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Cedar Lined Vocal Booth

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by MadMax, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. MadMax

    MadMax Distinguished Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Pardon me for stickin' my nose in down here in vocal land, but I have a pretty good reason for invading. :)

    In the process of building my studio, I'm just about ready to work on the isolation booth finishes. I have enough lumber to "do" the booth in eastern red cedar. I chose the cedar for the color and vibe I think it conveys. It certainly is some pretty wood, IMHO.

    Most of the time, the booth will not be used for vocals, other than say scratch vocals or VO work.

    But, I had a coupla' fellow AE's raise the question about the smell of cedar... How bad does the aromatics in cedar bother the voice?

    Is it bad enough to scratch the idea of sealing the wood and switch to another type of lumber?

    The last thing I want to do is make a room that will cause vocalists to have breathing or singing problems. But by the same token, if cedar would actually be considered a good thing to have, I'm willing to even leave the wood unsealed on all surfaces.

    Thanx for any insight or opinions.
  2. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    I'm not sure of the difference between Eastern and Western cedar in terms of aroma but both of my studios used Western cedar in both the studio and control rooms.
    Although I had 2 Iso rooms in addition to the main room. Vocals were always cut in the larger main room where the cedar was.
    Never a negative comment or problem.
    Actually, we were disappointed when the aroma went away after about a year or so. (we had about 350 sqft all together) It seems the air conditioning system is to blame. If the cedar is in a more air tight space the aroma will last much longer. But if you have AC then it's not going to last that long.
    But Cedar is good. Termites don't like it, bugs don't like it. It looks great and it's a good medium density wood.
    The type we had was T&G where one side was smooth and the other side was rough. It offered some nice combinations. Sonically the rough side is probably better and gives a more rustic vibe.
  3. jg49

    jg49 Distinguished Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    I've heard of people who are allergic, hives and asthma, to cedar and not just the eastern cedar pollen (actually a juniper) issue, which seems to be predominately a western states problem, but the wood and its aroma.
    differing views in this one but note the third response

    Though most of the allergen issue from a more scientific point seems to be the dust containing pliatic acid. I have no idea if sealing this would (wood, LOL) relieve the problem. This may be aproblem of only in the one in a thousand range or even higher.
  4. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, Minnesota USA
    Hello Natual and RO,
    I'm a woodworking individual by trade, just can't help but want to comment on your post about aromatic cedar.

    Did you know that you can buy a product that will put the smell of cedar back into the grain? It may or may not work depending on how your cedar has been finished.

    Check it out here.

    In an ideal situation you will need access to the side of the grain that has not been sealed. The product may still work depending on how well the finish had absorbed into the grain.

    If you have sealed the wood I would use it on a test spot and wait a few days to make sure that the oil is not dissolving the finish first before using the product on the entire surface of the wall.

    One fact I have heard about aromatic cedar is that you can only seal one side of the wood. The oil in the wood has a tendency to not like having a way to dissipate naturally and has a tendency to dissolve most any finishes easily.

    So, in case your not aware do not seal the boards on both sides unless you want to make a mess of your project. Keep this in mind when planning your booth, or applications. Aromatic Cedar is a very visually appealing wood and it has that wonderful smell that most people adore.

    If I were to use it in my studio I would seal the wood on the inside of the wall so all of the aroma will come into the room. Or, perhaps there is a way to mount the boards to the wall and allow airflow (and access perhaps ) to the back of the wood, allowing the front to be finished ( and the back to be replenished with oil.) Aromatic cedar is very beautiful finished on the outside. With some creative thinking there should be a way to have the best of both worlds.

    Natural: I hope this helps you restore the smell in your cedar rooms.


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