If you ever have the opportunity to record in a professional studio, you will probably find that the microphone has a pop filter. Also known as a pop screen or pop shield, it is a thin layer of porous material that has been stretched across a circular frame.
Pop filters can be purchased but in this article, we will explain how to make a homemade pop filter.
How To Make A Homemade Pop Filter
If you don’t want to buy a pop filter then you can make your own. Below we will detail three different methods to make a homemade pop filter.
Coat Hanger Wire And Pantyhose Pop Filter
The first homemade pop filter that we will explain how to make uses a wire coat hanger and some pantyhose.
1. The first step is to take a wire coat hanger and pull out the bottom of the triangle so that it becomes a more circular shape. Keep pulling out the sides until you get the best circle you can manage. If this is difficult with your hands alone, you can use some pliers to grip the wire and try heating the metal to make it softer and more malleable.
2. Take a pair of pantyhose and cut one leg free. Pull this leg over your wire circle. Try to push the circle down into the toes so that the only excess hose is around the hook of the circle. Keep the hose that is stretched over the circle tight and gather the slack around the hook. You can then seal the excess with some tape or a rubber band to ensure the filter keeps its shape.
3. You can secure and set up your pop filter in place by straightening out the hook and bending it into a curve. Secure the straightened hook to the microphone stand with tape or a clamp holder.
Sewing/Embroidery Hoop and Pantyhose Pop Filter
1. Embroidery hoops usually have two hoops with the outside hoop having a latch and clamp. Open up this latch and remove the inner hoop.
2. Cut a leg from your pantyhose and slip the inner hoop inside. Push it down into the toes and make sure the hose is stretched taut.
3. Put the inner hoop back inside the outer hoop and fasten the latch and clamp so that the two hoops are secure and the hose won’t move.
4. Instead of using pantyhose, you can also use screen door material or a similar mesh. This material is stiffer than hose but can still be folded other the edges of your inner hoop and fixed inside the outer hoop.
5. To connect the embroidery hoop pop filter to your microphone, you can tape or clamp it to the stand. Another option is to attach a straightened out coat hanger to the hoop and use this.
Plastic Lid Pop Filter
1. For this pop filter, you will need a plastic lid. You can find these on cans of coffee and other foods. You should look for a plastic lid that is at least six inches in diameter that is also stiff. Flexible and floppy lids will not work as well.
2. Cut out the inside of this lid. You should leave the thick outer rim in one piece and only remove the thinner insides. This outer rim should still be stiff and circular. If the lid is thick, you might have difficulties using scissors and will need to start with something sharper, such as an awl, saw, or drill.
3. Cut a leg from some pantyhose and place your plastic circle inside, pushing it down into the toes. The excess hose will then all be collected in place.
4. Secure the slack with some tape or an elastic band. You can also use wire and then use the other end of the wire to attach the filter to your microphone.
What Is A Pop Filter?
Pop filters (see also our article on microphone pop filters) are a piece of equipment used when recording audio with a microphone. As the name suggests, it is a filter that works to eliminate the unwanted ‘pop’ sounds that can occur when recording voices.
They can greatly improve the quality of your audio when recording vocals, podcasts, and voiceovers.
They reduce the harsh and loud plosive sounds that come from consonants such as B. D, G, K, P, and T. As we speak or sing, we create these plosive sounds by expelling air from our mouths. This air then bounces off the microphone and makes an unpleasant and loud sound that is picked up on the recordings.
Pop filters work by guarding the mic against these disruptive blasts of air. They diffuse the air before it hits the mic and eliminate or reduce the distortion and popping noise of plosives.
Are Pop Filters Necessary?
In many cases, yes they are. Although some lower quality mics are more likely to pick up plosives, even the most expensive and high-end mics aren’t immune to them.
In fact, some of the larger high-end mics might even pick up more plosives as they’re often more sensitive and delicate, making them more prone to variations in the air around them.
If you notice plosives on your recordings, then the easiest way to reduce or eliminate them is with a pop filter. They aren’t that expensive to buy and as we detailed in this article, you can easily make one at home.
Pop filters can also act to catch any saliva that you may spray as you talk and sing. This will help prolong the life of your mic (see also ‘Why Is My Mic Not Working?‘) (see also ‘Why Is My Mic Not Working?‘).
When you position your pop filter, the general rule is that the further it is from your mic, the less pops there will be. However, by extending the distance between the mic, the pop filter, and yourself, you increase the risk of ambient noise being recorded.