Those who are not familiar with accessories in the world of music are frequently surprised to see a weird circle installed between the performer and his mic. The appliance installed several inches from the microphone is called popfilter.
It serves to stop some sounds that ruin the recording. As sound goes via the circle, the plosives are filtered off thanks to filter mesh. The appliance creates a barrier that blocks and stops unwanted vibrations.
When we read the characteristics of the mics, we can find the embedded pop filter in some of them. This is especially acute for live vocal microphones, for instance, SM58 includes such feature. Other microphones don’t have it and, honestly speaking, the consumer can prefer such option because the external pop filter works much better than any inbuilt appliance.
What Is a Pop Filter?
A mic pop filter is usually made of some material that is semitransparent acoustically. The example of such material is nylon or metal placed over the frame. It should be flexible for easier attachment. If you look at studio condensers you can find some of them with filters included. It makes the result better removing popping sounds and also guards the devices from spits and moisture thus prolonging life of microphone.
The music production industry employs these appliances fully as mic tends to emphasize sounds people usually don’t hear. Professional quality presupposes that filtering is indispensable part of the process otherwise the recording is perceived as spoilt.
Why Do You Need a Pop Filter?
It’s impossible to deliver recorded speech or vocals without vocal pops caused by special plosives. People produce different sounds with different intensity. It takes more energy to produce certain sounds therefore the force of air increases. It all affects the result but the pop shield is able to eliminate the problem and make sound vibrations more or less equal.
The proximity effect is a common problem of directional microphone. Actually, all types of mics are subjected to this problem. Besides, even singers who are able to control the result can’t get rid of this defect without assistance of special appliances. It’s not some sophisticated construction but this small item contributes to enhanced records. Good pop filter doesn’t cost much but the effect is noticeable.
The first thing you should determine is the goal of intended use. The musician may need it for live concert, studio recording or just for practicing at home.
Recording the performance in the studio can be challenging. The person probably rents the studio and doesn’t have much time at disposal. He applies to the sound engineer who isn’t going to spend tons of time editing, therefore, superb result is required as soon as possible. High quality mic filter makes the recording session less painful. As for the live performance, there’s no second chance. You won’t be able to sing the same song again. Your audience has already heard the performance of poor quality with plosives and it was terrible. If they record the live concert with smartphone and share it with others this terrible result will become accessible for all your audience. This is not what you expected, right? Take measures in advance to protect yourself from pop sounds and avoid the similar situation.
It’s not what is necessary for musician as he or she practices at home. This seems to be extra accessory that isn’t required in this case – nobody cares. But is it really so? What about you? How do you feel after you listen to the result? The practicing should inspire and encourage you. It shouldn’t disappoint or suppress the person. Attain fabulous result all the time to feel confident about the way you perform. Try to reach the brilliant result at home rehearsal to shine onstage later on. Pop filter for condenser will help you in it. This tool is affordable. So why refuse from this simple low cost appliance that delivers fantastic enhancement of your recording?
Royer PS-101 Metal Pop Filter Black
Rycote InVision Studio Kit with USM-VB
AKG PF80 Pop Filter
The Two Types of Pop Filters
Microphone pop filter can be of two types: the filter made of metal and nylon mesh. Which of them works best? It depends upon the circumstances.
The metal filter was introduced to solve the problem of top-end cutoff. Metal items are more durable and can serve long in contrast to the mesh filters. This type of filter also provides better accuracy in comparison with other pop filters. At the same time, the metal filter for the mic is also more expensive. It costs about $50 but much depends on the trademark. If you are not ready to spend such amount, then you should select the mesh filter for low budget variant. It’s enough to spend about $20 to improve the sound considerably.
Though we planned to describe two types of filters only, it’s worth mentioning that there are some items with combination of both accessories.
Some customers resort to doubtful hacks such as putting socks over the frame, trying to create the appliance similar in functionality. However, such alternative is far from what it should be consequently there is no desired effect.
Professional singers are able to sing reducing negative plosives effect in their performance. However, they can only diminish it maximally, not remove this effect altogether. Pop filter is necessary for full removal. It actually redirects the air that causes trouble and distributes it evenly between the holes of mesh.
What About a Windscreen?
A windscreen is often confused with microphone pop filter, but actually, these appliances look differently and consequently work differently as well. They are made in the form of big foam cylinders placed on microphone. The confusion is probably caused by the term microphone pop cover.
The accessory is usually selected when the person captures sound in the noisy street or uncontrolled environment. For instance, it can be used during the interview outside, or at concert. In this way, the screen holds the wind or intensive streams of air protecting the sound of voice. The wind screens also soak in saliva when users spit on microphone while singing. It’s harmful for condenser that can stop functioning due to moisture and humidity. It’s common knowledge that condensor microphone is rather fragile. Therefore, it’s especially important to purchase this accessory for condenser. These covers become perfect protection for such devices.
As you see, there are a lot of items for improving the performance. It’s important to have pop filter and windscreen at your disposal to come up with superb result. This device isn’t something you must have. It’s rather a preferable item. However, those who love beautiful sound don’t perform without pop filter. They don’t want to put up with the plosives ‘b’ and ‘p’ in their speech.