You’ve likely heard it before. An audio recording that took place outdoors that suffers from excessive wind noise. Wind will cause an otherwise clean recording to sound washed out and even distorted. We combat this undesired occurrence with microphone windscreens.
A microphone windscreen is essentially a wind filter that completely encompasses a microphone capsule (and more often than not the entire microphone). Instead of the wind hitting the hard surfaces or diaphragm of microphone, which causes noise, it hits the windscreen which is designed to dissipate the energy and eliminate as much noise as possible.
Honestly most handheld or short microphone windscreens with work just fine so long as they fully cover the capsule of their microphone (the grille, rear ports, etc.) and do not overly colour the sound waves entering the microphone. Look for windscreens made of thick soft foam material that are shaped to fit the microphone in questions. Many professional microphones comes with their own specified foam windscreens, which are likely the best option.
So ultimately when I’m asked about the best microphone windscreens on the market, I have only one recommendation:
Rode Blimp & Dead Wombat: The Rode Blimp (link to check the price on Amazon) is a very popular windscreen/blimp/shock mount combo for shotgun microphones. Rode’s Dead Wombat is easily attachable when using the Blimp outdoors in the wind. The Blimp is typically attached to the end of a boom pole during video shoots but can be used in other situations as well. Superb isolation and protection make the Rode Blimp/Dead Wombat system my top recommended microphone windscreen.
Let’s talk about the Rode Blimp & Dead Wombat combo in a second. First let’s identify what makes a great windscreen.
What Makes A Great Microphone Windscreen?
- Compatibility: Choose a windscreen that is compatible with a variety of microphone shapes and sizes. Alternatively, pick a windscreen that is designed for the specific microphone in question.
- Wind filtration: Select a windscreen that will effectively eliminate the wind noise at its surface so that the wind does not not affect the microphone diaphragm.
So the criteria are really quite simple. Let’s now discuss the Rode Blimp & Dead Wombat in terms of the above factors.
The Rode Blimp & Dead Wombat
The Rode Blimp is a fully encompassing windscreen and microphone shock mount combination designed to hold shotgun microphones up to 325mm (12 ¾”) in length. The Blimp features a Rycote shock mount suspension system for steady holding and a solid microphone isolation with effective reduction in mechanical noise.
The windscreen itself is lightweight and effectively protects the internal microphone both physically and from light wind. The included Dead Wombat windscreen helps tremendously in furthering the wind protection. Together, the Rode Blimp/Dead Wombat get my top recommendation as a microphone windscreen, though they provide much more value than a just a simple mic windscreen.
Compatibility Of The Rode Blimp & Dead Wombat
The Rode Blimp/Dead Wombat are brilliantly compatible.
Though designed primary for shotgun microphones up to 325mm (12.75″) in length, shorter microphones will also fit nicely. The Rycote Lyre spacing guide allows for the sliding of two Lyre mic clips into place to hold shorter or longer mics.
The main limiting factor in the Rode Blimp/Dead Wombat compatibility is that the Lyre shock mounting system will only hold microphones 19mm (0.75″) – 22mm (0.87″) in diameter. This is perfectly fine for nearly all pencil mics and shotgun mics, but leaves out practically all large diaphragm mics (though large diaphragm mics aren’t as often in need of windscreens).
I should mention as an aside note on compatibility that the Blimp attaches to any standard boom pole via 3/8″ thread attachment at the base. Adapters are readily available to change 3/8″ to 5/8″ if needed.
Wind Filtration Of The Rode Blimp & Dead Wombat
The Rode Blimp does a fairly decent job at protecting its microphone, though its performance as a windscreen is somewhat lacklustre. Wind still hits the surface of the Blimp in ways that cause vortexes and unwanted wind noise. The noise is physically produced further away from the mic, which attenuates it somewhat, but it’s still there.
The Dead Wombat cover deals with this issue.
Rode’s Dead Wombat is its flagship dead cat style windscreen. It fits perfectly over the Blimp and provides an excellent reduction in wind noise.
The Dead Wombat is completely covered in synthetic fur that acts to virtually eliminate wind vortexes at its surface underneath. Since the sound of wind hitting the fur is practically negligible, the Dead Wombat performs amazingly well as ridding wind noise from the mic signal.
Better still is that the Blimp and Dead Wombat combination are very transparent. Though they will physically colour the sound waves that pass through them, these effects are not overly obvious and often go unnoticed.
So there you have my recommended microphone windscreen. This Rode product is simply my preferred windscreen. The idea behind this article was, of course, to offer my opinion, but to also give a sort of buyer’s guide of what to look for in a microphone windscreen.
With that, I’d like to wish you luck in your windy outdoor recordings and in all of your other audio endeavours.
For all the My New Microphone mic/gear recommendations, please check out my page Recommended Microphones And Accessories.