Updated: Oct 9, 2020
We have all had our enlightened moments, coming up with improvised solutions for everyday needs, which can be quite exhilarating. Personally, I enjoy figuring out better ways to do things, and my mantra these days -- especially when it comes to audio and video post-production-- seems to be to “work smarter, not harder.” So whenever I’m met with a challenge that I feel is still within my control, the wheels in my head start turning and before too long, I’m usually able to come up with some sort of reasonable working solution.
Recently, I was recording some voice-over audio for a video project I was editing, and I realized I didn’t have a microphone pop filter. In case you’re not aware, a pop filter is basically a mesh screen that is placed in front of a microphone when recording vocalized audio. It is used to help soften the plosive sounds that can occur when speaking. These plosives are certain consonant letters, such as p, b, and t (also k, d, g) that when spoken naturally, can create a sudden release of air that disrupts the physical workings of the microphone, and causes an unwanted popping sound when recorded. Although a pop filter can be fairly low-tech, its use is still important to getting good quality voice recordings.
So when I didn’t have a pop filter available, the next best thing I had handy was my blue disposable face mask. Like the one’s I wear whenever I’m out in public around other people, now during the time of the Pandemic. It turns out that the masks work just fine as a wearable pop filter. I am able to speak quite naturally through it, and it’s just enough to dampen those plosives I mentioned while still maintaining decent quality audio without sounding muffled.
You can also just lightly cover the mic with the mask instead of wearing it; that will help cut down on any random vocal pops and sibilance as well.
So while it may not be the best substitute for a professional grade microphone pop filter, it will definitely do in a pinch when you need to record audio indoors without the real thing.
This way you can protect yourself, the people around you, and have a handy pop filter, too!
© 2020 - Mike Konstan