it into the frame and clamp it. So before making your purchase, make sure the neck of the attachment is long enough to get the job done.
You’d think pop filters would have a default shape and size, right? Wrong! They come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. You’ll find flat filters and even curved ones. The former is more cost-effective and durable. You need to speak right at the center though. Curved filters offer more range of movement.
Comparing the Best Pop Filters and Screens on the Market
There are so many options in the market. The two popular ones are nylon mesh pop filters and metallic mesh pop filters. It ultimately comes down to your preference and budget. We’ve listed down the advantages and disadvantages of using both. Take a look!
Nylon Mesh Pop Filter
This pop filter makes use of two thin layers of nylon to diffuse air. It slows down the air movements before it hits the mic. They are diffused through different directions. These layers reduce plosive noise resulting from the proximity of the speaker.
Advantages of Nylon Mesh Pop Filters:
- It’s cheaper compared to the other designs.
- It’s a standard instrument in the music industry.
- They come in large sizes which allow freedom of movement.
Disadvantages of Nylon Mesh Pop Filters:
- The audio may sound flat.
- The fabric is susceptible to wear and tear.
Metallic Mesh Pop Filter
This pop filter works much differently than the nylon mesh ones. It doesn’t diffuse the air. Instead, it moves the air away from the microphone. The barrier deflects the air movement. So if you utilize this properly, you won’t have to worry about unwanted noise plosives.
Advantages of Metal Mesh Pop Filters:
- The mesh has wider holes so it doesn’t affect your frequency.
- They are more durable.
- The equipment is easy to maintain.
Disadvantages of Metal Mesh Pop Filters:
- It’s costlier than a nylon mesh filter.
- The thin metal sheet can bend easily.
You could do worse things than investing in a pop filter. In all seriousness, this can help you pace your frequency and eliminate vocal mishaps. Now that you know what a pop filter does, it’s time to make your purchase. Invest in a metal pop filter for durability or a nylon one for flexibility.
You may also like to read: Best Pop Filter for Blue Yeti.