What Does A Pop Filter Do?

By Richard Pryn •  Updated: 10/06/22 •  6 min read

When creating your own home recording studio or just taking your recordings to the next level, it is often common practice to use a pop filter with your microphone.

You know the mesh circle that you see every singer use in the studio.

What Does A Pop Filter Do?

Although, people often neglect to explain what they actually are and what they do. This can make it seem unnecessary to purchase one. And it just might be. 

That’s why we have put together this simple guide explaining what a pop filter is, what it does, and if you actually need one to make your recording sound more professional. Read below to find out more. 

What Does A Pop Filter Do?

In those most basic terms, pop filters or pop screens are noise protection filters for microphones. They prevent popping sounds from occurring when you are recording. 

Whether recording at a home studio or in a professional recording studio plosives or popping sounds can occur if you are talking, rapping, or singing too close to the microphone.

For example, if you were to talk with a flame in front of your face, the flame would move due to the breaths you take as you speak. This causes plosives. 

Pop filters limit the number of problems that can be found on a recording. This makes the recording easier to edit and provides higher quality demos, auditions, singles, and albums. 

You must choose what will work best for you. Some voice actors fervently believe in pop filters and would never record without one.

What Are Plosives?

All plosives are created when the airway in the mouth is completely blocked, often by the lips coming together.

For example, when sounding out a P sound the lips come together and pop. This can be picked up by the microphone and cause a disturbance in the recording. The same happens when pronouncing B’s, S’s, and T’s. 

Behind the temporary obstruction, air from the lungs is then compressed, increasing the air pressure in the mouth.

The air then rushes out of the mouth with a slight explosive force, giving rise to the name “plosive,” after the blockage is removed (in this case, by the lips parting).

Plosives are also known as stops or stop consonants. 

When looking to avoid plosives, you have to be strategic about your microphone and pop filter set up. A helpful way to set up your mic before recording is to tilt your microwave back.

This allows the air to travel above the microphone while still catching the audio. Or train to speak without producing so much air.

This prevents air particles from popping in front of the microphone. Although, this can take some training to master. 

Advantages Of Using Pop Filters 

If you are unsure that a pop filter would be beneficial to your recordings, we have put together a list of their advantages. 

One thing to bear in mind is that some microphones come with a pop filter built in like my Roder Podcaster microphone that I use to record The Trailer Music Composer’s Podcast with.

Buyers Guide For Pop Filters 

When purchasing a pop filter for your microphone there are a few things to consider. 

Size

The size of the pop filter you purchase will depend on the size of your microphone. You should choose a diameter that is appropriate for your microphone and recording style.

For instance, a pop filter with a wider diameter may be better for you if you move about a lot when recording.

If you have a smaller microphone and often remain in the space spot then you may be able to purchase a smaller pop filter. 

Shape

While you might think that each pop filter is the same shape and will complete the same job, then you may find yourself disappointed when your pop filter arrives. 

A flat filter may be more friendly to your budget and require more attention in order to gain a high quality result.

You must be cautious to speak directly into the center of the flat filter or it may neglect to limit plosives and popping sounds. 

A curved pop filter will provide much more flexibility. You will be able to move around the filter more and still have the effects.

They work from any angle meaning you do not have to only speak into the center in order to ensure plosive and popping sounds are minimized.

Although curved filters are a more expensive investment, they are more popular and more reliable to provide a high quality recording. 

Mounts

Another crucial factor to think about is the mount that the filter comes with. A gooseneck mount that screws into the filter frame and clamp is typically included with pop filters.

Make sure the gooseneck neck is long enough to allow you to properly attach the filter to the microphone.

Final Thoughts

So, what does a pop filter do? It essentially prevents air produced from your mouth and nose from interfering with the recording. This is called popping sounds or plosives. 

Pop filters are a handy tool to achieve a high-quality recording without having to record the same section over and over again. 

Whether you are recording in a DIY home studio or a professional studio, pop filters are a great, cost-effective way to get amazing results. 

No matter if you are new to the world of recording or a platinum artist, pop filters make recording that much easier.

Richard Pryn

Hey there. I am an award winning composer for movie trailers, including Bladerunner 2049, Diablo II, WandaVision, and loads more. I am the founder of The Trailer Music School where my aim is to teach everything I know about music composition, production, and generally being a functional human being. I podcast, blog, vlog and jog (sometimes). I also love coffee, nachos and self-improvement. I live with my wife, three kids and numerous pets. I am also known by my pseudonym, Richard Schrieber (it’s a long story).

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