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AB3
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20th September 2008
Old 20th September 2008
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Foam windscreens over high end mics

Anyone using foam windscreens over high end mics for vocals????
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20th September 2008
Old 20th September 2008
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It is to be avoided. While a good pop filter will alter the high frequencies a bit (as will anything), foam covers create all sorts of squirelly effects. The only time I ever resort to a sock is when I'm recording a singing guitar player and have to get the mic grill right up to the mouth. (though I do actually prefer the Heil PR-40 with a U-87 foam cover on it)
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20th September 2008
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you guys should go read Terry Manning's post on pop-shield vs foam sock over at PSW.

quite enlightening.
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20th September 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sui_City View Post
you guys should go read Terry Manning's post on pop-shield vs foam sock over at PSW.

quite enlightening.
Can you post a link?
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I've done it when the singer really performs better with something hand-held.
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20th September 2008
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I've used them outdoors when there was wind and insides for spitty singers.
Spitty singers don't warrant a pooper scooper pantyhose thingy, they make a mess of it. When I'm done I can throw the foam into the wash.

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8th October 2008
Old 8th October 2008
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Pop Screenitis

For those of you who can't click, this is what I wrote over there on PSW:

Think about the sound leaving a vocalists' mouth, and traveling towards the capsule. Ideally, what should be in between? The correct answer is nothing, if you are talking about good sound; just as in mixing (not possible usually) and Mastering (very possible; I've done it in my Mastering room) there should be nothing between the monitor speakers and the engineer's ears except for air (not a console, racks of gear, etc., etc.)

But we have practical applications to think about, not the least of which is the burst of air accompanying a "P" or other letters, or "swooshes" accompanying certain other sounds.

When the condenser microphone was first made, the plan was not for a singer to virtually "eat it" as he sang less than one inch from the capsule. The mics were designed for much more distant pickup of larger numbers of players/singers. So the design included in most cases a high boost in the frequency response, because that would give more balance from more distant sounds, and also included taking into account the physics of proximity effect, where closer instruments might have a somewhat fuller sound.

But what do we all do today, but get right up on the capsule grille cover, and bloody scream into the mic! So of course high sounds such as "S" are accentuated by the built-in freq rise. And of course the burst of air in a 'plosive is much closer, and accentuated by the naturally occurring proximity effect!

So what has been the normal solution? Why, yet one more thing (or 2, or 3...) in between (pop screen), and de-essers after the fact. Does anything seem askew with this photograph? Once again, humans are treating the symptoms, and not the causes.

Of course, the causes are not that easy to treat. The singer would have to move back, and few think they can do that (no pacifier), pops have to be removed (fairly easy now, but still not perfect) or a different type of mic must be used (ribbon? 58/S1-type? Omni?).

Anyway, getting back to that sound traveling towards the capsule, the use of the pop screen in between causes the sound waves to deflect, possibly hitting all sorts of things, and perhaps even bouncing around within the dual layers of the screen, or the grille (already grilles can be bad enough on some mics), or the stand(s), etc. The different parts of the frequency spectrum may well encounter comb filtering, causing the cancellation of certain freq's, or the potential buildup of others, and at best, may arrive at very slightly "wrong" times to the actual capsule front. None of this is very appealing if you want your sound to be "perfect," let alone "good."

The problem is exacerbated by the singer's movements. As we all know, singers will, and probably need to, move around. The cancellations may be quite different given differing positions whence the sound has emanated.

I recently did extensive (although NOT scientific) testing of this effect, and found that, by looking at many different "sibilant" sounds on a frequency analyser, that no two were exactly the same. Often however, there was not just a rise in the high freq, but TWO rises, with a steep valley in between. The average hi-freq rise (the sibilance) might be about 5-6 dB, but the VALLEY might be as much as 12 dB! This meant that, even though the sound-not-liked was "sibilant," at least a tiny part of that disagreeable sound was caused by MISSING high frequencies, not extended ones! If using a normal de-esser, the "bad sound of the sibilant syllable" would not disappear, only get quieter. I discovered that applying a corrective EQ, namely approx +6 to +9 of the missing freq range, at a very low bandwidth, centered on the valley's lowest point, made the formerly "sibilant" sound actually better, because, although it was still louder than normal, it was at least MORE NATURAL!

Then, and only then (and if desired), by applying a de-esser the entire sibilant sound could return much closer to normalcy.

But all of this is AFTER THE FACT TREATMENT. Prevention is a much better cure!

So the ONLY pop filters I will use now are the foam ones (as supplied with a new U-87 and some other mics). But these are subject to eventual degradation (Klaus has a Sticky about testing the foam). Also some complain about theoretical high frequency loss. Perhaps there is some, but I much prefer that to horrible comb filtering and massive treatment later! Also, a slight loss in broadband high frequencies is somewhat preferable to me in some cases, as it counteracts to a degree the high boost built into the mic for more distant usage...for that distant usage, where you need the boost, of course you wouldn't be using any filter anyway!




But do not forget to TEST a foam screen for any degradation before using it!

You don't want foam dust on your capsule!

Last edited by compasspnt; 8th October 2008 at 01:07 AM.. Reason: Add info bit
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has anyone really compared inexpensive foam socks to the more expensive ones? Assuming no degradation. Who wants to spend a pile on foam? Not sexy at all.
david
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8th October 2008
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I was wondering about this. What is a good foam pop filter for a Wunder CM7? I was thinking of the Neumann one they make for the U47 or similar mics, though I have not seen it in stock anywhere (but I believe it is a current product.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by beats workin' View Post
has anyone really compared inexpensive foam socks to the more expensive ones? Assuming no degradation. Who wants to spend a pile on foam? Not sexy at all.
david
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fwiw, I use the pop filter on my sm7b all the time (or at least a lot of the time)

I know it isn't considered a 'high end' mic really, but it's a quality mic and I prefer the sound of my voice with the pop filter on.... chiefly because of the reduction of high end and because of the reduction of sibilicance.
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8th October 2008
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So what foam windscreen would fit a Neumann U47 type mic like the Wunder CM7?
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8th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A LaMere View Post
fwiw, I use the pop filter on my sm7b all the time (or at least a lot of the time)

I know it isn't considered a 'high end' mic really, but it's a quality mic and I prefer the sound of my voice with the pop filter on.... chiefly because of the reduction of high end and because of the reduction of sibilicance.
Dynamics react differently in this regard. My old Shure SM5B also worked well with its big Zeppelin-style foam enclosure, and my Heil PR-40 actually sounds much better as a v.o. mic with a foam sock over it (a U-87 version works well).
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8th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compasspnt View Post
So the ONLY pop filters I will use now are the foam ones (as supplied with a new U-87 and some other mics). But these are subject to eventual degradation (Klaus has a Sticky about testing the foam). Also some complain about theoretical high frequency loss. Perhaps there is some, but I much prefer that to horrible comb filtering and massive treatment later! Also, a slight loss in broadband high frequencies is somewhat preferable to me in some cases, as it counteracts to a degree the high boost built into the mic for more distant usage...for that distant usage, where you need the boost, of course you wouldn't be using any filter anyway![/I]

Hi Terry---what do you do when you're using your M49's for vocals? I've looked everywhere and can't find an available foam screen for the larger grill of these mics...

Jeff
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8th October 2008
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Just found the answer for finding these larger windscreens. Call Full Compass Systems - they are aware of a company in the U.S. that makes the larger ones and they cost less than the Neumann ones.
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Very interersting thread. I will check out the sock foam route...
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9th October 2008
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9th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
So what foam windscreen would fit a Neumann U47 type mic like the Wunder CM7?
Why do you want a foam windshield?

If it's indoor use a popperstopper is much the better option.
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9th October 2008
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anyone else want to weigh in on the differences between the cheaper foams and more expensive ones. Not counting earlier deterioration (which I'm sure happens) but rather the sonics.
what do you look for when buying foams?
david
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9th October 2008
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I agree with many things in this thread. Cheap nylon pop screens do indeed create more problems than they solve. I long ago quit using those, NOT just because of the treble loss, but exactly because of all those other destroyed and damaged and split apart upper frequencies. It makes the music thin, flat, and harsh. Into the trash.

I got a Stedman metal screen when they first came out to see if that would help. In some ways yes, but mostly no. The resulting 'whooshing' wind noises and distortions outweighed the benefits of less popping. Especially if used at less than 1 or 2 feet away. So that one went away.

I decided that a foam filter was the best choice to try next. Have used them for years in live SR and outdoor sessions. Hunted down and ordered a large one (Windtech?) and tried it on several good quality LDC mics. Not bad for function, but really changed the frequency response of the mics. Easily noticeable. Other good factory models that I have used on several small diaphragm mics never seem to provide much pop resistance. Or again will be too thick and change the sound. Back on the shelf.

Finally got a Pauly filter, and that one has been the best solution for me. No screeching treble comb filtering, no reduction in high frequencies, almost zero popping. And no spit on the mics. Expensive and those are the reasons for that.

And this is not just for singing right on top of mics. Sensitive mics with full range response to 30 Hz or so can get pretty aggravating when used on strong singers even at a distance. Although I will almost always try without any filter first, it seems I need to use them more often than not.

Steve
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10th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
Dynamics react differently in this regard. My old Shure SM5B also worked well with its big Zeppelin-style foam enclosure, and my Heil PR-40 actually sounds much better as a v.o. mic with a foam sock over it (a U-87 version works well).
True enough.. Good point Sean.

It's going to be different with an LD condenser.
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12th October 2008
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I find the best way to test these is to place a couple over your ears, especially if you use a high end playback system. That offers instant real world comparisons without wasting time fitting them on/off the mics.

All foam wind socks attenuate high frequencies. You can hear that when they are over your ears. The pooper skooper nylon things give me less hf attenuation than any of the foam solutions. Nylon screens are found in some mics. Also, lower the relative humidity if you want more hf details, the air is also a sponge. My best vocal tracks came from dry or desert studios. The worst came from the tropics, even with AC and de-humidifiers, they never get the air as dry as the deserts. A Santa Ana condition in So. California is ideal vocal cutting weather, just avoid the static electricity, one pop ruins a take. 30% humidity is ideal.

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12th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beats workin' View Post
anyone else want to weigh in on the differences between the cheaper foams and more expensive ones. Not counting earlier deterioration (which I'm sure happens) but rather the sonics.
what do you look for when buying foams?
david
I don't buy foams at all, they mess up the top end.

In the studio it's a popperstopper - outside it's a Rycote - no foam at all.
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Using foam with mic's?

There is a point when foam will start to disintegrate-very rapidly, and then it ends up in not such a good place. I've found that this time varies greatly with different products.

Periodically, firmly tap the foam shield down against a piece of white paper. When foam particles show up on the paper, it's time to get different foam.

The Neumann people I've heard from generally claim that (their?) foam kicks in only at about 14k, and then rather mildly. This is in reference to SD mic's. I'm not in a position to test their statement.

Sometimes the little foam windscreens are put to good use on small microphones in big buildings-as sometimes there are undetectable drafts which create wind noise.
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So that's why I live in Utah!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
. 30% humidity is ideal.

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13th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JStuart;
Hi Terry---what do you do when you're using your M49's for vocals? I've looked everywhere and can't find an available foam screen for the larger grill of these mics...

Jeff
Hi Jeff.

What I have done is to cut the back of an 87-sized filter part way up, so that it will slip on over the capsule portion of a 49. Of course, I am very careful about any shredding, or foam dust!

Again, let it be said that I prefer no filter at all, whenever possible. But I also prefer no spit on my very expensive capsules.

And again, I will never use a normal nylon or perf-metal "popper stopper" again, after my tests...and after the much better sibilance results with foam.

Perhaps I should try this Pauly thing tho...
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13th October 2008
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Neumann currently makes a foam windscreen for U47 sized mics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by compasspnt View Post
Hi Jeff.

What I have done is to cut the back of an 87-sized filter part way up, so that it will slip on over the capsule portion of a 49. Of course, I am very careful about any shredding, or foam dust!

Again, let it be said that I prefer no filter at all, whenever possible. But I also prefer no spit on my very expensive capsules.

And again, I will never use a normal nylon or perf-metal "popper stopper" again, after my tests...and after the much better sibilance results with foam.

Perhaps I should try this Pauly thing tho...
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13th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Neumann currently makes a foam windscreen for U47 sized mics.
I appreciate the info AB3---the M49 grill is substantially wider than the U47's though. I was hoping Neumann made a screen for the TLM49 (similar dimensions) but no luck. I will try your trick Terry---thanks for the tip!

Jeff
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