Pop filters and windscreens are two terms that often get confused for each other when it comes to microphones. Some people will say they’re the same thing and do the same job. However, that’s not entirely true. There are some distinct differences between the two.
So, which one is better for you and your situation? Let’s find out.
A pop filter is the typical thing that you’d imagine a singer would use when recording in a studio. It’s that circular thing that goes in front of the mic. Not all pop filters look exactly the same, but the idea stays the same between every design.
The pop filter gets placed in between the mic and the person singing or talking and it’s meant to cut down on any harsh and forceful sounds. These sounds generally come from Ps and anytime the person says something too loudly.
Pop filters are commonly used by singers, podcasters, and streamers. They’re especially popular with streamers as they often get overexcited and shout. The pop filter helps cut down on any potential distortion coming from the microphone.
They’re typically constructed from some woven nylon that is stretched to cover the area in front of the microphone. Some pop filters are bigger than others and are good for multiple voices coming at one mic.
Another great use of the pop filter is that it prevents saliva from reaching the microphone. With people singing or talking in mics often, saliva can build up and cause some damage over time. The pop filter is a great protective measure.
Although foam windscreens provide some similar benefits to pop filters, the biggest difference is that they’re intended to eliminate the sound of the wind. They’re mostly designed to be used in outside situations.
Foam windscreens look like little sleeves that cover the tips of microphones. Think of them as little protective hats. They don’t need to be used all the time, but you may find the wind sound in the mic a little too aggressive. The foam windscreen is a great solution to that.
As the name suggests, most windscreens are made from foam. Many microphones actually include some for windscreens when you buy them, especially pencil condensers.
One small benefit of foam windscreens is that they provide an extra layer of protection for the tip of the microphone. Microphones tend to have a bit more weight in the area where they pick up sound, meaning that’s the side that will hit the ground first. The foam windscreen will save you from a potential scratch or dent.
They also prevent a few popping sounds, but not as much as a pop filter would. The only solid reason to use a foam windscreen would be if you’re using microphones outside where there is wind.
As said previously, many mics already include foam windscreens when you purchase them. However, you won’t need to spend too much money on some extra ones. After all, they’re just small pieces of foam that are molded to fit microphones.
Pop filters on the other hand can set you back a lot more. Some pop filters are expertly crafted to give you a professional studio experience, meaning they’re going to cost a fair bit. They’re well worth the investment if you’re going to use them often, though!
You could get away with getting a cheaper pop filter if you don’t need the pro studio experience. It would arguably be better to invest in higher-quality microphones.
Can You Go Without Them?
If you’re not planning on using your mics outside, you could definitely go without a foam windscreen. There’s no point in using one if there’s no wind to block out.
If you find yourself needing to make a DIY foam windscreen, some people argue that using a sock over the mic works the same. You’d need to try that and decide on the verdict.
Pop filters, on the other hand, are necessary things to have in studio environments. The only time you’re not going to need a pop filter is if you have someone with an expertly trained voice that knows how to control the force of their words.
Most people can’t do that, so a pop filter will just make life easier for everyone.
By now, you’ve probably realized that one is not better than the other. Both pop filters and foam windscreens have their own uses and places in recording environments. Pop filters are for popping words and windscreens are to fend off wind noise.
If you’re someone who uses microphones in any capacity, it would be very beneficial to have both things at your disposal. They’re fantastic accessories to add to your microphone locker.
Save up some cash and invest in a good pop filter along with some foam windscreens. Just make sure that they fit the mics you have.