Tools for voice - The humble pop filter

A plosive is a puff of air that happens when you talk or sing, it hits the diaphragm of the microphone causing it to distort and you hear that ‘poof poof poof’ sound. If you want to check out exactly what we mean then put your hand in front of your mouth and say the name Peter several times? You should feel a rush of air on your hand. That is what we call a plosive



There are 3 different kinds of pop filters available:



1. Nylon fabric pop filter


2. Metal mesh pop filter


3. Foam sock filter



Whilst pop filters won’t completely eliminate plosives; used correctly (and with you applying your skill as a voice artist) it will definitely reduce them. A pop filter is a physical object that is used to reduce plosives. It has various AKA’s namely, pop shield, pop screen, and there are various versions that do the same job like, a wind sock and dead cat…No we're not kidding it really is called a dead cat. The latter two are generally used for film and outdoors but more or less do the same thing.There’s no denying it, When it comes to vocal recording, the humble pop filter is a must have in the studio.

If you’re not sure what a pop filter is, or what it does, you’re in the right place.


If you do know, read on anyway for some extra tips and tricks


So what is a pop filter?


No, it’s not a pre-set in a plugin you put on your track to make it sound better! Although, that could be a thing. Developers you heard it here first!


A pop filter is a physical object that is used to reduce plosives. It has various AKA’s namely, pop shield, pop screen, and there are various versions that do the same job like, a wind sock and dead cat…No we're not kidding it really is called a dead cat. The latter two are generally used for film and outdoors but more or less do the same thing..


So what is a plosive?

A plosive is a puff of air that happens when you talk or sing, it hits the diaphragm of the microphone causing it to distort and you hear that ‘poof poof poof’ sound. If you want to check out exactly what we mean then put your hand in front of your mouth and say the name Peter several times? You should feel a rush of air on your hand. That is what we call a plosive


There are 3 different kinds of pop filters available:


1. Nylon fabric pop filter


2. Metal mesh pop filter


3. Foam sock filter



Whilst pop filters won’t completely eliminate plosives; used correctly (and with you applying your skill as a voice artist) it will definitely reduce them.


The Nylon Pop filter


The Nylon pop filter is usually a circle, with what looks like a pair of stockings or tights stretched over it. Here’s a handy pic



So, the idea of the nylon pop filter is to diffuse the air. You speak. You hit the first layer and the air is slowed down, then the second nylon layer, and hopefully you’ve slowed that air down enough and scattered it enough so that there isn’t a burst or gust that hits the microphone diaphragm resulting in the ‘poof’ “puh’ sound.



The Mesh Pop filter

The metal mesh pop filter, comes in several designs. Here’s some more handy pics.


You’re welcome


The metal mesh pop filter doesn’t diffuse but rather deflects the air. The metal is stamped in such a way that it has a specific pattern, and so when you speak it deflects the air. So it basically sends that air right back at you, and away from the microphone



The Foam Sock

The foam sock looks pretty much like it sounds, it is made of foam, and goes over the microphone like a sock would go over your foot…Wait for it...


Here's handy pic 3




The foam pop filter is made from acoustically transparent foam. It's purpose is to diffuse the air before it gets to the microphone diaphragm.


This filter could influence the high frequency, but really subtle.


With the pop filter, size really does matter. It can be quite distracting to have an imposing ring in front of the microphone, making difficult to see copy (a script), so for us, the smaller metal design is really cool!

What if you don’t have a pop Filter?

It’s not like it fits in your pocket and you can whip out your trusty pop filter each time.


There are a few tricks you can use if you don’t have a pop filter:

1. Use your fingers. Place you index and middle fingers slightly apart in front of your mouth while you are speaking to help diffuse the air. It could ‘muffle’ the sound by reducing the highs, but practice this, until you get comfortable with the technique.


2. The way you position yourself and speak into the microphone. Try not to face full on to the diaphragm of the microphone, go slightly off axis. This will help reduce the plosives.


3. Put a plastic pen case or a pencil in front of the microphone diaphragm. Don’t use anything sticky to attach it, an elastic bank is ideal


4. Change the position of the microphone. Aim the microphone at the voice, not the voice at the microphone. This works well with cardioid pattern. Keep in the sweet spot.


5. Work on you technique with some breathing exercises and tongue twisters…A quick search on google will help you source some OR watch this space for some you can try

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