Do you need a pop filter?
Also known as pop filter or pop screen, it is that frame, usually round, with a nylon or metal screen, between the microphone and the podcaster. Its popularity grew as recording studios developed, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. It is not applicable to instruments and can be used on any type of microphone.
It may not be the flagship of your home recording studio, but surely you agree that seeing this accessory in front of the microphone immediately gives us a sense of professionalism. And this is its usefulness: to distinguish the work of an amateur from that of a professional.
Today I will explain why you do not need this type of protective screen for your microphone. At least not to start with an amateur podcaster.
First of all, to clarify that it is not a useless tool. Having a pop shield in front of your microphone can make your voice recordings better quality as a podcaster. The problem is that it's cumbersome to use and you don't always need it.
What is a pop filter for?
First of all you have to know what exactly a pop screen is for:
- To disperse the sound pressure exerted by air emanating during singing, speaking and breathing, into the microphone capsule.
- To control "pops", or "plosives", sound saturations picked up with Bs, Ps and Ts pronunciation.
- Avoid splashing saliva on the microphone. Its accumulation can damage and reduce the life of the microphones.
Anti-pop filters have a few disadvantages:
- they are bulky
- if you shoot video, they can cover part of your face
- they are not expensive, but in most cases you can do without them and save money.
Should I use a pop filter with a condenser or dynamic microphone?
Both, condenser and dynamic microphones, can pick up the pops you utter and the airflow that comes with your voice. Thus, the pop filter is necessary for both. However, while dynamic microphones are resistant to high sound intensity, the diaphragm of condenser microphones is thinner and more sensitive. Excessive pressure not only overloads it, but compromises its performance. Spit is also very detrimental to the life of the mic.
If you've started podcasting on the cheap as a hobbyist, perhaps it doesn't make much sense to spend the money on a good pop filter. It probably makes more sense to spend the money on a better mic.
On the other hand, if you already have a good microphone that is worth a few hundred dollars, then it makes sense to buy a good pop filter to protect the microphone and improve the audio by attenuating plosive sounds.
If you don't want to buy a pop filter, you can try one or more of the solutions below:
Angle of more than 45
Try placing the podcasting microphone at 45 degrees or more. I mean not parallel to your face, but tilted.
If the mic is parallel then the air coming out of your mouth goes straight into the mic and causes explosions, the damn pops.
You can put it up to 90 degrees, perpendicular, to your face. The higher the degree the more you will notice the change.
Keep in mind that you will probably have to turn up the gain, which can cause other unwanted sounds to creep in.
Not in front of the mouth
Similar to the above, but in this case it is so that the microphone is not directly in front of the mouth.
It should be either above or below. This way the air passes over or under the microphone, and you prevent air from plosive sounds from entering directly into the microphone.
The idea is simple. Cover the microphone with a cloth. You can usually tell the difference with a piece of thin cloth, folded 1 or 2 times and placed over the microphone.
You will probably need to increase the gain of the microphone.
Anti-pop filters are not 100% necessary for beginner podcasters.
You can use alternative solutions to improve the audio without spending money.
In case you have a "good", expensive microphone, then it makes sense to spend money on a good pop filter. In the same way that it makes sense to make an investment in trying to adapt the room from where you record trying to reduce the "echo".