All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Best Pop Filters 

Often an overlooked part of any studio, equipping yourself with one of the best pop filters is an essential part of ensuring that you are creating the most high-quality vocals possible.

 

What is a Pop Filter?

Great question. Pop filters are those funny little circular mesh-looking devices that you often see hanging in front of a microphone, separating the recording artist from the microphone itself.

 

What do they do?

In general, pop filters do exactly what the name suggests: They filter out the ‘pops’ in your recording (click here to see an example that MIT ran). What pops are you talking about? Another great question. The best way to explain this concept in laymen’s terms would be through a very short exercise.

Say the following sentence aloud:

‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.’

What would be even better is if you had some sort of phone or recording device that you could use record yourself saying the sentence. If you do, then do so. Make sure that you say the sentence very close to the device while recording.

Now play it back for yourself.

What do you notice? Unless you’re using a pretty high-quality piece of recording equipment or you were talking softly, you’ll notice that every time you said one of the words that started with a ‘p’ there was a slight ‘puhh’ sound that accompanied those words that probably came out sort of like a gust of air. Part of this is due to the quality of the recording device you’re using (which in a studio would be a microphone), yet part of it is just due to the anatomical nature of our language itself.

Without delving into too much detail, the way that we pronounce words that start with a  p or a b, particularly in recording, causes us to expel a strong gust of air as we emphasize that part of the word, resulting in a distortion of sound.

The purpose of a pop filter is to remove that unwanted sound from your recording.

Below is another useful function of pop filters

Go ahead and say this sentence to yourself and record it like you did for the one above if you can:

“Slimy snakes sliding systematically send the symbol of semblance.”

It may not be as obvious when you play back this sentence, but the way you pronounce the ‘s’ in each word containing the consonant will most likely produce somewhat of a hissing sound. This is such a common phenomenon in music recording that there is a term for it –  ‘sibilance.’

For a much more in-depth and technical explanation of how pop filters, click here to view this link.

 

Why do I need one?

Pop filters are almost always necessary in any studio setup because it is almost inevitable that you are going to run into those sounds. They also serve an implicit role of making sure that the vocalist is an adequate distance away from the microphone which, in itself, also removes the presence of distortion and sibilance.

Even if you are equipped with the best microphone, pre-amp, XLR cable, DAW, and CPU in an acoustically maximized room, the presence of a pop filter can make a huge difference. As mentioned earlier, pop filters serve the important purpose of reducing unnecessary ‘noise’ from your recordings in the way that you pronounce words which will ultimately make them sound clearer.

But can’t I just edit those sounds out?

Yes and no. While there are obviously VSTs as well as engineering and mastering protocols that are designed to help you EQ your vocal recordings to remove the presence of these sounds, they can only be so effective because they are largely a doctoring of the recording after the fact.

Most engineers will inform you of one principle that remains constant in audio recording, and that is: You can put a lipstick and a dress on a pig, and it’s still a pig.

Similarly, if you forego measures that will enhance the vocal quality of the recordings you are producing, you will notice an appreciably lower quality in final product regardless of how well you can engineer or how good the software is that you are using.

 

Are Pop Filters Really That Necessary?

If you are a vocalist, yes. You probably can’t find any reputable studio that handles vocals recordings that don’t have a pop filter attached to just about every microphone. This is probably one of the quintessential components of any recording setup around.

 

I googled up a pop-filter, and it appears I can make one in the comfort of my own home rather than purchasing an already made one.

If you’ve come to this conclusion, then you are correct. While the chances that you create a product inferior to the best pop filters on the market is extremely high, that does not mean that you cannot still manifest a solid quality pop filter for yourself.

If you’re wondering how, then we have a short guide for you below:

  • Go to the store and purchase pantyhose (maybe bring a lady friend with you if you’re a little uncomfortable doing this as a guy. Or order some anonymously off of Amazon here!)
  • Find something circular that you can hollow out so that just the outside of the circle remains. The circle should be something relatively inflexible so that it does not bend under the pressure of you applying the panty hose to it. If you can find something metal or steel, that would be even better. If not, then perhaps cutting out the bottom of a very large circular Gatorade bottle and hollowing out that circle could suffice. Use your imagination!
  • Use pantyhose that you bought to stretch over the circle to create a ‘filter.’
  • Find some way to attach that pantyhose to the circle so that it stays there.
  • Find a way to attach this to your microphone in an unobtrusive way. A crude, yet useful suggestion would be for you to simply take a stick and attach the filter you’ve created to said stick and then take that to your microphone stand and angle it in such a way where it would effectively filter your vocals.

I Changed my Mind, and I Don’t Want to have a DIY Pop Filter  

Was it the pantyhose purchase?

Regardless of the reason, if you’ve decided that you don’t want to leave your vocal recordings up to fate and you’d rather have a guarantee of using one of the best pop filters on the market, then you’re in the right place because we’ve prepared a guide for you of what we believe are the top 5 on the market.

Without further ado.

Below, we have an in-depth list of five of the best pop filters on the entire market.

Each pop filter will be given a score on a scale of 0 to 100 in four categories, with 0 being the worst and 100 being perfection.

The categories are; aesthetics, utility, pricing, and overall. Continue reading to find out the criteria we used for each category.

Aesthetics – This is the most straightforward category of them all. For aesthetics, we give each score solely based on how good we think the pop filter looks. While this is a fairly superficial category, looks matter, so we want to give you a second opinion on the looks of the pop filter to make sure that your studio not only sounds but looks like the greatest studio in mankind.

Utility – Here, we judge the utility of the pop filter itself. It’s hard to know just how effective the pop filter is at doing its job without being able to record with it directly. Thus, we have created this category to solve this issue and give you better reassurance and satisfaction that the product you are purchasing satiates your needs. This category should also be used to differentiate between the best pop filters on our list regarding what they can do for you.

Pricing – Pricing is more of an intuitive category than what the name suggests. We do not just simply look at the price of the pop filter at its face; we also take into account what other comparable pop filters are going for at this moment in time and how much one could reasonably expect a pop filter of this quality to be sold for. We derive our estimations for this category based on this score.

Overall – This is merely the overall rating for the pop filter considering the aesthetics, utility, and pricing. This category is necessary because while some of the items on our best pop filters list may be better than others in certain categories, we like to make sure you can get a good view of what the best ‘full-package’ would be.

 

Psyrox’s Official List of the Best Pop Filters on the Market

 

 

 #5 Dragonpad Pop Filter

Overall

Aesthetics

Utility

Pricing

 

Coming in at #5 on our list of best pop filters is the Dragonpad. This pop filter easily qualifies as one of the best pop filters in the market and scores strongly in each one of our pre-listed categories.

Aesthetics – Aesthetically, this device is very deserving of the 5th spot on our list. Featuring a clear windscreen that only has a covering on the bottom half, it has a very professional and retro look to it. This is clearly the type of pop filter that one would want to invest in if aesthetics are a huge concern.

Utility – The screen is composed of a high-quality metal material in a tight knit mesh pattern that is sure to filter the exact frequencies that you want to eliminate from your recordings without taking too much away. It may not be suitable for powerful vocalists, in particular. However, this pop filter would do the trick for just about anyone else. The flexibility of the neck of the pop filter allows for very easy maneuverability based on one’s setup as well which is a huge plus.

Pricing – The pricing on this pop filter is excellent. It is right around the range that you would expect for a pop filter and considering that it is one of the best pop filters available, there is 0 complaint from us.

 

Click Here for purchase information, in-depth customer reviews, and information on this product.

 

#4 – Avantone PS-1 PRO-SHIELD Studio Pop Filter

Overall

Aesthetics

Utility

Pricing

 

 

The Avantone PS-1 Pro-Shield is more than deserving of the 4th spot on our list of best pop filters. This unique item is definitely an upgrade from what you may expect out of your typical pop filter in a number of ways.

 

Aesthetics – Aesthetically, this device is very unique which makes it a highly attractive option. The pop filter is shaped somewhat like the tip of a rocket ship if the top were rounded off instead of pointed. Instead of plastic, the makers decided to use metal on the outer ring which gives it a much more expensive and sophisticated feel. The mesh also has a bluish tint to it which is pretty cool.

 

Utility – Utility-wise, this pop filter is extremely efficient at what it does. It possesses some of the tightest interlocking of metal mesh fibers that one would find on any other pop filter, which guarantees that only the desired frequencies are making it through. It breaks from the traditional usage of mesh that many other pop filters contain.

 

Pricing  – This pop filter is slightly on the expensive side in terms of pricing for pop filters. However, we did not find the price to be absurd or illogical given the material that the pop filter is composed of and the uniqueness of its shape. These factors tend to drive production costs up which inevitably lead to higher end costs. Given these factors, we feel that the price rating was fair. You won’t be mad at all if you purchase this item because it is, after all, one of the best pop filters available on the market and you will be getting your money’s worth.

 

 Click Here for purchase information, in-depth customer reviews, and information on this product.

 

#3 – Samson PS01 Pop Filter

Overall

Aesthetics

Utility

Pricing

 

 

The Samson PS01 Pop Filter is probably the quintessential classic pop filter and an easy choice for #3 on our list of best pop filters. The Samson PS01 Pop Filter doesn’t have any crazy bells or whistles, but it does exactly what its purposed to do – be a great pop filter.

 

Aesthetics – There isn’t too much noteworthy in the aesthetics department for this device, admittedly. However, it does contain everything that one desire out of a pop filter in terms of looks. As mentioned above, it is the classic and quintessential pop filter that anyone would desire. It has an all-black finish on the outside, a plastic circular outline that surrounds the tightly stretched and woven mesh windscreen. This is your classic pop filter.

 

Utility – The utility on this pop filter is great because it does everything that you would want a pop filter to do. It effectively blocks the majority of your sibilance and removes the other unwanted frequencies out of vocal recordings.  It also comes with a flexible arm to ensure that you’ll be able to record without hindrance.

 

Pricing – This pop filter is not cheap but it ain’t expensive either. At the time of writing, its current listed price is extremely fair and something that will neither break the bank nor make anyone mad; especially considering that they are receiving one of the best pop filters available on the market. We’d recommend you go out and grab this thing if you’re looking for a good, cheap pop filter around the medium-ish price range.

 

 Click Here for purchase information, in-depth customer reviews, and information on this product.

 

#2 – CAD Audio EPF-15A Pop Filter

Overall

Aesthetics

Utility

%

Pricing

 

 

Coming in at #2 on our list of best pop filters the CAD Audio EPF-15A is a respectable pop filter for any studio professional or beginner to acquire. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do and its efficient at it as well.

 

Aesthetics – One of the first things you may think is, ‘Hey, this looks a lot like the previous pop filter!’ It does. Somewhat. It’s a little different in that its mesh windscreen is a little more transparent than the 3rd ranking device on our list of best pop filters. While this may not seem like a big deal, it actually is, and it makes a tangible difference as far as aesthetics are involved. Like many other pop filters, it does contain a plastic outline, with the mesh windscreen stretched across the surface of the device. The metal piece that serves as the connecting screw between the flexible arm of the pop filter and the filter itself is a nice aesthetic tweak as well.

 

Utility – As mentioned earlier, this pop filter does exactly what it’s supposed to do. The tightly woven, yet somewhat transparent mesh covering the face of this pop filter allows for the removal of undesired sounds without obfuscating the clarity of the desired vocal frequencies at all. Its design also all but guarantees that one will be able to attach this pop filter to their microphone or recording device without any trouble at all.

 

Pricing – This is the highlight of this device. The listed price for what you are getting out of this pop filter is phenomenal (at the time of writing). It gives the exact same utility an aesthetic prowess of pop filters that are twice and even triple the cost of this one. Without a doubt, we’d absolutely recommend that you go out and grab this bad boy.

 

 Click Here for purchase information, in-depth customer reviews, and information on this product.

 

#1 – Stedman Corporation Proscreen XL

Overall

Aesthetics

Utility

Pricing

 

The Stedman Corporation Proscreen XL can justifiably be called the best pop filter available on the market today. There are just way too many reasons why this pop filter stands supreme, but we’ll try to cover some of them below.

Aesthetics – This pop filter is absolutely beautiful. Featuring a thin circular metal enclosure around a metallic mesh windscreen, this pop filter screams high-end. It’s sleek, all-black coated finish just serves to enhance the pop filter’s aesthetics further.

Utility – Utility-wise, the composition of this pop filter is another huge factor of why we feel it is the best pop filter available on the market today. While being given the name ‘XL,’ it is certainly not too large and definitely not obtrusive in any way to the recording process. The metal mesh windscreen serves to more effectively remove undesired frequencies from recordings without any appreciable faults in the parts of the vocals that you wish to capture. In a nutshell, this device absolutely does its job the best and takes away the perfect amount while simultaneously leaving the right amount as well.

Pricing – Pricewise, it is a tad bit more expensive than the other pop filters on our list of best filters but for a good reason. If it is arguably the best pop filter on the market, then it isn’t unreasonable to expect that it is also probably the most expensive pop filter on our list as well. However, this shouldn’t serve as a deterrent of any kind to buying this pop filter. If you feel that you want to purchase the absolute best pop filter that money can buy, then look no further than the Stedman Corporation Proscreen XL.

 

Click Here for purchase information, in-depth customer reviews, and information on this product.