Which microphone windscreen and pop filter is best?
Recording audio in any environment is challenging, as there can’t be any disturbances that affect the quality or resonance. Even in professional recording studios, some gadgets will ensure the sound is captured exactly as intended. In most cases, this will be a simple pop filter.
However, outside the studio, there are many factors to consider, such as wind. The easiest way to preserve the integrity of the audio is to cover the microphone with a windscreen. The Rycote Cyclone Large Windjammer is an excellent solution if you use a shotgun microphone.
What to know before you buy a microphone windscreen
Windscreen vs. pop filter
While the two might seem similar, they are used in different scenarios. The correct equipment is a windscreen in an environment with potential wind bursts. This reduces wind noise and protects the microphone membrane.
However, a pop filter is mainly used indoors, such as in recording studios. It is often a round mesh that goes in between the speaker and microphone and can be used in conjunction with a microphone isolation shield.
Certain letters, such as Ps, Bs, and Ts, produce a popping sound when we talk into a microphone at a close distance. These are called plosives, and a pop filter reduces the chances of the membrane picking it up. Some people wrongly use a pop filter as a windshield, which will have almost no effect.
Different types of windscreens
The most recognizable windshield is a foam cover that goes over a handheld microphone. But there are different kinds of screens depending on your microphone type.
For example, a handheld microphone’s screen won’t fit on a shotgun microphone, as it has a different shape and structure. Since a shotgun mic is thinner and directional, the appropriate windscreen is often made of metal and fits horizontally over the first half.
Similarly, windscreens are made from various materials, depending on your required wind resistance level. The most basic is the foam shield, but other high-quality shields include materials such as fabric, plastic mesh or synthetic fur.
Materials can affect the sound
A windscreen only removes the wind noise, regardless of the material, but the material of a pop filter can change the audio’s sound. Smaller pop filters made from nylon can produce a vintage sound, while perforated and woven metal produces a modern sound. Some pop filters employ both materials, giving you a more natural recording sound.
What to look for in a quality microphone windscreen or pop filter
Diffusing the wind
The primary purpose of a windscreen is to reduce wind noise, but there are other aspects to consider. A good-quality screen diffuses the wind and normalizes the air pressure around the microphone’s membrane. This essentially creates a dead, near-windless environment, letting the membrane capture any other audio.
Easy to use and portable
A windscreen is used outdoors, so by nature, it is highly portable as it attaches to the microphone. A pop filter, however, is tricky. Talking or podcast microphones don’t have a separate accessory for a pop filter, so you must attach it to a desk or other surface.
For that, pop filters often have a vice-like screw on the adjustable neck. You clip it onto the edge of a flat surface and tighten the clamp to secure it in place. The size of the clamp and the length of the neck can influence the filter’s portability.
You wouldn’t want your windscreen to fly off in the slightest breeze or the pop filter to tear after only a few uses. That’s why it’s best to get equipment made from high-quality materials. The windscreen must be dense foam that fits tightly over the microphone or fastens through a Velcro-like material. A good-quality pop filter uses dual layers of fabric and metal to reduce the pops and saliva from reaching the microphone.
How much you can expect to spend on a microphone windscreen
The average price of a windscreen or pop filter depends on the complexity of the equipment and the construction materials. An entry-level pop filter costs $10 to $15, while an entry-level windscreen costs $5 to $10. However, an advanced pop filter with a sound isolation shield costs $70 to $80. A high-quality windshield costs $200 to $400.
Microphone windscreen and pop filter FAQ
Does the size of the pop filter matter?
A. The size of the pop filter doesn’t influence the quality of reducing plosives, but it can restrict the movement of the speaker or singer. A large pop filter allows more room to move around, but it’s heavier.
Are windscreens only for big microphones?
A. No, as there are windscreens for all microphone sizes and shapes. You even get small windshields that go over lavalier microphones for broadcasting.
What’s the best microphone windscreen and pop filter to buy?
Top microphone windscreen
What you need to know: This windshield will be no match for any wind gusts or strong breezes.
What you’ll love: Made from high-quality synthetic fur, this windscreen is 12 inches long and 4.8 inches wide while having 1.5 inches of fur. When used in combination with the Rycote Cyclone Windshield, it reduces wind noise up to 60 decibels.
What you should consider: It secures onto a microphone through an adjustable drawstring.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top microphone windscreen for the money
What you need to know: This affordable pop filter is made from dual-layer mesh to help disperse air pressure.
What you’ll love: The surface clamp opens up to 1.75 inches and is attached to a 14-inch adjustable arm. It is made to be compatible with the Yeti Blue microphone but grips any other surface, too.
What you should consider: Some users say they struggled to put the filters on.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This extra large pop filter is the perfect accessory for podcasting or recording singing.
What you’ll love: The 6-inch diameter pop filter is attached to a 13-inch adjustable arm with a clamp that opens a few inches. The filter is made from a patented material that is more effective than fabric.
What you should consider: Some users say the clamp screw can damage a surface as it doesn’t have a plate at the end.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.