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Author Topic: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)  (Read 22165 times)

J.J. Blair

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Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« on: March 04, 2009, 11:53:24 pm »

This is a listening test.  I used 4 commercial pop filters, and Terry's foam method.  This is a blind listening test for the first number of days.  All you need to know is that the first sample of my terrible singing is me, a Manley Gold, a Vac Rac pre, and no filter.  The file is 44.1/16 aiff.

The filters used were the Pauly, the Pete's Place, the Steadman (round one) and the Popper Stopper.

Filter Test

edit: The answers are posted below.  Some of you who have used numbers to indicate which filter you preferred might want to clarify, as #2 could mean the second one, or the second of the filtered samples.




















































#1) no filter
#2) Steadman
#3) Popper Stopper
#4) Pete's Place
#5) The Pauly
#6) foam cover
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

rankus

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 02:28:45 pm »



Number two is my favorite for sure.

PS:  JJ You have a great voice.

PPS:  Thanks for doing this!  Can't wait to hear the results.

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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

Nizzle

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 02:32:06 pm »

You BEAST.

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Very interesting.

#1 - Sounds the best MINUS the low end "air" bursts. Go figure.

I think I prefer #6 of the "filtered" examples(even though this was clearly the least, best performance) Smile

My second choice would be #4

Pete would be proud of you.

-t
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Nizzle

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 02:34:23 pm »

For the record: the term, "Terry's Foam Method" sounds filthy.



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J.J. Blair

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 03:59:09 pm »

A quick note: I found it very useful to a/b each sample directly against the first sample, as well as listening in succession.
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

rankus

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 05:38:36 pm »


I kind of like #5 as well.  I'm listening for the best plosive reduction without too much other stuff.  Although there is a touch of esss on #2 it seems to fit the singer/part imo.  

Crappy listening environment at home here tho


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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

tom eaton

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2009, 08:28:03 pm »

Nizzle wrote on Thu, 05 March 2009 14:34

For the record: the term, "Terry's Foam Method" sounds filthy.




True, but it's a great band name.

pan60

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2009, 10:28:07 pm »

cool shootout Mr. J. Blair!

Cool

PookyNMR

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2009, 03:31:30 pm »

Of the filtered samples, I prefer the second and third, with an edge to the third (I guess that would make it phrases #3 and #4 on your audio file).
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Nathan Rousu

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2009, 01:59:10 am »

PookyNMR wrote on Fri, 06 March 2009 12:31

Of the filtered samples, I prefer the second and third, with an edge to the third (I guess that would make it phrases #3 and #4 on your audio file).


I 100% agree. Exactly how I felt about it too.

Thanks JJ, Im really curious to know which ones 2 and 3 are... And Im PRAYING one of them is the steadman or popper stopper, not both the new breed of wallet sucking filters... I don't want to want one...
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Kris

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2009, 10:44:11 am »

And the answer is...?

I think I liked (filtered) 3 the best.  In fact they all seemed pretty useable to me.  Was 2 a touch more sibilant?  
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2009, 11:56:22 am »

I'll post later today.  I have to open the session back up to remember the order!
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Electric Warrior

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2009, 06:54:44 pm »

I like #5.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2009, 02:34:39 am »

My thoughts are that there's no free lunch.  Everything has a sonic signature.  The Pete's place had the most unbelievable plosive protection.  I will be using this on my Leslie for sure, where the wind is a definite problem.  I might even be able to not have to mic outside the louvers.  It definitely has a sound, though.  They all do.  Maybe the Popper Stopper or the Pauly were the most transparent, but their plosive protection was the least efficacious.  The Steadman does a good job with the plosives, but has a sound to it, as well.  The foam I liked the least, and it's because it changed the environment of the capsule.  I felt like it's sitting in a different housing now, as the space around the capsule has a different sound to it.  It had less to do with the fact that I was losing the most highs, and more to do with the difference in overall sound.

I've personally been using the Steadman for a while, but I am really going to change that for now.  On certain mics, I'm going to see if I can get away with not using any filter.  Some mics , I will have to, just to protect the capsule.  But for now, my days of defaulting to using a filter might be over.
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

rankus

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2009, 01:59:39 pm »



Hmm.  Seems I like the Steadman  Shocked   It does add a bit to the top, but in the example I thought it suited.  I had a suspicion it was the Steadman when I chose it as well... what do I win?

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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

J.J. Blair

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2009, 02:41:44 pm »

rankus wrote on Fri, 13 March 2009 10:59



Hmm.  Seems I like the Steadman  Shocked   It does add a bit to the top, but in the example I thought it suited.  I had a suspicion it was the Steadman when I chose it as well... what do I win?




a foam filter.
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Nizzle

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Re: Pop Filter shootout
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2009, 03:05:35 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 13 March 2009 11:41

rankus wrote on Fri, 13 March 2009 10:59



Hmm.  Seems I like the Steadman  Shocked   It does add a bit to the top, but in the example I thought it suited.  I had a suspicion it was the Steadman when I chose it as well... what do I win?




a foam filter.




If he doesn't take it - I will  Smile

-t
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PookyNMR

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2009, 11:30:01 pm »

Interesting results.  I'm going to have to look at further testing with my chosen favorite.  I've never used one before.  I've used the Steadman quite a bit but haven't always been perfectly happy with the sound.  

Thanks for doing this, JJ.  It was fun and helpful.  I've enjoyed your listening tests over the years.  
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Nathan Rousu

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2009, 02:26:04 am »

I own the Pauly.  Haven't yet heard the examples because I haven't had time.  I've been doing vocals for the last couple of days with 3-5 different singers.  One guy was always on the same mic and this morning I noticed--on a track I was punching in on--that his vocals this morning sounded louder (and a bit brighter) than ones I cut yesterday afternoon; same preamp, never touched the gain, same compressor, never touched the settings, same input, no fader involved.  The only thing I figured could have changed was the pop filter--Popper Stopper (yesterday), when the Pauly was on a different mic, to Pauly (today).  Brighter I could understand, but louder?  I asked him a couple of times if he was closer to the mic, because that's how he sounded.  But this guy is a VERY experienced studio singer and he said definitely not any closer.  Two times he said it.  
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Michael Aarvold
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JGauthier

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2009, 09:46:27 pm »

Thanks JJ!

I do wonder if I like the popper stopper because thats what I use here... I always hear about the steadmans but never wanted to change. But I wonder if anyone else gravitated towards what they already use?

The Petes Place sounded great to me... Really good. And funny I didn't like number 5 cause it was too bright which actually may be the biggest compliment I could give it. I thought all the others had audible rolloff, which I actually prefer if done right.

I will say the results are the best I could have hoped for... This shootout will for once cost me NOTHING! BWAAAAAhahhahhhaha!

Nope. Damn, now I want to try a Petes too...
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jetbase

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2009, 10:51:55 pm »

Has anyone experimented with different distance or angle between a mic capsule & a pop filter?
I have no idea if there actually would be a difference, but my experiences in the past made me wonder.
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PookyNMR

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2009, 11:35:03 pm »

jetbase wrote on Mon, 16 March 2009 20:51

Has anyone experimented with different distance or angle between a mic capsule & a pop filter?
I have no idea if there actually would be a difference, but my experiences in the past made me wonder.



I have.  I came to the conclusion that some pop filters (like the Steadman or Shure) need at least 4 inches to be truly effective.  At least, that is where my ears thought they sounded best.  I found if they were too close, they weren't catching plosives as well and sounded a little funny one the sibilant tones in the high end.
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Nathan Rousu

maarvold

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2009, 11:41:59 pm »

1. is the only good one.  

2. Too skinny, but good mid & top

3. Sounds 'big' but sounds unnatural in a hard-to-describe way; recessed 300-700 Hz maybe?

4. Removes the foundation of the voice; adds (or emphasizes) a part of the mids that gives voice a mild 'sandy' texture

5. Let's too much popping through--more than any other--and sounds unnatural in a new and different way; emphasizes sibilance

6. Unacceptably colored compared to no filter, loses presence, emphasizes 550 or 600 Hz resonance a bit (yuk)

What a wake-up call.  
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Michael Aarvold
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rankus

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2009, 06:04:36 pm »



Thanks for doing these shootouts for us JJ.  They really are most helpful.  You are a gentleman and a scholar!  

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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

pan60

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2009, 11:00:36 pm »

just thought i would give this a bump J. J.

Shocked
and thanks again for checking the filter out!

seedyunderbelly.com

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2009, 11:19:21 pm »

Wow thanks JJ,  

Those filters REALLY  hose up the sound more than I had suspected..  
I thought 4 and 5 were the best.  
The message I am taking is - do not use any filter if you can avoid it.
j

maarvold

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2010, 01:32:56 pm »

I thought this thread deserved a bump, if only so people who might have missed it get another chance.  Anything new on the horizon--products or techniques?  
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Michael Aarvold
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Jitters

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2010, 07:15:44 am »

Very informative...

Still, it would have been nice to have included pantyhose over a clothes hanger, you know, just as a scientific control for the experiment.  Razz
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JGauthier

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2010, 12:23:39 pm »

No doubt informative!

Thanks again to JJ for the shootout!

Seeing this thread again today shows how much I thought of JJ's shootout- Since I picked the popper stopper (and thats what I already have and its cheap) I haven't thought about popper stoppers at ALL!

Completey forgot about Petes place which was my #2, again which is great. I like shootouts that SAVE me money for once!

And the shootout also confirms that the best... is without.

But damn if the cheap popper stopper didn't do just fine! Wow, seeing this thread just really stoked me on how well I could walk away from caring after that shootout. Money didn't necessarily help sonics!
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bob ebeling

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2010, 10:39:03 am »

I can't stand what the steadman is doing to the esses.  Popper stopper made the vocal boring.  Petes definitely sounds strained.  

Compared to the unfiltered sample, I would say the Pauly lives up to the hype.  Very little difference to the origional, except it stops the pops.

To me they all stop the pop but the bigger issue is what they do to the esses, and overall microcurves.  Pauly wins.

Listening on grados in the living room.
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Bob Ebeling
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Silvertone

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2010, 01:45:55 pm »

Great test JJ... I stopped using pop filters about 15 years ago... I make the singer improve their mic technique instead! If you show the singer a couple tricks usually you don't need one (with a skilled performer that is).

As for the Leslie... I know what you mean ...  as you know so many people mic them incorrectly and cause phase issues and cancellations to occur...

Thanks again for reviving this thread, I missed it first time around.
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Larry DeVivo
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To see some of our work please click on any of the visual trailer montages located at... http://robertetoll.com/  (all music and sound effects were mastered by Silvertone Mastering).

eightyeightkeys

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Re: Pop Filter shootout (ANSWERS ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST)
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2010, 03:59:33 pm »

Really interesting test J.J. Many thanks.

I thought number 3 was both the most effective at reducing the plosives and preserved the natural sound the best. All the hard consonants came out naturally without any tilt.

Number 5, a close second.
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Dave T.
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