If you own a microphone in your recording studio, you know how irritating it can be when sounds you make or your breathing causes popping and other sounds to get recorded.
The best way to eliminate these is to purchase a pop filter.
What’s a pop filter?
A pop filter is a piece of gear that’s made with mesh to absorb and disperse sounds. When it’s placed within close proximity to your microphone, it prevents these sounds from being captured.
The result is a much cleaner, professional sound. If you’re a beginner when it comes to recording audio, you might wonder if you need to spring for an expensive pop filter, but the truth is that you really don’t need to because budget-friendly pop filters will serve you well.
Let’s check out the best pop filter for vocals, as well as four alternatives to help you find one that suits your needs.
As we can see from the above table, microphone pop filters come in a variety of weights and sizes, and some have a mount included whereas others don’t.
A mount, such as a gooseneck mount which is quite common, is an extra accessory that makes attaching the filter to your microphone a lot easier.
However, there are many other features to consider before you settle on the best microphone pop filter for the type of recording you intend on doing. So, with that in mind, let’s jump straight into the best microphone pop filter on the market.
Best Pop Filters Reviews & Recommendations For 2021
Best Overall Winner: AUPHONIX Pop Filter for Blue Yeti Microphone
This pop filter is made for use with Blue Yeti microphones. Let’s see why it’s worth purchasing.
- Double mesh layer
- Secure clasp
- Gooseneck mount
- If you want people to hear your audio recordings, you’ll need to provide your listeners with a clear, crisp message. This pop filter helps you achieve that because it offset’s the microphone’s absorption of hissing, thuds, pops, and other noises. The result is better quality sound.
- One of the best things about this pop filter is that it comes with a double-layer mesh mic shield. This means that your voice won’t be drowned out or sound nasal.
- It comes with a gooseneck mount design that maintains the mic’s position at any angle.
- The gooseneck is 14 inches long so you can clamp it to your Blue Yeti microphone or attach it to your desk so that it can be used with a USB microphone. This makes it very versatile for a variety of uses.
- The clamp of this pop filter tends to bend easily if you tighten it too much.
- Another issue that people have experienced with the clamp is that its foam pad wears away after a short period of use.
- This pop filter comes with a clasp that attaches to the microphone so you don’t have to worry about it moving out of position during your audio recording session.
For purer, crisper sounds, invest in this best pop filter for Blue Yeti. It’s made to improve your audio recording, and costs $39.99.
Runner Up: PEMOTech Metal Mesh & Foam & Etamine
If you don’t own a Blue Yeti microphone but you want a pop filter for your mic, this one will probably appeal to you because of its versatility. Let’s check it out.
- Three-layer shield
- Curved design
- Elastic bands
- This pop filter is suitable for all microphones that are between 45mm and 63mm.
- Its microphone shield is made up of three layers. This includes an etamine, metal net, and foam layer, to give you greater elimination of various sounds and noise.
- This pop filter has a curved design, which prevents saliva from accumulating on the gear while still ensuring your microphone doesn’t get dirty.
- It’s really easy to set up, thanks to how it makes use of an inner rubber ring and elastic bands. This also makes it very beginner-friendly!
- Although it’s quite versatile, this pop filter doesn’t fit Blue Yeti microphones.
- Some people who have purchased this pop filter have reported that its rubber bands sometimes slip off.
- Since this pop filter gets mounted directly onto the microphone, this makes it more convenient because it doesn’t require its own mount.
This mic pop filter costs $10.99. It’s the best cheap pop filter for your audio recording needs, with a simple design that works.
Alternative: InnoGear Upgraded Microphone Pop Filter Mask Shield
This InnoGear microphone pop filter is very versatile to accommodate a variety of microphones, but it also has more benefits to offer, whether you’re a pro or beginner in the studio.
- Two-screen design
- Adjustable metal gooseneck mount
- This pop filter makes use of two screens. The first one reduces the amount of air that reaches the microphone. Then, when the air enters the gap between the screens, any remaining air pressure is dispersed. The second filter works by containing the burst of air.
- It comes with an adjustable gooseneck mount that’s made of metal. This ensures versatility while also keeping the filter in place.
- You can easily adjust the microphone filter’s angle and distance from the mic. This is ideal for allowing you to find the position that feels most comfortable.
- This pop filter is universally compatible with many tubular mounting booms or mic stands.
- This pop filter makes use of a V-shaped clamp. Some people have reported that they would have liked a regular clamp so that they can attach the filter to a flat object.
- Others have reported that the clamp sometimes doesn’t stay in place.
- Drawbacks aside, the design of this pop filter makes it really easy to mount it and then remove it when you’re done recording in the studio. This makes it perfect for beginners or anyone who wants user-friendly gear.
This best budget pop filter costs $9.99. It’s easy to use, effective at making your sound so much more professional, and won’t break the bank. However, if you’re looking for isolation shields instead, then you’ll want to check out the next two products.
Best Microphone Isolation Shield: Aokeo Microphone Isolation Shield Pop Filter
This product is a microphone isolation shield. It also works as a filter by reducing unwanted noises and sound wave reflection, but it comes with a clever folding design.
As its name suggests, it actually shields the microphone in order to preserve high-quality sound. Let’s check it out in greater detail!
- Absorbent cotton design
- This microphone isolation shield has absorbent cotton insulation on the inside. This helps to decrease sound reflection during the recording process.
- It comes in a nifty folding design, which means you can adjust its angle for the best performance.
- It’s not just light in weight but also has a compact design – you can fold it up so that it’s easier to transport to and from the recording studio.
- Made out of strong steel, this isolation shield is sure to last you for a long time.
- If you don’t like how some pop filters have to be attached directly to your microphone in order to work, you’ll love that this isolation shield can be attached to a countertop or desk, or your microphone if you still want to go that route.
- Some people have reported that you need a stand and mount in order to properly use this isolation shield.
- Some people who have purchased this microphone isolation shield have reported that it works well to reduce echoes.
If you want an isolation shield instead of a filter, this microphone foam shield is one worth purchasing. It costs $49.99. Although it’s quite a bit more expensive than the pop filters we’ve featured in this buying guide, it has many features that will benefit you, such as its versatility.
Runner Up: Microphone Isolation Shield AGPTEK 5
This microphone isolation shield comes with extra accessories to make your audio recordings sound so much more professional. Let’s check out why it’s worth purchasing for your home studio.
- Premium-grade steel
- Folding panel
- Pop filter included
- For user-friendliness, this microphone isolation shield comes with everything you need to set it up right in the pack, such as a connecting rod, nuts, screw adapter, and more. It also comes with a microphone pop filter included.
- Its inner side is made up of insulating cotton material that absorbs sounds and echoes.
- It comes with a folding panel that makes it easier for you to adjust it to where you want it.
- The pop filter as an extra accessory can be used with the microphone isolation shield for even better noise-reducing properties.
- One of the biggest drawbacks of this microphone foam isolation shield is that it isn’t compatible with all types of microphones. The manufacturer states that you can only use it on G3/8-inch and G5/8-inch microphone stands.
- Since it can fold up, this also makes it easier to carry around.
- This isolation shield is made out of premium-grade steel. This ensures that it is strong and will last a long time.
Since this microphone isolation shield comes with everything you need to get started with improving your audio recordings, it’s one of the best pop filter products out there. It costs $49.99.
Pop Filter FAQ
Now that you’ve read up about some of the best pop filters on the market, you might still have some questions, especially if you’re totally new to audio recording.
Let’s look at some of the most common questions about pop filters. Knowing more about them and how they work will enable you to find the best one for your needs.
What does a pop filter do?
If you’ve ever heard those popping sounds on a microphone, you’ll know how irritating they can be. These are caused by air moving over the microphone at a fast rate.
A pop filter, as its name suggests, removes those sounds, which is why some voice actors won’t work without one being in the studio. Pop filters remove sound issues on both low and high ends, and by doing so they also ensure that you can edit unwanted noise much easier.
They work so well that you might even find you don’t have to edit your audio recordings as much as you used to, therefore reducing your workload and stress levels.
Besides for removing popping sounds from being produced on the microphone, pop filters also reduce plosives and sibilance.
Plosives refer to when someone pronounces breath-heavy consonant sounds such as “Pa,” “Ba,” and “Fa,” sounds. The air from their mouths touches the microphone’s capsule, which produces air pressure. This creates a windy or popping sound on the audio recording.
Sibilance, on the other hand, refers to the harsh sounds that are produced when someone speaks certain consonants, such as “S,” “T,” and “Z.”
To remove these problems, a pop filter works by breaking up the air molecules from the person’s mouth (via Digital Audio Wiz).
In addition to the above, pop filters also protect the microphone from damage. When used regularly, microphones collect a lot of saliva. When this accumulates, it can cause damage to the microphone’s components. Therefore, investing in a good pop filter can help to increase your microphone’s lifespan. This is especially important to do if you’ve spent a lot of money on a microphone.
How to mount a pop filter?
When setting up your pop filter, you want to adjust its clamp so that it’s open and then find the right spot on your microphone stand. Once you’ve clamped the filter onto that part of the mic, tighten its screw to keep it in place. Your pop filter should be placed close to the microphone but it shouldn’t touch it.
If your microphone pop filter has a gooseneck mount, you will have to adjust it. A good tip is to adjust it to the two-o’-clock position. Your mic should be at the 10-o’-clock position. Doing this will help to prevent those plosive sounds from getting in the way of your audio recording.
When you’re ready to record your vocals, you can go ahead and use the microphone as you normally would.
When you’re done, you want to remove the pop filter and gently wipe it with a clean cloth to remove any moisture before it accumulates. This ensures that the pop filter is ready for your next audio recording session.
DIY Pop Filter
Did you know that you can make your own DIY pop filter instead of buying one?
Here’s an easy DIY method (via Tech Builder) to try the next time you feel like experimenting with making your own pop filter.
What you’ll need:
- Small plastic container
- Cutter knife
- Hot glue gun
- Roll of chicken wire
- Aquarium tubing
- Piece of spandex or stockings
- Spray paint
How to make your own DIY pop filter:
- Start by cutting away the surface of the plastic container’s lid so that you’re left with a plastic ring.
- Cut off the rest of the plastic container so that you only have the round part of the top (the ring over which the lid usually presses). So, by now you should have two plastic rings.
- Since you want the plastic to look professional and classy, you should spray paint the rings in any color you like.
- When they have dried, you want to rest the first plastic ring on a surface and then run some superglue along its edges. Make sure you cover the surface with newspaper in case of any glue spills.
- Place the spandex or stockings over this ring, then quickly take your second ring and place it on top of the spandex or stockings. Make sure there are no creases in the material, then press the other ring on top of the first ring. Press them all together so that they will stick to each other nicely. Leave them somewhere to dry.
- When the glue has dried, you should cut away the excess material.
- Then, take your knife and make a small cut on the side of the plastic.
- Take your chicken wire and gently bend it so that you can fit it into the gap that’s formed between the two plastic rings (on the inside). This wire will run through that small cut you’ve made so that it’s kept nice and neat, and out of the way.
- Make sure that you have a long piece of wire – you want it to hang off the plastic rings as this will essentially be your mount.
- Next, you need to use your hot glue gun to apply glue all around the gaps where you’ve placed your wire. This will ensure that it binds properly to the plastic.
- Place the aquarium tubing around the wire to protect it.
- When you have the wire and the aquarium tubing at the length you need, you can cut it.
- Go ahead and wrap it around your microphone tripod.
There you go! A DIY pop filter for your microphone is worth trying, especially if you’re on a strict budget. If you find that it’s not working as well as you’d hoped, you should purchase a microphone pop filter from our list of reviews.
But should you opt for a pop filter or foam? Although you might think these are names for the same product, they are actually quite different.
Pop filter vs Foam
Should you use a pop filter or just make use of foam? Here’s the lowdown!
- Pop filters work by removing sounds that can get in the way of your acoustic recordings. They are effective at removing plosives, which we’ve defined earlier in this article.
- Foam, such as in the case of a microphone foam windscreen, is designed to fit over the microphone casing. These products are usually used on microphones when people need to record audio outdoors. They are made to deflect wind, but they’re not designed to deal with plosives in the way that microphone pop filters are.
- The bottom line is that you should choose microphone windscreen foam if you’re going to be recording audio outside and don’t want the elements to get in the way of it, but if you’re recording indoors then you should opt for a microphone pop filter instead because it will remove those terrible plosives that can interfere with the recording quality.
If you want to record vocals on a microphone, such as if you’re creating a podcast or singing, there’s no doubt about it: you’ll need to ensure you have a pop filter.
In this article, we’ve looked at five of the best microphone pop filter products on the market to help you make the right purchase.
We’ve also looked at some important things you need to know about pop filters, such as why they’re so beneficial when recording vocals and how they work. We’ve even included a DIY tutorial if you’re feeling up to making your own.
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