Pop Filter vs Foam – Which One Should You Use?

A foam cover blocks the wind from interfering with the microphone in open-air settings, whereas pop filters do a better job at suppressing the popping and plosive sounds from your mouth.

Both components do a somewhat similar job, which is reducing the pressure generated on the microphone. Foam covers (also referred to as microphone windscreens) can also reduce plosive and popping sounds, but they’re not as effective as pop filters in this case.

Pop Filter

A pop filter is a microphone accessory that enables you to sing or speak into the microphone with decreased pressure. For example, words that start with a “P” exert more pressure on the microphone than other words, causing it to overload. A pop filter protects the microphone from fast-moving air. 

You’ve probably seen artists use pop filters in live concerts and studios. You even might have used one yourself before without realizing what it actually does. 

Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter

A high-quality pop filter with a 13" Gooseneck, and Nylon-tipped Clamp

On top of that, pop filters help to prevent saliva from accumulating inside the microphone, which could potentially prolong its lifespan. 

There’s one shortcoming to using a pop filter, though: it can make your vocals sound dull. However, if both the microphone and the filter are high-quality, you shouldn’t notice that much of a difference. 

Is a pop filter that important? It depends on what type of microphone you have. For example, dynamic microphones require you to get very close to the microphone, therefore when using mics like the Rode Podmic, it’s highly recommended to use an external pop filter, even though it already has an internal filter that does some of the job already.

There are 2 types of pop filters: nylon mesh and metallic mesh. Nylon mesh pop filters integrate thin layers of fabric with an air gap in between. They’re affordable, making them ideal for beginners.

On the other hand, a metallic mesh pop filter consists of a thin metal sheet with holes. Metallic mesh pop filters are more durable and easier to clean than nylon mesh ones. They tend to a bit more pricey though.

Foam

A foam cover (also referred to as a microphone windscreen) eliminates the noise caused by fast-moving air in microphones. It’s made of a foam material that dampens high frequencies quite efficiently. Some microphones come with an included windscreen, but you can still use an external one for extra sound protection. 

A foam cover is great for filming or recording songs outdoors. It helps you capture the sounds you want to record without letting the wind overpower them.

Mudder Foam Mic Cover (5 Pack)

There are plenty of affordable foam covers that do the job.

There are 3 types of foams: windjammers, foam, and baskets or blimps. Windjammers are made of synthetic fur covers, while foams are made of polyurethane. As for baskets, these are made of thin foam layers wrapped inside mesh covers. 

The only problem with foams is that they aren’t very durable, especially if you opt for cheap ones. 

Does it Matter Which Pop Filter You Get?

Definitely! There are many pop filter brands and models out there. Some of them are intended for complete beginners, and they should do a good job for their prices. That said, almost any pop filter is better than none at all!

But opting for a premium pop filter will undoubtedly have its perks because it’ll minimize b’s and p’s sound much more effectively. 

Here are some of the factors that you need to considering when shopping for a pop filter:

Shape

There are two different shapes for a pop filter: flat and curved. Flat pop filters are usually cheaper, but you need to sing right to the center to maximize its benefits. 

On the contrary, curved pop filters allow you to sing from any angle while recording, resulting in better performance. However, curved pop filters are a bit more expensive than flat ones. 

Size

Choosing a suitable pop filter size is all about identifying the size of your microphone. You should also take your recording style into consideration. 

For instance, some artists like to move around while recording. If that’s what you do, you may want to get a large pop filter. 

Mounts

Most pop filters come with a gooseneck mount that’s secured with a clamp at the bottom. Most of these will be long enough for you to attach it to the front of the mic. 

Should You Use a Pop Filter and Foam at the Same Time?

In most cases, using both a pop filter and foam in an indoor setting at the same time is unnecessary. However, it depends on what you need to do. If you want to tame the pops while also offsetting the effects of wind or echoing, then using both a pop filter and a foam at the same time can be a good idea.

It also depends on how sensitive your microphone is. Some microphones are just naturally sensitive to plosives and wind. 

However, some may argue that windscreens may affect the sound quality of your microphone, suggesting that you should only use them when necessary. 

You can always try using both components and see what impact they make on your performance. 

Summary

Making the choice between a pop filter and a foam primarily depends on how you want to improve the sound of your microphone. Pop filters are great for suppressing pops and plosives. They’re perfect for in-door studio recordings. 

On the other side of the coin, foams can be quite beneficial in a live outdoor party when there’s too much wind. It also minimizes echo in indoor locations. 

Leave a Comment

Leave a reply

Musician Wave
Logo