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I see some artists singing into a large diaphragm condenser mic without pop filter and can hear no 'popping sounds' even though they are singing quite closely to the mic (see

for an example).

My question: are some large diaphgram condenser mics less sensitive to popping sounds than others (because I thought all mics of that type required a pop filter for completely eliminating popping sounds)? If so can you recommend a mic of this type that does well without popfilter (and that costs under 500 dollars)?

Thanks for your time!

Regards, Bart

  • I call "just for show", style over substance. If you want a pop-free live mic [with cool factor], use a good lav mic, off-axis. Google 'DPA 4060', you can get one of those for just inside your budget. [Radio gear extra] – Tetsujin Jun 12 '18 at 15:40
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    Having now actually listened to it - whatever mic they did use on her voice, or whatever multi band comp they put on afterwards ... I would avoid like the plague. It's crippling her esses. – Tetsujin Jun 12 '18 at 15:46
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I don't think she is really that close. And she is not singing directly into the mic. Remember that plosives are caused by a large puff of air from your mouth hitting the diaphragm. If you are above the mic a bit, like she is in the video, the air will go over the mic.

found this with a quick google search:

As always, prevention is infinitely better than cure, and stopping plosives from reaching the mic is really all about positioning. Ideally, the mic should be positioned well above and/or slightly to one side of the mouth. I find that raising the mic to around forehead height works well, as this keeps it away from the track of direct plosive blasts from the mouth, and also encourages the vocalist to stand up straight, which aids their breathing. If the recording environment is adequate, using an omnidirectional mic helps, because it is less sensitive to the pressure changes caused by plosives.


In addition, better singers develop both the singing techniques and the mic techniques to minimize plosives and sibilance. Slightly changing consonants (e.g., voicing "p"s slightly so they sound kind of like "b"s, d for t, z for s), and slightly turning off-axis to the mic for certain parts of the song are time-honored techniques for being mic-friendly. Lyricists will often look for ways to avoid words with plosives in them, since they literally stop the flow of the singing, and also cause the singer's airway to have to stop and restart.

With the right writers, singers, and engineers, great tracks can be recorded without pop filters. But it's rare, these days.

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    Learning how to almost completely eliminate consonants/plosives was a great part of how to do block BVs, back in the day. No-one wants 26 T's at the end of a word, all at slightly different times. – Tetsujin Jun 12 '18 at 15:57
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She wasn't actually performing live on the video of course! Very likely there WAS a pop shield for the recording.

As it's so easy to use one when recording, there's no real need to design a recording mic with integral pop rejection. 'Live' mics like the SM4 or SM58 are another matter. Even then, it's about designing a pop-sock into the construction rather than not having one at all.

  • A better reason not to build pop filtering into a mic is because hardly any mics are 100% dedicated to recording vocals. Live vocal mics obviously are more about vocals so integrated pop filtering is helpful there, but studio condensers are used for all kinds of sources. – Todd Wilcox Jun 12 '18 at 15:19
  • @ToddWilcox - I'm trying to figure out how not having a pop filter would be beneficial, for other uses. Does it make much difference to the sound while recording other instruments? – Tim Jun 12 '18 at 15:34
  • @Tim It makes a difference when recording vocals, not just instruments! A pop filter prevents pops, but it also affects the sound. Even on the lowly SM-58, if you unscrew the pop filter/grille and (carefully) use the mic without it, you get a bit more high end. – Todd Wilcox Jun 12 '18 at 15:36
  • I'd be tempted to say that a vocal mic with built in pop filter is already EQ'd to counteract it. Having said that, U87s used to come with pop filter "mickey mouse noses/condoms" though I've never actually used one with a pop filter other than the more modern 'pair of ladies tights over a coat hanger" variety – Tetsujin Jun 12 '18 at 15:37
  • @ToddWilcox - I use them all the time for recording vocals, but meant with other instruments. I guess they may dull the sibilants a bit, and the very top end of some instruments' ranges. – Tim Jun 12 '18 at 15:38

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