What is the difference between a mic windscreen and a pop filter?
Answer: Windscreens and pop filters are used in conjunction with microphones to assist in reducing excessive pressures on a microphone’s element. These pressures may come in the form of wind current, breath blasts and vocal plosives. Both windscreens and pop filters are common tools of the trade used in both live and studio applications. Similar in their performance, windscreens and pop filters can often be used interchangeably to accomplish the same task.
Windscreens are usually made from a foam material and are designed to fit snugly over the microphone element casing. Many microphones, such as the ATM510, incorporate an internal windscreen in the grill to protect the microphone element. But even these types of microphones can benefit from additional sound pressure protection in certain situations, so don’t be afraid to outfit them with another windscreen. The AT8114 windscreen, for example, is designed to work with the ATM510. One thing to note, a mic windscreen often will dampen higher frequencies more than a pop filter will.
Pop filters usually consist of acoustically transparent foam and/or mesh and work by being placed in front of the microphone element. They are commonly used for recording vocals in a studio setting. The pop filter was originally implemented by using a hanger or embroidery ring to place stretched leg stockings between the audio source (vocalist) and the microphone element. This allowed for maximum sonic transparency while effectively reducing excessive plosives such as “p’s” and “b’s.” Pop filters are often used with Audio-Technica’s 40 Series microphones, as we demonstrate in our “Basic Recording Techniques: Solo Vocals” video: http://blog.audio-technica.com/record-solo-vocals-4-steps/.
We hope this clarification between windscreens and pop filters will help you in selecting the proper audio tools for your next microphone setup. As always, if you require additional assistance, please feel free to contact our Audio Solutions Department, and be sure to join us next time for another “Question of the Week”!