Whether you’re laying down vocals in the studio, recording audio for a podcast or broadcasting on YouTube, nothing will irk you and your audience quite as much as when unwanted bangs and pops litter your audio. A Pop Filter (or Pop Shield) helps to minimise the effect of those vocal pops to ensure that your track levels are consistent and, most importantly, listenable.
What Is a Vocal Pop?
Vocal pops occur when we use “plosives” in speech, such as when pronouncing the letters ‘B’ or ‘P’. Without delving too deeply into the world of phonetics, the term “plosive” refers to the sudden burst (plosion) of the consonant. For example, hold your hand in front of your mouth and say the alphabet out loud. You’ll notice a considerable difference in air expelled between the letter’s ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’. It is this release that a microphone picks up and translates as a burst or pop. The closer you are to the microphone, the worse the effect can be.
How does a Pop Filter work?
Pop Filters incorporate a mesh-like screen that is generally circular in design. The filter works by ensuring that the burst of air released by a plosive is scattered before reaching the microphone. The result is a clear vocal with minimal drop in high-frequency clarity.
A somewhat unsavoury thought, but when we sing or talk with gusto, an unwanted side effect can be the inadvertent production of saliva. Over time this could affect microphone performance and eventually damage it. Pop Filters help to eliminate that from happening, thus extending the life of your mic. Bonus!
Let’s take a look at some of the different Pop Filters that we have to offer.
Essentials PF1 Pop Filter
The Essentials PF1 Pop Filter is our most affordable option, featuring a nylon design that does the job of eliminating low frequency turbulence perfectly. Some sound engineers will argue that nylon has a slightly detrimental effect on high frequencies. However, if you want a pop filter for home use, podcasting and broadcasting applications, then this is the ideal choice. The screw-in mount allows it to connect firmly to most stands, whilst the goose neck design enables the pop filter to be positioned as per your requirements. Preferably you would keep a few inches distance between you and the microphone.
SE Electronics Pro Metal Pop Filter
The SE Electronics Pro Metal Pop Filter differs from the nylon design and adopts metal as the primary material instead. The ingenious design incorporates a slightly convex shape, which forces air to the side of the screen. By doing this the natural timbre of your voice remains unaffected, allowing the microphone to capture a true representation of your vocal performance.
The robust metal design makes the SE Electronics Pro Metal Pop Filter more robust than a traditional fabric filter, ideal for those in a commercial environment or who need a pop filter that is built to last.
SE Electronics Isolation Pack – Pop Filter and Shock Mount
The SE Electronics Isolation Pack with Pop Filter and Shock Mount incorporates the Pro Metal Pop Filter alongside a shock mount. This cleverly designed partnership ensures that plosives and low-frequency vibrations are eliminated. All packaged in a single unit that connects easily to your mic stand with a simple twist to secure it.
SE Electronics Dual Pro Pop Filter
The SE Electronics Dual Pro Pop Filter offers the best of both worlds with both fabric and metal filters for you to choose from. Depending on your preference, you can either go for the traditional fabric filter or utilise the metal filter. No two voices are the same so having both options means that you can tailor your filter to best capture the vocalist. Alternatively, you could incorporate both filters simultaneously for stylistic purposes. This could be beneficial during outside broadcasts to eliminate wind noise or environments where high sound pressure levels are present.
Featuring a single-clamp setup, the filters can be fastened to any mic stand with ease. The metal reinforced goose neck allows you to extend and position the filters exactly where you need them to be.
Essentials Complete Vocal Recording Booth Bundle
The Essentials Complete Vocal Recording Booth Bundle highlights how a pop filter is incorporated into a complete vocal recording setup. The pop filter acts between the vocalist and the microphone to eliminate plosives for smooth signal levels, whilst the isolation booth prevents audible reflections from bouncing back from surfaces behind the microphone. This combination allows the microphone to capture as faithful a vocal performance as possible. Both attach discreetly to the mic stand so that you can focus on your performance and technique.
A Pop Filter is an invaluable piece of equipment that can significantly enhance your vocal recordings. As you can see, you need not spend a fortune either. From amateurs to professionals, if you haven’t got a pop filter in your setup then try one out and you’ll see that it is money well spent.
Check out our other great studio equipment if you need more inspiration. And, as ever, if you need any advice you can speak to one of our in-store specialists who can guide you in the right direction or you can call our customer service team on 01925 582420 with any questions you may have.
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.