When you’re wanting to create the highest quality podcast possible, you need to cut out all unwanted noise.
That includes those annoying popping sounds that come off your microphone. The best way to deal with that problem is to use a pop filter over your mic.
What is a Pop Filter and How Does it Function?
Contrary to popular belief, a pop filter isn’t a tool devised to cut down noises close to the microphone. Simply said, a pop filter is a mask that sits between your lips and your microphone while you’re recording.
These devices don’t filter out background noises. Instead, it reduces explosive sounds to a great extent and removes most of the popping noises that are generated while you talk or produce sounds. Primarily, this is associated with the noises caused when people talk or laugh near the microphone.
The function of a pop filter is to mitigate air pressure. In the process, it prevents noises that come along during speech. A pop filter works as a barrier, securing the microphone from saliva.
But why go out and buy one when you can make one?
A Coat Hanger Pop Filter
- Take a wire coat hanger and bend it a circle. Then pull the circle apart so that it forms more of a square shape.
- Pull the flat sides of the shape to make it more of a circular shape.
- Find a pair of old pantyhose and stretch them over the coat hanger circle. The extra slack should be gathered around the hook of the hanger. Pull the pantyhose as tight as possible.
- You have now created a pop filter. Position it directly in front of your microphone (about an inch away). Be sure that the filter does not actually touch the microphone.
How to secure the pop filter in place:
- Straighten out the hook of the wire hanger and bend it into a wide curve. Secure the end of the wire to the microphone stand with tape.
- Attach the end of the wire to the mic stand with a clamp holder
- Get a second microphone stand and attach the pop filter to it. Then position this filter as needed.
- Adjust the filter position to suit the type of mic. Some of them take the sound from the top while others do so from the side.
An Embroidery Hoop Filter
- Obtain an embroidery hoop filter. It may be made from plastic or metal. To match the size of commercial pop filters, you will want the embroidery hood to be about six inches in diameter. However, larger hoops will work fine.
- Stretch embroidery nylon across the hoop. The hoop will have some sort of latch system that allows you to stretch out the nylon and secure it in place. They will have inner and outer hoop. Once you have opened the latch stretch the nylon over the inner hoop. Then put the inner hoop back inside the outer hoop and resecure the latch.
As an alternative to embroidery nylon, you can use screen door material. This is thicker than nylon and will, as a result, provide a better filter performance than thinner material.
You can pick up screen door mesh material at your local hardware store. However, if you have to buy a whole roll, you may just find it cheaper to actually buy a pop filter!
Coffee Can Lid Filter
- Remove the plastic lid from a large can of coffee or similar object. Any plastic lid that is at least 6 inches in diameter. The stiffer the lid is the better it will work as a pop filter.
- Cut out the middle of the lid so that only the rim is remaining. A craft knife is the best tool to do this. The cutout portion of the lid can be discarded.
- Stretch either pantyhose or door screen mesh over the plastic rim. Pantyhose material will be easier to secure with tape or rubber bands after pulling it tight. Screen mesh will be a little trickier to secure but will give a better pop resisting performance. You will need to use binder clips or take to secure the mesh to the rim.
- Secure your pop filter in place with the use of tapes or clamps.
Make a Pop Filter Using a Sock
You can make a pop filter out of a sock. This is an inexpensive option, given that you likely already have these items in your home.
For the microphone to catch your voice, you’ll need to talk louder if you use a thick sock. One of the advantages of utilizing a sock is that it’s easy to set up with a microphone. Finding the proper sort of sock is the most challenging aspect. If you decide to use one you already own, make sure to wash it before using it. Avoid using a cloth softener since it might cause pilling and the cloth to run over your microphone.
Make sure to use a thin sock so that your voice doesn’t get drowned out. For the best results, you should use thin, waterproof socks. If you plan to speak loudly, you can go for thicker socks that are meant for snowboarding and skiing.
Once you have the right sock, open the end and slide it over the microphone. Then, pull the sock down softly. The section meant for the toes must fully cover the microphone. You may cut and trim the sock if you put on a longer sock. If you decide to cut it, make sure to trim it from above the ankle. This largely depends on its size, so you need to decide accordingly.
When using a sock, you can use zip ties to secure the pop filter to the microphone. This would prevent any extra fabric from sliding around on the microphone. All you need to do is wrap a zip tie around the microphone’s base. Make sure to have a pair of scissors or a knife nearby to remove the zip tie’s tail.
Pop Filter / Microphone Q & A
How will a pop filter make me sound better?
When you speak into a mic without a pop filter you will often produce a popping sound on harsh consonants.
This is particularly the case when you pronounce the letters ‘P’, ‘B’, ‘S’ and ‘Ch’. A pop filter will allow you to say these letters without that annoying popping sound.
A pop filter will also prevent saliva or other moisture inadvertently getting onto the microphone which could cause damage.
What is a microphone windscreen and what does it do?
A windscreen is a device that is used in outdoor recordings to reduce the effect of wind and particulate matter that may strike the diaphragm of the microphone.
They usually consist of a thick layer of foam that is designed to fit over the microphone capsule. A windscreen is able to remove both high and low-frequency responses.
They should not be used as a substitute for pop filters and are only needed if you will be recording outdoors.
How should I care for my microphone?
There are a few tips that will help you to best care for your microphone?
- Condenser microphones have extremely thin diaphragms and very high tolerances. They need to be protected from abuse and shock. A condenser mic should always be mounted on a stand as opposed to being handheld. They should only be used to live in controlled situations.
- Be sure not to drop a condenser mic or knock over a mic stand or you could permanently damage the diaphragm.
- It is best to use a soft mount (as opposed to a shock mount) for a condenser microphone. This suspends the mic in a plastic web, allowing the mount to absorb vibrations or physical shock. Hard mounts do not provide this shock-absorbing ability.
- Never use condenser microphones of there is a change of water damage. This obviously includes rain but may also happen if you spill your coffee all over your desk!
- Avoid high humidity situations such s seaside climates that do not have air conditioning. The operating temperature for most conders is between 55 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If your mic starts to produce a crackling sound due to humidity, place it near the heat of a light bulb for about 30 minutes.
Should I get a pop filter or a windscreen for my microphone?
When you record up close you will need a pop filter in order to stop unwanted popping sounds.
If let unchecked these plosives can interfere with the proper operation of the preamp, compressor, and recorder of the microphone.
A pop filter will get rid of these potential problems before they get to the microphone.
Pop filters also protect the mic from saliva. So, if you re using your mic in your office at your desk or in any other indoor setting, you will definitely need a pop filter.
A windscreen is designed for outdoor use. They are either made of thick foam or artificial fur. They will protect your microphone from plosives that may come upon it in an outdoor environment.
However, a windscreen will naturally impede the audio pickup to a degree. As a result, windscreens should be used sparingly s needed.
In contrast, the pop filter needs to be used at all times when recording indoors. You should only invest in a windscreen, though, if you will be recording outdoors.
What is the best way to clean and store a microphone?
A microphone should always be kept in its case when not in use. Do not leave it sitting on its stand or it will be susceptible to dust and debris.
If this gets onto the diaphragm this may cause damage over time. You should wipe the metal exterior of your microphone down with a dry or slightly damp cloth in order to remove dust, dirt or fingerprints.
If you feel that the mic needs further cleaning you can spray a household cleaner such as Fantastik or Formula 409 onto a rag and wipe it onto the metal exterior.
Do not, however, get this anywhere near the diaphragm or capsule. Do not open up the microphone in order to clean the insides of it.
If you notice the performance of your mic is deteriorating, you should take it to a professional service center rather than attempting to open it up and do the repair yourself.
What are some tips for speaking into a microphone?
Point the mic at your mouth at a distance of about two hand-widths. Rather than speaking into the mic, speak across it.
If you have to adjust the mike, do so without touching the capsule. Before you start recording, become familiar with the controls. Know precisely where the on/off, mute and volume buttons.
Do a sound check before you start recording. Get another person to evaluate the sound quality for you.
Your body’s posture matters when it comes to speaking clearly into the microphone. Be sure to stand or sit straight while using a microphone. If you slouch, your rib cage will get into your abdomen, resulting in sluggish speech.
When you’re standing, get in a comfortable position where you can speak over the microphone but not into it directly. You may experience sound discrepancies if you’re constantly moving as you speak.
In this article, we have presented you with 3 simple ways to make your own DIY pop filter.
We’ve also provided plenty of advice and tips to help you to get the most out of your microphone recording. You’re now all set to share your brilliance with the world!