Why Is A Pop Filter Necessary For Commercial Voice Over Artists?

June 21, 2022 - Artist
commercial voice over artists

What is a pop filter?

A pop filter is a screen fixed in front of the microphone while recording. Also known as a pop screen or pop shield, pop filters prevent any unwanted noise from the Commercial Voice Over Artists mouth while pronouncing the consonants like p, b, and similar letters.

What are popping sounds?

Popping sounds are sounds heard while saying the letters like P and B that occur naturally in your speech. Imagine holding a lit candle in front of your mouth. Now, say the letters like P and B, and observe how these sounds make the flame flicker.

The popping sounds increase as your mouth gets too close to the microphone while recording. The popping sounds interact with the diaphragm of your microphone and produce an output signal. A pop shield creates a barrier between the plosive sounds and your microphone to eliminate the popping sounds in the final voice recordings.

Whether you are recording in your home studio or a professional studio, you should be aware of the popping sounds generated when recording a professional voice over. Commercial voice over artists uses pop filters and microphone placement to avoid plosives.

Why do I need a pop filter with my microphone?

Pop filters help you eliminate issues at both the high and low ends. It reduces the time and effort of editing the recording and eventually helps you produce better-sounding demos, auditions, and final voice over recordings.

Some voice over actors never records without a pop filter. But you decide to register, with or without a pop filter. 

What are the advantages of using a pop filter for voice over recordings?

  1. Pop filters or pop shields are great for indoor use.
  2. Using a pop filter makes it easier for commercial voice over artists to edit the unwanted sounds and frequencies.
  3. Pop filters help you eliminate the popping sounds due to the mechanical impact of air on your microphone.
  4. Pop filters help minimize the popping sounds while saying the Ps and Bs.
  5. It also reduces the sibilance (hissing noise from the S sounds).
  6. Using a pop filter helps keep moisture away from the microphone. Saliva from your mouth can splatter onto the microphone while recording. The pop shields prevent the saliva from reaching the microphone. 
  7. The pop filters are handy and portable.
  8. The pop shields are easy to clean and maintain compared to the microphone.
  9. As a voice over actor, a pop filter helps you assess the distance you need to maintain between your mouth and the microphone.

What do I need to consider while buying a pop filter for my microphone?

As a commercial voice over artist, you must invest carefully in your recording studio’s equipment. The equipment needs to meet your requirements. Just because your peers have something, you need to waste your money on that equipment if it does not meet your needs. Here are some factors you have to consider while buying a pop filter for your microphone- 

Shape: Pop filters of different forms are available in the market, such as flat and curved pop filters. A flat pop filter requires you to speak directly into its centre, but it is more cost-effective. But the curved pop filter works from any angle, allowing more movements and range while you record.

Mounts: Generally, pop filters come with a gooseneck mount. You must ensure the gooseneck is long enough to attach the filter in front of your microphone.

Size: Pop filters differ in their size. The size of the pop filter depends on the size of your microphone. The diameter of the pop filter has to suit the microphone and your style of voice recording. For example, you will need a pop filter with a larger diameter if you move around while recording.

What can I use as a substitute for a pop filter?

As a commercial voice over actor, you may use the following tips and trips to substitute the pop filter for your microphone-

  1. Speaking off-axis

    You must avoid speaking directly into your microphone, maybe from a different angle.

  2. Smile while you record

    Smiling while recording helps prevent the popping of Ps and Bs.

  3. Use a pencil

    By putting a pencil in front of your lips, you can create a barrier to break the air from hitting your microphone.

How can I make my pop filter?

With some time, effort, patience, and creativity, commercial voice over actors can make their pop filters with the following materials-

  • One pair of Pantihose
  • Two cloth clips
  • One wooden or metal rod (about 3 feet) 
  • One round cardboard box
  • Any strong glue 
  • A pair of scissors

Cut two rings out of the cardboard box. One cardboard ring has to be slightly smaller than the other. Pull the pantyhose tightly over the smaller ring. Apply glue to the outside of the ring. Slide the big cardboard ring around the smaller one and let the glue dry to set. Once set, make a hole in the cardboard ring and pass the rod. Glue the rod to hold it in place. Your pop filter is ready. Fix it to your microphone using the two cloth clips.

Types of pop filters 

You may consider the following types of pop filters to start your commercial voice over artists career:

  1. Nylon mesh pop filter

Pros of using a nylon mesh pop filter:

  • Suitable for beginner voice over actors
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Most commonly used in the music and performance industries
  • Great for eliminating plosives. 

Cons of using a nylon mesh pop filter:

  • Nylon mesh pop filters remove high frequencies. Hence, the audio quality deteriorates.
  • Since nylon is delicate, it is not very durable. 
  1. Metallica mesh pop filter:

Pros of using a metallic pop filter:

  • Metallic pop filters have wider holes. It has a minimal effect on high frequencies.
  • It is durable
  • Metallic pop filters are smaller and hence are less obstructive.

Cons of using a metal pop filter: 

  • The metal sheet is thin and prone to bending if you are not careful
  • Eventually, metallic mesh pop filters develop a slight whistling sound.

Make sure you test out as many pop filters as possible before deciding on a particular one to ensure that it fits the microphone and your voice to give the best results.

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