pop filters... does price matter?

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jacktheexcynic
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2006/10/04 21:08:09 (permalink)

pop filters... does price matter?

so someone correct me if i'm wrong:

a pop filter is a pop filter, yes? why are some $14 and some $50? am i paying for the words "sterling" and "professional"?

here's the list from m.f.

can't you do this with masking tape, a long piece of cardboard and a used nylon?

- jack the ex-cynic
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    Rev. Jem
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/04 23:20:44 (permalink)
    can't you do this with masking tape, a long piece of cardboard and a used nylon?


    Sure can, Jack. I've read good reports of using an embroidery hoop as the frame.

    Apart from the quality of mesh, I think that the difference in price can also be influenced by the quality of the clamp.
    #2
    Joe Bravo
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/04 23:48:10 (permalink)
    Oh, its a total rip-off. I've tried all of them including the nylon on the clothes hanger. They all sound and do the exact same. My favorite vocal mic is this very inexpensive Marshall. Notice the oblong head on it. That's a pretty typical mic design as condenser's go. Have you ever priced the regular old foam pop filters to fit a head desogn like this? Last time I looked was at Mars Music a few years ago and they were $45. See the little round filter next to it in the photo that looks like it would fit a SM57 etc.? It will also stretch to fit over the Marshall just fine. You can get the round ones at Radio Shack for a couple of bucks.



    #3
    krizrox
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/05 07:11:55 (permalink)
    Well, in defense of the various choices, there are differences and you should probably familiarize yourself with the differences before you make a decision. But I agree - a pop filter is a pop filter is a pop filter. I prefer the ones that have the rotating elbow at the edge of the hoop. Just makes it easier to position in front of the mic.

    I have one of the original Popper Stopper's (pre Shure) that has to be about 7 years old and no signs of letting up anytime soon. The gooseneck isn't as firm as it used to be but it still holds in place. Same original mesh (I suppose I should clean them more often - god only knows what germs are growing on there)

    Oh - some of them have a larger clamping mechanism on the boom end which makes them not such a good choice for normal sized boom arms (even with the screw clamp all the way in it doesn't grip the boom enough to hold it firmly). Check the clamp to make sure it fits your boom.

    So the differences in cost usually have more to do with the mechanics than the actual filter itself.

    Here's more:

    http://www.zzounds.com/item--STUMPF

    http://www.vintagemicrophone.com/JShop/product.php?xProd=4&xSec=4&jssCart=ac6e3fcc6ee3288c81897a5b4ff8793a

    http://www.avantelectronics.com/PRO-SHIELD.htm

    http://www.atlasproaudio.com/stedman.html

    http://www.middleatlantic.com/pressdl/map/2006/spltscrn/spltscrn.htm

    http://www.deansabatino.com/2005/08/21/67/

    http://www.gearlive.com/index.php/news/article/diy_microphone_pop_screen_03220753

    http://admin.makezine.com/blog/archive/music/
    post edited by krizrox - 2006/10/05 12:58:44

    Larry Kriz
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    #4
    Joe Bravo
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/05 13:04:53 (permalink)
    I should have probably mentioned something about wind screens made for outdoor use. You'll see video sound guys use them a lot. They use different grades depending on wind conditions but the strongest ones are made of wool. Rycote's are probably the ones I see the most like this one:



    Most are made to fit shotgun mics but you can get them to fit almost anything. You may not be doing anything with video/film now but you never know when you might get asked to. If you're into recording for a living, then having a couple of good shotgun miics, top notch wind screens, boom poles, and something like a Fostex FR2 HD/Flash recorder or a good old PD4 DAT for commercial shoots can help bring in some extra cash.
    #5
    yep
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/05 14:06:15 (permalink)
    I agree with Larry, as usual. The best advantage to a good pop filter is that it is easy to position, stays in place, and doesn't rattle. And if you record people for money, it doesn't hurt if it looks like a piece of specialized equipment that rock stars have on MTV. About $20 should satisfy those requirements nicely.

    Cheers.
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    OffAnAirplane
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/05 14:12:53 (permalink)
    This is the only one I've seen that is somewhat unique from the others.



    It's $45. Not sure if it's worth it or not.
    I think it's two metal screens with a cloth screen sandwiched between them.
    post edited by OffAnAirplane - 2006/10/05 15:09:50

    Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
    #7
    jacktheexcynic
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/05 19:08:25 (permalink)
    thanks for the input guys - i guess i'll just throw down $20 for one and be done with it.

    - jack the ex-cynic
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    bbdude
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 10:00:11 (permalink)
    Seems like I read somewhere that the foam wind screens had some deficiency compared to a mesh pop filter. One thing I worry about is tiny little particles of foam getting grated off by the metal screen on the mic and then falling into the mic. That said, I almost exclusively use the foam bulbs over my NT1-A mics, when doing vocals -- the main reason being I feel it is less distracting to the singer and will still work even if the singer moves a little. Anyone recall seeing a write-up somewhere of the pros & cons of a wind screen vs. a pop filter?

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    krizrox
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 10:40:52 (permalink)
    I can't remember the last time I used a wind screen. I might make this kind of generalization about the two types:

    A windscreen is going to impact the sound quality more than the pop filter. I think you might find that the windscreen knocks some of the hi freq's out whereas the pop filter is more transparent. Also, because of the nature of how it's designed, the pop filter has a greater range of movement. I mean, you can't put a wind screen 8 inches in front of the mic.

    And one more thing: you usually don't get a wind screen with a large diaphragm condenser mic. Those are more for the handheld dynamic mics or shotgun mics. Windscreens tend to wear out quickly. All that stretching and pulling tends to break them after a short while. If all you're doing is home studio stuff just get a pop filter and be done with it. A good one should last you many years.

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    OffAnAirplane
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 10:53:36 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: krizrox

    I can't remember the last time I used a wind screen. I might make this kind of generalization about the two types:

    A windscreen is going to impact the sound quality more than the pop filter. I think you might find that the windscreen knocks some of the hi freq's out whereas the pop filter is more transparent. Also, because of the nature of how it's designed, the pop filter has a greater range of movement. I mean, you can't put a wind screen 8 inches in front of the mic.

    And one more thing: you usually don't get a wind screen with a large diaphragm condenser mic. Those are more for the handheld dynamic mics or shotgun mics. Windscreens tend to wear out quickly. All that stretching and pulling tends to break them after a short while. If all you're doing is home studio stuff just get a pop filter and be done with it. A good one should last you many years.


    That really surprises me. I would've thought a 1/2" thick foam pop filter, would supress the sound more than a 1/32" thick windscreen.

    Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
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    yep
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 11:06:18 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: OffAnAirplane

    That really surprises me. I would've thought a 1/2" thick foam pop filter, would supress the sound more than a 1/32" thick windscreen.


    A pop filter like on of THESE does not have 1/2" thick foam, or any foam. It's like the same stuff as pantyhose are made out of, stretched over a hoop.

    Cheers.
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    gonzo_dog
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 11:15:27 (permalink)
    I bought an inexpensive one and it had a cheap clamp which didn't hold for jack. I got tired of messing with it so I took it off. If I ever buy another one I'm going pay close attention to how it mounts on the stand. I'm sure the more robust clamps are more expensive.
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    krizrox
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 11:33:39 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: yep

    ORIGINAL: OffAnAirplane

    That really surprises me. I would've thought a 1/2" thick foam pop filter, would supress the sound more than a 1/32" thick windscreen.


    A pop filter like on of THESE does not have 1/2" thick foam, or any foam. It's like the same stuff as pantyhose are made out of, stretched over a hoop.

    Cheers.


    Right! The material is a very loose mesh. I'm not sure if it's exactly the same material as pantyhose but it's close enough. Some of these pop filters are made of metal but the idea is the same. All you're trying to do is prevent the blasts of air that occur from the hard syllables like P's and T's and B's and such. Wind screens are foam (or foam with fuzzy material on the outside) to reduce the noise from... well... wind! That's not to say that a windscreen can't act as a pop filter but it's main purpose is to reduce wind noise when you're outside. It's more of a broadband noise reduction solution I guess.

    There are other ways of dealing with all this. One trick is to tape a pencil in front of the diaphragm (I guess this trick works best on the side address type mics). I've tried that and it works but not as well as a pop filter. The concept is to deflect the hard, rapid movement of air away from the diaphragm. A very poor man's solution is to simply angle the mic away from the singer. Sing off axis. That can work too.

    I say just byte the bullet and get yourself a good one. It will last a long time and you won't have to worry about it again. Or make one out of coat hangar and panty hose. it doesn't have to look pretty - just has to work (although yep's previous comment about the commercial cool factor has merit )
    post edited by krizrox - 2006/10/06 11:55:48

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    OffAnAirplane
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 12:05:23 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: krizrox

    ORIGINAL: yep

    ORIGINAL: OffAnAirplane

    That really surprises me. I would've thought a 1/2" thick foam pop filter, would supress the sound more than a 1/32" thick windscreen.


    A pop filter like on of THESE does not have 1/2" thick foam, or any foam. It's like the same stuff as pantyhose are made out of, stretched over a hoop.

    Cheers.


    Right! The material is a very loose mesh. I'm not sure if it's exactly the same material as pantyhose but it's close enough. Some of these pop filters are made of metal but the idea is the same. All you're trying to do is prevent the blasts of air that occur from the hard syllables like P's and T's and B's and such. Wind screens are foam (or foam with fuzzy material on the outside) to reduce the noise from... well... wind! That's not to say that a windscreen can't act as a pop filter but it's main purpose is to reduce wind noise when you're outside. It's more of a broadband noise reduction solution I guess.

    There are other ways of dealing with all this. One trick is to tape a pencil in front of the diaphragm (I guess this trick works best on the side address type mics). I've tried that and it works but not as well as a pop filter. The concept is to deflect the hard, rapid movement of air away from the diaphragm. A very poor man's solution is to simply angle the mic away from the singer. Sing off axis. That can work too.

    I say just byte the bullet and get yourself a good one. It will last a long time and you won't have to worry about it again. Or make one out of coat hangar and panty hose. it doesn't have to look pretty - just has to work (although yep's previous comment about the commercial cool factor has merit )



    Ah. I guess I had pop-filter and windscreen confused. It makes more sense now.

    Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
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    Dave King
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 16:15:34 (permalink)
    Yes, Kriz is right. I would not recommend using a Windscreen as a Pop Filter, it'll suck the highs out of your recordings.

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    #16
    jacktheexcynic
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 17:42:01 (permalink)
    on the musicians friend site i was reading the reviews and one guy said that the reason a pop filter works better than a windscreen is because it's got distance between itself and the mic to diffuse the sound better...

    sounds logical to me. =)

    - jack the ex-cynic
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    Joe Bravo
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 18:16:11 (permalink)
    Boy, does the English language never stop changing? Years ago no one ever referred to a regular old ball shaped foam pop filter as a wind screen. They certainly wouldn't keep out a 30 mph wind blast. That wool wind screen I posted a pick of will though and it'll block out highs a little too but not so much as you might think. But I've never been able to tell the difference between a foam ball and a filter made of mesh/nylon. Both are completely transparent to my ears. By the way, google, "foam pop filter" and you'll get 1,200 hits. Apparently I'm not the only one who remembers that foam filters used to always be referred to as "pop" filters. I would never refer to one as a wind screen because they simply will not keep out wind. As far as I'm concerned foam and nylon are still both pop filters. You can debate all day as to which is better at keeping out pops. But I've never been able to hear any loss of sound quality with either of them.

    Also, I may be wrong but, as I recall, both foam and nylon filters block out lows--not highs. Any of you guys know John Beale? He's pretty well known in the video world. Anyhow he has a web page showing some spectral graphs of measurments he did of a speaker playing a 1khz test tone with his Sony VX2000 Camcorder 12" in front of it using the built in stereo mics while he had a fan off to one side of the mic blowing toward it at both 6.5 and 7.5 mph speeds. Obviously the higher the speed, the higher the fan noise in frequency. He measured the frequency changes between using no pop filter against using a foam one and then a foam one with a sock over it. He the took the Camcorder's sound file into Cool Edit afterwards and graphed out the difference in sound between them all. It shows the foam pop filter and with the sock cutting lows by 6 to 7db depending on whether the sock was on over the filter or not. The fan at 6.5 mph had a pretty high center curve at 42hrtz or so while the 7.5 mph fan speed centered the frequencies at around 60hrtz. The pops generated by speach would be even lower I would think. But anyhow, if you look at the graphs you'll see that the foam filter by itself didn't effect the 1khrtz tone or anything above at all. It just brought down the lows where it was supposed to. You can see the web page here: Wind Test

    Obviously there wasn't much high end to lose in his test but still, do you really think you can hear a loss of anything with a foam filter? It doesn't sound any different to me really. An actual wool wind screen--yes--you can hear a loss of highs, but I can't imagine anyone hearing any difference between a mic with a foam pop filter and one without except for the loss of pops. And pop filter or no pop filter, I still have to talk/sing off axis a little if I'm close to the mic.
    #18
    Dave King
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 19:06:56 (permalink)
    Interesting... on closer examination, I realize that the Windscreen I have uses a material more like cotton from a t-shirt, but very thin.

    I wonder if this offers any different performance than a nylon one.

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    #19
    Dave King
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 19:10:23 (permalink)
    Oops, sorry. I meant to say Pop Filter, not Windscreen.

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    #20
    Joe Bravo
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/06 20:09:24 (permalink)
    I would think cotton would work pretty good for that.

    By the way, anybody ever seen one of these Avantone Pro-Shield's? I think they they look really nice, kinda like the grill off a deuce coup, or a knight's shield. A lot of cool factor there and they only list for $30. Most places sell them for $25. I've never owned one but I have to admit I sure wouldn't mind.

    post edited by Joe Bravo - 2006/10/06 20:32:49
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    krizrox
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/07 08:14:50 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Joe Bravo

    Boy, does the English language never stop changing? Years ago no one ever referred to a regular old ball shaped foam pop filter as a wind screen. They certainly wouldn't keep out a 30 mph wind blast.

    Obviously there wasn't much high end to lose in his test but still, do you really think you can hear a loss of anything with a foam filter? It doesn't sound any different to me really. An actual wool wind screen--yes--you can hear a loss of highs, but I can't imagine anyone hearing any difference between a mic with a foam pop filter and one without except for the loss of pops. And pop filter or no pop filter, I still have to talk/sing off axis a little if I'm close to the mic.


    I don't know - I've never referred to those things as pop filters. If you go to the Shure website and look up SM58 accessories, you will find these things clearly listed as foam windscreens. Again, that's not to say that a windscreen doesn't offer some pop protection. I've seen them used in live situations to help cut down some of the breathing/popping noise. Radio DJ's use them a lot - I guess because a commercial pop filter is harder to implement in some cases. The metal mesh grill over the capsule is there to offer some pop/wind protection as well. But I would never rely on a windscreen here in the studio as a form of pop protection (unless I was desperate and had nothing else available). I'd resort to the coat hangar/panty hose solution before I'd cover the capsule with foam.

    In fact, sometimes, if you place a pop filter too close to the capsule, it won't work as well. Some singers really move a lot of air and I have to move the pop filter farther away from the mic. You can't do that with a foam windscreen. Irregardless of where the freq dip is, I see no good reason to use a windscreen in a studio environment unless you have a particular problem to address and you think a windscreen might be the answer. But that's just me You should use whatever you feel produces the best results for you!

    http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Products/Accessories/us_pro_A58WS_content

    post edited by krizrox - 2006/10/07 08:36:36

    Larry Kriz
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    Joe Bravo
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/07 08:23:16 (permalink)
    Morining Larry,

    Hmm... maybe you're right. I wonder if its a regional thing? Around here everybody I know refers to foam filter as pop filters but maybe they call them wind screens in most places. Who knows. It ain't worth losing sleep I over I reckon.
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    DonnyAir
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    RE: pop filters... does price matter? 2006/10/07 09:25:55 (permalink)
    I've always considered those "condom type" filters to be "windscreens" and not "pop filters".

    The pop filter I use is very similar to the one pictured above...essentially 1 or 2 layers of mesh (LOL pantythose)
    stretched over or mounted on a ring that then connects to the mic stand via a flexible mount.

    I can tell you that the windscreen type filters, even those that come with your upper end studio mics like Neumann, AKG, etc., are not transparent in sound. While they do shield against pops and "B's", they also seriously attenuate higher frequencies and can absolutely detract from pleasing tonal textures like "air" and "rasp".

    IMO, the windscreens serve their purpose well under the conditions they were designed for, which is generally outdoor use.

    But in a studio environment, (where 25 mph winds are pretty much non existent, LOL) they're a tone killer.

    Although, I've been in more than one pro studio in which the windscreen type filters were used...but I don't like them.

    Now, as to the difference in quality between pop filters? I don't know. The three I purchased some years back were priced around 10 bucks each, and they work fine.

    IMHO

    D.

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