How to Replace a Mic Windscreen

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Recently I needed to transfer a video from an old VHS tape to digital, so I could upload it to YouTube. Since I currently don't own a VCR, I got my 20-year-old VHS camcorder out of the basement and used it to play the tape. When I opened its case after many years of neglect, I discovered the foam windscreen was disintegrating.

The foam literally turned into sticky black powder when you touched it. It was pretty gross. I wasn't sure if the thing even worked anymore, and if the deplorable state of the windscreen was any indicator, it didn't seem likely it would do much— besides possibly electrocute me.

The particles of brittle foam didn't break up until I touched it, otherwise it could have easily made its way inside the camera and destroyed it. After carefully removing and disposing of the clumps of black dust, I plugged in the AC adapter and powered it up.

To my delight the beastly old video cam worked like a champ. I was so enamored with the thing that I wrote a whimsical post for B&H Insights about it entitled My First Video Camera. After digitizing the video, I found that there was something compelling about the campy look of its VHS footage. The grainy NTSC standard-definition picture stands in such contrast with today's 1080p high definition. I decided to fix it up and keep it around as a creative option. The first thing I needed to do was to replace the windscreen.

Now this may seem painfully obvious, but I would bet that there are plenty of people out there who need to replace a windscreen or two, and don't know the steps to take to do so.

Step One: Measure the diameter of the mic

It's easy to determine the diameter of a mic. Just measure all the way across the center of the mic. The built-in mic on this camera turned out to be 3/4".

Step Two: Measure the depth of the mic

It's easy to measure the depth of a mic. Just measure how long the mic is, but don't include any portion of the mic that has a larger diameter, like the area the juts out at the base of the microphone in the picture below.

Step Three: Armed with the dimensions of your mic, find a replacement windscreen

If you're looking for a replacement windscreen for a lavalier microphone, or a handheld mic like a Shure SM58 or an Electro Voice RE50, you should check out this list of Pearstone windscreens. B&H sells lots of other different windscreens for handheld mics, lavalier mics and shotgun mics.

WindTech makes a large variety of windscreens. If you know the manufacturer and model of a specific mic, you can quickly look it up on the following chart (click it to view a larger version):