Does A Pop Filter Reduce Background Noise? (Explained)

Whether at a home or professional recording studio, correctly set up audio equipment is essential in recording perfectly-sounding tracks. You’ll already get the best results as long as you have all the basics. And what could get any more basic than a microphone? You can’t record a song without something picking up the sound of the singer’s voice. But the thing is, a microphone can pick up unnecessary ambient sounds as well.

So you’re thinking of adding another piece of equipment that can reduce background noise, like a pop filter, perhaps? That’s the flat round object usually seen in front of a mic. You can see this arrangement in almost every photo or video of a recording session. But can it actually do the job, or is it there just for show?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. A pop filter doesn’t reduce background noise. But that doesn’t mean it has no use either, so don’t be disappointed just yet. It’s still practical to include a pop filter in your music recording setup

If that’s the case, then what is it used for? We’re here to help you find out by digging into everything you need to know about background noise and pop filters.


Pop Filter

What Is Background Noise?

Hearing other sounds in the background that aren’t from the primary source can sometimes be acceptable. But if the sound is too loud and distracting, it now becomes background noise. And any form of noise pollution is the last thing you want in a recording.

Background noise picked up by your microphone can come from various sources. Here are its different types:

Broadband Noise

This type of noise is dispersed over a wide range of frequencies. Tape hiss, air-conditioner sound, and static noise are examples of broadband noise.

Narrow Band Noise

Narrow band noise refers to unwanted signal noise that stays put over time. This type of noise is usually caused by faulty grounding and poorly shielded cables connected to microphones.

Impulse Noise

Impulse noise is characterized by sharp sounds such as clicks and pops. It has a high frequency that doesn’t last long, like an impulse. Electromagnetic interference and disk scratches typically cause impulse noise.

Irregular Noise

This type of noise includes sounds caused by traffic, rainfall, thunder, and people chatting in the background. These unwanted sounds can be hard to eliminate entirely due to differences in frequency and volume.

Electrical Noise

Electrical noise is characterized by a buzzing sound that usually comes from the recording equipment used. To prevent this, you should connect all recording equipment to the same power outlet. Keeping microphone cables away from electrical wirings also helps.

What Does A Pop Filter Do?

A pop filter (or pop shield) is a disc-like screen attached to a mic stand and positioned between the microphone and singer. It serves as noise protection for microphones, especially in a recording studio. Using this removes popping sounds caused by air pressure when speaking or singing words with plosives over the microphone. As a result, you get a crystal clear and high-quality audio recording.

Aside from that, a pop filter also shields microphones against saliva. Since human saliva contains corrosive salts, it can damage the microphone. By using a pop filter, your microphone will potentially last longer.

What Are Plosives?

Plosives are consonants, such as P and B, that create a strong popping sound on the microphone when pronounced. These popping sounds are mostly annoying to hear in a recording, so getting rid of them is a priority. Proper microphone placement can already help prevent plosive sounds. But if that still doesn’t work, you may need to use a pop filter to block the “pops.”

Why Do Popping Sounds Occur?

Pronunciation of plosives produces popping sounds. If the microphone is too near your mouth while recording, the popping sounds can get more intense. This is because plosive sounds impact the microphone’s diaphragm, resulting in an output signal. And this is where the pop filter comes to work in eliminating these popping sounds.

How Does A Pop Filter Work?

A pop filter decreases a plosive’s energy before it reaches the microphone, thus removing the popping sounds. As plosive sounds are produced, a pop filter’s screen diffuses these sounds as they pass through. The “pops” are left to scatter and eventually vanish behind the screen, giving you purer and more distinct voice recording.

How Do You Set Up A Pop Filter?

For setting up a pop filter, you also need a microphone stand. It’s where you mount the pop filter so you can move it in front of the microphone. Follow these steps to achieve an effective setup:

  1. Find a spot on your mic stand where you can attach the pop filter. Clamp it at a position you want, then tighten the screw.
  2. Adjust the gooseneck. Move the pop filter close to the microphone, with a gap of about 2 to 6 inches in between them.
  3. Adjust both pop filter and microphone to a 10 or 2 o’clock angle to further block plosive sounds.

Can You Make A DIY Pop Filter?

If you’re into DIY projects, you can make an improvised pop filter out of stockings stretched over an embroidery hoop or bent clothes hanger. Just make sure not to attach the pop filter directly to the microphone to prevent vibrations.

What Are The Types Of Pop Filters?

Pop filters can be made out of either nylon mesh or metal. To help you choose one that’s suitable for you, take a look at each types’ pros and cons.

Nylon Mesh

This is the usual material for pop filters. Nylon mesh pop filters are made up of a single or multiple woven nylon layers stretched over a round frame.


  • A standard in the music production industry
  • Effective in eliminating plosives
  • Suitable for beginners


  • Sound can be hindered due to the removal of high frequencies
  • Nylon is fragile and can be damaged easily


A metal pop filter is almost the same as its nylon mesh counterpart. Only that a fine metallic mesh screen is used instead of nylon.


  • Durable
  • Has a minimal effect on high frequencies because of its wider holes
  • Typically smaller in size, making it less obstructive


  • Thin metal sheet can be easily bent
  • Can develop a faint whistling sound over time

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Pop Filter?

Though a pop filter can’t reduce background noise, its benefits are definitely worth considering:

·           Prevents popping sounds from being recorded, which means less editing is needed

·           Helps reduce plosives and cut down hissing noise coming from pronouncing S sounds

·           Extends microphone’s life span by keeping off moisture

What Are The Factors To Consider In Choosing A Pop Filter?

When choosing a pop filter to use for your next recording session, it’s helpful to base your decision on these factors:


This depends on your microphone’s size. You need an appropriately-sized pop filter that matches your microphone and recording style. If you tend to move a lot while recording, a pop filter with a wider diameter may work best for you.


A flat pop filter is more cost-efficient in general. But the drawback is that you need to speak directly into the center to be more effective. A curved pop filter provides you with a broader range in movement while recording since they work from any angle.


Pop filters are typically designed with a gooseneck mount that can be screwed into the filter’s frame and clamp. Check if it’s long enough for correctly positioning the pop filter in front of the microphone.

What Can I Use To Reduce Background Noise Instead Of A Pop Filter?

A pop filter is useful indeed, but not in reducing background noise. So this is what you need instead: a windscreen.

Windscreens are usually made out of foam and designed to perfectly fit the microphone casing. Foamed types are mostly applicable for indoor use only. Types used outdoors have an added layer of wind barrier to the foam.

Windscreens can prevent wind and breath sounds from being picked up by the microphone. Just like pop filters, windscreens can also eliminate popping sounds caused by plosives.


With its stereotype image of always being placed in front of a microphone, it’s easy to assume that a pop filter is used to reduce background noise. You might think just because it’s there, it blocks all unwanted sounds in the background that can possibly pass through the mic and eventually be heard in the recording. As you’ve learned by now, it doesn’t do that but does something else.

You may not need a pop filter for reducing background noise, but you absolutely need it for eliminating popping sounds. A pop filter is not just some useless decoration in the recording studio. It eliminates the popping sounds you make from your Ps, Bs, and other consonants that make the same “pops”. This is a pretty much valuable function because, really, who would want to hear those disruptive popping noises in a song demo or final track?

Jacob Miller

Hi, I'm Jacob Miller, and welcome to AudioOver, a platform designed to help aspiring music producers create music from home. With a musical background inspired by my award-winning father, I've been passionate about music since I was young.

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