Mic Windscreen vs Pop Filter: Which One Is Better?

mic windscreen vs pop filter

Windscreens and pop filters are two prominent accessories that could effectively improve the sound quality of a microphone.

These items are specifically made to decrease background noise, leading to a discussion about mic windscreen vs pop filter.

Despite their similar functionality, some distinctions separate them from each other.

Let’s explore the details surrounding these microphone accessories and other related topics.

Before we make the comparison, let’s identify and discuss each item first.

Mic Windscreen

Windscreen microphones prevent wind from hitting the microphone and creating unwanted noise.

They’re ideal for outside shooting since they catch background noise without allowing too much distortion.

Windscreens go over your microphone’s grille, shielding them from wind noise from all angles while enabling sound to flow through.

Mic windscreen also reduces the loudness of ambient noises that sensitive mics might capture.

The thicker the windscreen layer, the greater the capacity to reduce wind noises and regulate air pressure around the microphone.

The Different Types

Listed below are the three basic types of microphone windscreen.

  • Foam

Foam windscreens are aesthetically neutral, making them more acceptable as video microphones.

Windscreens are usually made of open foam cells, and they wrap tightly around microphones to provide rudimentary wind protection.

The foam cells provide a vortex impression for the wind, deflecting it in numerous directions and preventing access to the microphone.

Foam mic windscreens typically generate up to 8dB of wind noise absorption.

While this decibel is considerable, other types of windscreens are far more effective.

Generally, the density of the foam dictates the rate of wind protection that a foam windscreen can deliver.

One of the critical benefits that foam windscreens have is their wind noise-reducing quality comes with fewer instances of high-frequency loss.

  • Windjammers

Windjammer is a common term for mic windscreen that features faux fur and foam material.

It’s fairly simple to identify this type of windscreen because of its synthetic fur covering the foam.

The fur allows for a better air distribution around the mic, which contributes to less wind resistance.

Other names used for windjammers include dead cat, windsocks, or wind muff.

Similar to foam mic windscreen, it is also primarily utilized for outdoor use.

With its visual details and underwhelming wind protection, some view windjammers as an example of “style over substance.”

  • Basket or Blimps

The basket or blimp windscreen exhibits a mesh material that comes with a thin foam layer beneath.

This type of microphone cover has a sizable open-air chamber that is larger than the microphone itself.

The combination of mesh, foam layer, and the open chamber allows the mic to get a wind noise reduction of 50 dB.

Despite the astounding rate of wind noise reduction, this setup is more prone to loss of high-frequencies than the other two mic windscreens.

If you are familiar with audio editing, you can diminish this effect once you are in post-production.

mic windscreen vs pop filter difference

Pop Filter

Let’s check out the definition of a pop filter before we head to the mic windscreen vs pop filter discussion.

One of the most typical issues when using mics is the occurrence of pops.

Pops are created by the impact of fast-moving air on the microphone when you speak or sing with plosives.

Pop filters limit the instances of these plosives, which could surpass the mic’s input capacity, resulting in aberrations and bad audio.

A pop filter over your microphone helps reduce saliva from entering it.

If left unattended, saliva can build up with time.

This would cause the microphone’s metal components to rust, potentially causing health problems owing to the bacteria’s proliferation.

Using a pop filter will improve the sound quality and extend the life of your mic.

The Different Types

Pop filters usually come in two variations, which are listed below.

  • Nylon Mesh Pop Filter

Nylon mesh pop filters disperse air before it makes contact with the diaphragm of the microphone.

This is performed by sandwiching two thin pieces of nylon between the mic and the one who uses it.

The nylon fabric opposes the gust of breath, significantly lowering the noise level created by plosive sounds.

Regarding noise and plosive sound reduction, this type of pop filter is reasonably effective in doing so.

Since this type of pop filter is constructed of nylon, the screen will eventually wear out, tear, or become loose.

This will demand either learning how to change the screen or may force you into purchasing a new nylon mesh pop filter. 

However, wear and tear may not be an issue if you do proper maintenance.

  • Metal Grill Pop Filter

Also referred to as metallic mesh pop filter, it has either woven metal mesh or perforated metal.

This type features larger holes than nylon mesh filters and offers better noise reduction.

When air comes into contact with the metal mesh screen between the speaker and the microphone, it gets redirected, usually downwards.

Some models of metal grill pop filters also exhibit a layer of nylon mesh to enhance their noise and plosive reduction capabilities further.

With their density, they’re more susceptible to making unwanted sound reflections.

The metal grill pop filter could negatively impact the sound quality depending on the mic’s sensitivity and the audio source’s volume.

Mic Windscreen vs Pop Filter

Regarding these two microphone accessories, it’s essentially not fair to compare them against each other as they both have different uses.

There are some key differences between mic windscreen and pop filter.

First of all, the pop filter is made for indoor use, while the mic windscreen is meant for outdoors.

Secondly, the mic windscreen reduces ambient noise, in contrast to the pop filter, impacting the vocal sounds.

Lastly, pop filter mics are compatible with just about any microphones, whereas the mic windscreen needs to be the exact size to fit in.

Final Thoughts

At this point, you probably concluded that the mic windscreen is not better than the pop filter and vice versa.

You cannot interchange them because of their design and purpose.

If you’re using indoor and outdoor microphones, better invest in getting these two items.

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