Following answers to a previous question Avoiding Plosives I have bought a simple pop shield.

I'm wondering what the optimal setup is for it, especially in terms of distance between the shield and the mic, and the shield and my mouth.

I'm using a SM58 and many singers seem to get really close, practically kissing the mic... both for technique and because the closer you are, the less bleed you get from other sources.

So do I want the shield practically brushing the mic and then sing as if the shield isn't there, or what?

2 Answers 2


Contrary to what Todd Wilcox said, a pop screen is actually more effective if placed further away from the mic.

The main trouble with plosives is that they are pretty directional (see here for a detailed study). That means, if you place the mic pointing straight at your mouth, the plosives will hit it really hard even if there's some distance. Placing the mic only slighly off-axis from your mouth would probably already solve your plosive problem, but this isn't a good idea because it also affects the vocal sound.

A good pop filter works mainly1 by dispersing this “vortex shock” which makes plosives so directional. Behind the screen, the shock spreads out in all directions, which means it decays much faster. However, it still needs some space to disperse: if you're pressing a small-diaphragm condenser mic right into a pop filter, it's pretty useless.

Now, most large-diaphragm mics and also the SM58 have a metal basket that limits the closeness to about an inch. This is often quite enough, but note that the SM58 actually also has a pop screen built right into that basket – and usually that's good enough, but in your case apparently not. So, placing another pop screen close to the mic will then probably also not be much use.

Instead, I recommend that you talk right into the pop screen, and place the mic about 2" away. Many voice artists do it this way; singers less often (I think they don't need to, because the voice has enough volume in the tones so the plosives aren't such a problem).

That's how it should be, because then the pop screen won't affect other sounds.


You want the pop filter normally to be closer to the microphone than the mouth, maybe just about 1" away. Alternatively, you can use the pop filter as a way to keep a singer from getting too close to the mic by positioning it farther away.

You should be at least an inch or so from the pop filter, to reduce the amount of saliva that builds up on it at least. Mic technique for recording is typically very different from live mic technique. Usually I like to have the mic at least 6" - 8" from the singer's mouth when recording, which is way too far away for high volume live situations (it would work for bluegrass with no drums, though).

Mic position regardless of the pop filter isn't just a whole question, it's potentially a whole forum.

For most mics:

The closer you are, the more low end emphasis you get - even to the point of boosting the low end, which isn't always good. The more on-axis you are, the more even the response and the better the high end. The more pointed towards your nose or chest, the more of each of those parts of the sound you will get. Beyond about 12" - 16", the sound can thin out a lot, making the voice sound distant (which can be good for backing vocals), but also you get more of the sound of the room. More or less room can be good or bad depending on how good the room sounds and what kind of sound you're going for. Most rooms that are not build and treated for recording don't sound very good, although you can get special effects with some interesting rooms. Many artists have used bathrooms, stairwells, or long hallways to get different sounds.

Let's look at a few pros:

Alanis Recording Taylor Swift Recording

I notice they both use C12s or clones. Taylor sure has her pop filter close to that very expensive mic.

Drake Recording

And Beyonce getting really up close:

Beyonce up on that filter

  • 2
    This line "Mic position regardless of the pop filter isn't just a whole question, it's potentially a whole forum." cannot be more true. Totally agree with everything here and while I don't have anything to add, I just want to bring the points made here to your attention as much as possible. Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 13:14
  • 1
    Definitely agree as well. Regarding position for singer to mic during recording, I was always taught to use a hand-turkey's distance to get the 6-8 inches. Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 13:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.