If you are a musician — regardless if you are one that has budding aspirations or already an established one — one of the most important things you must have is a recording studio. Renting these out do not come cheap and can make a huge dent in your finances.
Trust me on this, I would know; I had a band once. I played bass and we would be lucky if we could scrounge up enough money to rent out a recording studio once a week. It was that lack of opportunities to rehearse our craft in a proper atmosphere that eventually led to our band’s demise. Also, we didn’t sound good either so maybe that played a part as well.
Musicians or people that have a need for a soundproof booth, however, have come upon a more cost-efficient solution: building their very own soundproof studio booth inside their own homes. Not only will this greatly help you cut back on costs, it will also let you work from the comfort of your home. And from experience, being in familiar surroundings helps out a lot in honing your music compared to playing in front of complete strangers at a rented-out studio.
This solution does not just work for musicians alone but also for people that need to have a quiet place to work at home. While some may have a home office to cater to this need if it arises, not everyone has that luxury. In this case, a soundproof booth would be a nice place to get all the work done even when the kids are playing around at home.
Making a soundproof booth in your home actually does not need or cost all that much. All you have to particularly make sure of is that the sound insulation is done properly so as to lessen the amount of sound that gets in and out of the room. It will also help in eliminating echoes that would help ensure that the quality of the sound is very high.
If you are raring to find out just how to go about making your very own soundproof booth, don’t worry; we will get to the exact steps later on in this helpful guide. First, let’s take a look at the other possible reasons why you should get a soundproof booth.
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Table of Contents
- Great Reasons to Use a Soundproof Booth
- How a Soundproof Booth Works
- Why Do You Need a Soundproof Booth?
- Simple Steps to Make a Soundproof Booth
- The Bottom Line
Great Reasons to Use a Soundproof Booth
Home studios are often started in rooms that were never made for any kind of audio or sound work, and this can result in a lot of problems and issues with the quality of your recordings, especially pertaining to the vocals.
But using one of these soundproof booths, which are also referred to as acoustic enclosures, pretty much eradicates the problem, giving you dry and clear vocal recordings – exactly what you’re really after when working in the studio. It’s a great solution to the problem of recording in a poorly designed room and can really transform your vocal recordings.
Here are five reasons why you need to be using one:
- A simple and effortless way to capture more professional recordings in your own studio. And if your recordings are better, then that has a knock-on effect to improve your mixes and productions. Who wouldn’t want that?
- This is suitable for singers who want to capture clean, pro-level recordings and get closer to the polished results you’d expect in commercial studios.
- If you have other musicians coming to your studio it looks very professional and gives the impression that you take recording seriously.
- They’re very easy to use – the booth simply attaches to the mic stand and positions itself behind the microphone.
- And here’s why they work:
The vocal booth filters out unwelcome acoustic reflections from the room’s hard, shiny surfaces that can adversely impact the quality of your vocal recording. Most home studios can be found in these kinds of rooms – rooms that have very little to no acoustic treatment at all.
When you sing, sound waves move in all directions, reflecting and bouncing around the room. The microphone picks up these reflections, and because of the room’s ill-designed acoustics, the character of the vocal recording can come out pretty badly.
The soundproof booth works to isolate the microphone and keeps these reflections from entering the microphone. The general goal when recording is to capture as dry and clean a signal as you can – exactly what a soundproof booth can give you.
Click here to jump straight to our step by step plan to make a soundproof booth!
How a Soundproof Booth Works
If you did not know by now, soundproofing is a very difficult thing to achieve. Having a soundproof booth lets you isolate instruments, vocals, and other equipment in a controlled recording, rehearsal or test setting. You will find that having one would greatly lessen noise from the inside to outside and vice versa.
What You Can Expect From a Soundproof Booth
With a soundproof booth, you will discover that you can sing loudly or play an instrument inside with the doors and windows closed in your existing room, and you will either not be heard outside of that room or you will sound very distant with the sound being inaudible. The same goes for recording.
If the doors and windows to the room the soundproof booth is in are closed, most exterior environmental sounds will not be recorded. Additionally, because of the significant sound reduction, there is a phenomenon that can happen that makes sounds you hear inside the booth sound abnormally loud. The booth interior drops the ambient noise to such a level that individual sounds heard are amplified by your ears in conjunction with your brain. Your ears work harder to hear more.
Sold on the idea of a soundproof booth? Click here to find out how to make your own!
Why Do You Need a Soundproof Booth?
Imagine a band inside your head, where do you reckon the singer is on stage?
That’s right. Front and center, with the spotlight on them, commanding attention.
The same can be said for your song. Your vocals need to be the most forthright thing in the mix. That’s because your vocals are usually the melody. They’re what your listeners pay attention to the most.
So the question that begs to be asked is this: what pushes an instrument back in the mix? The answer is reverb!
Your ears make use of the sound of the room to generate a sense of space around yourself. When you hear a sound that is accompanied by reverb, it sounds farther away. But when a sound is “completely dry,” or it has no reverb at all, then it sounds right up in your face. That’s what soundproof booths do. They absorb the sound of the room around you, making your vocals dry and clear.
Most professional vocals are recorded inside a booth similar to the one we’re going to be making but of course, with more bells and whistles, that allows it to produce a more “pro” sound. But as mentioned, professional sound studios can cost a fortune. They usually range from $800 to $5,000 – which is just not feasible if you are an artist who is just starting out and is still trying to make your mark in this crowded industry.
Luckily, there’s no need to blow all that cash when you can build your own for a fraction of the cost. Here are four easy-to-do DIY soundproof booth designs you can try using at home.
1) The Closet
This is as classic as it can possibly get. When you start recording at home, you hear this suggestion from all your friends, “Make sure to record your vocals in closet! You’ll get a better sound!” It may sound like an odd recommendation but it makes sense. After all, you no doubt have a closet. No assembly required. No additional cost incurred. Before you get too excited, let me stop you there and tell you: DO NOT USE THE CLOSET.
Why not, you ask? You’re actually going to hurt your vocals a lot more than you will help them. Here’s the concept behind the Closet Booth: it’s a small, enclosed space with a bunch of clothes in it. It’s small, so you don’t get much reverb, and the clothes will soak up the extra sound inside the room. However, trust me when I say that you don’t have enough clothes to make this work.
Even though you may possess dozens of shirts hanging, it’s not going to be enough material to absorb the amount of sound that is needed for a good vocal booth. So most of that room sound is still there, getting picked up by the mic.
What this basically means is that rather than sounding like you’re singing in a vacuum, it going to sound exactly like where you are at: in a tiny, tiny room filled with clothes. And the more you compress your vocals, the more obvious that will become. If you’re after dry, radio-ready vocals, this easy option is not the solution.
2) The Mattress Fort
If you want to try a solution that will make you relive your fun childhood, try out the Mattress Fort.
This concept is fairly simple. You hem yourself in with mattresses so that you are covered behind, above, and to the sides. The actual design will depend on how many mattresses you possess. If you only have two, place both behind the singer in a V-shape. If you have three, set them behind the singer in a C-shape. Then, if you have four, keep the C-shape and set the extra mattress on top of the others, over the singer’s head.
If you are keen on giving the Mattress Fort option a shot, I recommend using the four-mattress setup.
The wonderful thing about the Mattress Fort is that its extra thick material, which means it will catch more frequencies in the mids and low-mids. This results in a more balanced vocal.
However, this option is not without its downside. The not-so-nice thing about the Mattress Fort is that it’s challenging to store and set up properly. Unless you use small mattresses, carrying them into the room and setting them up takes at least two people. Then, finding the storage space for an extra two to four mattresses is a luxury that most people do not have.
The kind of mattress that you are using also holds weight when talking about the Mattress Fort. It’s important as well to make sure you’re using the right kind of mattresses. A spring mattress won’t do much of anything as it’s just metal wrapped in fabric.
What you have to remember is that the heavier the material, the better. Try to make use of thick mattresses like memory foam. That will soak up a lot more sound. All in all, this booth will set you back anywhere between $50-400, depending on where you buy your mattresses.
3) The Reflection Filter
If you have ever made your way to your local music shop, then you’ve probably seen one of these. They’re basically a half-cylinder that is made of acoustic foam that goes up on your microphone stand, right behind the microphone.
Reflection Filters are very popular. They don’t put a hole in your pocket as you can usually get them for as low as $50; they are easy to store and easy to assemble.
But if I may be blunt: they’re not actually doing much.
The area behind the microphone is referred to as the “null point.” It’s the place where the microphone picks up the least amount of sound. So of all of the places that need to have acoustic treatment around them, the back of the microphone is the least necessary. It doesn’t cover above, behind, or around the singer. That’s where most of your recorded room sound comes from.
That said, it somewhat helps but again, by not much.
I would recommend using one of these along with another vocal booth design. For example, using it with the Mattress Fort would be great. The only part of the Mattress Fort with no protection is behind the mic, which is exactly what the Reflection Filter covers. It’s a match made in soundproof heaven.
Just don’t use one of these by itself. They’ll help a little, but you really won’t get the results that you are after.
Simple Steps to Make a Soundproof Booth
Before we get started, you need to prepare the materials and tools that you need for this project. These are:
- Plywood sheets (The size is contingent on what size of booth you want to construct. Ensure that the sheets are as thick as you can get)
- Sheets of drywall
- Acoustic foam panels
- Wooden frame
- Drill machine
After getting all of these, it’s time to get started on making your very own soundproof booth.
1) Locate an Ideal Spot
As they often say, the first step is often the hardest. And this is by far the toughest one to pull off as you make sure that the place you decide on setting your soundproof booth on is hardly used, if at all. However, you have to also make sure that there is just enough space to move around so that you do not feel constrained and restricted while working.
In most situations, the basement, garage, and attic function as a suitable place to build your soundproof booth. Depending on the space that you have, come up with a plan and the ideal measurements for your booth.
2) Frame The Walls
Oftentimes, doors that are used in homes these days are hollow on the inside. You can assess if the door to your baby’s room is hollow by simply knocking on it. If it’s hard and solid as the front door, then you have a solid door. However, if it feels like dense cardboard, it is most probably hollow on the inside.
For doors like these, getting a sound-absorbing blanket will most likely be the best choice for you. You can get these easily from Amazon and you will be surprised at how much noise they can help lessen.
3) Get Started on the Door
After setting up the wall frames, you must now turn your attention to the door. Ready-made doors are actually much easier to procure. When looking for a door to use, make sure that you be on the lookout for a solid door. Solid doors are much better when it comes to soundproofing albeit more expensive.
However, if you are working with a tight budget, a normal hollow door will do just fine. You can then work on making it soundproof by utilizing a soundproof blanket or a door sweep. It is crucial to make sure that the pins and knobs are screwed on tight to keep them from falling apart.
4) Put in the Soundproofing Material
Now that you have the booth set up, it is time to make it soundproof. This is the most important step of the entire project. Deciding on what soundproofing material to use can be fairly difficult, given that there are just so many choices out there to pick from. However, when it comes to a soundproof booth, I have made it substantially easier for you by narrowing it down to just two choices. These are:
A drywall is a panel made of calcium sulfate dihydrate that is pressed between a facer and a backer. Drywall is very efficient when it comes to soundproofing and can be found in most hardware stores. The material used to make the drywall is soundproof making it common for use in ceilings and interior walls.
If you decide to use the drywall, you will need to attach it to the outer frame as well as the interior of the booth. Make sure that it is well attached with no spaces. You can also use some screws to ensure that it stays in place.
Another option that you can choose when soundproofing your booth is acoustic foam panels. These panels are also made of soundproof materials. Because they were made with recording studios and booths in mind, they can also function just as well when it comes to soundproofing your booth.
Acoustic foam panels come in different sizes and shapes. It can, therefore, be a challenge to decide on what material you should purchase. But just remember that because of this variety, the panels have distinctive capabilities and structures.
Be sure to look for the best acoustic foam panels that you can purchase that does not let you go beyond your allotted budget. If you are especially particular on the looks, then you may find these a better option than the drywall. You can set the panels in a particular pattern to come up with an overall pattern that is appealing.
You can also get to pick from varied colors and designs depending on what you like. Just like the drywall, make sure that the panels are well placed and stay in place.
5) Time to Drill Some Holes
If your purpose for making this soundproof booth is recording, then it is crucial to drill some holes on the frame. Through these holes, you will be able to set up the signal cables and any other cables that you may use.
6) Secure All the Gaps
When it comes to sound transmission, even the tiniest gaps and holes can end up becoming a massive noise issue. Once everything is established, you will have to go through the booth to make sure sure that you are sealing all the gaps and holes. You can do this using the silicone caulk that works really great in soundproofing.
7) Set Up the Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping is a material that works great in soundproofing the door. With all the gaps secured, the door could still let some sound and air in and out of the booth. Weatherstripping lets you get rid of this problem. I personally have used this weatherstripping.
Install the weatherstripping all around the doorframe. You can also use the silicone caulk to seal any other gaps.
Another idea that would work would be to install a door sweep at the bottom of the door. This will help seal the gap between the door and the floor whenever the door is shut. You will also need to make sure that the door still functions well even with all the extra material.
8) Soundproof the Floor
Working on the floors is not a necessity, but it can be a great idea especially if there is another room below the booth. Soundproofing the floor won’t take up too much of your time or your resources.
For this, you can just use drywall between the floor and the carpet. If this is too much, thick plush rugs will work just as well.
Besides keeping sound from downstairs, thick rugs work great at absorbing echoes. They will, therefore, be a fine option if your purpose for the booth is for music and sound recording.
The Bottom Line
Having a soundproof booth of your own will really do wonders for you, whether you are an aspiring recording artist or just someone who needs to have a space to retreat to in order to get work done away from all the noise. The best part is that it really will not take all that much. Just carefully follow the steps and you’ll be working in noise-less bliss in no time!