- What Are Pop Filters?
- Why Are Pop Filters Essential for Podcasting?
- Different Types of Pop Filters
- How to Choose the Best Pop Filter
- 7 Best Pop Filters for Your Podcasts
Pop filters are a minor but essential piece of equipment for recording a professional-sounding podcast. They may not seem important to beginners or those just starting out on their podcast journey, but the best pop filter can make an enormous difference towards creating a pleasant, smooth listening experience that isn’t interrupted by harsh sounds caused by the plosives and fricatives common to everyday speech.
Here, we’re going to look at a number of contenders for the best pop filter for podcasting, from the kind of materials used to the size of the contraption.
1. What Are Pop Filters?
A pop filter is a small piece of equipment that attaches to your microphone and is designed to improve the sound quality of audio recordings. Pop filters can be made from different materials and have different designs, as we’ll explore in more detail below.
2. Why Are Pop Filters Essential for Podcasting?
Pop filters reduce the popping sounds caused by plosives in normal speech. These sounds can degrade your recording and sound harsh on the ears of your listeners, which is why most professional podcasters opt to install a pop filter on their mics.
3. Different Types of Pop Filters
- Nylon mesh pop filters
Nylon mesh pop filters reduce the effect of plosives by diffusing the air from your mouth before it hits the microphone. They are lightweight and inexpensive, but can impede high-frequency sound, thereby negatively impacting your recording.
- Metal mesh pop filters
Instead of diffusing air, metal mesh pop filters deflect it away, thus reducing the sound of plosives. The use of metal makes these pop filters more durable, but they are also more expensive.
- Foam windscreens
Foam windscreens cover microphones directly and prevent them from picking up the sound of wind gusting. They tend to be the most fragile (but also the cheapest) option for reducing the effect of plosives.
4. How to Choose the Best Pop Filter
- Filter material
Normally, pop filters are either made from nylon mesh or metal mesh. The former is less durable and less easy to clean, while the latter is more expensive and can warp over time.
- Size of the filter
Pop filters come in different sizes to fit with different sized microphones. The size of filter you need may also be impacted by the way you prefer to speak into the mic.
- Ease of use
Ease of use in this case is principally about how simple it is to attach the pop filter to your mic. Some need a boom arm while others can be clipped right onto the mic.
- Compatibility with your microphone
Speaking of clipping onto the mic, some pop filters have been designed with specific styles of microphone in mind. Make sure you check the specs.
We’ve already noted, some materials are more durable than others. More generally, higher-quality pop filters will also be hardier than cheaper ones.
Top-of-the-line gadgets come with top-of-the-line prices. You’ll have to weigh up the cost of a pop filter against your budget.
5. 7 Best Pop Filters for Your Podcasts
5.1 Shure PS-6 Popper Stopper
Shure’s PS-6 Popper Stopper is a circular, nylon mesh pop filter with a 6-inch diameter. It is composed of four durable layers that halt plosives in their tracks. The mic is shipped with an adjustable 14-inch gooseneck and mic stand clamp, which can attach easily to all manner of microphones.
- This is a solid best pop filter contender from a respected microphone brand.
- It’s easy to mount on a range of mics.
- The material lessens the sensitivity of the mic to high frequencies.
Price: $33.49 from Sweetwater.com.
5.2 Avantone Pro PS-1
Shaped like a curved shovel head, the Avantone Pro PS-1 is designed to wrap around a microphone without actually touching it. Made from metal mesh, it has been optimized for easy cleaning using simple soap and water. This pop filter comes with a simple gooseneck and clamp and has dimensions of 15.51 by 7.99 inches.
- A unique curved design covers the mic effectively and efficiently.
- The gooseneck makes it easy to adjust direction.
- The clamp is not up to the same quality as other best pop filter options.
Price: $39 from Amazon.com.
5.3 Rode WS2 Pop Filter
The Rode WS2 is a foam windscreen made to fit a number of Rode mic models, including the NT1-A, NT2-A, NT1000, NT2000, NTK, K2 and the Broadcaster. As one on the best pop filter list, it has been created specifically to be more effective in attenuating plosives as well as more general air noises.
- It’s more affordable than a mesh screen.
- There’s a hardier design than you see with most foam windscreens.
- The design is made to fit only a limited range of Rode products.
Price: $19.99 from Amazon.com.
Built by microphone brand Aston, the SwiftShield is a combo of a metal mesh pop filter attached to a shock mount. This means you can simultaneously reduce plosives and dampen vibrations from the surroundings that could affect sound quality. The pop filter is made with stainless steel and is designed to curve around mics that have a diameter of between 40mm and 60mm.
- Provides two pieces of top-quality equipment in one stylish package.
- It’s easy to attach the shock mount/pop filter combination to your mic.
- Heavier mics tend to slip through the shock mount.
Price: $89 from Sweetwater.com.
5.5 Stedman Proscreen XL
Made from an exclusive patented material, Stedman’s Proscreen XL is a circular pop filter with a 6-inch diameter. The metal mesh is highly effective at blocking plosives while allowing through high-frequency sounds. The 13-inch flexible gooseneck is finished with a nylon-tipped clamp that won’t scratch your mic stand.
- Easy to attach to your mic stand.
- Easily washed using mild detergent and water.
- This is one of the pricier best pop filter options on the market.
Price: $59.99 from Amazon.com.
5.6 Ktondic Isolation Shield
A standard isolation shield surrounds the sides of a mic except for the front. The isolation shield from Ktondic, however, completely encases the mic in acoustic foam, with a circular window at the front where a dual-layer pop filter reduces the plosives.
- The isolation shield and pop filter are made from a light material that sits comfortably atop most mic stands.
- The design is ugly and a little flimsy.
Price: $35.99 from Amazon.com.
5.7 Nady MPF-6
Accompanied by a flexible, 13-inch gooseneck that ends in a clamp that can fit mics stands up to 1-inch thick, the Nady MPF-6 is a popular pop filter choice. The flat, circular design has a 6-inch diameter and features a double layer of nylon mesh to prevent plosives affecting your recording.
- It comes at a very affordable price.
- The gooseneck makes it easy to adjust the positioning to suit your mic.
- The pop filter is not as durable as other models.
Price: $23.95 from Amazon.com.
- What pop filter do professionals use?
The Nady MPF-6 is one of the best-selling options on the market, but the Stedman Proscreen XL is particularly favored for its excellent quality – even if that does come at a price.
- Does any pop filter make a difference?
Yes, almost any pop filter will make at least a slight difference to your recording. However, the best pop filter models will have a much more significant impact on your podcast quality.
- What is the best filter for a microphone?
One of the most popular options is the Shure PS-6 Popper Stopper, which comes from a reputable microphone brand and is a solid all-round product.
- Does the pop filter reduce mic quality?
Usually not, but certain pop filters can negatively impact the overall sound if they block or over-emphasize certain frequencies.
- Is sound better without the pop filter?
Definitely not. If you’re lucky, you may find your plosives are bearable without a pop filter, but a pop filter will almost always enhance the sound of your podcast.
- Which is better, pop filter or foam?
That depends on what you want to achieve. Pop filters are usually focused specifically on attenuating the effect of plosives in speech, while foam windscreens are designed to reduce the effect of air blowing on the microphone generally.