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.

Let us know what you think…

Log-in or Register for free to post comments…

You might also like...

Master Sound Craftsman Jim Anderson On Telling Stories With Sound

One of the great creative art forms in audio is constructing narrative stories using only natural sounds. A master of the craft is Jim Anderson, who for seven years created soundscapes to tell compelling stories for National Public Radio. Now,…

The Difference Between Line and Mic Level Audio

What’s the difference between mic and line level audio? If you think this basic question is overly simple, you might be surprised to learn that many people working in pro audio today don’t know the difference. An explanation…

Acoustic Treatment for Makeshift Studios

Today — for all but a few well endowed recordists — the new studio is in a home, office or makeshift location. The era of big, professionally-designed recording studios is mostly history. With this new reality comes the need to treat the…

How to Properly Set-up a Microphone Preamplifier

Setting-up a microphone preamp may seem like a friviolous subject. But microphones have an extraordinary dynamic range and the configuration to match the pre-amp to the mic can be an important factor in getting good levels for recording or live…

Killing Extraneous Noise When Using a Microphone

Killing unwanted noises when using a microphone requires the knowledge and skill to know the type of noise and have the available tools to suppress it. Here’s a guide to the basics of removing noise when using microphones for…