If you are someone who works from home, then you know the struggle of audio isolation. Professional recording studios are specially built by professional audio engineers. But your home studio is not a purpose-built place for audio work. Instead, it is a place where you live, where you eat, sleep, or watch TV. This is where microphone isolation shields come in, but do they work?
Microphone Isolation shields (reflexion filters) work and are effective at reducing over 80% of reflected sound waves from entering your microphone diaphragm.
Table of Contents
- What Are Microphone Isolation Shields?
- Are Microphone Isolation Shields effective?
- Should I Get a Microphone Isolation Shield?
Microphone isolation shields are a godsend for all who want professional audio for a relatively low price. Even a high-end isolation shield costs only a fraction of the price that it costs to build a whole room dedicated to recording audio. You can get excellent-quality microphone isolation shields for around $200. But how do they work?
What Are Microphone Isolation Shields?
A microphone isolation shield is the foam you see that is placed around the microphone. The job of a mic isolation shield, or vocal shield, is to block all unwanted noise inside your room. This is why microphone isolation shields are so great for professionals on a tight budget that cannot afford to build a studio.
They can work wonders for some and you might find that you do not even need a studio once you get a good isolation shield.
Microphone isolation shields were, and sometimes still are, called reflexion filters, sometimes spelled “reflection.”
A microphone isolation shield is not supposed to isolate the microphone so that no sound escapes, but rather to reflect all other noise that travels through the room. That’s how a microphone isolator makes your recordings clear and dry.
Another benefit of microphone isolation shields, when compared to professional studios, is that they can be put up anywhere you like.
You can easily travel with them and work on the go if need be. It will lower the ambient noise wherever you are and it can work wonders for some. Do not expect to get studio-level quality out of a $50 isolation shield, but do expect to get your money’s worth. Here’s one of the higher-rated budget isolation shields by Monoprice.
If you’re looking for a more technologically advanced solution with better isolation performance, you could try something like this Halo Portable Microphone Reflection Filter.
Are Microphone Isolation Shields effective?
You might wonder if they are just a gimmick that could not possibly make your recordings sound professional. So, do microphone isolation shields work?
They undeniably do.
Many professionals use microphone isolation shields when recording at home because of their simplicity, portability, effectiveness, and low cost. If you listen to someone recording with and then without a microphone isolation shield, you will surely hear a major difference.
You might hear from some people that they had a negative experience using them. This is true if the isolation shield is of low quality. If you are on a tight budget, you should do thorough research to check which microphone isolation shield to get. For the best isolation shields, always check the reviews and see if they work as intended. However, even a cheap microphone isolation shield can help you.
Also, you can try making a homemade isolation shield or even recording in a closet full of clothes.
You can make your own in a pinch by hanging bedsheets and other large, fluffy items around your room. Living rooms are not designed to do audio recording, and you may find it cumbersome to bother trying to isolate it at all, especially by hanging clothes and bedsheets all around the room.
In a pinch, I set my laptop on the bed, and leaned two pillows against the sides of the laptop, creating a small isolation chamber. Even using the built-in laptop microphone, this technique worked very well for a few short voiceovers.
This is why commercial microphone isolation shields are so convenient. They can be mounted onto pretty much anything, making them very convenient and easy to use.
Should I Get a Microphone Isolation Shield?
If you are a professional asking yourself this question, then here is the answer. Yes.
Microphone isolation shields are commonly used for any high-quality sound recording that can later be edited and adjusted to your needs or preferences.
The sound recorded when using an isolation shield is super dry (dry is a term used to describe an unadulterated sound without any effects). You want that in almost any scenario where you are recording something.
If you’re doing voice work, check out this article on the best microphones for female voice-over work.
If you are recording music, exceptional sound quality is a must. You want the vocals in your song to be as clear as possible. Or, if you want to add some effects to the vocals, you still want to have dry sound that does not have some strange noise, such as a ceiling fan or an echo.
Remember that the walls in your house are very smooth, which means that sound will reflect off them and worsen the quality. This will sound horrible in post-production because the vocals will have added reverb that you might not want in your song.
This is why many people who record podcasts use microphone isolation shields. They want you to focus on their content, not on the echo of their voice.
Microphone isolation shields are an amazing piece of equipment for all professionals who work in less-than-ideal environments. You don’t have to get the best microphone isolation shield. Not everyone has access to a studio where they can record, so isolation shields are an excellent second choice. The best isolation shield is the one you use. They can make your recording sounds professional, clear, and dry.
If you are someone who works from home, you will see that an isolation shield is a godsend.
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- Do microphone isolation shields work? Yes. Microphone Isolation shields (reflexion filters) work and are effective at reducing over 80% of reflected sound waves from entering your microphone diaphragm.
- How much do isolation shields cost? You can find highly-rated isolation shields anywhere in the price range of $30 to $500 on Amazon.
- Can I make my own DIY isolation shield? Yes, you can make your own, or record in a closet full of hanging clothes. For a super-simple solution, you can lean two pillows against the sides of your laptop (see photo above).
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