What Does a Pop Filter Do?

Are you involved in music/sound production? Do you ever get tired of those hissing noises and popping noises you hear on recordings? Then, you probably need a pop filter for your mic.

Today, we’re going to answer some of your common questions, like “what is a pop filter?” and “what does a pop filter do?”

Here’s a quick preview: a pop filter is a simple extension attached to a microphone. It’s used to improve sound quality and remove unwanted hisses, pops, and shrills during recording.

Interested in finding out how you can create flawless recordings? Then, you’re in the right place!

What Is a Pop Filter?

A pop filter is a noise protection screen placed between the microphone and the vocalist. Its main function is to absorb the plosives, or vocal pops, of a performer. As a result, recordings sound clearer and more defined.

These pops of air are more common with the letters ‘p’ and ‘s.’ They can also be heard with other letters, like ‘d,’ ‘g,’ ‘k,’ and ‘t.’

To get a feel for these pops, place your hand in front of your mouth when you talk. When a plosive comes up, you’ll feel a gust of air on your hand.

What Does a Pop Filter Do?

Pop filters are usually made of metal mesh or fabric and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. It’s a handy piece of gear that shields the microphone from plosives created by vocalists during recording. Then, the mic picks up these hisses where they’re transmitted as unpleasant blares.

This is where the pop filter comes in; the screen of a pop filter diffuses the air you breathe out as you’re speaking. Then, it absorbs the noise created by these vocal pops and disperses it so it doesn’t hit the mic in one harsh blast. 

What you hear on the other side is smooth and steady without any distortions or popping sounds.

Do Recording Engineers Need Pop Filters?

Pop filters are commonly found in professional studios to produce smooth, clear tones. Podcasters, recording engineers, and music producers all rely on them.

They use them to filter out any unwanted pitches or tones. So, when you listen back to the recording, the vocal pops aren’t quite as harsh as they were in the recording booth.

It saves engineers time and money. Plus, they can record without fear of any popping noises coming at them out of nowhere.

Benefits of Using a Pop Filter

As we mentioned above, the major benefit of using a pop filter is that it eliminates any popping noises. This allows the vocalist to perform without worrying about plosives.

A second benefit of using a pop filter is it protects the microphone against moisture. When we talk, we tend to produce a certain amount of condensation caused by our saliva.

If the vocalist is talking into the mic without any barrier, all the moisture will fall directly onto the mic. Over time, the mic will start to show signs of wear and tear. Some microphones start to corrode because of the condensation.

How to Attach a Pop Filter to a Mic Stand

To attach the pop filter to a mic stand, first, open up the clamp found on the boom arm. Then, adjust the arm until the filter is exactly in front of the mic. Finally, tighten the clamp around the mic stand.

Once it’s in place, the next step is to adjust the gooseneck. The ideal position of a pop filter should be at an angle either at your 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock position. The reason why vocalists tilt the filter is to boost the filter’s ability to absorb sounds, rather than deflect them.

Don’t forget to leave about two to six inches between the mic and filter. This space allows for better sound dispersion. It also prevents the vocalist from standing too close to the mic.

How to Make a DIY Pop Filter

There are many affordable pop filters available on the market. Yet, they’re also quite easy to make yourself. All you need are some simple materials and basic knowledge of DIY skills.

Basic Components

Here are the main parts of pop filters and what you can use to make them yourself:

  • A filter that diffuses vocal pops (usually a nylon pantyhose)
  • A ring or a hoop to hold the filter (either a wire hanger or embroidery loop)
  • A boom arm to connect the filter to the mic stand (either a wire hanger or Romex wire)

Wire Hanger

  1. Bend the straight part of the hanger into a 6 to 8-inch circle. Leave the hook as it is.
  2. Get the nylon pantyhose and cut off one leg of the hose and leave the foot part intact.
  3. Pull the stocking over the hanger until it’s pulled taut. The hook should be sticking out.
  4. Secure in place with a rubber band.
  5. Tape the nylon with some electrical tape and cut off the excess.
  6. To attach the filter to the mic, bend the hook and position the filter in front of the mic.
  7. Tape it in place using electrical tape or a hardware hose clamp.

Embroidery Hoop

  1. Choose an embroidery hoop that’s roughly 6 inches in diameter.
  2. Cut off one leg of the pantyhose at the base, then straight across the tip of the foot part.
  3. Now, take this nylon tube and cut it from one end to the other.
  4. Flatten the nylon and fold it into a two-layer thick square.
  5. Unscrew the ring on the embroidery ring.
  6. Stretch out the hose to cover the embroidery loop and screw the ring in place, making sure the hose is taut.
  7. Trim off any excess nylon.
  8. Attach a piece of Romex wire to the embroidery loop using a couple of zip ties.
  9. Wrap the Romex wire around the mic stand and set it so the filter is in front of the mic.

In Summary

So, what does a pop filter do? This handy add-on diffuses sounds and spreads out distortions. Therefore, by the time they reach the mic, they’re a bit softer and less eminent. Pop filters also bring clarity and detail to almost all recordings.

This vital piece of gear is quite common in the sound and music production industries. Almost everyone who uses a mic and doesn’t want their hisses and wheezes popping up on audio files needs one. They’re an easy and handy way to protect your mic and get perfect quality every time.