Wind Screen vs Pop Filter: Which One Should You Choose?

by | Pop Filters

Whether you’re a novice or a professional recording artist, some of the most helpful pieces of equipment in your studio are windscreens and pop filters. But what’s the difference between these two items? And which one should you use?

In this blog post, we’ll explain the differences between windscreens and pop filters and how they can be used to improve your recordings.

We’ll also provide some tips on choosing the right product for your specific needs.

So let’s dive in and learn more about these essential audio tools!

Related: Podcast Starter Kit

Why Do You Need to Use Filters for Your Mic?

A microphone is an essential tool for creating high-audio-quality recordings.

Filters are used to prevent unwanted environmental noise from entering the microphone and affecting its output.

Acoustic foam and pop filters are designed to diffuse and refract airflow, which reduces vocal popping and plosives caused by air pressure from speech patterns.

Windscreens are effective for reducing wind noise typically encountered when recording outdoors. High pass, low pass, notch frequency filters, and parametric EQs offer further control over sound frequencies for more precise recording.

By using appropriate filters on your microphones, you can ensure a clean signal with improved clarity and free of unwanted audio interference.

Related: Do I Need a Pop Filter for the Rode PodMic?

What is a Windscreen?

A windscreen, also referred to as a “windshield” or simply just a “shield,” is an acoustical device used in audio production. Its purpose is to reduce the effects of wind noise on an open microphone by blocking out air currents and deflecting them away from the microphone itself.

Windscreens come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are traditionally made of either foam or fur materials that soften unwanted sound energy before it reaches the mic.

They are most commonly used outdoors when recording speech or music with a sensitive condenser-type microphone.

While they can provide some protection from the wind, they do not completely block out all sound, so they should be accompanied by other techniques such as running dialog takes in short bursts or using physical barriers like foam blocks.

How Exactly Does a Windscreen Work?

A windscreen works by blocking the direct path between a microphone and the sound source while allowing indirect reflections to pass through.

This creates a barrier that dampens the impact of direct sound waves on the mic, resulting in better-quality recordings; perfect for outdoor recordings.

The effectiveness of a particular windscreen is determined by its size, shape, material construction, and the type of microphone being used.

Pros of Windscreen

  • Reduce the effects of wind noise on an open microphone
  • Various shapes, sizes, and materials available to fit your specific needs

Cons of Windscreen

  • Does not completely block out all sound, so it should be accompanied by other techniques

Types of Windscreens

When it comes to windscreens, there are two distinct categories you can choose from: Windjammers and blimps.


Commonly referred to as windsocks or dead cats, windjammers are synthetic fur covers that snugly envelop microphones. Have you seen these furry sheaths on boom poles at outdoor interviews or sports competitions? Those would be your typical windjammers!

An extra layer of protection from wind interference is provided by the polyurethane foam lining on Windjammers. By placing them over blimp-shaped microphones that have built-in windscreens, you can substantially reduce any unwanted background noise due to high winds and gusts. This ensures your recordings come out sounding pristine every time!


Acoustic windscreen are affectionately known as ‘blimps’ due to their distinct and recognizable blimp-shaped design. Even though they may come in different shapes and sizes, most of them either have a circular or rectangular frame where the filter material is attached. The filter itself can be made out of various materials such as thin fabrics like nylon or muslin, metal meshes, and even foam.

Metal mesh blimps are the most popular. They offer a smooth frequency response and are also highly durable and long-lasting. Also, a metal mesh windscreen can handle high sound pressure levels without any distortion or interference in the recording.

What is a Pop Filter?

A pop filter is a device used in recording studios that provides a barrier between the microphone and the mouth of the speaker or vocalist. This prevents sudden bursts of sound peaks caused by sharp consonants, commonly referred to as ‘popping sounds’, from overloading or distorting the microphone’s diaphragm.

Also, a pop filter adds an extra layer of protection to expensive studio microphones, shielding them from certain levels of saliva and other possible debris that could damage their sensitive components.

Pop filters come in various shapes and sizes, with affordable models available for budget home studios and highly sophisticated versions suitable for professional-grade products.

How Exactly Does a Pop Filter Work?

A pop filter works by diffusing the air pressure that’s caused when a speaker or vocalist produces a sudden burst of sound, such as during the articulation of certain words and phrases; perfect for indoor studio recordings.

The filter breaks up the sound waves before they reach the microphone, resulting in less distortion and improved clarity in recordings.

Related: Pop Filter Vs Foam Cover

Pros of Pop Filter

  • Reduce distortion and improve clarity in recordings
  • Helps prevent saliva from entering the microphone and damaging its sensitive parts
  • Various shapes, sizes, and materials available to fit your specific needs

Cons of Pop Filter

  • It may not be 100% effective in preventing distortion if the speakers or vocalists are too loud.

Types of Pop Filters

When it comes to pop filters, you have two options – nylon mesh and metallic mesh.

Nylon Mesh Pop Filter

Nylon pop filters are comprised of two layers of nylon that have been extended within a metal or plastic ring. This unique composition works to filter out breath and stop explosive vocal sounds from reaching the microphone, ensuring high-quality sound recordings.

(Did you know that you can create your own DIY nylon mesh pop filter with a wire hanger and a pantyhose? Just bend the hanger into an arch, then snip off one leg of the hose near its foot and slide it in. Boom! Low budget pop filter.)

Metallic Mesh Pop Filters

Metallic nylon mesh pop filters are useful in providing a softer sound. Metallic mesh is better suited for recording high-energy sources such as drums and instruments with percussive elements. The metal is able to withstand more intense blasts of air and reflects them away from the microphone capsule.

It’s this fact that makes them perfect for musicians and live streamers.

Related: Best Pop Filters For Podcasting

Wind Screen vs Pop Filter: Which One Should You Choose?

The choice between a windscreen and a pop filter really boils down to your individual streaming or podcasting needs. Both offer valuable benefits for audio recordings, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • A solution to reduce wind noise and unwanted sound energy outdoors: Windscreen 
  • An extra layer of protection for expensive studio microphones and improved clarity in recordings indoors by filtering popping sounds: Pop Filter 

At the end of the day, both windscreens and pop filters are essential tools in any recording studio and having the right one can make all the difference in capturing the perfect sound.

Tips on Buying Windscreen or Pop Filter

When it comes to buying a windscreen or pop filter, there are several factors to consider.

  1. Quality: Always buy high-quality products that are designed specifically for your microphone and studio needs. This will ensure they last longer and provide better sound quality than lower-priced alternatives.
  2. Price: Consider the cost of the windscreen or pop filter before making your purchase. Generally speaking, higher-priced products offer better sound quality and performance than lower-priced alternatives.
  3. Compatibility: Make sure the windscreen or pop filter you buy is compatible with your microphone and studio setup. This will save you time and money in the long run by ensuring optimal performance.
  4. Installation: If you’re installing a windscreen or pop filter yourself, make sure you read the instructions carefully and follow them closely. Improper installation can cause sound quality issues and even damage your microphone.


What is the difference between a windscreen and a pop filter?

Windscreens provide protection against wind noise when recording outdoors, while pop filters are designed to reduce distortion in indoor studio recordings.

Can I use both a windscreen and a pop filter together?

Yes, combining a windscreen and a pop filter can provide an extra layer of protection for your microphone and reduce distortion and unwanted sounds in recordings.

Do foam windscreens help reduce vocal plosives?

Yes, a foam windscreen can help reduce vocal plosives by providing a barrier between the microphone and harsh air currents. Additionally, they can help prevent saliva from entering the microphone and damaging its sensitive parts.

Which better fits the microphone stand, a windscreen or a pop filter?

Both windscreens and pop filters can fit on most microphone stands. However, some may require additional adapters in order to attach properly. It’s important to check the compatibility of your particular microphone stand before purchasing either product.

Are metal pop filters any different from foam pop filters?

Yes, metal pop filters are more durable and provide greater protection from saliva and other debris than foam pop filters. However, they tend to be a little more expensive as well. Additionally, metal pop filters can slightly improve sound quality in recordings compared to a foam cover.

Wrapping up

In the end, it’s up to you to decide which type of windscreen or pop filter best fits your specific needs. Whether you’re seeking an economical and practical solution or need extra protection and clarity in your audio recordings, a windscreen or pop filter can be the perfect option.

Inexpensive yet highly effective, a windscreen may be suitable if recording outdoors is your primary concern; however, if optimal sound quality is paramount inside your own studio, then opting for a specialized pop filter should be considered.