Microphone windscreens are a necessary accessory for any outdoor or indoor recording. They help to block out wind noise and other unwanted background noises.
Windscreens are especially useful for interviews, podcasts, and conference recordings where you want to capture every word clearly. You can also use them to reduce plosives when recording vocals.
In this article, I’ll explain when you need to use them and how to choose the best one for your needs.
Different Types of Windscreens for Microphones
What do Windscreens Do?
Windscreens are designed to prevent low frequency vibrations caused by gusts of air. Despite having the same goal, not all windscreens are created equally. Let’s take a look at the primary differences between them.
Types of Windscreens
- Foam Windscreens: These are the most common type of windscreens. They are made of foam and are designed to fit snugly around the microphone.
- Mesh Windscreens: These are made of metal mesh and are designed to reduce wind noise without affecting the sound quality of the microphone.
- Pop Filters: These are designed to reduce plosive sounds (such as “p” and “b”) and are usually made of a combination of foam and metal mesh.
When Should You Use a Windscreen?
When it comes to outdoor recording, whether it’s a concert, film shoot, or interview, you never know what kind of unpredictable circumstances you’ll face. From sudden weather changes to short notice, it’s important to have the proper tools to overcome any obstacles you may face outdoors. That’s why a windscreen is an essential tool in your kit.
Without a windscreen, your soundtrack for an outdoor video can be filled with distracting wind noise and low- to mid-frequency sounds, making it difficult to hear the words being spoken and destroying the sound quality of the recording. In order to prevent this noise, it’s best to start by using a windscreen. A windscreen will redirect the wind away from the microphone diaphragm, allowing sound waves to pass through.
Recording Indoors Near HVAC Systems
Even when recording indoors, wind can still be an issue. Heating and air conditioning systems can create air currents and fans can cause indoor wind. If you’re recording indoors, make sure to place the microphone near the source of the forced air. If you’re in a conference room or using a public address system, it’s important to control the users and choose not to use a fan in the room, knowing the issues it can create. In this case, it’s best to use a windscreen as an insurance plan in case any unexpected drafts occur indoors.
Recording with a Moving Microphone
When wind is moving past a stationary microphone, or when the microphone is moving and the air is stationary, it’s important to use a windscreen. If you’re using a boom pole for a film shoot and need to capture a moving source or multiple sources in a scene, a vehicle case windscreen can help protect the microphone from the air resistance created by the motion.
Recording a Vocalist
Most vocalists will speak from far away from the microphone, but if you’re recording someone speaking closely to the mic, it’s likely to contain loud ‘p’ and ‘pop’ sounds. To prevent these pops, it’s best to use a windscreen. Any time someone speaks a plosive sound (b, d, g, k, p, t) there’s a sudden release of air created. The best way to address this popping is to use a pop filter. A pop filter is a mesh wire screen that’s placed in front of the microphone for the person speaking. Pop filters diffuse the air created by plosive sounds so they don’t directly hit the microphone diaphragm. Pop filters are the best method, but in certain situations, windscreens can be effective too.
Protecting Your Microphone
Although the primary function of windscreens is to prevent wind noise, they can also be somewhat effective in protecting your microphones. Aside from the fact that excessive wind can cause damage to the microphone membrane, there are other risks that exist. The grills you find inside a windscreen also act as a windscreen to prevent any noise bursts of air from reaching the microphone. They also screen out saliva and dirt, so over the years of use, simply replacing the windscreen can restore your microphone to a like-new state.
Recording Outdoors: Overcoming Obstacles
Essential Tools for Outdoor Recording
When it comes to outdoor recording, you never know what you’re gonna get. From sudden weather changes to short notice, it’s important to have the proper tools to overcome any obstacles that come your way. Here’s what you need in your outdoor recording toolkit:
- Windscreen: This is an essential tool for outdoor recording. A windscreen redirects the wind away from the microphone diaphragm, allowing sound waves to pass through without any interference.
Dealing With Distracting Sounds
We’ve all listened to a video recorded outdoors with a soundtrack full of distracting wind noise and low- to mid-frequency sound. It can make it difficult to hear the words being spoken. To prevent this problem from the start, use a windscreen.
Removing Noise Without Destroying Sound Quality
Unfortunately, if you’ve already fallen victim to this problem, it can be nearly impossible to remove the noise without destroying the sound quality of the recording. The best way to prevent noise is to use a windscreen from the beginning.
Recording Indoors Without HVAC Woes
Avoiding Air Currents
Recording indoors can be tricky, especially when heating and air conditioning systems create air currents. Fans can also cause indoor wind, so when recording indoors, make sure to place your microphone away from the source of any forced air. Installing a system in a conference room or public address system can give users the ability to choose to use a fan in the room, knowing the issues it can create. Use a windscreen for insurance, just in case any unexpected drafts occur.
Tips for Recording Indoors
- Place your microphone away from any forced air.
- Install a system in a conference room or public address system.
- Give users the ability to choose to use a fan in the room.
- Use a windscreen for insurance.
Recording with a Moving Microphone
When recording with a moving microphone, you’re dealing with the mind-bending concept of wind resistance. That is, the difference between a microphone that’s moving through stationary air, and one that’s stationary in a moving air stream. To combat this, you’ll need to use a windscreen to help protect the microphone from the air resistance created by the motion.
If you’re shooting a film, you’ll likely need to capture multiple sources that are moving. In this case, a boom pole or other vehicle-mounted microphone is your best bet. Windscreens will also help to protect the microphone from the air resistance created by the motion.
The Bottom Line
Recording with a moving microphone is a tricky business. You’ll need to use a windscreen to help protect the microphone from air resistance, and a boom pole or other vehicle-mounted microphone if you’re recording multiple sources. But with the right tools and a bit of know-how, you can capture great audio in any situation.
Recording a Vocalist: Tips & Tricks
Recording a vocalist can be tricky, especially when it comes to preventing those pesky pops. Here are some tips to help you out:
- Speak far away from the microphone.
- Speak close to the microphone when recording.
- Use a pop filter instead of a windscreen. Pop filters diffuse the air created by plosive sounds, which normally hit the microphone diaphragm directly.
- Check out our article on the best pop filters for every budget.
Getting the Best Sound Possible
Windscreens can be effective in certain situations, but if you want the best sound possible, you’ll want to use a pop filter.
- Make sure the pop filter is placed close to the person speaking.
- Use a mesh or wire screen.
- Don’t forget to check out our article on the best pop filters for every budget.
Now you’re ready to record a vocalist without any pesky pops!
Protecting Your Microphone from Wind and Damage
Windscreens: The Primary Function
Windscreens are your first line of defense against wind noise. They’re somewhat effective in protecting your microphone, but it’s important to remember that excessive wind can cause damage to the microphone membrane.
Risks Beyond Wind
Inside the grill of a Shure SM58, you’ll find a foam liner that acts as a windscreen to prevent noise bursts of air. But this screen won’t protect your capsule from saliva, dirt, and other contaminants that your microphone will inevitably pick up over the years.
Restoring Your Microphone
If your mic is looking a bit worse for wear, don’t worry – simply replacing the windscreen can restore it to like-new condition.
Foam Windscreens: A Must-Have for Microphones
What are Foam Windscreens?
Foam windscreens are a must-have for any microphone. They’re open-cell foam that fit snugly around your microphone, providing basic protection from wind. You can purchase universal windscreens that fit a variety of sizes, or you can buy one that’s prepared for your specific mic.
How Do They Work?
Foam windscreens create a labyrinth effect, diverting wind in different directions and preventing it from directly interacting with the microphone. They generally offer 8db of wind noise attenuation, which is a significant reduction.
Are They Effective?
Yep! Despite the fact that foam windscreens remove significant wind noise, they don’t cause significant high frequency loss.
Where Can I Buy One?
We recommend Amazon for all your windscreen needs. They have a variety of common sizes, so you can find one that’ll fit a variety of mics. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easily available.
The Fur-ocious Wind Protection: Windguards and Windjammers
What are Windguards and Windjammers?
Windguards and Windjammers are an effective type of windscreen. They consist of two layers: an inner layer of thin foam and an outer layer of synthetic fur. They come in a variety of sizes to slip over a variety of microphones. Windjammers offer superior wind protection compared to foam windscreens, as the strands of fur act as a baffling to redirect the wind in a method that creates friction. The stiff foam also means that there is less noise created in the process.
The Benefits of Windguards and Windjammers
Windjammers are designed to fit specific microphones, so you can find models like the Windjammer that fit a variety of shotgun mics. Fur Windguards offer 25db-40db wind noise attenuation, while layering a Windjammer windscreen can offer up to 50db attenuation. This is drastically more effective than foam windscreens. It’s important to consider quality, as low quality fur windscreens can cause high frequency attenuation. High quality Windjammers, however, effectively reduce wind noise without creating any adverse effects on sound quality.
The Best Option for Video Microphones
Windguards and Windjammers are the best option for video microphones, lovingly referred to as ‘dead cats’. They are aesthetically pleasing, and offer superior protection against wind noise.
So, if you’re looking for a fur-ocious way to protect your audio from wind noise, Windguards and Windjammers are the way to go!
Microphone Windscreen Vs Pop Filter
A microphone windscreen is a foam or fabric cover that fits over a microphone to reduce wind noise and plosives. Plosives are the popping sounds that occur when air is released from the mouth when saying certain consonants. A pop filter is a mesh screen that fits over a microphone and is designed to reduce the same popping sounds. Both windscreens and pop filters help to reduce unwanted noise and improve the sound quality of recordings.
The main difference between a windscreen and a pop filter is the material they are made of. Windscreens are usually made of foam or fabric, while pop filters are made of a mesh screen. The mesh of a pop filter is designed to diffuse the air that is released when saying certain consonants, while a windscreen is designed to absorb the air. Both are effective in reducing plosives, but a pop filter is more effective in reducing the popping sound.
Microhpone Windscreen Foam Vs Fur
A microphone windscreen foam is a foam cover that fits over the microphone and helps to reduce wind noise and other external noises. It’s typically made from open-cell foam and is designed to fit snugly over the microphone. On the other hand, a dead cat mic cover is a furry cover that fits over the microphone and helps to reduce wind noise and other external noises. It’s typically made from synthetic fur and is designed to fit snugly over the microphone. Both of these covers can help to reduce wind noise, but they have different benefits. The foam cover is more lightweight and easier to install, while the furry cover is more effective at reducing wind noise.
DIY is a great way to get the necessary equipment you need without spending a small fortune. Microphone windscreens, also known as ‘dead cats’, are pieces of simulated fur that wrap around the microphone to cut down wind noise. They can be expensive to buy, but for just $5 and a rubber band, you can create a DIY version that’s just as effective.
To make your own windscreen, you’ll need a piece of artificial fur, which you can buy from your local fabric shop or eBay for around $5. Depending on the size of your microphone, you won’t need a lot of material. Once you have the fur, cut it into a circle shape, wrap it around your mic, and secure it with a rubber band. You can take it a step further by sewing up the edges to make sure no air can get through.
For larger shotgun style microphones, you’ll need to make a shock mount and a blimp to house it in. You can find tutorials online to help you with this. For less than $50, you can create a variety of windscreens for different external mics that will greatly improve your on-set video recording.
DIY is a great way to get the equipment you need without breaking the bank. With the right setup, no one will ever know you didn’t buy the most expensive gear.
Conclusion: Microphone windscreens are an essential tool for any audio engineer, as they help to reduce wind noise and other unwanted sounds. They are also incredibly versatile, as they can be used in a variety of applications. Whether you are recording a live performance on a rooftop or in a studio, windscreens are a must-have. So, if you are looking to get the best sound quality possible, make sure to invest in some windscreens! Remember to always practice proper microphone etiquette when using them, and you’ll be sure to get the best results.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.
Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:Subscribe