Mic and pop filter
Home Recording Articles

What is a microphone pop filter?

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A pop filter refers to a screen that serves as protection for microphones.

It’s the shield that helps lessen or eliminate the ‘popping’ sounds made when air moves at a fast pace through the microphone and causes a disruptive, unflattering noise.

A must-have item for any home or professional studio and is a contributing factor to the difference between professional and amateur recorded vocals.

Mic and pop filter

Whats a pop sound?

These ‘popping’ sounds crop up the most when pronouncing aspirated plosives like the ‘p’ in ‘problem’ and the ‘t’ in ‘time’. Pop filters have been designed to fix this so that the sudden loudness of the plosive does not interfere with the input capacity of the microphone.

In practical terms, the pop filter material limits the sound made by the plosive so that it does not reach the diaphragm of the microphone when recording vocals through a USB audio interface.

Filtering out sibilance

Although microphone pop filters diminish popping sounds, they are not so successful with regard to sibilant sounds. Sibilant sounds refer to sudden sharp bursts of air, usually accompanied by a faint frequency, heard while pronouncing letters such as; “s”, “z”, “c” and “sh”.

The way to combat this is using a plugin unit called a ‘de-esser’ which you can read about within our vocal mixing guide.

Do I need a pop filter?

A pop filter is not required.

It’s only needed if you notice the vocalist produces a disturbance of pops or sibilance during the recording.

Here are some other advantages of a pop filter:

  • Serves as a sieve. As earlier stated in this article, pop filters sieve out those disruptive plosive sounds that may spoil the vocal or voice recording and so consequently, your song. You’ll especially need this for your gaming mic.
  • Keeps moisture off the microphone. Acting as a sort of shield for the microphone, it helps to keep moisture off it and thus helps prevent mechanical faults with the microphone. 
  • Protects against natural salt. Saliva contains salt and has the characteristic of being corrosive. In the course of hitting a pitch or a note, you inadvertently release saliva, which thanks to the pop filter, does not reach the microphone, which increases its durability. 


The standard pop filter is made of layers of stretching acoustically semi-transparent materials like woven nylon over a frame and it usually comes with a clam and a flexible mounting bracket.

The metal pop filter is another type, which has a fine mesh metal screen in place of the woven nylon.

A microphone pop filter is not the same as a microphone windscreen. Microphone windscreens are typically used for outdoor recordings and on stage whilst microphone pop filters are used in recording studios. Regardless, pop filters are more acoustically transparent than windscreens.

Making a DIY pop filter

Very common in home studios and beginner mix engineers’ arsenal are DIY pop filters made out of all sorts of arrangements.

You can make one by stretching material from tights or stockings over a kitchen sieve or a loop of wire and positioning it accordingly.

One method is to simply cover the entire microphone diaphragm with a thick football sock, eliminating any possible plosives.

Pop shields should not be fixed directly to the microphone because if done so, the vibrations will be transmitted from the shield to the microphone and massively interrupt the vocal take.

Our online mixing and mastering service can help you reach that crisp professional standard of audio you want.