Have you ever stopped listening to a podcast because of the hard "s"s and "p"s or other harsh noises caused by mic sensitivity? While listeners don't ever tune into a podcast because of the audio quality, they can tune out because of aggravating sounds that make an episode hard to listen to.
That's why pop filters can be so important in a podcast setup. Microphone pop filters serve a crucial role in enhancing the sound quality of your podcast by mitigating 'plosive' sounds.
In this blog, we'll go over the types of pop filters out there so you can choose the best one for your mic. We'll also review some basic mic technique tips so you can ensure you work with your podcast gear to produce the best-sounding recording possible.
3 Types of pop filters
There are primarily three types of pop filters widely used in recording studios: nylon, metal, and windscreens.
- Nylon pop filters: These are the most common type of pop filters. They consist of one or two layers of nylon stretched over a circular frame. They absorb higher frequencies.
- Metal pop filters: These filters are constructed with a fine mesh metal screen that is stretched over a circular frame. The metallic mesh of these filters is designed to redirect the fast-moving air from plosives without significantly altering the high frequencies.
- Foam windscreens: Unlike the previous two, windscreens are not separate attachments but fit directly over the microphone. They're great at reducing background noise and are particularly useful for outdoor recordings.
So, which one do you choose, and which one is the best fit for your specific mic?
How to find the best pop filter for your mic
The fit of a pop filter largely depends on its design and the type of microphone you are using. While many pop filters are designed to be universal and fit a wide range of microphones, not all of them will perfectly suit every type.
Certain mics with unique shapes or sizes may require specialized pop filters, so it's essential to check the compatibility of the pop filter with your specific microphone model before purchase.
Here are some pop filter recommendations for popular podcast microphones:
- Audio Technica ATR2100: A clamp-on nylon pop filter like the Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter would be a good fit.
- Rode PodMic: The On-Stage Pop Blocker is a great fit for the Rode PodMic .
- Shure SM7B: A foam windscreen like the Shure RK345 is designed specifically for this model.
- Rode Procaster: The Rode WS2 windscreen fits well and helps reduce plosives.
- Samson Q2U: The On-Stage Foam Ball-Type Microphone Windscreen is a great choice.
Remember that these are only suggestions. Always verify compatibility with your specific model before purchasing.
How to use a pop filter
Using a pop filter and a windscreen involves different methods due to their unique designs and intended purposes.
Using a Pop Filter
Pop filters are typically placed 2-4 inches away from the mic. This placement allows the filter to effectively disperse the air from plosive sounds before they reach the microphone.
It's crucial to note that pop filters function optimally when they aren't touching the microphone. The filter should be attached to the mic stand and positioned in front of the microphone, ideally covering the entire area where you'll direct your speech.
Using a Windscreen
Windscreens, on the other hand, are designed to fit directly over the microphone. They are typically made of foam or fur material which absorbs fast-moving air from plosives and reduces wind noise effectively.
To use a windscreen, you simply need to slip it over the top of the microphone until it fits snugly. Windscreens are particularly useful for outdoor recordings or in environments with high airflow where regular pop filters are less effective.
Basic mic techniques to optimize pop filter performance
While using a pop filter is essential for reducing plosive sounds, proper mic technique can also play a significant role in optimizing its performance. Here are some tips to keep in mind when recording with a pop filter:
- Position the microphone slightly below your mouth and aim it towards your chin to avoid capturing direct air from your breath.
- Keep an appropriate distance between yourself and the mic to avoid plosives while still capturing clear and full vocals.
- Experiment with different angles and positions of the pop filter to find the sweet spot where popping sounds occur less or not at all.
In conclusion, pop filters are a vital but often overlooked part of podcasting equipment. They can significantly improve the overall sound quality of your recordings since they help eliminate popping and background noise.