Ever wondered what the fuzzy hairy thing stuck onto a microphone called? I know I have asked this same question multiple times and finally got to learning more about this. Here you go:
The fuzzy hairy thing you see on microphones is called a “dead cat” or a “wind muff”. Some also call it a wind filter, windshield or windscreen.
You can see how many names this “thing” has. The name comes from its primary function which is to block wind hitting the microphone capsule and messing up your recording.
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Why is the fuzzy windshield called a dead cat or dead kitten?
So why such a strange and creepy name for an item used in the tech world on recording devices? Where does it come from?
This furry wind muff is called a dead cat or kitten – simply due to its resemblance of a furry cat or kitten. The “dead” in its name is due it being an inanimate object and not moving.
So to our great relief, no cats were hurt during the production of this microphone windscreen 😊
What does a fuzzy windshield do, how does it work?
The primary function of this wind muffler is to break down wind and massively reduce the amount of wind noise picked up by the microphone capsule. It’s the same concept in fur coats and hoodies used in cold regions. That hairy material is perfect at stopping air from getting through it.
You can hear a sample of its efficiency in the video below.
Pros and cons of using a dead cat windshield
PRO – The undeniable benefit to using this type of microphone cover is the elimination of wind noise.
CON – Comparison tests show that using a dead cat wind muff reduces significant amounts of the high frequency tones. You should take into consideration this loss of you decide to use this type of muff.
Listen to the difference using a wind muff makes
So here is a video recording in which you can listen to the difference of a voice recording with and without a dead cat microphone windscreen.
You can hear the recording without the dead cat microphone windscreen at minute X and the difference in recording with the microphone windscreen dead cat at minute why.
Dead cat wind muffler vs foam Windscreens
Although they are both covers for your microphones, a dead cat windshield and the foam microphone cover are 2 different types of covers with differing functions.
Foam covers are the most popular types of microphone windscreens, as they come installed in almost all types of microphones from factory. Mostly used for protection, they also provide some filtering of wind noise which is surprisingly good.
Lacking in the furry material present on the dead cat type, it isn’t able to completely remove this type of noise though.
Types of microphones you can use a dead cat muff on
Here are list of various types of microphones on which you can use a dead cat windshield:
- lapel microphones
- headset microphones
- shotgun microphone
- desktop microphones
- microphones that come installed on your camera
When and where to use a dead cat wind filter?
Due to its effectiveness in reducing wind noise, dead cats are best used when recording in windy conditions. Outdoors in the field, at the beach or if the user is moving fast enough to have wind noise hitting the mic.
But what is wind noise and why filter it out?
Wind noise – AKA video destroyer – is the noise effect captured by a microphone capsule due to the vibrations caused by moving air striking it. Moving air or wind hitting the microphone, getting through the mesh and even reaching the microphone membrane is responsible for that background noise you hear, when listening to anything recorded with an uncovered microphone in windy conditions.
Why do you need a dead cat windshield on your microphone?
Most wind noise can be removed or reduced using audio editing software in post-production, but it is best if you cut down the wind noise during the audio recording itself. This is what fur windshields do so well.
Dead cat wind muffler vs foam Windscreen
Have a listen to the difference between a foam microphone cover and a furry dead cat one.
So there it was. I hope this article answered your question and a huge mystery finally solved. You now know much more about this item than most out there. Thanks for visiting and best wishes.