The best microphone isolation shield will instantly lift the quality of your audio recording or streaming show. And that's important. Once, you might have gotten away with shoddy sound for your podcast, YouTube channel or other audio content. But in 2023, viewers and listeners who've spent money on expensive phones, tablets, laptops and TV increasingly expect a high-fidelity experience to match. And so this relatively inexpensive investment is well worth making.
Also known as a reflection filter, a microphone isolation shield surrounds your mic and uses dense and uneven materials to soak up unwanted ambient sounds. It also reduces echo and background noise. That means you'll immediately get clearer, crisper audio, without having to spend a lot of money on high-tech equipment.
Below, we've listed the best microphone isolation shields on sale today, and explain what each has to offer. Meanwhile, if you need to upgrade your setup as a whole, see our guides to the best microphone for vlogging and filmmaking and the best mic pre-amps.
sE Electronics is the industry standard in reflection filters. And if you're serious about your sound, we'd recommend investing in their top-end model, the SPACE Vocal Shield.
That's partly down to attention to detail: each filter is hand-crafted, rather than being mass-produced, making for high build quality and durability. It's partly because of the superior mounting hardware, which allows the SPACE to be easily mounted, with a full range of motion: adjustable and lockable horizontally, vertically, and tilted at any angle.
But mainly it's because it's a great performer, thanks to a large surface area, deep air gaps, efficient materials, and enhancement of sE’s proprietary multi-layer technology. All that adds up to a level of full-bandwidth absorption, isolation, and diffusion that makes your audio just sound great.
The first entry on our list is the best buy for most people, who need to balance quality with the available budget. But if money's absolutely no object, then you'll get even higher-quality results from this premium microphone isolation shield.
Boasting a sophisticated design constructed from a proprietary PET felt, what makes the Aston Halo a cut above is that it offers 360-degree filtering. In other words, it includes vertical filtering layers rather than just being restricted to the horizontal plane. And this boosts the amount of isolation from sounds that bounce off your floor or ceiling. It's also quick and easy to set up, and very stable on mic stands.
If you're low on cash right now, check out this microphone isolation shield from Aokeo. It consists of four panels, including two folding panels. And with its steel construction and inside layer of cotton insulation, it does a solid job of reducing sound reflection during recordings.
The folding panel design makes it very flexible and easy to adjust. However, note that it's not the biggest (at 30.91 x 29.49 x 11.51cm), and so you might need something bigger for your home studio setup. Conversely, though, its compact design, lightweight construction and foldability make it lovely and portable, if you want something to take on the road.
Not quite as cheap as our number three pick, the Sound Shield Compact from Marantz is still very affordable. And what you get for not very much money at all is a professional vocal reflection filter designed to mount to a microphone stand, via its integrated shock mount connector and separate adapter.
Its high-density acoustic foam works well to reduce ambient sound and give you clean recordings. And its two folding metal panels and light weight make it a good choice for using both at home and out in the field. Weighing 1.8kg, it should hit the right balance between portability and stability for most setups.
If you're looking for a microphone isolation shield around the mid-price range, then along with our number one pick, we suggest checking out this fine choice from On-Stage, another big name in the industry.
This vented aluminum surround panel, constructed with a metal frame and a two-inch layer of acoustic foam, mounts securely to your mic's stand, and there's an additional shaft to help you get it to the perfect height (from 0.5 to five inches).
In action, it does an admirable job of shielding your mic from background noise and sound reflections. And its solid yet lightweight construction makes it easy to transport, set up, and tear down. The only issue is that it's so light, at less than a kilo, that it may need counterweighting, depending on your setup and how much you move around while recording.
If you're looking for an inexpensive solution for recording music vocals, then let us point you towards the Auralex MudGuard V2. Its proprietary convex design diverts internal shell reflections away from your mic and does a great job of reducing unwanted overtones and excess noise. As does the non-perforated solid back, which blocks reflected sound from your recording environment.
The included mounting kit makes it easy to fix to most mic stands and adjust it appropriately. Overall, this is an excellent choice for vocals, whether you're recording them on their own or with other instruments in the room. And should you be recording other work like podcasts, it will work just as well for that, too.
Need to alternate between using your shield on a desk and attaching it to a mic? Then this microphone isolation shield from Monoprice is a great choice. It comes with a dual clamp mounting bracket, which attaches to booms or stands up to one-and-a-quarter inches in diameter. There are also two outer panels, which can be folded inward for creating a tighter acoustic isolation chamber. Furthermore, it can be used in a normal upright orientation or can be inverted, so that the microphone hangs down inside the chamber.
However you position it, though, it performs the job admirably. Its acoustic foam front and vented metal back plate work together well to let your mic 'breathe' and prevent reflections within the arc of the shield.
Another first-class microphone isolation shield from Neewer, this one comes with a metal tripod that makes it easy to position it anywhere and everywhere. Alternatively, you can unscrew the tabletop ‘foot’ section and then fix it to a standard mic stand using the included attachments.
Combining an ABS plastic cover with high density noise-absorbing acoustic foam, this microphone isolation shield effectively diffuses the acoustic waves around your mic and keeps the sound from bouncing back towards it.
We'll finish up with another great choice at the cheaper end of the market. This foldable microphone isolation shield from LyxPro combines lightweight aluminum and EVA foam panels to absorb unwanted noise in your room effectively. It comes with mounting hardware that's suitable most recording equipment and mic stands. And it's lightweight and easy to break down when you want to take it on the road with you. The setup instructions could be clearer, but otherwise this is very good value for such a low price.
FAQs about microphone isolation shields
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What is a microphone isolation shield?
A microphone isolation shield is a device used to reduce unwanted noise and reflections from reaching a microphone during recording. It does by isolating your mic from surrounding ambient noise and greatly improves audio quality. It works as a filter and removes reflections, unwanted noises, and ambient sound. Mic shields are also known as reflection filters since they are made from a dense material that absorbs sound reflections.
How does a microphone isolation shield work?
Isolation shields normally consist of an acoustic panel or shield that surrounds your microphone. These are made from materials designed to absorb or deflect sound waves coming from various directions, preventing them from reaching the microphone. Using one should result in a cleaner sound for your recordings, podcasts or online streams.
Is a microphone isolation shield worth using?
If you're streaming, podcasting or recording video or audio, then a microphone isolation shield is definitely worth using. By isolating your mic from surrounding noise and using special materials to absorb these sound waves, it will improve the quality of your audio and make your voice sound clearer, crisper and more professional. If you're in a soundproofed, quiet studio these differences will be nuanced and minimal, but they will still make a difference. And if you're recording in a hotel room, a meeting room or anywhere else where you'll experience ambient noise, it can be worth its weight in gold.
How do you choose the right microphone isolation shield for you?
Deciding which microphone isolation shield to buy depends on a number of factors. The first is where you want it to be: sat on your desk, or mounted to your mic stand? For the latter, you'll need appropriate mounting accessories in the box, along with your microphone isolation shield.
Also consider weight. If you're only ever going to use a microphone isolation shield on your desk, you may prefer a heavier weight to avoid it tipping over. However, if you travel a lot, you may favor a lighter, more portable weight. You might also prefer a foldable style, to make your microphone isolation shield more compact and easier to fit in a bag.
Size is also something to think about. You want your microphone isolation shield to be large enough to capture unwanted sound sufficiently, but not too big that it doesn't fit on your desk properly, or obscures the screen you're reading your script from.
Can I use an isolation shield with a USB microphone?
Yes, you can use an isolation shield with a USB microphone as long as the microphone's size and the shield are compatible. In fact, this is a common practice for podcasters and other content creators who record in less-than-ideal acoustic environments. It's useful to do so, because most USB microphones are condenser microphones, which are more sensitive to ambient noise than dynamic microphones.
Do microphone isolation shields eliminate all background noise?
No isolation shields can eliminate all background noise, but a good one will reduce it significantly. How well it works vary according on the quality of the shield, the type of noise, and the environment in which it is being used. In general, isolation shields are more effective at reducing high-frequency noise, such as computer fan noise and keyboard noise than low-frequency noise, such as noise from traffic and air conditioning. So it's still worth doing everything you can to insulate your recording space from external noise.
Do microphone isolation shields need maintenance?
No, isolation shields shouldn't need much maintenance. However, depending on the environment, you may need to occasionally clean the shield's surfaces to remove dust and dirt. It's also worth inspecting your microphone isolation shield regularly, to check for signs of damage, such as tears or holes in the material.
What's the best microphone isolation shield?
For most people, the best microphone isolation shield you can buy today is the SPACE Vocal Shield from sE Electronics. Each filter is hand-crafted, making for high build quality and durability. It's easily mounted, with a full range of motion: adjustable and lockable horizontally, vertically, and tilted at any angle. And it's a great performer overall, thanks to its large surface area, deep air gaps, efficient materials, and proprietary multi-layer technology. Be warned, though, as premium product, it does cost more than the average microphone isolation shield.
What's the best cheap microphone isolation shield?
If you're on a budget, we recommend Aokeo's Professional Studio Recording Microphone Isolation Shield. The inside of the microphone shield is made of absorbent cotton, which does a great job of reduce sound reflection and ensuring a clear, dry sound, despite its relatively affordable price.
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