What’s that Round Thing in Front of a Microphone? (Popfilter)
Recording vocals without a pop filter is a big no-no.
It’s amazing how powerful and effective a pop-filter can be.. while protecting your recordings!
Protect your recordings? Yes – I will get into more info in a moment. I’ll first start with what is a pop filter?
I recommend this awesome and inexpensive pop filter by Neewer:
What is a Pop Filter for Microphones
A pop filter is when you place a piece of material in front of a microphone to prevent the wind of your mouth from destroying your recordings.
Certain words we say release more air pressure out of your mouth than others. These words are called PLOSIVES.
Some plosive word examples would be push, power, pepper etc.
Try this: Put your hand in front of your mouth and say the P words above. Compare them to words like care, and, or nail. Plosives release much more air pressure, which ruin recordings quickly!
Another type of pop filter is a metal screen pop filter. (I have not tried these, but they seem popular!)
With most microphones being so sensitive, plosives can cause distortion in your recordings because the wind pressure is too much for the microphone. Or, those few words of the recording are extra loud then the others, requiring extra work in editing/mixing. (Post production.)
Now the type of material for pop filters is important, too. Thicker material may reduce how good your vocal sounds, because sound gets trapped in the material, almost like you’re creating an EQ through the material!
The trick is finding a material which cuts down the wind of plosives, but still allows for an awesome recording full of warmth and high-end.
Most people will use panty hose for DIY (do it yourself) pop filters.
Pop filters you buy usually are a type of black nylon mesh. (Some even have a metal mesh!)
DIY Pop Filter
Is it actually possible to create your own pop filter?
The answer is yes – it just requires creativity and handyman skills 😉
When I first started, I created my own pop filter to save money. I used steel wire, panty hose, and some tape!
Quick explanation: I double layered the steel wire, shaped it into a circle, slid the panty hose over top (cutting off the excess), and simply taped the panty hose to keep it in place.
I found one layer of panty hose was not super effective, so I double layered the panty hose with much better results.
I’ll tell you right now though, it doesn’t look pretty, but it does do the job!
Here’s an example of my first DIY pop filter:
Lack of Pop Filter? – Restore your Audio!
Now if you’ve forgotten to use a pop filter in your latest recording, there is still hope for your audio recordings! (If the plosives are not too extreme!)
You can use a High Pass Filter to filter out the low-end, because that’s where the plosives live in the frequency spectrum!
Simply open an EQ on your vocal recording, select a high-pass filter, and slowly filter away the low-end so the vocal still sounds normal, but you hear a dramatic reduction in plosives.
This also takes away any low-end rumble, and may reduce your computer fan’s volume a bit!
I Can’t Get My Pop Filter to Stay in Place
Keeping my DIY pop filter in place was ALWAYS A PROBLEM. It made recording not fun at all.
You’ll also read other people having this same problem on forums. So how can you prevent it?
I don’t have a solid answer, other than I decided to purchase a popfilter for two reasons:
- To make my studio look sharper
- So the popfilter stays in place!
I just purchased an affordable Neewer pop filter off Amazon. So far it’s been great. You just clamp it onto your mic stand, and you’re on your way!
Final Notes on a Pop Filter
A pop filter not only makes your studio look professional, it gives you professional results.
It protects your recordings from those distorting plosives, allowing for A LOT easier editing come mix time.
Hope that helps!