While traditional acoustic treatment will always be ideal, these days, many studios now use reflection filters…
Which are essentially “mini vocal booths” that wrap around your vocal mic.
The question is: Are they any good?
And among the different models, which ones stand out?
Well in today’s post, I answer these questions and more with my list of:
The 6 Best Reflection Filters for Recording Vocals.
1. sE Electronics Reflection Filter PRO
One of the first reflection filters to gain widespread popularity…
The sE Reflexion Filter PRO paved the way for the dozens of copycats that later followed.
While common wisdom says that absorption goes BEHIND the singer’s head, (where the mic is most sensitive)…
The Reflection Filter PRO takes the opposite approach, by placing absorption IN FRONT of the singer, to contain the voice before it spreads.
Using this method, there’s the added benefit of blocking off potential noise sources such as A/C’s or computer fans.
All in all, it’s a brilliant invention.
Also check out their other models:
- the cheaper sE Electronics Reflexion Filter X – (Amazon/B&H/Thomann)
- the pricier sE Electronics SPACE – (Amazon/B&H/Thomann)
Now one of the biggest complaints with reflection filters is that they’re heavy, and unstable on cheaper mic stands.
If you don’t have a good stand yet, check out one of the lighter models, such as this one…
2. Primacoustic VoxGuard
Rather than using a heavy metal frame with dense layers of absorption…
To save on weight…
The Primacoustic VoxGuard uses a combination of lightweight acoustic foam and a high impact plastic frame.
To save even more weight, it forgoes the mic mounting system entirely…
And instead, uses the standard mounting of your mic stand.
These features combined make the VoxGuard ideal for use with the cheaper stands used in many home studios.
And perhaps the biggest benefit of all is…it only costs around 1/3 of the previous model.
Up next, here’s another model with a similar design…
3. Auralex MudGuard v2
The dominant leader in the acoustic treatment industry…
Auralex has been making studios sound better since long before home recording ever existed.
Now, with their first version of the Mudguard, Auralex did a pretty great job developing a pretty affordable product…
While offering incredible performances and features.
However, with their second version, they managed to come up with a MASSIVE improvement:
They went from concave to convex. By changing the design so drastically they managed to remove virtually EVERY undesired sound waves.
As a matter of fact, this diagram made by Auralex themselves shows precisely how undesired sound waves are rejected by this design:
Combine that with the legendary acoustic properties of Auralex acoustic foam, and you’ve got a pretty awesome product.
4. CAD Audio AS34 Reflection Filter
Chances are you’ve never heard of CAD Audio before, right?
Well until recently, neither have I.
But strangely enough, when you search for reflection filters online…
What you’ll find is that the CAD Audio AS34 completely dominates the market on Amazon…
In both sales AND positive reviews.
After taking a closer look though, it’s not hard to see why.
With a strong metal frame, and sturdy mounting system resembling the Reflexion Filter Pro…
But at a price lower than that to the VoxGuard or Mudguard…
It seems that the AS34 offers the best of both worlds.
And with a layer of foam absorption that appears noticeably thicker than on other models, one would assume it offers better low-end absorption as well.
From all outward appearances, it may be the best overall option on the list.
5. Porta-Booth Pro
Breaking away from the standard “hard-shell backing” design…
The Porta-Booth Pro revolutionizes the concept of what a reflection filter can actually be.
Using a combination of velcro straps and a semi-soft backing, the Porta-Booth Pro features a unique design that is…
- completely collapsible
- only 7lbs in weight
And once it’s broken down, it fits neatly in an included carrying case.
Unlike the other models, it has a rear slot for use with boom stands. And the interior foam is made by none other than the legendary Auralex.
For voice-over work, the bottom padding provides a convenient place to hold a script.
For mobile studios especially, the Porta-Booth Pro is the obvious choice.
- Click to see current price – (Amazon)
6. Post Audio ARF-42
Breaking even further away from the traditional reflection filter design…
For the last option on the list we have the Post Audio ARF-42.
Compared to the other models, it’s the smallest, the lightest, the cheapest, and easily the coolest-looking of them all.
The problem is…the general consensus among reviews is that the ARF-42 is noticeably LESS effective at shielding reflections.
And surely that’s no surprise, since you’d guess that just by looking at it.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend it on vocals, but I might use it on instruments…
Because as shown in the picture, the small lightweight ARF-42 can be positioned in angles and spots that would be impossible for other reflection filters.
For ribbon mics especially, they could be useful to block the rear sensitivity of the figure-8 pattern.
- Click to see current price – (Amazon)
7. Isovox 2 Reflection Filter
Portable vocal booth have come a long way since they first hit the market a decade and a half ago…
The first real contender being the PortaBooth we saw earlier.
The portabooth is great if you’re looking for something affordable for your home studio to improve your sound from full of echo/resonance to almost none.
But what if you want an actual professional recording studio sound, without the hassle of acoustics set-up?
Well, there is a small Swedish company that came up with the Isovox. Now let me tell you – this thing is NOT cheap.
However it is endorsed by celebrities such as singer Seal, Sony Warner sound engineer Luke Pimentel and more.
In fact it completely closes around you to provide full, complete isolation.
So if it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for you and me.
Check it out: