Virtually every photo online which depicts a singer being recorded will show a microphone with a pop filter mounted just in front of it.
What is a Pop Filter?
A pop filter, or pop screen as they are sometimes known, is designed to minimize plosives like Ps and Bs and can cut down on sibilance (the hissing noise that can come from overly apparent S sounds). Using a pop filter cuts out issues on both the high end and the low end making for easier editing of the recording.
When should you use a Pop Filter?
In my opinion a pop filter should always be used when recording vocals ‘directly’ into a microphone. This is particularly relevant when you are using a condenser microphone for high quality recording. Yes it’s true they potentially cut some of the high and low frequencies and you can sometimes ‘get away’ without any pops coming through on the recording. But ultimately why take the risk?
Is it expensive?
The average condenser microphone in our armoury at 4 Part Music cost somewhere in the region of £1000 each. By contrast the average price for a decent quality pop filter is around £20. It’s therefore a bit of a no brainer that you should always use a pop shield to record vocals. Not only that it will protect the expensive microphone from being covered in saliva!