Yaaaaay! New toy coming tomorrow :) Its a vocal booth!

So Natalie (the other engineer I work with here at the studio) went to Baltimore today to pick up one of these:

On her way back she called me from the road and told me the door weighs 300 pounds lol. I’m recruiting a few other guys to help move it into her apartment tomorrow. I’m really curious to hear this thing in action - and I’ll of course give her a hand getting her rig back up around it. At about $6k they’re cheaper and spec out better than their Whisper Room competitors. She’s a voiceover artist and a fantastic Pro Tools engineer - and has made some impressive progress on her own home studio rig over the last few months. I can’t wait to check this one out!!!



If I put my kids in this thing, would I finally get some peace and quiet around here?



Well, I think the whole idea is that you don’t want to hear it. :wink: You want to only hear clean vocal recordings. A small closet filled with clothes can do about the same thing, but of course that’s not soundproofed from outside noises, and I think that’s where the isolated vocal booth comes in. It’s basically giving a more consistent environment to get good recordings, and as you say she lives in an apartment, so that could be a big help in terms of not having to worry about extraneous environmental noise. Including even the refrigerator and heat/AC in her apt.

For these things to work, I think you have to have a pretty seamless - and silent - recording setup inside the booth, so you’re not running in and out just trying to get a proper recording. I read some good things about Studiobricks, so I’ll be curious to hear her/your experience with it.

Some considerations might be claustrophobia, I think that can kick in at some point, and isolated booths like that don’t allow for much or any ventilation (because it causes noise and allows outside noises in). So my understanding is they can be “stuffy” after awhile. Not a big problem for short-form VO, but trying to do an audiobook could be hell. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I have related experience, at around 300 times cheaper though! I basically made a little portable vocal booth out of a little cupboard cubby from IKEA and some foam diffusers. The idea would be to put it on my desk and go for my normal vocal recordings for my YouTube channel.

The thing is, over the years I’ve been getting better at getting spoken word sounding good. I’m always trying to get that radio voice which I love. But the recording I made with this little booth was really hard for me to work with. It was missing any hint of a room sound, and sounded so in your face. Trying to get that voice to sound natural and “in the room” was something that defeated me. I put it under my table and it’s been there for the past few months.

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Holy mackerel was that thing heavy!! OMG! But the engineering of that wall system is ridiculously superb. There’s a much more going on in the floor and the ceiling system too than I expected. Also, the way the implementation of the cabling and ventilation system showed some brilliant design.

She called me just as I was getting off stage from church. I recruited a drummer and guitar player to help me move it in, and her dad was at the apartment to help her put it together, but they’re gonna be a while.

I don’t think it matters which side of the door you’re on :slight_smile: You’ll get plenty of quiet either way!

One huge advantage this has over a closet is line of sight. Also, this wall system has floating suspended dual walls that are decoupled from each other. I wouldn’t know how to manage that with a closet. By the time she has this put together it will be quieter than my room, and she achieved it for a lot less money. Though mine’s more comfortable of course because of how much bigger and more decorative it is, and yes, you’re right, I do think environment starts to matter after a while.

Funny thing is that I’m a big claustrophobic myself… I don’t think this would bother me though. You probably know this from having a background in psychology, its not small tight spaces that bother someone claustrophobic, its actually the fear of not being able to get out. I’m scared to death of heights, but I can stand on the top of mountain with no problem because the actual fear is falling, not merely being up high. I would think that the unpleasantness of working in there for hours on end would have more to do with it being dark, stuffy, and muggy than actually being claustrophobic.

Ya know!! Very interesting point though. I wonder how big a ‘vocal booth’ has to be in order for it to be pleasant to work in. This was the first and foremost priority when I designed mine. I took the exact same approach as CLA did with his vocal room in his facility now. If it wasn’t comfortable enough to sit and relax in, I didn’t want someone else stuck in it for hours on end. I’m still having some God awful problems with the coloring scheme in there though, i don’t know why I’m having so much trouble getting it to look more appealing. I’m sooooo bad with decorating.

That studio brick has a controlled amount of reflective surfaces, unlike the whisper rooms. I was careful not to cover too much surface area on mine.

One of the first things I wanna do with hers when she gets it up and running is throw some big amps in there and see how that thing handles those!! She recently picked up a stunning Neuman TLM 49 which I would to hear on Guitars in that studio brick. As soon as her dad gets done putting it together, I told her to call me and I’ll help her get her patched and mic checked! :slight_smile:


Yes, that can achieve about the same thing when done right. A similar product is the Kaotica Eyeball.

Don’t give up hope! There are tricks you can do, but also keep in mind that much of VO goes into production with backing music and sound effects where that is likely to be less an issue. It’s usually better to have the spoken word as dry and clean as possible - you can always add ambience, but much harder to take it away if unwanted. You should be able to do a “small studio” or plate reverb on the voice - if needed - to create space, if it’s only voice on your track. Or, you can record your room for a track of “room tone” to layer underneath the (clean and dry) voice track. Just have the mic open in the room where it sounds good and record a lengthy segment you can use over and over for any projects. That should give it some life. This trick also helps hide VO edits which can sound choppy and unprofessional if there’s any background noise in the recording at all (because the edit spaces are pure silence).

True. And yes you really can’t do anything like that with a closet. Most of the $6k investment (and weight) is for true soundproofing which could be incredibly expensive to do with a whole structure. Visibility is a bonus, though if it’s just one person there it’s more to avoid the claustrophobia.

Yes, the fear is the basis of it. Not a problem in the booth … unless the door handle jams while you’re inside. :scream: I’m calling dark/stuffy/muggy claustrophobic from a more practical (rather than clinical) viewpoint. While it’s true you can get out and take a break if you want, the more you do that the less work you’ll get done. Having to meet a deadline could literally mean “not being able to get out” if you get my drift. :worried:

We’re men. We don’t have the Martha Stewart gene. :laughing: Surely you could get some designer advice somewhere without hiring an expensive consultant. Try Googling pictures of other studios’ booths for ideas. Or just color matching and designing in general. Slow small improvements might be the way to go, though a “master plan” is superior if you can develop that “vision”.

It actually doesn’t look bad. The aqua/light blue wall paint is unusual, though a fairly relaxing color (may be good for performance depending on your goal). But it goes okay with the grayish panels. That Charlie Brown/zebra striped chair is what shocks my eyes. It may be comfortable, but jeez throw a solid pastel cover on it or get something else. That thing fries my nerves just looking at it. :exploding_head:

You might need to take that problem to Pinterest… :laughing:

There we go. All setup (except for the Avid Artist controller). Signal chain is pretty simple Neumann TLM49 -> Grace Preamp -> Motu 828 -> Pro Tools. Her deliverables are usually dry and completely unprocessed. If detailed mixing is needed she brings stuff over to my room… so the monitors and lack of sound treatment doesn’t hurt her for what she uses her own rig for. It was pretty cool seeing this come together… I haven’t tested a guitar amp in there yet, but I’m certainly curious. Hopefully soon!


Is the booth supposed to be so close to the wall? It looks like it’s pretty much up against the walls in the corner (or at least the baseboards). I’d think you would want to move it out at least 6" to a foot or more away from walls to maximize isolation from outside noises. I’m assuming a degree of physically translated vibrations (i.e. large truck driving by) could impact the soundproofing of the booth. Maybe not. Just seemed like a question to ask. You said it was an apartment, so it would seem to make sense to isolate as much as possible.

Everything is a compromise. I would assume that it’s pretty hard to justify killing off that much real estate for for the rare moment where some noise might seep in.

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True. The booth is already crammed in against the window and the bed as it is.

Those are decoupled floating double walls with several different types of energy absorbent material between them. And the box isn’t just sitting not the ground, there’s an eight high riser that the thing sits on to minimize transmission vibrations. I know if looks like it in the picture but we did leave an inch or two along the back and side walls so its not physically touching anything but the floor.

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$6000… pretty serious.

interesting though putting it in a apartment, dead silent … sounds like a heavy door., well engineered.

I suppose if you get some work out it’ll pay for it self.