Pop filters both keep plosives and harshness at bay, and they also play a role in hygiene by protecting your precious microphones from saliva droplets from the singer's mouth.
Stop consonants (also called "plosives") force the air to move faster, which hits the microphone diaphragm hard enough to cause unwanted signal clipping. Pop filters dissipate the air by slowing it down, allowing for clean vocal recording even when using words beginning with consonants such as "P" and "B."
Thanks to their mechanical filtration's efficiency and practicality, we have yet to find better alternatives to pop filters. Pop filters are usually placed between the singer and the microphone to prevent fast-moving air from hitting the microphone capsule.
For this 2020 edition, we have analyzed more than 14,500 review and rating sources, several thousand more than the previous edition. We've come up with a new lineup of the best microphone pop filters, including three recent entries from these sources. We chose a pop filter for the budget section that many people in the home recording community praise for its incredible value for money.
- Best Microphone Pop Filters
- 1. AUPHONIX MPF-1
- 2. Shure PS-6 Popper Plug
- 3. Stedman Proscreen XL
- 4. JZ Microphones JZ PF
- Budget Option
- 5. Neewer NW (B-3)
- Factors to Consider When Buying a Pop Filter
- An Alternative Method to Use a Pop Filter
- Best Pop Filter Selection Methodology
Best Microphone Pop Filters
1. AUPHONIX MPF-1
- LET THEM HEAR YOUR MESSAGE...NOT YOUR MISTAKES: Don’t lose gusto focusing on breathing and mouth...
- WHY MESH INSTEAD of METAL? – ULTRA STURDY polyester mesh allows all those high frequency, AUDIENCE...
- ACTUALLY MAKES YOU SOUND GOOD - WON’T STIFLE YOUR VOICE, MASK YOUR INFLECTION or SOUND FLAT: While...
- LETS VOICE THRU, KEEPS BURSTS OUT – THIS ISN’T YOUR DIY mesh pop filter. OPTIMIZED surface...
- IT WORKS, IT FITS & IT’S EASY TO USE - Auphonix 6” microphone mask QUICKLY clamps to any ROUND...
Most pop filter manufacturers have clamps that generally fit the standard microphone stand but are not compatible with desktop USB microphones like the Blue Yeti.
The clamping mechanism of the AUPHONIX MPF-1 was designed to be nearly universal and compatible with desktop USB microphones such as the aforementioned blue Yeti.
It also features a dual mesh filter design. It comes in a good round shape that is 6" in diameter (and is also available in a smaller 4" version). It features an adjustable gooseneck for precise and stable positioning.
- Dual Screen Mesh
- 6" Diameter Filter Screen
- Adjustable Gooseneck
- Designed for the Blue Yeti microphone
- Also works with other desktop microphones
For home recording setups that are centered around USB microphones, the AUPHONIX MPF-1 is an affordable and versatile selection.
2. Shure PS-6 Popper Plug
- Four layer screen reduces audible "P and B" pops
- Ultra durable gooseneck for flexible positioning
- Rugged mic stand clamp for secure mounting
- For use with all shure vocal microphones
The PS-6 popper plug offers 20dB to 30dB of plosive reduction.
The material is also filtered by about 3db in the 8kHz to 9kHz range to reduce harsh sibilance.
This makes it ideal for louder singers or higher frequency-sensitive microphones.
- Diameter: 6."
- Gooseneck: 14."
- Four-layer shield
For easy set up and the ability to cope with the most aggressive vocal styles, the PS-6 Popper Stopper scores high marks for reliability. Note that the filter may color the sound to the detriment of singers with softer tonalities.
3. Stedman Proscreen XL
- Screen diameter: 6"
- Length: 26.5"
- Weight: 10 oz.
- Clamp range: .39"
- Signal levels can be maximized without the risk of clipping caused by bursts (extremely important...
The Pop Stedman Proscreen XL filter, features a 6" diameter filter made with a material they designed and patented.
While they did not give exact details, some have described the filter material as more like metal. The grid is plosives to prevent it from reaching your microphone while keeping the sound colorless. The company describes the material as easy to clean and reliable.
Other features of this product include a 13" flexible gooseneck and a nylon-tipped clamp intended to prevent scratches on your microphone stand.
Finally, the Stedman PRO SCREEN XL Pro filter has a premium price tag relative to many others. However, it can still satisfy most of its users and achieve one of the best ratings.
- Diameter: 6."
- Gooseneck: 13."
- Nylon tip clamp
- Angled filter openings that force plosive energy downward away from the microphone
- Washable Filter
If the budget is not an issue and you are looking for a reliable non-fabric mesh, this high-quality American Made pop filter is highly recommended.
4. JZ Microphones JZ PF
The JZ PF has a special wave pattern in the filter mesh that the company designed to "reduce[e] unwanted reverberations and kill pops and bangs effectively." The mesh is also mounted on a 17.7" long gooseneck.
- Diameter: 3.75"
- Gooseneck: 17.7" long.
- Wave pattern filter distributes the wind pressure to mitigate plosives.
Sometimes, the best in option in getting great vocal tracks is to arrange things as close to the source possible. For some, it's the room, or the microphones, or even the type of cable. For many users, this JZ PF helped eliminate plosives and clarity issues right from the start that they didn't have to use more processing than necessary in the mix. This alone makes it an excellent investment if the budget allows it.
5. Neewer NW (B-3)
- DUAL-LAYER POP FILTER: The first screen blocks air blasts as any pop filter normally would; The gap...
- ADJUSTABLE GOOSENECK: The steel metal gooseneck holder fully supports the filter's weight and keep...
- CLERAER SOUND: Banish the dreaded hissing and lisping sounds that come when pronouncing the letter...
- WIDE COMPATIBILITY: Adjustable screw rotating clamp with scratch-proof gripper can secure variety...
- EASY OPERATION: Swivel mount for easy installation, removal and location adjustment. Note:...
The Neewer is a lesser-known brand to most people. Nonetheless, the Gearank rating, number of sources, and price of this product earned it a place as our budget choice.
This NW (B-3) features a 6" diameter dual mesh filter with a 14.8" gooseneck.
- Diameter: 6."
- Gooseneck: 14.8."
- Nylon tip clamp
If you want an inexpensive but effective pop filter that does what it says on the package, lasts longer than others in the price range, and is available in the event it outlives its usefulness, the NW(B-3) is an excellent cheap option.
Factors to Consider When
Buying a Pop Filter
a) Filter Material
Most manufacturers usually choose to construct their pop filters using nylon or other fabric materials, usually because they are cheaper and, more importantly, get the job done. Others use woven or perforated metal. Some claim to provide greater clarity and transparency, specifically in the upper frequencies. There is no definitive answer to which is better as many experienced users to date prefer nylon mesh material. On the hand, more premium builders prefer metal.
b) Filter Diameter
The typical filter diameter that many pop filters follow is 6", but there are smaller ones, with 4" being the most common among them. The larger the diameter of the pop filter, the more room for movement the vocalist has. This allows for natural body movements during recording, rather than being strictly in a position that can sometimes kill inspiration and ambiance. Smaller pop filters are ideal for small microphones and small recording spaces; they are also lighter, which reduces stress on the gooseneck, resulting in more excellent stability.
c) Gooseneck Quality
The length, flexibility, and stability of the filter gooseneck play a significant role in filter positioning. You don't want a filter that will sag and require constant adjustments, and you would't want a neck that needs too much effort to put into position.
d) Mounting and compatibility
Most of the pop filters usually come with clamping and mounting mechanisms that allow secure attachment to microphone stands. It should be fine if you are using stand-mounted microphones. However, suppose you are using a desktop-mounted microphone, especially for home recording. In that case, you will want a pop filter that can be clamped to the desktop or to the microphone itself. Some USB microphones may not have the mass to counteract the weight of the pop filter. Here, choose a smaller pop filter that has an adjustable clamp.
An Alternative Method to Use a Pop Filter
Oftentimes people use pop filters when miking bass amps for slap bass players. This style of playing usually has swift speaker movements. Some users usually use dynamic mics, but when using a condenser, I like to use a pop filter to smooth out the sudden burst of air (transients) from the speaker.
Best Pop Filter Selection Methodology
First, we searched for pop filters that are readily available at retailers in the U.S. Then, we made a shortlist of 17 models and compiled related data about them, including user ratings, reviews, forum discussions, expert opinions. You can view our shortlist in the stereo database. The data we compiled for this 2020 update totals more than 14,500 sources, more than 4,500 more than the previous update. Gearank's algorithm processed this large number of sources to produce our rankings out of 100. We selected the top-ranked from the list to recommend above. We also selected a good budget option.