Alctron PF8 is a microphone acoustic filter designed to decrease echo by absorbing sound before it bounces walls and not letting it into the microphone afterwards. In this article, I will overview 16 reasons to buy Alctron PF8 and 5 reasons why it may not be worth it.
1. It is dirty cheap
Alctron PF8 sells for $24 on Aliexpress and Ebay. Compare that to similar Kaotica Eyeball which sells for $200 and you will know why it is such an amazing deal.
You will find no other similar product for a lower price. The only alternative cheaper solution would be making something of your own, but when PF8 costs so little I wouldn’t think twice before buying.
You can find Kaotica Eyeball review here: https://voiceovertip.com/kaotica-eyeball-review/
2. Significant echo reduction
Alctron PF8 primary function is to reduce echo and it is good at that. You may consider other products such as acoustic shields, but honestly, PF8 supersedes them by covering almost the entire microphone instead of just a back of it.
PF8 will protect your microphone from sounds coming from the back when they bounce against the wall, as well as from the above, bellow and sides.
If you were to add cover behind your back, you would see an amazing improvement in echo reduction. That is much easier and cheaper compared to buying acoustic foam for your walls. If you want quick, immediate hassle-free solution PF8 is perfect for that.
3. Easy to set-up
It is just as simple as putting it over the microphone and takes only a few seconds. You don’t even need to have a shock-mount, PF8 will mount directly on a microphone.
You can’t beat this thing in simplicity. Compared to mounting acoustic panels or setting up the vocal booth, attaching Alctron PF8 to the microphone is a much simpler solution.
4. Doesn’t take much space
At 20x18x13cm dimensions, it is small enough to not be a hassle. Fits nicely anywhere, in fact, it is laying peacefully by my side on a small shelf right now.
It will take much less space than any acoustic shield attached to a stand, acoustic foam, or any self-made vocal booth.
5. Includes pop filter
If you yet don’t own a pop filter, you are in luck. PF8 includes a pop filter. And if you already have one and don’t fancy changing it, PF8’s pop filter is detachable, and you will find it easy to switch to your preferred one.
6. Available worldwide
This is something that could be easily overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. No matter where you live PF8 is available through worldwide shipping. Being lightweight makes easy and cheap shipping.
7. Reduces noise levels
I’ve talked about echo, but Alctron PF8 is also a viable solution for noise reduction. It is not good, but you may notice a slight difference in your noise floor.
I wouldn’t rely on it to deal with harsher background noise, but it will provide some help.
If you wonder whether your flimsy swivel arm or plastic stand can withstand an additional weight, it probably can. Alctron PF8 barely weights anything. It is such a lightweight my $15 swivel arm holds it with ease.
9. Fits most microphones
Unless you own extremely thin or extremely thick microphone, PF8 will fit it. The foam is elastic and snugs nicely to hold most of the microphones and I am still unable to find one that couldn’t fit it.
10. Spit protection
Alctron PF8 will protect your expensive microphone from spit better than anything you have tried. It is bullet-proof in this regard, covering your microphone all around.
11. Dust protection
It takes time, but after a while, dust can find ways to get into your microphone and reduce its sound quality. Leaving some sort of protection over the microphone will help to prevent dust from coming in.
Also, the acoustic foam will help to maintain a similar temperature and prevent drastic changes, which could be detrimental for a more sensitive condenser and ribbon microphones if you own one.
12. Drop protection
If you are like me, you may be using a flimsy swivel arm or plasticky mic stand. I can’t count how many times they have failed me by either somehow coming out of the holder or tipping over from the slightest touch.
If you have a microphone attached while that happens, good luck to you, Alctron PF8 being a soft foam that covers all around will protect your microphone from any harmful damage and will give you some peace of mind.
13. Easy to maintain the same sound
Have you ever been doing a long project and changed a place to realize that now it sounds completely different? Well, that happens, and although not a perfect solution, Alctron PF8 will help to minimize the change in sound.
One of the best things about Alctron PF8 being small, lightweight, and detachable is how easy it is to move it wherever you want. You might have recently found you like other rooms in your house to sound better for recording, or maybe you are on the road and don’t want to miss auditions.
In either way, PF8 is easy to move around and take with you. It will allow you to work anywhere you want without any hassle moving it.
15. Can supply additional echo reduction in an already treated room
You may already own some acoustic or soundproofing gear. Most likely you have some acoustic foam on your room walls. You can’t really add more foam on already existing foam, but PF8 will work independently and can provide additional echo reduction.
A combined effort of multiple solutions may be the best option to step up audio game.
16. Easy to pull a blanket over a microphone
I don’t know if you have tried a budget solution where you just pull blankets over the microphone to create this hot, self-made blanket booth. I’ve certainly done it.
By doing so, I found out it is hard to prevent blankets from touching your microphone. With PF8 mounted, you don’t need to worry about that; it will prevent from anything directly touching your sensitive mic.
I was using Rode Procaster, a dynamic broadcast microphone.
The room I recorded this in is a good representation of an average, acoustically untreated room. It has furniture and curtains that absorb some of the sound, however it has a noticeable reverb and with Alctron PF8 I notice a much warmer and more pleasant voice tone.
Without Alctron PF8:
With Alctron PF8:
1. Unreliable pop filter
The pop filter on Alctron PF8 is a bit wobbly and thin. It looks like you can tear it with minimal effort. It is not like the pop filter is Alctron PF8’s selling point tho. They probably had to cut some corners somewhere when creating a $24 product whose primary function is not preventing plosives.
2. Obstructing vision
Alctron PF8 is not huge, but big enough to obstruct vision when reading text. It is something I can deal with, but I wish I didn’t need to. I usually read from 24-inch screen so it is a small issue for me.
However, I found it much harder to read when using small-screen devices like a mobile phone or tablet. Using it with a 15-inch laptop introduced some awkwardness.
3. Echo reduction is good, not great
The main point of Alctron PF8 is echo reduction, which is significant and good. However, it can’t compare with a vocal booth or thick fiberglass setup on walls. The foam is 33mm in thickness.
That is around 1.3 inches. We know 2-inch acoustic foam is rarely sufficient to combat echo and PF8 offers less than that. Admittedly, it is probably a bit denser than acoustic foam, but that still doesn’t cut it.
In all honesty, a $24 item should not be compared to $5,000 vocal booths, but I did it anyway. Finding a decent space and applying acoustic treatments to your walls will also produce much better results.
But they are still not comparable in price. Even though it is a con, for $24 item Alctron does amazingly well and is well over the competition in terms of value for money.
4. Doesn’t work well with end addressed microphones
Alctron PF8 is designed for side addressed microphones. It works great with my Rode NT1 even considering Rycote shock-mount which gets in its way. However, I found it hard to use with end addressed Rode Procaster.
You can still make it work, but you will have to face it at just the right angle. It will take some time to get it right and even then you will have to make sure you are talking into a microphone rather than foam.
5. Noise reduction is not great
Alctron PF8 does offer some noise reduction, but it is just not thick enough in most situations. You will find Alctron is capable of slightly reducing some unwanted sound from coming in, but it is far from desirable.
I guess it should work great reducing wind noise, but you are unlikely to use it outside.
In the end, should you buy it and is it for you? Well, first of all, I will remind you it is only $24. You probably can afford it and even if it won’t become a daily part of your routine, it is not like you are buying a new Neumann microphone. So yes, Alctron PF8 is worth buying.
Is it better than Kaotica Eyeball? I don’t own Kaotica Eyeball and I don’t plan to spend $200 to test it out, but from what I have read and heard it doesn’t differ much. Some reviews even mention PF8 sounding better.
In all honesty, they are both just a bunch of foam around your mic, so if I were you, I would buy the cheaper one and in this regard, Alctron PF8 beats Kaotica Eyeball by a large margin.
Will it make a difference? Yes, it will. Alctron PF8 is amazing for starting out, it offers a quick and easy to apply solution. Also, it is something you could use with other sound treatment gear.
Just don’t be delusional and don’t expect it to solve all sound-related issues. It is good for the price and does what it should do, but don’t raise your expectations too high. It is not like buying $24 Alctron PF8 will replace a $5000 vocal booth or thick sound insulation panels.
For more noise reduction related tips you can read these articles: