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A Low-Cost Accessory That Can Make a World of Difference in Audio Recordings

Audio recordists who know their stuff always use pop filters on microphones, especially for voice overs where the talent works close to the microphone. But, sadly, not everyone knows about a lowly accessory that can make the difference between amateurish and professional recordings.

Pop filters, usually made of fabric, are normally cheaply made and are often given away as freebies at audio trade shows and other events. They work OK and are certainly better than using nothing. However, a good pop filter needs to have a firm grip and adjustable arm so that it can be moved to accomdate the microphone and the recording.

Tired of fooling around with cheaply-made pop filters, I investigated what’s available to users who want a good, solid, reliable product. All paths led to the Stedman Corp. in Richland, Michigan, a maker of professional pop filters and other accessories since 1992.

Stedman’s Proscreen XL pop filter ($79.00), the company’s top of the line model, uses an advanced filter design that offers a large six-inch diameter screen with an ultra-fine rubber surround that does not interfere with vocal recording sound quality. Setup is easier with its extended clamp and a 13-inch heavy duty adjustable gooseneck.

The Proscreen pop filter is far more effective than fabric filters. Instead of simply diffusing bursts, the Proscreen redirects airflow downward away from the microphone capsule. Even close vocal work will not allow popping “P’s” or “B’s” to reach the microphone.

The large openings in the metal screen allow vocal sound to pass through to the microphone unobstructed and uncolored, preserving critical recorded detail.

The Proscreen XL provides excellent burst prevention for any voice recording application.

The Proscreen filter material and the high strength metal alloy clamp are both finished with a powder coating that will last a lifetime of recording sessions.The gooseneck is covered with a heavy duty vinyl shrink material keeping the flexible gooseneck protected and offers lower noise while adjustments are made.

The Proscreen can be easily washed after each use. The whole screen can be immersed into a mild solution of detergent and rinsed with warm water. Antibacterial detergents may also be used as well. Once cleaned, a towel can be used to dry the screen.

Stedman Proscreen’s feature a high quality clamping knob with a soft nylon tip to protect studio equipment from scratches. Best, of all, the clamp soldily holds the filter in place and does not flop around, like so many cheaply made filters do. It fits on stands with a range from .39 to .925 inches. The screen is best used at least two inches away from the front of the microphone.

The Prosceen is 26.5 inches long, 6.1 inches wide and weighs 10 ounces. There is also the smaller, four-inch PS101 metal pop filter ($59.00) and PS100 metal filter ($49.00) for mounting on microphone stands.

After hand-holding a filter for my last voice over, I finally bit the bullet and invested in a Proscreen XL. I’m glad I did. You get what you pay for and a good pop filter is an essential investment for professional recordings — regardless of the microphone you use.

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