VAC™ User Reviews and Endorsements

Jan/Feb 05 Tape Op Magazine-

Popless Voice Screens
model: VAC 6c


The VAC 6c pop screens provide a unique solution to the “How do I tame those damn plosives?” dilemma. You know, the overbearing “P” sounds that create huge low-end peaks on vocals when mics are in cardioid or figure of eight mode. Their “Variable Acoustic Compression (VAC™)” system uses two separate thin nylon mesh hoops, 6” in diameter, which you can use as a single layer, add the second screen in close (.5”), or add the second in further away (.8”). First off, these pop filters have a pretty ingenious mounting scheme. The part that attaches to the mic stand has a spring clip-type mic clip clamp with a bolt and wing nut through it. This way you can clamp it to the rod and tighten it down, with the clip clamp being able to accommodate even a 3/8” thin end of a boom extension – something many holders fail to do. Then the mount has a 180-degree swinging pivot with another bolt/wing nut, which is attached to the highly flexible 15” gooseneck. At the end of the gooseneck is a ball joint with about a 90-degree angle of swing for the pop screen holder. On the screen holder are positions to snap the plastic-molded rings and screens in place. In use, this whole assembly was really quick to set up on a variety of stands and seemed fairly durable. For tests, I ran the same vocal, mic, and preamp path on takes without a pop screen (cardioid and omni), with a Stedman Proscreen 101 (a metal, louvered screen that I generally use), VAC™ with one layer of mesh, with two layers close and two layers distant. And then I listened… With no pop screen in cardioid there was a great high end clarity, but the low end peaks were out of control, and easily visible in Pro Tools as well! In omni (mostly for my own knowledge) with no screen the clarity was the best, but the room became much more present and lively – not always something you would want! The pop filters were all checked back in the cardioid pattern. All the filters reduced the low-end plosives, with the Stedman retaining more of the low-end energy, the single layer reducing the plosives a bit more and the dual layers acting about the same to my ears as the single layer for the low-end. Like I said above, the Stedman 101 had the biggest low-end response, letting more of the plosive through but nothing like the mic without a screen, and had a nice clear top end. The single VAC™ mesh filter was more like the 101’s top end, but tucked in the lows a bit more, which could be preferable in many situations for certain singers to increase clarity and articulation. With two VAC™ screens close the high end sounded slightly attenuated – probably the extra layer of mesh coming into play, and would help with possible sibilance problems. With the second layer with more space between them there seemed to be a slight bit more compression factor happening, which went against what I would have first assumed until I thought about it. Having an air space between them would probably diffuse the energy of the vocal more than the close layers – just like sound traps in a room. My verdict? I like the variety, and am surprised. When I A/B’d the Stedman 101 against regular pop filters (single and dual mesh) years ago, I got rid of all my fabric pop screens. Now I’m hearing subtle differences that these pop screens can have, and want to hang onto the VAC 6c in order to take advantage of these devices. They also build a small version of this pop screen, the VAC 3.5c, which has two 3.5” wide screens for tighter placement. Also, a new shock mount attachment system (the VAC-s series, for either size screen) has an eight-inch gooseneck and can mount on anything from 0” to 4” wide – making it able to hang onto large mic shock mounts and other places. I even used it on a SM58 where someone wanted to hand-hold it! More tools at my disposal – good! ($63) –LC

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