DIY POP SHIELD


In a parallel world I probably own a $10,000 guitar and able to record my musical creations on state-of-the-art recording rig in an acoustically treated studio, all in the comfort of my home. But here in our own world, I'm just starting out on a budget.

In one of my previous blogs I mentioned I got a Line 6 POD Studio UX2 courtesy of my parents-in-law. Eventually I got a Behringer C3 Dual Diaphragm Condenser Mic to get closer to an acceptable home-recording setup.

The next step was to get a pop shield for the microphone. This was necessary if I wanted to lessen the effects of "plosives" when recording vocal tracks.

Even though I have an idea what plosives are, I feel I'm not quite qualified to explain its mechanics so if you want to know more about it, Sound On Sound has a nice brief article on the topic.

My online window shopping resulted in a price range of $12 to $30 for a pop shield. Then I thought to myself, can I build one?

The search for DIY pop shield wasn't that hard as I found out. There were hundreds of blogs and videos to show me how. Now I could've simply shelled out $15 to $20 for a new one but where's the fun in that? Besides, this blog isn't called DIY Digital Lab for nothing.
 
SO WHY D-I-Y?
Why not? One, I'm on a budget and I have simple goals... make music with the least gear and the cheapest way possible.

If you watch the original "We Are The World" video, you'll see Michael Jackson singing into a hastily rigged coat hanger with a skin colored pantyhose slid over it. A classic example of function before form.

Two, It's not rocket science. 

And finally, it's just way more fun to build something useful with my own two hands.


MATERIALS AND TOOLS


  • Plastic embroidery hoop (about $3 from Michaels)
  • Nylon stockings ($1.50 at Ross, I'm sure there are other cheaper places or you can ask your mom/spouse/girlfriend for an old one)
  • Wire hanger (something I already had from the dry cleaners)
  • Plastic clips (got a 3-pack from a dollar store)
  • Tape (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Pliers

STEPS

1. I decided the best coat hanger to use was the one used for pants because it had a cardboard bottom that can be easily pulled out and leave you with an open end instead of a complete wire loop. I twisted both open ends so that they came together and left about 3 to 4 inches on both ends untwisted.


2. I formed the part where the embroidery hoop's outer loop will rest by pulling both wire ends apart into a "V". Using a needle nose plier, I grabbed one end about 1.5 inch below the tip and bended it until it was horizontal then grabbed the same end at about 0.5 inch from the tip to form a "U" (see below for reference). I did the same for the other wire end.


3. I then attached the top part of the embroidery hoop's outer loop to the wire ends and wrapped it with tape.


4. Assembling the pop shield. One video suggested cutting the toe part of the pantyhose and then slitting the side to get one piece of material. I thought why go through that hassle? Since the nylon stocking was stretchable, I simply slid the whole thing into the inner loop, all the way to the toe part then tied the bottom end and cut the excess material (If you're following this for your own build, it really doesn't matter how you do it as long as you secure the material to the hoop's inner loop).

I loosened the outer loop screw, inserted the assembled inner loop and tightened the screw until the whole thing was snug.


5. Attach clamp. I did it by removing the rubber tabs on the clamp revealing two holes. I bent the wire tip so it can "hook" into both holes, kind of like stitching. Then I wrapped it with tape (again, if you're going to use this as a guide for your own build, it doesn't matter how you do it as long as the clamp doesn't "move on a swivel" after you're done taping it).


6. Finished up by taping the wire. Some instructions suggested using flexible wire covers but I decided against it since I had the black tape already available. Plus the wrapping action had a calming effect, LOL.


Voila! I just built my very own pop shield. This project cost me about $6.00 and took about an hour and a half to build with most of the time spent bending wire.


Coming up next... the sound test to find out how this home-made pop filter will perform against plosives. Check back soon!

EDIT: ADDED POP FILTER TEST. 
 Click on the player to hear the test. First spoken line has no pop filter. The second one with the pop filter attached. Speaker's distance to mic is about 6". 

Also note the pop filter stem was changed with electrical 4-wire. A bit heavier than the coat hanger, hence the change in the clamp.


Pop Filter Sound Test


Note: To really hear the plosive sounds it's best to listen through a set of headphones or bigger speakers.