Best Microphone Isolation Shields for Any Budget & What to Consider Before Buying

What is a Microphone Isolation Shield

Microphone Isolation Shields are small, inexpensive devices that help to reduce noise from your recording device/microphone. They can help when you need to make audio recordings without disturbing others or getting disturbed by the outside environment.

They work by blocking out external sounds (such as voices) from outside the room or area where the mic is set up. This way, when you're trying to record yourself speaking, there will be fewer background noises like traffic, people talking, etc. They also help to remove echo or reverberation from getting into the microphone.

When talking about sound, it's important to talk about acoustics and acoustic waves. Acoustic waves are how sound travels through air and can change how it is impacted by the environment. Throughout the blog, sound and acoustics will mean the same thing. (because they are)

A microphone isolation shield can have several names called vocal isolation shields, acoustic shields, microphone isolation shields, isolation booths, microphone shields, mic shields, and more. They work great for vocals and instrument recording. They can be large and stationary or collapsible and portable. Some will come with microphone stands, and others will rest on a table.

Acoustic shields are ideal for a home studio where a professional studio isn't available. It can help increase the sound quality picked up by the microphone and is ideal for dynamic and condenser microphones.

A microphone shield should not be confused with a pop filter. Pop filters are designed to deal with plosives when doing vocal recordings. It blocks the air from hitting the microphone. If you are not sure what that actually means, here is a simple test.

Hold your hand about 4 inches in front of your mouth and start saying words that have a powerful P and H noise. Words like Peter, Pasta, Picture, House, Hotel, and hot. These and tons of others expel more air from your lungs, causing unwanted noise on the microphone.

Pop Filters can help get a professional sound and can be combined with a microphone isolation shield to get the best possible audio.

This blog will cover everything you want to know about them.

 

Microphone Isolation Shield, pop filter and microphone mount

Why Are Microphone Isolation Shields Important?

We need them because of all the different types of microphones and their inherent limitations. Some mics have an omnidirectional pattern that picks up everything equally in all directions. Others have directional patterns, meaning they pick up more sound from certain angles than others. These differences mean that if you don't use a microphone isolation shield, any other noise the microphone picks up will affect what you're audio recording.

Essentially, a microphone isolation shield helps keep good and bad audio in. They are also ideal for people who don't have a sound-treated room or are trying to record with multiple microphones in the same room. The Microphone isolation shield works in both ways. It shields your own audio from reverberating from the outside back in as well as keeping outside audio out of the microphone. The larger the microphone isolation shield, the better. Typically you want it to cover as much surface area from side to side and top to bottom.

 

How Sound Waves Travel

As you may know, sound waves travel in interesting ways, but for the most part, it's a ripple effect. Think of a traffic cone that you pick up. Your sound travels out in a similar pattern. Waves in water are very similar to how sound travels through air. Flat hard surfaces reflect the sound, while jagged soft surfaces absorb and break it up. Many of the better sound isolation shields will have some form of ribs or uneven textures to help achieve this. While this helps to break up sound, some of it will come back and bounce off the wall behind you if there is one. Try standing further away from a wall. If that isn't an option, then hang a moving blanket on the wall to help absorb sound. If you're looking for an in depth tutorial on how to sound proof your room check out this blog.

What to Consider When Buying an Isolation Shield?

Mounting and Placement

In many cases, microphone isolation shields have a mount for a tripod and a separate mount for the microphone. When setting it up, it's important to put it somewhere that makes it convenient and functional. Remember how water waves sound, and think about how they would leave your mouth to interact with the microphone isolation shield and the surrounding environment. Make sure the shield also fits your needs. Some are made for a tripod making it easy to move and store, while others are made for a desk to the table that is a bit more difficult to move.

Adjustability and Positioning

Every microphone isolation shield comes with its own functionality. As mentioned before, some are made for desks, while others are great for stands such as a tripod. Some shields collapse or break down into smaller sizes, making them easier to transport or stow away when your not using them.

Isolation Shield Weight

If weight is a factor you need to be aware of, then you're in luck. Microphone isolation shields come in different sizes, shapes, and weights. They typically range from 1lbs to 7lbs on the heavier side. Many of them fall between 2 lbs. to 3 lbs., but there are always extreme examples that are significantly heavier than that.

Most shields are made of high-density acoustic foam and feature a foldable design, making them lightweight and collapsible. While some of them feature a premium steel or metal structure, they can get heavy.

Isolation Shield Size

While microphone isolation shields range in various sizes, there is no perfect size. Large mic shields can be as small as a few inches to as large as a few feet. The goal is to find the right size for you and how you plan to position your microphone. In the world of sound absorption, the more, the better. The more you can get it around the microphone and back far enough not to pick up sound, the better.

Materials and Construction

Microphone isolation shields are typically made out of a few materials. Most will feature a textured high-density acoustic foam and a mounting support bracket. This can be plastic, metal, or even wood for a more premium look. As you would expect, the mic shields that feature a compact design are usually plastic or metal. Pairing this with some form of acoustic treatment in the room can go a long way.

Compatibility

Most microphone isolation shields will feature a standard microphone screw. Most companies include an adapter for 3/8" or 5/8". Those two sizes are the most common size for microphone screw connections. In the rare case your microphone doesn't fit either of those, some will also give you an area to use your own stand or adapter to make it work.

Portability and Storage

It's important to think about this before you buy. for more professional or permanent locations getting one that doesn't collapse may be favorable. The large majority of manufacturers understand they need to ship it to you, and if you are buying one, you are probably not in a permanent location. Because of this, most of them feature a foldable design and a rigid texture on the high-density foam.

Price and Budget

While microphone shields come at a variety of prices, they can range from as little as $20 up to hundreds of dollars. The vast majority are under $50, and the more expensive ones will come with their own stand adding to the cost. The most premium shields are up to $350. Don't feel the need to break the bank there are plenty of affordable options

How to Find the Right Mic Isolation Shield

If you're ready to add a microphone isolation shield to the mix, think about what's important to you and how you plan to use it. If you plan on being mobile, go with a lighter-weight shield that can collapse. If you're worried about having the best quality and want to prepare your area for longer-term use getting one with a more permanent structure that doesn't collapse may be a better option.

Remember, the best isolation shield may not be the one recommended below. Figuring out a size, weight and your needs is important.

Do Microphone Shields Really Work?

Yes! They do work but only when used correctly. Many factors affect the effectiveness of a microphone isolation shield. First off, the size matters. A larger shield will absorb more noise than a smaller one. It's important to consider where you plan to place it. If you have a desk setup with a lot of equipment surrounding it, you'll want something that blocks everything. The goal is to get the best audio possible. If you're reading this, you probably aren't an audio engineer, but it's been proven that in the right situation, sound shields can be amazing when paired with the right microphone. While they are effective with both types of microphones, the main benefits will come from a condenser microphone, which they are extremely sensitive to audio.

The material matters too. Acoustic foam has been proven to be effective time and time again but different manufacturers may use different materials.

Get the microphone isolation shield from the video.

When to Use and When Not to Use a Reflection Filter

A reflection filter is the same as a microphone isolation shield. They have different names but function the exact same. A reflection filter is designed to reduce sound reflections from your room back into the recording microphone. Typically they are great for rooms with little to no sound treatment, contain echo, or don't want to pick up unwanted noise from things inside the room. Microphones can be very sensitive, and a good reflection filter will help stop unwanted sounds from getting picked up.

They are also very helpful if you don't have access to a recording studio or a vocal booth.

Now that we have covered what to look for and consider in a shield, what's the best one on the market?

The Best Overall Microphone Isolation Shield

Aston Microphones Halo Portable Microphone Reflection Filter

This is the undisputed winner of the overall best microphone isolation shield. In contrast, I don't agree that it's portable it is moveable. It's large enough to be a pain to move, but it far exceeds the competition. I was shocked to see how well this performed. It's made out of high-density foam for sound absorption and features a large half-sphere to help catch sound from side to side as well as above and below when speaking into it. Comparing it side to side with a professional recording studio, it's as close to a vocal booth as possible without having the full booth. It also comes with a microphone stand with a thread adapter to fit whatever microphone you use. Because of its large shape, it helps remove almost all ambient noise. The large ribs help break up the sounds and prevent them from being reflected in the microphone.

Pros
Amazing Sound Quality
Sound Wave Reflection
Integrated Mic Stand
Comes in Different Colors

Cons
Price
Not a Compact Design
Heavy (9LBS)

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The Largest Microphone Isolation Shield

Moukey Microphone Isolation Shield

If you believe bigger is better, then you're in luck. The Monkey Isolation Shield is right for you. Coming in at a massive 29.9 inches in length, it gives you the feeling of being in a vocal booth. It features an absorption layer, filter layer, and protective layer. The absorption layer is made with high-density foam shaped into large pyramid shapes to help break up sound waves and scatter them while also absorbing them. They also have a protective and filtering layer to help keep outside sound out and your microphone sounding as clear as possible. There are two sizes, and both feature a collapsible compact design.

Pros
Large
Metal Backplate for Stability
Affordable Price
Large Surface Area

Cons
Not Easily Portable

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The Best Cheap Microphone Isolation Shield

TONOR Microphone Isolation Shield

The best microphone isolation shield for the price is the Toner Microphone Isolation Shield. While not the cheapest option on the market, it's one of the best affordable options. Coming in at just under $30 its a no-brainer. Other options are larger; however, the big selling point is this is portable. It can be mounted on a standard microphone mount and doesn't require additional hardware. It also has a microphone mount to keep a simple and easy-to-use microphone stand. It has a lightweight construction design and foldable panels to collapse down.

Pros
Folding Panels
Vented Metal Backplate
Strong Outer Panels

Cons
Not Very Large

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The Most Expensive Microphone Isolation Shield

ISOVOX 2 Home Vocal Booth - Midnight

Without a doubt, the ISOVOX 2 Home Vocal Booth is the most expensive microphone isolation shield. I hesitate to call it a microphone isolation shield, though, because it is a booth your entire head goes into. It will produce the best quality audio possible. It features a white head isolation booth that has its own lighting inside and a microphone stand. It does have a metal backplate and metal structure to help keep the massive amounts of foam suspended around the microphone. This is ideal for voiceover work and high-end audio, where vocal isolation is key. It's an audio engineer's dream to be able to control everything the microphone picks up, and when paired with condenser mics, the audio can be incredible. 

Pros

The Best Audio Possible
Immersive
Metal Plate Structure
Acoustic Isolation Chamber
Clean Recording


Cons
Not Portable
Expensive
Can Only Use for Vocals

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Conclusion

Acoustic Shield technology isn't changing quickly, and a microphone shield will last for years. There are thousands of options on the market today, and I can only recommend products I have used myself.

Microphone Isolation Shields can support a variety of shapes and sizes as well as structural components. Typically they all have some form of curved design and have shaped foam panels to help absorb audio waves. While this isn't an audio engineer's dream to work with, it's the best thing you can do other than having a studio environment.

There are plenty of great options, but after product testing, dozens of them, the ones listed above, are the best in each category. They can help with noise interferences, such as unwanted background noise, but the best thing to do is try your best to control the environment. know when the quietest times are to record or know where potential sounds could come from.

If you want the best sound possible, pairing an acoustic shield with good recording equipment is the best way to succeed. I tried to recommend different acoustic shields for every price range and that have great features to benefit anyone. If you have any questions, reach out to me on my website.