Listening to your favorite songs or podcasts can make you believe that getting a high-quality recording is a piece of cake. However, if you try it, you will see that it is not so easy without having the proper equipment and techniques. Luckily, one of the fundamental elements of the equipment, the pop filter, is very easy to build with homemade materials. With your new filter, you can get rid of that annoying "pop" produced by the "p" and "b" sounds in a recording.
Method 1 of 3: Filter with wire and stockings
Step 1. Form a circle with a wire hanger
Stretch the "bottom" of the triangle on the hanger to get an arched shape. The shape should be like a rough square.
Step 2. Continue pulling the flat sides to get a more circular shape
It doesn't have to be perfect.
If you have trouble bending the wire, you can help yourself with pliers to hold it better. If you have a vise, you can also hook one part of the hanger onto the vise and stretch the other side
Step 3. Place a pair of stockings or leggings over the hoop
Stretch them out as far as possible to get a flat surface, similar to that of a drum. Wrap the excess fabric around the hanger hook. Secure the excess fabric with tape or a rubber band and make sure the stretched part is tight.
Step 4. Place the filter right in front of the microphone
The ideal distance is between 2, 5, and 5 centimeters (1 or 2 inches). You must not touch the microphone. It should stay between your mouth and the microphone while recording. There is no "right" way to do it. Whatever system you use to get the new filter to stay in front of the microphone is valid. Here you will see a few ideas!
- If you want, you can stretch the hook on the hanger and bend it so that the curve is wider. Then tape it to the mic stand behind the mic. Bend the wire to your liking to place the filter in the most suitable position.
- Use a clamp to attach the filter to the stand of the microphone. Most hardware stores sell cheap, small clamps.
- You can tape the filter to another mic stand and place it in front of the first.
- Do not forget that there are microphones that register the sound from above and others that register it from the front. The filter should be directly in front of the sound-recording surface of the microphone.
Step 5. Speak or sing into the microphone through the filter
You are ready to record. Turn on your recording equipment and position yourself so that the filter is between you and the microphone. Place your mouth several inches from the filter. Good luck!
Hear how your pes, bes, es and ches sound on the recording. If the volume is set to the correct levels, you should no longer hear any unusual noise with these sounds. On the other hand, if you decide not to use a pop filter, your recordings can end up very distorted. Click here for a good, semi-technical guide to this phenomenon
Method 2 of 3: Embroider or Sew Hoop Filter
Step 1. Get an embroidery hoop
Step 2. Stretch the nylon embroidery material over the hoop
A hoop is simply a metal or plastic ring that is used to hold the fabric while it is being sewn. Any size will work, but most pop filters measure about 6 inches (15 centimeters).
Embroidery hoops usually have a simple zip on one side. Open the zipper and place the fabric over the inner hoop so that it overlaps fabric all over the sides. Place the inner ring back inside the outer ring and adjust the closure, making sure the fabric is stretched. For more information, read the following article: How to Hoop Fabric to Embroider
Step 3. As an alternative, a mosquito net can be used
Although it seems paradoxical, "stiffer fabrics are usually better for pop filters." A thick metal or plastic mesh like those used for doors or screens works particularly well. It simply has to be stretched over the hoop as you would with embroidery fabric.
This type of mesh can be purchased at most hardware stores. These are usually cheap, but you may have to buy a full roll, rather than the small amount that you actually need
Step 4. Place the hoop in front of the microphone
Now, all you have to do is put your new pop filter in the desired position. As in the previous section, an easy way to do this is to attach the rack with tape, glue, or a clamp to a free mic stand. You can also hook the rack to a pole or a stretched hanger and hook them behind the microphone.
Speak or sing through the filter into the microphone as you normally would. With this method, the filter only has one layer, but it is sufficient. It should work perfectly
Method 3 of 3: Coffee Can Lid Filter
Step 1. You can use the plastic lid of a large coffee can
This method uses the lid of a coffee can to make a circular frame for the filter cloth. You can use a variety of sizes, but in general, wide, rigid caps of about 6 inches (15 centimeters) will work very well.
The stiffer the cap, the better. Flexible caps do not work well
Step 2. Cut the central part of the lid, leaving only the edge. Use scissors or a utility knife to cut the entire central part of the lid
When finished, you will have a rigid plastic ring. Throw away the center part of the lid.
For stiffer caps, you will need a drill, punch, or saw to get started. These tools must be handled with care. Wearing thick work gloves and eye protection is a must
Step 3. Stretch stocking or nylon fabric over the hole
Since you have the rigid plastic ring, you just have to make the filter with a tight layer of porous fabric. Stockings or leggings usually work. Slip a stocking over the hoop, stretch and collect any excess fabric, and secure it with rubber bands or tape.
You can also use, as in the previous section, embroidery fabric or mesh, but they are more difficult to handle. These materials can be attached to the back of the hoop with cable ties, clips, or tape
Step 4. Use the filter as indicated above
Your pop filter is ready. Secure it with tape or a clamp in front of the microphone, as explained in the previous methods.
- Some sources recommend sliding a sock over the microphone as an alternative to using a pop filter. There is no unanimous opinion: for some, the results are similar, while others think that a true pop filter protects better against distortion.
- The plastic ties allow to fix the pop filter in a simple and durable way. However, it is a good idea to have a razor or scissors on hand to cut the flange and start over in case of error.
- Speaking or singing while standing slightly to the side rather than from the front also often helps reduce distortion from pes, bes, etc.