Podcasting on a Shoestring: DIY Pop Filter

I’ve never had a big budget for podcasting. When I first sat down to record Hapax, I was halfway through my undergrad. And now…I’m halfway through grad school. So funds have been an ongoing issue.

Luckily, there are ways to work around impecuniousness. The impoverished podcaster has a variety of free things of which to take advantage: sound editing programs, sound effects, royalty-free music. An imagination and willingness to do weird things to make your own sound effects. Honestly, the biggest investment I’ve made has been on microphones and headphones.

And I’d been managing pretty well…until it became clear that I was lacking an essential piece of equipment.

A pop filter.

A pop filter sits in front of the mic to prevent plosives. Plosives are fun—hard, explosive consonants like p, d, b, k. When the breath hits the mic funny, it creates a pop of air. My plosives are becoming more noticeable, and the more I podcast, the less tolerance I have for them.

So, a pop filter. Research for this post indicates that they’re actually pretty reasonably priced. I have a Blue Yeti, which needs a special kind…which Amazon is currently listing for $22.84. But it looks fiddly. Besides, I need two: one for each mic, and then that gets pricier.

(My other mic is a Blue Nessie…it’s a charming wee thing, but its “built-in pop filter” doesn’t exactly get the job done.)

I’d seen tutorials for constructing one’s own pop filter. Unfortunately, they’re meant for mics with proper booms. My Yeti sits just in front of me. Some slight alterations were in order.

And so, I present: The Beer Bottle Pop Filter

IMG_3013

Materials

  • 6-inch embroidery hoop: $2.80
  • Pantyhose (queen size): $1.99
  • Metal rod: $0.00 (scavenged from back room) (A piece of dowel rod would probably work just as well)
  • 2 clothes pins: $0.00 (scavenged from back room)
  • Duct tape: $1.29
  • Piece of cardboard: $0.00 (ripped from a shoe box)
  • Beer bottle: $0.00 (okay, okay, originally something like $4.25, but you can find a beer bottle lying around, right?)

2015-03-26 11.03.51

Total cost: $6.08

Not too shabby.

Step 1:

With a pair of sharp scissors, cut the legs off the pantyhose. I try to go as low as possible – there was no way that was going to sound good, was there?

2015-03-26 11.05.48Using pantyhose also gives you a double-layer of fabric; I’ve found it’s a good second layer of protection.

Step 2:

Remove the small screw from your embroidery hoop and separate the inner and outer rings. Place your legless pantyhose overtop the inner ring, and put the outer ring on top, surrounding it. Make sure that there are no holes or gaps!

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Step 3:

Stretch the fabric as tight as you can. Then stretch it tighter. When the fabric is taut, cut the excess. It’s okay if it looks a little raggedy; I prefer to err on the side of caution. If you don’t have enough fabric to cover the hoops’ frame, you’re screwed.

2015-03-26 11.14.11

Step 4:

Cut your cardboard into a thin strip—mine’s maybe 1.5 cm wide by 8 cm long. Punch a small hole close to the tip.

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Run the embroidery hoop screw through the hole, and then tighten to close the hoops.

2015-03-26 11.24.13

Step 5:

Secure the cardboard to the rod with duct tape. At the screw, secure the cardboard—which probably looks like it’s about to tear—with more duct tape. Duct tape wherever it looks like you need it.

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Step 6:

Attach a clothespin on either side of the screw. This will help the screen (formerly an embroidery hoop) stay upright. Then more duct tape.

2015-03-26 11.27.42

Step 7:

Place the metal rod in the bottle. And then? MOAR DUCT TAPE.

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My bottle is pretty sturdy, but if yours is tippy, you can try putting sand in the bottom to weight it down.

Step 8:

IMG_3013

Set in front of microphone. Get recording!🙂

-KT

What I’m Listening to This Week

It’s not all classical music and Irish pub songs over here. Coming off March Break, thinking about the year ahead, and all the changes in store…I’ve needed something a little more driving.

Because my musical taste is nothing if not eclectic, I nurture a soft spot for Queen. And these days, I do feel like I’m rushing headlong towards something—so what else would I listen to?

Posted on March 26, 2015, in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Oh that is so cool! Awesome. I don’t know if I’d think of making it. Way to go!🙂

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