When recording your audio, you might experience common issues such as distorted audio, pronounced room sounds, bassy rumbles in your voice, or wind noise, which can be challenging to identify and fix.
There is a way that you can improve the quality of your audio without any complicated applications or expensive pieces of equipment.
A microphone windscreen is an excellent solution if you find that your audio pops now and then, and you might happen to record in different locations and want a consistent sound.
In this article, we’ll outline these filters and how they can affect your audio. We’ll also look at the different types of screens you can get, so you’re bound to find the right one for your set-up.
Read on to level up the quality of your audio to a professional standard.
What Are Mic Windscreens?
People often use these screens to protect the microphone from strong winds, which can cause a lot of unwanted distortion or break in the audio output.
These screens are helpful if someone is recording outside and wishes to record ambient noise with low distortions.
They are great if you want to record something specific and you don’t want a strong gust of wind to blow up the audio or overpower a speaker’s voice (see how to make your mic sound better).
These screens also work to reduce pressure from popping sounds that could come from vocal wind, and you could use these indoors as well if you were recording vocalist audio, for example.
The thinner mesh material of the filter lets in more high-frequency sound than a standard foam cover would, so it works well for work like recording podcasts and singing voices.
You’ll find these in different sizes depending on the size of your microphone, and a good example of these types of screens can be seen in the news when a correspondent is interviewing someone.
Are Pop Filters The Same As Mic Windscreens?
You might have heard about these types of filters used in the same sentence as a windscreen, but we’re here to tell you that these filters are used mainly indoors to improve the quality of a recorded voice.
They’re often placed at a safe distance between the capturing side of the microphone and the speaker, and the material of the pop filter is designed for maximum transparency while reducing things like plosives.
This benefits you whether you sing or talk as the filter shields breath blasts and, surprisingly, comes in different shapes, but they essentially work the same.
You might find some microphones that have pop filters built into them where it’s usually located just inside the grille, and some may allow you to remove the filter as you see fit.
Its effectiveness depends on how much space they leave in between the capsule and the sound source, so in some cases, it might not have a lot of room to displace air, which can cause plosives.
The best way to find an effective filter is to look at the specifications of your mic, and sometimes you might have to try different options like a pop or foam filter to get a result that suits you.
What Types Of Windscreen Are There?
You’ll find three main types of windscreen, but you should be aware that you might find a slight variation of some of these filters as they can be made for different types of microphones or used in various settings.
If you’re not sure which one works for you, we’ve broken down the different types and where they are most effective.
- Foam coverings- You can get these as small and rounded, long and cone-like, or darker grey foam that usually fits pencil mics. You’ll find that these screens work best for outdoors or speech and singing at close distances.
- Basket coverings- These screens are the best option for maximum noise protection and have an inner layer of foam and an outer layer of plastic or metal mesh. You can get them in different sizes and offer shock absorption by suspending the microphone, so they are worth considering with professional set-ups.
- Windsocks or fur windscreens– These screens consist of an inner layer of thin foam and an outer layer of synthetic foam and offer superior wind protection. The bits of fur act as baffling to redirect wind and creates less friction than a foam screen. In terms of looks, they would be best used as off-camera microphones as they can be challenging to maneuver and will likely direct any attention away from the shot.
What Windscreen Should I Choose?
The most obvious way to choose a windscreen is by carefully examining the dimensions of your microphone and seeing if the company that sells your mic also sells filters, as you’ll be reassured that it will fit.
Generally, most handheld microphones can be protected using universal foam windscreens, but make sure that any ports on the grill are fully covered by the screen and aren’t too big for your mic, as the shift can cause its own noise.
Then you also want to consider the noise attenuation, so if you’re using a longer microphone and the sound source is further away, you might opt for a fur or basket windscreen.
This is because directional microphones are more susceptible to wind noise, so you’ll have more protection and won’t need to worry about your positioning.
It would help if you also considered that more layers to your filter would result in lower acoustic transparency, so you might have to navigate a trade-off between the two.
Now you know what a windscreen is, you can start to look around for a filter that is most effective for your use case.
Never again will you have to compromise between noise quality and transparency, as there are ways that you can make a filter yourself if you find yourself on a budget. Thank you for reading.