Recording vocals without a pop filter is a big no-no.
It’s amazing how powerful and effective a pop-filter can be.. while protecting your recordings!
Protect your recordings? Yes – I will get into more info in a moment. I’ll first start with what is a pop filter?
I recommend this awesome and inexpensive pop filter by Neewer (I personally own this, and have used it with great results):
What is a Pop Filter for Microphones
A pop filter is when you place a piece of material in front of a microphone to prevent the wind of your mouth from destroying your recordings.
Certain words we say release more air pressure out of your mouth than others. These words are called PLOSIVES.
Some plosive word examples would be push, power, pepper etc.
Try this: Put your hand in front of your mouth and say the P words above (pepper is really bad). Compare them to words like care, and, or nail. Plosives release much more air pressure, which ruin recordings quickly!
Because microphones are very sensitive, plosives can cause distortion in your recordings because the wind pressure is too much for the microphone, and it can wreck your recording!
Or what happens is those plosive words are MUCH louder than the rest of your words, and now requires extra post-processing, trying to fix those loud plosives.
So.. if you would have bought a popfilter, it will allow your voice to be close to the microphone (about 6 inches away), which allows the microphone to capture your voice (or what ever you are recording) very intimately.
If it’s a voice, being a bit closer will allow you to get much more low-end and richness out of the voice. And if you have a popfilter, you can be confident to get that rich sound, with very little post-processing when you are editing the audio or video!
- Click here to buy my recommended popfilter! (It works well, and is super affordable!)
What is the Best Material For a Popfilter?
Now the type of material for pop filters is important, too. Thicker material may reduce how good your vocal sounds, because sound gets absorbed by the material, almost like you’re creating an EQ through the material! (You can loose a bit of the high-end.. but I would rather lose high-end in a recording, compared to plosives that can be WAY too loud and cause distortion!)
The trick is finding a material which cuts down the wind of plosives, but still allows for an awesome recording full of warmth and high-end.
Typically these pop filters are made of mesh, and getting double-layered mesh is the way to go, like in this popfilter I’m suggesting to you!
When I first started, I tried the do-it-yourself route.. and.. it worked.. but it was ugly!
DIY Pop Filter
Is it actually possible to create your own pop filter?
The answer is yes – it just requires creativity and handyman skills 😉
When I first started, I created my own pop filter to save money. I used steel wire, panty hose, and some tape!
I found one layer of panty hose was not super effective, so I double layered the panty hose with much better results.
I’ll tell you right now though, it doesn’t look pretty, but it does do the job!
Lack of Pop Filter? – Restore your Audio!
Now if you’ve forgotten to use a pop filter in your latest recording, there is still hope for your audio recordings! (If the plosives are not too extreme!)
You can use a High Pass Filter to filter out the low-end, because that’s usually where the plosives live in the audio frequency spectrum!
Simply open an EQ on your vocal recording, select a high-pass filter (also known as a low-cut filter), and slowly filter away the low-end so the vocal still sounds normal, but you hear a dramatic reduction in plosives. You may need to cut as high as 90Hz.. or even up to 110Hz!
I Can’t Get My Pop Filter to Stay in Place
Keeping my DIY pop filter in place was ALWAYS A PROBLEM. It made recording not fun at all.
You’ll also read other people having this same problem on forums. So how can you prevent it?
I don’t have a solid answer, other than I decided to purchase a quality popfilter for two reasons:
- To make my studio look sharper
- So the popfilter stays in place!
I just purchased an affordable Neewer pop filter off Amazon. So far it’s been great. You just clamp it onto your mic stand, and you’re on your way!
Final Notes on a Pop Filter
A pop filter not only makes your studio look professional, it gives you professional results.
It protects your recordings from those distorting plosives, allowing for A LOT easier editing come mix time.
Hope that helps!
You can view the recommended popfilter here.