If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best pop filter is, then I’d recommend the Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter as the best one.
Regardless of how excellent your microphone is, it might not be enough to produce a professional quality recording. Many factors will affect your recording, and to combat those factors, you might want to consider getting a pop filter!
There are a lot of good pop filters in the market today. Since its rapid growth, many manufacturers now cater products like pop filters. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, you might be wondering what to get that’ll be worth your money.
In this article, we’ll be talking about the best pop filter that’ll suit your needs and why you need them.
Here are the Best Pop Filters we will be reviewing:
- Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter
- OnStage ASFSS6-GB Dual Screen Microphone Pop Filter
- Auphonix MPF-1 6-inch Diameter Microphone Pop Filter
- SE Electronics Pro Metal Pop Filter
- Nady MPF-6 6-Inch Clamp On Microphone Pop Filter
What is a Pop Filter?
Pop filters, also known as pop shields or pop screens, are noise protection filters for microphones. You can usually see pop filters inside recording studios.
What Do Pop Filters Do?
Pop filters reduce or eliminate the recording of explosive sounds (also known as plosives) when you talk. Plosives are the blasts of air that come from your mouth whenever you speak hard letters such as P, B, T, D, K, G. In English, from strongest to weakest, these letters are the 6 plosive sounds.
These plosive sounds produce high-velocity wind when spoken. When plosives hit the microphone, they result in a popping sound on the recording. Plosives sound louder and more annoying in microphones compared to reality. And, pop filters remove those kinds of sounds.
Do Microphones Already Have Pop Filters?
Yes, most microphones already have built-in pop filters. However, getting an external pop filter will be more effective in eliminating the sound of plosives. If you want to take your recording up a notch, then I suggest getting external pop filters.
How Far From The Microphone Should The Pop Filter Be?
To properly use a pop filter, it should be 2-4 inches away from the microphone. For the vocalist, the pop filter should be 5-10 inches away. Angle the pop filter 30–45 degrees up or down if you have extra-loud plosives. It will increase the pop filter’s wind-dispersal power, allowing even less wind to reach the microphone.
Difference Between A Pop Filter And Windshield/Mic Screen
Pop filters and windshields aim to prevent the excess wind from reaching the microphone and affect the recording. However, they both have their differences.
Pop filters are for indoors, while windshields are for outdoors. The goal of pop filters is to prevent the breath of the vocalist from affecting the recording. Windshields, on the other hand, deflect the wind outdoors. Windshields can’t stop plosives that much compared to pop filters because the vocalist is so close to the microphone. Windshields are best for recording outside, like concerts or film shoots. They are not a good alternative for a pop filter.
Both have the same goal (defuse the excess wind) but for different uses (indoor/outdoor).
Common Types of Pop Filters
Nylon Pop Filters
The original version of pop filters uses nylon material. These pop filters use double-layered nylon fabric extended across the inside of a metal ring. Nylon pop filters defuse the fast air from your breath through the first nylon layer. Afterward, it goes through the second layer to diffuse the air and eliminate the remaining plosives.
Nylon pop filters are more affordable compared to metal ones. However, they are more delicate and easy to get damaged.
Metal Pop Filters
Metal pop filters are a recent invention compared to the original nylon pop filters. They have a single layer of thin metal and have a specific pattern to deflect air. They are sturdier and have long-lasting durability than their nylon counterparts. Metal pop filters last longer and can be more expensive.
Flat Pop Filters
Flat pop filters have a flat, round appearance. They are more cost-effective, but you need to speak in the center directly. Plosives can still be audible if done incorrectly.
Curve Pop Filters
These pop filters curve around the mic. They cover more angles of the mic and provide more room for you to move when recording. However, they are a bit pricey.
How to Use a Pop Filter?
Adjust the clamp to an open position first and find a spot on the microphone stand to secure the pop filter. Then, place the clamp in the position you want and tighten the screw. The next thing you need to do is adjust the gooseneck. Put the pop filter 2-4 inches away from the microphone (or depending on your preference). Be careful that it’s not touching the microphone, and put some appropriate distance.
After setting up the pop filter, you can now record vocals. You don’t need to change anything with its setup during recording. After recording, don’t forget to clean the pop filter with a rag or cloth. Pop filters protect microphones from spits, so you need to get rid of any moisture build-up.
Why Use a Pop Filter?
To Record High-quality Vocals
The main purpose of pop filters is to filter popping sounds, which will lead to high-quality vocals. Pop filters remove those plosives or heavy breathing sounds, which can be annoying to listen to.
To Make Editing Easier
Pop filters can cut out issues on the high and low ends. Hence, making it easier to edit out any unwanted frequencies and sounds.
To Minimize Plosives
Pop filters minimize or eliminate popping sounds (plosives) caused by the impact of the high-velocity wind on the microphone. Pop filters also reduce sibilance, which is the hissing sound from the S sounds. Minimizing plosives and sibilance will result in a high-quality recording that’s pleasing to hear.
To Protect Your Microphone
Pop filters protect your microphone from spits and moisture, which can preserve the equipment. To clean it properly, just get a clean rag or cloth to rub off the surface gently.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Pop Filter
The common materials used for pop filters are either nylon or metal. Most manufacturers prefer building pop filters from nylon because it’s cheaper. Although it’s affordable, nylon still gets the job done and is a reliable material. However, metal is sturdier and lasts longer. There aren’t any proven studies yet that show which of the two is better in filtering out the plosives. A lot of experienced pop filter users prefer nylon, while premium builders prefer metal pop filters.
The standard size for pop filters is 6”, but many also use the 4” size. Having a bigger size for your pop filter means you have more room for movement as well. If you like to move a lot while recording your vocals, I suggest getting a bigger pop filter. Smaller pop filters are best for small recording spaces or small microphones. Smaller pop filters are lighter, which minimizes stress on the gooseneck and increases its stability.
You need to get a pop filter that will be compatible with your workspace. If you’re using a desktop-mounted mic for a home recording, get a pop filter that can clip on the desk or the microphone. There are USB microphones out there that might not be able to counterbalance the weight of the pop filter. I suggest you get a smaller pop filter that has an adjustable clamp if it’s like that.
It’s essential to take note of the gooseneck quality when opting for a good pop filter. Make sure the gooseneck is long enough, flexible, and stable. These factors will help you position the pop filter correctly and increase your comfortability.
Pop filters usually have clamping and mounting tools to help secure attachment to microphone stands. Make sure the gooseneck is long enough for you to mount the pop filter in front of the microphone correctly.
Having a budget in mind will help you sift through your options easily. Bear in mind that the material used for the pop filter will affect its price. Nylon pop filters are more affordable compared to metal pop filters that last longer. Whichever you choose, both materials are reliable for a good quality pop filter.
For my top recommendation, it would be the Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter. It’s one of the most well-known pop filters in the market today. It lives up to its fame and is known for its outstanding performance and great value for money. The Stedman Proscreen XL is from patented material, with a diameter of 6” to stop plosives from reaching your microphone.
The Stedman Proscreen XL’s material is easy to wash. Just wipe the surface with a mild detergent and water to avoid moisture build-up and preserve the equipment. Its gooseneck is 13’ long for flexible positioning. Its clamp is nylon-tipped so you won’t get any scratches on your microphone stand. It’s an excellent pop filter that’s good for both home recording and studio recording. The length of the Stedman Proscreen is 26.5″ and weighs 10 oz.
The Stedman Proscreen XL, with its premium quality, is a bit expensive. But, it’s worth the investment for sure!
- Made from metal for long-lasting durability
- Protects microphone from moisture
- Long clamp with a range of 9mm-23.5mm
- Signal levels can be maximized without the risk of clipping caused by bursts
- Exclusively designed filter with angled openings (forces plosives downwards and away from microphone)
- A bit pricey for a pop filter
The On-Stage Dual Screen Pop Filter is a low-cost solution for a high-quality vocal recording! It has a dual-screen feature made from nylon to reduce unwanted plosives and hissing sounds. The On-Screen Dual Screen has a 6” screen size so you can have more room for movement. Its 11.5” gooseneck length is long enough for you to have easy placement-tweaking.
The On-Stage Dual Screen Pop Filter is a standard studio tool that helps you improve the quality of your vocal recording. The first screen diffuses the excessive air burst from plosive consonants, while the open space between the two layers reduces air pressure. The second layer diffuses the remaining plosive sounds.
- Dual screen layers of nylon material to diffuse popping sound effectively
- Easy-grip C-clamp with a nylon-tipped clamp to avoid scratches on your microphone
- It has non-conductive dual hoops with snap ring stretch the filter taut
- Includes micro-weave nylon filter diffuses vocal thrusts, without altering its natural sound
- Cost-effective/budget-friendly pop filter
- Its dual layers may affect the clarity of the vocal recording
This pop filter offers superb quality with its mesh material. It’s from the ultra-sturdy polyester mesh that prevents popping sounds from reaching your microphone without disrupting the quality of your vocals.
It will help you sound good without changing your voice, sounding flat, or masking your inflection. It comes with a double layer of mesh to reduce unwanted plosives and hissing sounds. Its gooseneck is adjustable and allows you to position it however you want.
But, there have been feedbacks that its gooseneck does not stay in place when you adjust it. It might place your pop filter in an awkward position, which can decrease your comfortability and productivity in your recording.
- Double layer of mesh material to stop plosives effectively
- High-quality material
- It has a flexible yet sturdy gooseneck holder
- It makes all your recordings sound professional
- It can be used for singing, voiceover, podcasts, vlogging
- Gooseneck loosens easily which can be annoying and may place your pop filter in an awkward position
- A bit difficult to clean
This pop filter offers superb quality made from perforated metal at an affordable cost. It integrates all the advantages of a metal pop filter compared to the standard mesh! Its metal screen will guarantee you a long period of use because of its sturdy build.
The SE Electronics Pro Metal Pop Filter removes the plosive sounds on your recordings without altering the quality of the vocals. It doesn’t affect high-frequencies like how cloth pop filters often do, so it won’t make your recordings sound dull. It’s a good alternative for those overly expensive metal pop filters. It may be affordable, but it offers high-quality performance.
Its gooseneck is flexible, so you can adjust it in any position that’s comfortable for you. Although its screen is metal, the rest of its gooseneck is plastic. Its plastic build may find it hard to stay in place when you move it around. Overall, this pop filter delivers excellent performance and great value for your money.
- Metal screen for long-lasting durability
- High-quality pop filter
- It has a slightly convex shape to redirect low-frequency air blasts to the side of the screen
- The gooseneck holds its position at any angle
- Only the screen is metal, the gooseneck is plastic and loosens easily
The Nady MPF-6 Pop Filter is a famous noise protection filter for microphones. It’s a product from Nady Systems, which has won several awards for its outstanding quality and performance.
The Nady Pop Filter reduces the popping sounds caused by the impact of fast-moving air on the microphone when recording. It also provides excellent protection from accumulated saliva on the microphone. The Nady Pop Filter helps you enhance your recordings and get that professional quality sound.
This pop filter has a diameter of 6” to give you more room for movement. Its flexible gooseneck is 13” long for easy positioning. It also features a screen that rotates 360 degrees to suit your comfortability when recording. It has double mesh to give you extra protection.
- Top-rated Professional Pop filter for vocal microphones
- Multi-positional windscreen for optimum performance
- Includes boom and microphone stand clamp
- Versatile and easy to set up
- Includes an elongated metal bracket that expands the reachable area
- Features an extra-long and flexible goose-neck holder
- Features a swivel mount for easy positioning
- Its clamp doesn’t hold very well
- Hard to clean compared to metal pop filters
Pop filters are essential tools to produce excellent quality recordings. These will prevent annoying plosives or hissing sounds due to the mechanical impact of the fast-moving air on the microphones. Pop filters can also help you edit your recordings easier, and protect your microphone from moisture.
The best pop filter I recommend is the Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter. This pop filter will help you produce optimum vocal recordings and reduce those popping and hissing sounds. It’s a great deal for your money with its premium quality. It has a flexible gooseneck, a long-lasting metal screen, and it’s easy to clean!