title: Do I really need a Vocal Booth? – Part 1
date: 2014-02-17 11:29:15
- vocal booth
At some point, almost all Voice Over Professionals ask themselves the same question: Do I need a real Vocal Isolation Booth to improve the sound quality in my studio?
For most of us, the answer really should be No.
We can handle boxy or reverberant spaces with simple sound treatment panels. Choices to handle those problems range from the budget conscious FoamFactory, to the ubiquitous Auralex, to the inventive Studio Suit, to the stylish Vicoustic.
Dan Lenard's video is both informative and fun to watch. Studio Suit seems like it could be a really effective sound treatment solution.
We can just treat the area around the microphone using something like the classic Harlan Hogan Portabooth (either as a DIY project or already assembled in Plus and Pro configurations), GretchKen's Booth-in-a-Bag, the Carry-On Vocalbooth by VocalBoothToGo, the ClearSonic IsoPac T the VoiceCube, the FlexiBooth from Primacoustic, the Eyeball from Kaotica, or the FlexiScreen (Lite or Ultra) from Vicoustic.
Listen to the before and after quality simply by introducing the Kaotica Eyeball into that untreated space. It is a truly impressive change.
If you need more than that to clean up the sound in your home studio, then you are indeed looking at some kind of Vocal Isolation Booth.
Your next question to yourself should be: do I need Sound Isolation or just Sound Treatment?
The already mentioned Studio Suit (video at the top of this page), or the freestanding walls like the Auralex MaxWall line, the Vicoustic FlexiWall, or Producers' Choice Blankets from VocalBoothToGo can be a good, inexpensive treatment option, but they offer no isolation. If you decide to order the Producers' Choice Blankets, be aware that you need 1 1/2 to 2 times the length of the space that you plan to treat. Hanging these blankets flat will only give you minimal insulation. These blankets work best when they are allowed to pleat, giving you more density and less flat surfaces.
If your space is generally quiet, but an occasional noise outside your control (pet, phone, roommate, neighbor, fan, etc) makes you need a retake, then you've just saved yourself a lot of money. Lower cost booths like ClearSonic IsoPacs (models E through J), the DrumPerfect VocalBooth, or the VocalBoothToGo Booth (also available in a ceiling mounted model), may fill the bill. These booths primarily clean up the sound within the booth but are not as good at filtering out external noise as some of the more expensive options. That said, there are some impressive videos out there of some of these booths in action.
This ClearSonic video is impressive. Please note that the total reduction mentioned in the beginning is about 16 dB. If that kind of a change fixes your issue, you should probably check into an IsoPac. A good way to save money on IsoPacs is to assemble your solution using their OverStock page.
If you have gotten this far and still haven't found your solution, then you do indeed need a true Vocal Isolation Booth.
The last option before serious construction, comes from VocalBoothToGo. They offer a soundproofed version of their Vocal Booth. Since this unit does not include its own floor, you may still get low frequency sounds transmitting through from the floor beneath your feet. You might be able to address this problem using carpeting over a pallet or other floor treatments.
The results are impressive, but with a cost of nearly $3000 US, unless you need the portability, you may want to look at one of the more permanent options mentioned below.
You can save a lot of money by buying plans from DAWBox and either building it yourself or hiring a local contractor to help you. The plans come with a complete list of SKU/Part Numbers for everything that you will need from a local hardware store, as well as an instructional DVD. I have known a few people who have used these plans as a starting point and built their own custom solutions.
If you still haven't found your solution in this list, then you are probably familiar with WhisperRoom, GretchKen, and VocalBooth.com. But, you may not know StudioBricks, Scott's Vocal Booths, and Custom Vocal Booths. When comparing products from these vendors, you may want to consider the following:
Single Wall vs Double Wall construction?
Environmental Friendliness of building materials?
Off-gassing within your booth?
No single solution will be right for everyone. If I missed any products/vendors, please let me know in the comments below and I will gladly add them to this article. Also, I am making every effort to keep my own personal opinions out of this article. I will be writing a later article detailing what booth I finally bought, and why.
CONTINUED: Yes, I really need a Vocal Booth! - Part 2 and I finally bought a Vocal Booth! - Part 3
Part 2 - Yes I really need a vocal booth!
Part 3 - I finally bought a vocal booth!
Part 4 - I bought the new StudioBricks One Plus!
Part 5 - 12 Questions to ask when buying a Vocal Booth
Part 6 - Yes! I finally have my StudioBricks Vocal Booth!