When buying your first recording gear, it is natural to wonder do dynamic microphones need pop filters? Generally, they do, with some exceptions, but we will also answer the “why? question.
Dynamic microphones need pop filters to block plosives and sibilance, as you can’t easily edit them. Some mics come with a built-in filter, so you don’t need to put anything on top of the mic’s capsule. Premium dynamic mics are sold with either a build-in filter or come with a detachable pop-filter.
Podcasters, speakers, singers – ask anyone who records their voice, and they will tell you how important a pop filter is. Since it’s natural for your voice to pop out in a mic sometimes, everybody uses a pop filter to get a clean recording.
In this post, I will dive deep into this topic to dispel any doubts about using a pop-filter with a dynamic mic.
Do You Really Need a Pop Filter for a Dynamic Mic?
Dynamic mics are rugged. They produce high-quality audio in all situations. Moreover, all dynamic mics have a special quality- they have a high sound pressure level. Sound pressure level indicates how much sound pressure your mic can handle without distorting the sound. This means that dynamic mics are highly effective at handling loud sounds.
Dynamic mics are mostly unidirectional. They accept incoming sounds only from one direction. Also, many dynamic mics come with an in-built pop-filter. Together, all these features make your dynamic mic resistant to plosives. And that is why you can see singers holding a dynamic mic in their hands when they are performing for a live audience.
So should you use a pop-filter with a dynamic mic?
Pop filters are an absolute must if you record with a condenser mic. Condensers are pretty sensitive, and plosives are very common. Consider this a rule of thumb. But if you are using a dynamic mic, there would be fewer plosives and sibilance. So you can assess the situation and decide for yourself.
What’s my personal take on this? Let me elaborate.
A dynamic mic is awesome, and the plosives will be far and few. But they would still be there. Even the in-built filter doesn’t do the whole job. If you are on-stage, you may skip the filter. It would give you the freedom to move around the stage as you speak or sing. You will be making a small trade-off in sound quality, and it’s perfectly fine in a non-recording scenario.
But when you share your podcast episodes with the world, they need to be absolutely impeccable. For that, you would need a pop-filter! There might still be an occasional popping out of your voice when you say a P or B. And we don’t want a single imperfection in a recording that you want to broadcast. We don’t want additional work during editing. So how do we achieve that? By using a pop-filter!
Now, this is my opinion. It’s not a hard and fast rule, and I have suggested it primarily for podcasters. If you have a dynamic mic and you are able to get a clean recording with it minus a pop-filter, you can skip the filter. I personally wouldn’t do it because I always like to err on the side of caution. You can figure out what suits you with a bit of trial and error.
At the end of the day, if you are in doubt, remember that pop-filter will not hurt your recording and can only help. So if we want to simplify the whole situation, then definitely we can say that dynamic microphones need pop filters.
Pop-filter, wind-filter, or foam-filter – are they the same?
Those names are often used interchangeably, although that is not always accurate.
All those filters eliminate plosive consonants and sibilance from being recorded in the first place. Some mics like Shure SM7B (check current price) or Rode NT1-A (check current price) will already come equipped with a filter. For podcasting, your requirements are really basic and buy the cheapest filter you can. Use simply the filter which came with your mic. If you don’t have a filter, consider some of those straightforward and effective recommendations.
|Double layer pop filter||Triple-layer wind filter||Foam filter|
|universal size||universal size||always buy for a specific mic|
|check price||check price||check price for Blue Yeti|
What is a Dynamic Microphone?
A dynamic microphone uses electromagnetism to convert sound into audio signals. Actually, there are two types of dynamic mics- moving coil microphones and ribbon coil microphones. But these days, when we talk about dynamic microphones, we are only referring to moving coil mics. At present, ribbon mics have very limited application, so a podcaster need not worry much about them.
A dynamic mic has a coil at the rear of the membrane, and a strong magnetic encloses this coil. Think of it like speakers working in reverse. When you speak into the mic, the sound waves move the membrane, and the membrane pushes the coil. The movement of the coil within the magnet produces a small signal voltage, which is the sound signal.
Their build quality impact’s how much different dynamic microphones cost.
Dynamic mics don’t require a power source to run and give excellent sound quality. Dynamic mics are great for noisy environments- say for recording musical instruments, performing live on-stage, etc. While artists prefer condenser mics in professional studios, they often use dynamic mics if they are recording at home due to the noise-canceling features of the mics.
My recommended dynamic microphones
If you’re unsure if a dynamic microphone is the best mic type for you, here is a full microphone buyer’s guide where you will also find recommended condenser and USB microphones.
How to Set Up a Pop-filter on a Dynamic Mic?
Most of my readers are podcasters who rarely face a live audience. They record in a comfortable space, so they should use a pop-filter.
You can and should use a pop-filter when using a dynamic mic on a stand. So before you hit the record button, spare a few minutes and set up your equipment properly.
- First, adjust the clamp to an open position by loosening the bolt of the pop filter.
- Now place the pop filter close to the microphone, but don’t put them right next to each other.
- You have to maintain some space between them.
- The pop-filter should never touch the microphone.
- You can decide the distance between the microphone and the pop filter.
- You can keep the pop-filter anywhere between 2 to 6 inches away from the mic.
Ideally, you have to maintain an angle of 2 O’clock (or 10 O’Clock) between the pop-filter and the microphone. Adjust the gooseneck and fasten the clamp.
How to Use a Dynamic Mic Without a Pop-filter?
Did your pop-filter get misplaced or damaged, and you don’t have time to buy a new one before your next recording? Here are a few tips to help you out, but do get a new pop-filter after this!
- You can place a pencil vertically in front of you as you record. It will act as a barrier to the airflow from your mouth to the mic, and the air won’t directly hit the mic. This helps remove plosives.
- To break the airflow, speak or sing into the microphone at an angle. Keep your mic at a 45 degree angle, and adjust your sitting or standing position.
- You can smile! It makes you look good, and remove plosives. Smile when you make P, T, or B sounds or any other sounds that could create a popping noise.
If this doesn’t help, or you move too much when recording and the voice are uneven, then the best solution is to sit straight, talk directly to the mic, and accept the fact that dynamic microphones need pop filters in your specific condition.
How Does a Pop-filter work?
As the name suggests, pop-filters play an essential role in filtering out plosives. Plosives occur when you speak heavy consonants, breath into the mic, and excess air pressure hits the mic surface. If you have used a mic without a pop-filter, you would have noticed a windy or a popping sound while speaking your Ps and Bs. Yes, that’s what I am talking about! The sound of your voice popping is called plosives, and that’s what pop filters get rid of.
A pop-filter consists of a small and circular screen made up of wire or nylon mesh. It’s placed between you and the mic so that your voice doesn’t directly hit the mic. As you speak through the pop-filter, the air hits the filter first. It gets distributed around and then reaches the mic. This avoids excess air pressure from hitting the mic surface. And that’s how pop-filter removes plosives from recorded audio. Pop filters also keep your mic safe from the moisture or saliva coming from your mouth.
It’s important to note that plosives are a natural occurrence- there is no way to avoid them from happening. But luckily, a wise person invented pop filters, so we can easily work around plosives.
All of the mics need some form of protection from plosives and sibilance – two effects that can ruin every good recording.
Dynamic microphones need pop filters, similar to condenser mics or USB mics. In the mid-tier to high-tier devices categories, manufacturers either offer built-in filters or sell you a mic with a detachable pop-filter.
In the budget category, most likely, a mic will be sold on its own without any additional pop-filter. In that case, the simplest solution is to grab a gooseneck pop-filter.