Pop filters are a staple in voice acting, but does that mean you need them, too? Can you achieve the same result by strategically positioning yourself around the mic? The short answer: yes, pop filters may make your mic sound better. So, you may want to consider learning how to make a pop filter or buy one for yourself.
In the meantime, let’s discuss the reason behind those popping sounds, what pop filters do, and how pop filters can make a difference.
The Occurrence of Popping Sounds
P and B produce plosive sounds that typically occur in speech. Basically, these are the sounds that would make the flame on the candle flicker should you talk with a lighted candle in front of your mouth.
You can put more emphasis on popping sounds by drawing the microphone closer during recording. The plosive sounds are then processed in the microphone’s diaphragm to produce an output signal. A pop filter or pop shield comes between these sounds and the microphone to remove or, at the very least, reduce the occurrence of plosive undertones in recordings.
The Effects of Plosives
Regardless of your studio environment, it’s vital to be aware of plosive sounds when doing your recordings. Aside from strategic microphone placement, using pop filters is another method of avoiding plosives when recording vocals or doing a voice-over.
The Effects of Pop Filters on Microphones
Pop filters can be handy accessories. They mitigate both high- and low-end plosive issues, making it easier for you to edit and record demos and auditions. In other words, it contributes to making your finished work as faultless as possible.
Many recording artists and voice actors swear by pop shields and would never attempt to record without one. While you don’t have to follow in their footsteps, that still proves how useful these tools can be.
Using a pop filter or an alternative solution in case one doesn’t suit you can hold the following benefits:
- Record quality music or voice recordings indoors
- Cuts low- and high-end sound issues to make editing out unwanted frequencies and sounds easier
- Remove or reduce popping sounds resulting from the fast-moving air’s mechanical impact on the microphone
- Minimize P and B plosives and cut down the hissing noise that often comes from overly enunciated S sounds
- Prevents moisture from gathering on the mic, helping preserve the equipment
What To Consider When Buying a Pop Filter
Like most products, pop filters come in different types and are not created equal. Here are some of the primary considerations when buying one:
Naturally, the size of your pop filter should coincide with your mic. Choose a pop filter whose diameter fits both the size of your mic and your style of recording. With this trio of factors aligning, you should be able to record comfortably in your studio. If you’re the type who does recordings animatedly, a larger-diameter pop shield may work better for you.
Another element that varies when it comes to pop filters is shape. The more cost-effective models often have flat filets, though they require you to speak close to the center. On the other hand, curved filets allow for a wider range of movement and motion, letting you record effectively from all angles.
More often than not, mounts are an important consideration when choosing pop filters. Generally, pop filters come with a gooseneck mount that’s screwed into the clamp and filter frame. Since mounts can vary in length, make sure to get one that’s long enough to allow you to fasten the filter to the microphone’s front correctly.
What Can You Use in Place of a Pop Filter?
In case you don’t own a pop filter or refuse to use one, here are some worthy alternatives:
- Speak off-axis at an angle not direct to the microphone
- Speaking or singing plosives with a smile to minimize the popping sounds
- Positioning a pencil between your mouth and the mic to break the air
Make Your Own Pop Filter
Lots of commercial tools have DIY versions that are as effective and efficient; pop filters are no exception. If you’re feeling especially creative, consider constructing your own pop filter using the countless DIY pop filter tutorials online. Most of these are easy to find and even easier to follow, so don’t hesitate to jump on the opportunity when you feel like it.
So, Does a Pop Filter Enhance Your Mic’s Sounds?
Ample evidence suggests it does. That said, it’s not the only sound-enhancing solution for microphones out there. DIY pop filters, speaking off-axis, pronouncing Bs and Ps with a smile, and placing a pencil barrier between the mouth and mic can be nearly as effective as using a commercial pop filter. That said, these alternatives will be neither as convenient nor as all-around as the top-selling pop screens and pop filters on the market.