Microphone filters are a definite NEED! If you’re planning to record anything under the sun at all, you must go and check if you can afford microphone filters for yourself.
Microphones aren’t perfect.
No matter how high-quality you think your mic is, you will hear those rogue windblast sounds, voices, and other background noise.
Whether you’re using a mic for professional recording or simply have it for work-from-home purposes, we’re here to guide you through choosing between a pop filter vs foam cover.
Ready? Let’s start below.
What is a Pop Filter?
A pop filter is a circular mic filter.
You may also know it as a pop shield or pop screen, and it’s known for being effective protection for mics to create high audio quality.
Can you guess why it is called a “pop” filter?
A high-quality pop filter can stop unwanted noise and popping sounds from getting into the final audio.
Uses and Functionality
It’s mainly used to filter out plosive sounds from your work. Plosive sounds are associated with hard consonants, like P, B, T, D, K and G.
Some mics are more sensitive to plosive sounds, like condenser microphones.
If you have a condenser mic and plan to record yourself or another person speaking, a pop filter would be a LIFESAVER for you!
A pop filter is also great for sibilance or fricatives, which are S-like or Sh-like sounds. It will greatly reduce that kind of noise.
How can it do that?
Well, a pop filter lets the sound come into the mic straight through as it directs air downward.
That way, your mic gets what it needs straight from your voice alone without interference from outside sounds.
- Eliminates both high and low-end sounds.
- Protects a bare microphone from saliva, which can damage the mic itself and corrode it
- Helps any user to place themselves at a proper distance from the mic
- Minimizes plosives, sibilance, and wind noise
- Best for an indoor setting
- Background noise might not be as reduced when using pop filters
- Can block users from seeing the video properly when filming or doing a voice recording
- Susceptible to producing a metallic whistle
- Not as good for outdoor recordings
- May suffer from the proximity effect, where low frequencies are exaggerated.
What is a Pop Filter’s Material?
Pop filters typically have a circular frame. These curved pop filters usually have two layers of woven nylon stretched over the frame material.
However, there are some fine metallic mesh pop filters that are basically made of a plastic or metal hoop and layers of woven metal mesh.
Sometimes, instead of metallic mesh filters, you may find your pop filter made out of nylon mesh instead.
Metal is more DURABLE than nylon mesh, so that it will last longer under your care!
At the same time, the larger holes in metallic mesh pop filters don’t affect high-frequency sounds as much.
What is a Foam Cover?
A foam cover is another audio equipment that you can use to protect your entire microphone from unwanted sounds.
You may already be familiar with foam covers; it’s common to see in most setups and any recording studio.
Plus, they are sometimes fun to play with since they are so soft!
A foam cover fits right over the microphone’s grille. You may also know the foam mic cover as foam windscreens.
You can choose from three types: windjammers, foam, and blimp-shaped covers for blimp-shaped microphones.
If you’ve ever seen synthetic fur covers, you’ve seen windjammers!
Uses and Functionality
As the name goes, a foam mic cover or mic windscreen helps prevent wind noise. Usually, the foam material used for foam windscreens is open cell foam or polyurethane foam.
The microphone cover blocks out any wind as it moves through the foam structure.
Meanwhile, the sound waves reach your mic.
It’s best for outdoor setups! That way, you don’t have to worry about your audio becoming garbled due to a strong breeze.
In fact, foam covers can block incoming sound from winds for up to 2 miles per hour.
- Custom-sized windscreens are available for the user’s ease
- Easy to use as a microphone accessory
- Best for outdoors use
- Absorbs high frequencies, leading to a duller sound
- The microphone windscreens will need to be replaced sooner or later, as flakes may come out as it dries from use
Pop Filter vs. Foam: Performance Breakdown
After looking at the two mic covers individually, let’s see how they compare face to face.
We will be comparing covers’ sound quality, price, and the purpose they serve when recording.
Pop filters protect your audio for both high and low-end frequencies.
However, you risk background noise still being around after using the filter for your microphone.
Plus, a metallic sound may occur.
While it does protect you from both frequencies, there is also some probability of low-frequency sounds being exaggerated.
The only problem you can have with these microphone covers is that they can absorb higher frequencies. A dull sound may ensue.
If this isn’t a problem, however, then you can go right ahead and choose a microphone cover!
With pop filters, you have a choice between a metallic mesh or nylon mesh pop filters.
Perforated metal mesh is more durable and can be expected to come in the mid-range of prices. Nylon pop filters, however, are cheaper to come by at the store.
A foam windscreen is also quite inexpensive!
If you want to go for the cheaper route and just need to reduce some background noise at home, you can definitely opt for this one.
Pop filters were made for indoor recording.
As we have mentioned before, they’re best for reducing plosives and sibilance (hard consonant sounds and S- and Sh-like sounds.)
Those kinds of sounds will never be eliminated from our regular speech. So, get a microphone pop filter if you need something for a podcast or other voice work!
Just like pop filters, windscreens direct the air downward, leading your voice or instrument to be the only audio source.
This time, however, this microphone cover is specifically focused on the wind.
It is best to use this microphone cover when you have to record anything of your present and future projects OUTDOORS.
That way, you can greatly reduce the kind of noise wind can bring!
Use Pop Filters If…
- You are recording something that will need to reduce plosives or sibilance.
- You are doing voice-over or other voice audio work.
- You want it to dictate the proper distance you need for your recording studio’s mic as well.
- You’re recording something indoors.
If you don’t have the budget for a pop filter, you can make an improvised pop filter.
- One way is to get a pair of stockings or tights.
- Stretch the material over a wire or embroidery hoop.
- You can even bend a clothes hanger to make the hoop on your own.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a windscreen so you can get around to fully reducing background noise!
However, keep in mind that there’s no real need to use both a pop filter and a windscreen at the same time.
Use a Foam Cover If…
- You’re recording your audio outdoors.
- You need a foam mic cover for wind protection – whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
Yep, they’re pretty straightforward.
REMEMBER: A pop filter is more for indoor recordings and speech, while a microphone cover is for outdoors recording and the wind.
Pop Filter VS Foam Cover: Frequently Asked Questions
Some of you may still have questions about either one of the pieces of equipment we’re comparing. Let’s answer them below.
Should I Use Both a Pop Filter and A Microphone Cover?
If you have the budget and the appetite for variety, why not try both out?
However, it’s not a necessity.
You can choose just one, and it will be enough to filter out all the unnecessary sounds. Make sure you choose the microphone cover that will fulfill your needs!
Is a Microphone Cover and a Pop Filter the Same?
They’re the same in the essence of what they do for your microphone, but they’re not the same at all in terms of other factors.
Their purpose is essentially the same, which is to filter out the unwanted sound and keep the wanted sound from your voice or instruments in the microphone.
However, a pop filter works best for popping sounds.
What Can I Do If I Can’t Afford Both?
You can settle for improvised versions until you get the funds to get your own pop filter or foam mic cover.
For a pop filter, you can use what we discussed above! Stockings or tights will work well with many microphones to control plosives.
You can simply use a sock over a condenser mic for a foam mic cover to filter out the sounds.
The rest of the noise that you deal with, whether that may be a dead cat or a garble of human speech, can be left to the editing process.
As much as we want high-quality audio the moment we press record, sometimes leaving it to editing is the last-resort answer!
Both a pop filter and a foam cover are there to help you achieve professional, clean recording audio.
Between the pop filter vs. foam cover debate, our verdict did go to a foam cover. It has more usability in comparison to pop filters.
We hope you enjoyed this post! Regardless of your project, rest assured that either of these choices will help elevate your audio!