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The pop filter that leaves the voice natural

If you want to record the human voice close-up, rich, with character and without spatial components with a high-resolution microphone in the recording studio, then the performers must be quite close to the microphone. As a sound engineer, you must not record strong air impulses with disturbing noises such as whispering, hissing and blowing, and also no windy banging of P and T sounds (also called plosives). This means that no explosive air movements should occur during singing or recording, which studio microphones and their signal chain cannot tolerate at all and which can make the recordings unclean or even ruin them.
To prevent such noise from reaching the microphone in the first place, a very special studio tool is enormously helpful for most voice recordings:

A good pop filter

A pop filter should adequately dampen the too impulsive air flows of the human voice, and bring them into balance with the rest of the audio. On the one hand, it should contribute to the balance of the vocal performance, on the other hand it should function as a protective shield to ensure that the studio microphone is not mechanically overloaded.

Briefly described in technical terms, a pop filter, similar to an electronic limiter, is intended to mechanically reduce the air movements generated by the sounds which in phonetics belong to the class of obstruents, i.e. plosives, affricates and fricatives. Especially the voiced sounds such as b, d, g. In addition, the air shocks caused by plosives, the lip closure sounds such as p, b, v, f, should be reduced more than the voiced sounds. Also, air currents through sounds without lip closure, such as t and k, should be brought into balance among themselves, and fit the level of the closure sounds.

And in all this, the pop filter should leave the voice sound detailed and clear, not change the natural frequency response and protect the sensitive microphone capsule. Contrary to popular belief, this is not an easy matter, but a challenge for professionals.

The Problems with ordinary pop filters

Most pop filters (also very aptly called “Pop Killers”) dampen too much and moreover cause unfavorable changes in the natural frequency response. The air pulses of the plosive sounds are removed, alas resulting in the consequence of the voice parts before and after these plosives suffering a loss in liveliness, wealth of detail and clarity. This also applies to constructions with coarse-pored foam discs.To remedy this, no real gold coating of the carrier ring will help either. (-:

Disturbing noise that many pop filters cause themselves

When the airflow of the voice of the so-called „pop killers“ sweeps through a coarse fabric, a perforated metal disc or even a piece of foam, disturbing air tear-off noises arise in addition to the above-mentioned problems. Through them, voice recordings sound slightly hissing. Such acoustic impurities are particularly noticeable in the mix. The sins of using inadequate technology really show up when compressors, equalizers, and effects are being used during voice processing in the mix.
Why the most important recording studio device between mouth and microphone is allowed to be a cheap product is a mystery.

Why pop filter tests should be treated with caution

That’s why all pop killer-tests definitively have to be taken with a grain of salt, even if the Pauly mostly wins. Isn’t it remarkable that all pop filter tests on the net deal exclusively with recording scenarios in front of a microphone? The recorded results are never analyzed during a mixing session, but only there does it become obvious what the pop filter has achieved or has not achieved.

(On this subject we recommend the article by 13-time Grammy winner Rafa Sardina / see menu item „Prominent Voiceson this site).

Helene Fischer

Helene Fischer putting down vocals for her album using a Pauly pop filter.

Sylvie Meis

TV presenter Sylvie Meis („Let’s Dance“ and „Das Super Talent”) using a Pauly pop filter while recording in the studio.

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney uses a Pauly pop filter in Capitol Studios recording the tracks for “Kisses at the bottom”.

pauly. A class of its own

Inventor and audio engineer Hilmar Pauly († 2019) once summed it all up:

Our pop filter has enjoyed a high international reputation for decades. It is the perfect device to refine vocal recordings right from the start of the recording process in order to be able to handle them more effectively during mixing. In spite of filtering disturbing noise and the plosives, frequency range, wealth of detail and the liveliness of the voice are preserved perfectly. The cleanness of a recording with a Pauly pop filter shows its good side especially when the voice track is processed with compressors, equalizers and effects during the mix. That’s our pop filter’s forte.“

Here’s a tip for less

experienced sound engineers:

Here’s a tip for less

Here’s a Tip for less experienced sound engineers:

Light pop sounds that are still audible in the mix can usually be removed digitally:
Mark the pop section of the vocal track, loop in an EQ plug-in, attenuate 40-60 Hz by 5-10 dB with a moderate EQ bandwidth, then render. Undo if the result is still not right, repeat with changed parameters.

pauly Popfilter:
Precisely tuned airflow discharge, no change in the natural frequency response !

Maximum mechanical precision and a construction that is perfected down to the last detail ensure that everything works just the way Hilmar Pauly had in mind and described it. Pauly pop filters are true high-tech devices that gently reduce the above mentioned interference with human voices in a unique way before it impacts the microphone capsule. Gently means that the Pauly pop filter is able to leave the voice the amount of air movement and liveliness that is required for detailed and good recording results.

The Pauly actually lets more sound through
posted by a satisfied Thomann customer, who has already tested many pop filters.

13x Grammy winner and audio engineer Rafa Sardina says:

„Of all the pop filters I have ever used, the Pauly P120 pop filter is undoubtedly the best. I don’t know what magic Pauly used, maybe…“

(Please review the interview with Rafa Sardina under „Prominent Voices“)

High class pop filter technology since 1985
Made in Germany