I recently moved house and needed a new recording space, or vocal booth. I like to be cost effective, and buy products as cheap as I can whilst also being of a good quality and fit for purpose.
I’ve read many articles on the subject but I’d like to explain in detail some of the products I purchased and what approach I took.
Soundproof or not?
If you’ve got deep pockets you can soundproof your space, but this requires essentially building a room within a room, and filling the void with mass. I don’t think this is needed as long as you already have a quiet space.
What you will need to do is acoustically treat the space. This is NOT the same as soundproofing and only prevents sounds reflecting back into the microphone and causing echoes and other nasty artefacts on your recordings.
I explain a little about the steps I took to acoustically treat my space further on.
The most important thing you can do is select a space within your house that is the quietest. It’s far easier to tidy up a quiet audio file than it is to try and fix a noisy environment in the audio editor or DAW.
I have kids and as such don’t have any spare rooms that I could dedicate to a studio space. I do have a very small area, well cupboard really, the size that would house a boiler, but I could fit inside. This was used as a closet, so the clothes were moved out and I moved in.
Using such a small space presented its own problems though, and I’ll try and explain…
1. The area was hot, I installed a fan but I can only run this when not recording.
2. Excessive bass – low frequency sounds like to hang around in corners (yes, really) and this can be especially noticeable in small spaces. I fixed this using a lot of bass traps in all corners to absorb as much of the low end as possible.
Acoustically treating your Vocal Booth
To prevent your space sounding like a bathroom or church hall, you will need to treat the walls with acoustic tiles. These can be purchased from all over the internet, and can range wildly in price. YOU WILL NEED MORE THAN YOU ANTICIPATE!
I covered every part of the wall, ceiling and door with foam, and I used a can of adhesive spray to stick them. Remember to open the window when doing this!! I don’t know whether covering every wall is the right thing or not. I read a lot of conflicting evidence online. Some saying you should treat a few walls, some saying all walls, some saying to use a mixture of treatment options. I decided to treat all walls since it was a small space and I thought that was the right thing to do.
The next step was to treat the bass, I bought enough bass traps to stick in every corner of the room. This is especially important in small spaces.
Computer in the Vocal Booth or not?
You will want a monitor in the booth, but not the computer workstation. The workstation makes a lot of noise so should be left outside if possible. I left my computer workstation outside and bought long cables so I could run the monitor, mouse, keyboard and Audio interface from the workstation into the booth, it works pretty well. I also installed a USB light which runs from the computers USB power, and it all sits on a shelf I drilled to the wall.
All that’s left is to select a nice condenser microphone, and audio interface but I’ll leave that for another blog post.
If you have any questions, or suggestions about my vocal booth build for cost effective people, then comment below!