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Shall I buy a very expensive vocal booth?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Bella, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. Bella

    Bella Guest

    I've looked into loads of them, and of course the salespeople say they're great. I have a massive room with high ceilings and a wooden floor that has reverb like a small hall. I can't see how I can make the room nice for recording vocals by sticking foam and bass traps everywhere, but then again I could make shift with hardwood and foam to form a home made vocal booth. I just don't know. Any helpful tips welcome! Bella
  2. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    Try hanging moving blankets in the shape of a small room. Works wonders :D
  3. roguescout

    roguescout Guest

    Auralex has those Max walls. They are a lot more expensive than moving blankets, but look a little nicer. And you can set them up anywhere.

    And I heard they actually work pretty well.
  4. JohnBoy

    JohnBoy Guest

    Go down to your local hardware store, buy some 2"/7ft wood. Assemble into a frame resembling a small room (need a drill and some screws for this). Throw some light blankets over and hey presto!

    cost - about $30 and a few hours of your life
    result - as good as any vocal booth you can buy (seriously)
  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    All of the above can be of some help, just depends what you need and want. Another inexpensive idea would be going to a used office furniture store and buying portable "office cubicle" panels. You can set them up in any way you need. The important thing to know is that most of the above suggestions(Including mine) are not literal solutions, just helpers until you do it right. Blankets, foam, etc., are "good" only at a very limited range of frequencies. Those frequencies just happen to be easily "heard", so one often thinks that they make a bigger difference than they actually do(Though strictly for some vocals it may be enough?). Same can be said for tacking 2" foam on the walls. It makes a huge APPARENT difference in the sound of the room, but frequencies that can be truly troubling, like bass, are not attenuated and of course there is little isolation and no actual "sound proofing"(Which is a whole other, possibly important, subject.).

    On the other hand, segmenting off an area of your large room(If it's pretty large!) as a "true" vocal booth - better called an isolation booth, that is not only sound absorbant inside, at all relevent frequencies, but sound-proofed(Doesn't let sound in or out either), can be an excellent studio addition, usable for much more than just vocals. Since it can be a rather small space you may even be able to economically build a "floating" room within a room? Seal every pinhole, put studio windows and a studio door in it, with talkback capability, etc.

    If you're contemplating spending pretty large money anyway and can find construction people/architects to do it right, this could be the way to go. Of course if you contemplete, in anything like the near future, a move to somewhere else, a pre-constructed, tear-downable movable booth could be good?

    Speaking of spending money and doing it right, have you considered checking into one of the studio planners who advertise in Mix magazine? They could - for a price - design and help you construct your entire facility, to make it all more than just a big room. You're right. Just tacking up foam will not likely help much. Though speaking of "tacking up foam", I believe Auralex offers a "planning service" of some sort? Certainly better than guessing at it yourself...

    Lots of ways to go.

    Worst part about doing it yourself, with no proven plan is when you do something(Say you build frames and stuff them with something that looks good) is, what if it isn't good, or good enough, now what? A "pro" may be the best way to go if you've got investment dollars, even if you must plan first and do the actual construction as you can...

  6. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    I don't believe much in vocal booths, unles you are doing VO's- I find vocal booth generally suffocate the vocals and I would rather track in a bigger room, looking for an optimal spot. I did that in my recording space, trying different places in the room until I found a spot that has a airy, open, pleasant sound and that's where I track my vocals. I spent my $$ buying a silence case to keep my computer's noise down so I can track in my room with ease. Of course if you are doing VO's you will need a different set up and a vocal booth is almost a must.
  7. fjell_strom

    fjell_strom Guest

    Please expand on this! I didn't know they existed...man, could be exactly what the doctor ordered for me!

  8. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    here is a review by our very own Kurt Foster:

    (Dead Link Removed)

    that's how I found out about it- best $500 I ever spent-
  9. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I know everybody can't do it, but, as I could, I just poked a hole in the wall next to the computer desk, put the machine in the adjacent room and all the cables just fit, length-wise(By a couple of inches for the 2 "must use" cables I have.). Addition of a wireless keyboard and mouse and stuffing the hole around the cables and all is nice and quiet, at least in this room.

  10. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    For big rooms, foam panels with spaces between them can be very good. The spaces stop the foam killing the sound. You can buy sound absorbing pillars on mic stands to surround the singer, but should not be too close to each other (they can be very expensive). Improvising on this idea might be worthwhile but requires a lot of experimentation. You should get as far from the walls as possible, but avoid the centre of the room.

    If using blankets, try and avoid very heavy ones, as these can kill the sound. Use the lightest you can get away with. I always find a frame is the best way to hang blankets, as wood is really only a good idea if you have broadband absorbers and want a very dead sound.

  11. twenty5south

    twenty5south Guest

    i built a vocal booth for under $500.00us. its internal floor space is 4'*4' with 7' ceiling height. Framed it using 2" * 6", then used a "sandwich" of 5/8" sheetrock, 5/8" mdf board, 5/8" sheetrock to cover all the walls. Installed a drop ceiling (just two 2'*4' panels), installed a recessed "can" style light, covered the walls with aruralex 2" foam treated the floor with anti fatigue matte, and covered that with carpet. installed headphone jacks in the wall and ran my mic cable threw the wall also (got my friends at hotwired cables to assemble the cable with a wall plate on it to make everything look nice), then filled the walls with extra dense fiberglass insulation (also above drop ceiling). It does have a small double glass window in it but we keep that covered with a heavy blanket during tracking to cut down on reflections back into the mic. The walls arent covered entirely with foam, so it still has some life to it, but not excesive amounts, it does eliminate any external room noise such as hard drives humming, chairs sqeaking, people talking, ect....... Hope it helps!

  12. Chayz

    Chayz Guest

    Your mic name

    roguescout, :shock: the mic on your thumbnail looks like a very nice one. I've been searching for the name of the mic on the logic Pro 7 box. What brand is it?

    And please could you all drop the names of the mics you've used

  13. Chayz

    Chayz Guest

    I've been thinking about getting a vocal booth in my room with some acoustic boards, but closing the entire room & inside the booth with Auralex. What difference in sound is there to loose? Afterall, I thought the tighter the box, the smarter and richer the sound.

  14. It's all really a matter of taste. I prefer real reverb to digital processing, but that's my preference; it sounds more natural to me. The human voice is built so much around natural reverberations within an environment, so why suffocate it?

    I've done a vocal track with both a close mic and a couple of room mics in a mid-sized church with cathedral ceilings. The natural reverb sounded better than anything I could get out of my Lexicon MPX-1.
  15. Chayz

    Chayz Guest

    Who knows the name of rougescout's thumbnail
  16. bjnash

    bjnash Guest

    for a booth you can build yourself.

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