So, it turns out, that after doing some pretty thorough research (see last week’s article), I do in fact indeed need a Vocal Isolation Booth. And, with all of the choices on the market, it seems like a good idea to document the process.
Question #1: Do I want to permanently transform part of my home into a booth?
Not really. The kids are nearly grown. We might shift things around when they go to college. We might even move, who knows? So, personally, I’d prefer a booth that I could move around if needed.
If you answered yes to this question, you should consider calling a local contractor. You could even share Paul D. Ford’s plans as a starting point.
Question #2: Do I want to build it myself (or assist with building it)?
Again, my answer is no. Usually, I like learning about things. But, in this case, I want a truly professional job, and I am willing to pay for it.
If you answered yes to this question, you still should consider calling a local contractor. You could even share the DawBox plans as a starting point for your modular booth.
Yes. Meet Hestia, she is our pellet stove. She heats our home all winter (October through April here in New England). She has a fan and an auger that loads the pellets from the hopper. This is what she sounds like…
Using Audacity to monitor the ambient noise in the space, I figured out that Hestia creates a relatively constant sound registering around -43 dB. I would like to get that down near/below -60 dB before any post-production.
This eliminated booths like the ClearSonic IsoPacs from consideration, since research for my previous article showed that they handle about 16 dB of noise reduction. I might be able to get an extra 4 dB with carpeting and other treatments, but I would rather get better performance from the booth itself. This is disappointing really. The ClearSonic booths are simple, light, and not as claustrophobic as some of the other options.
Question #4: Do I have any special spacial circumstances to consider?
Yes. The best place in my home to record is in our basement. But — here’s the issue — the basement is 82″ (6’10″/208cm) in height. So, not only does the finished booth need to fit in that space, but it needs to be able to be assembled without needing more room from above.
This eliminated WhisperRooms from the list. All WhisperRooms are 6’11” for single wall and 7’1″ for double wall construction. No customizations are available.
GretchKen offered to shorten the booth free of charge. They told me that the finished booth would be 5’10” tall internally.
VocalBooth.com said that they could customize the height as well, but that it would require custom built wall panels and a special door frame. They did not provide a price for the customization in their email. They also let me know that their internal height would be 78″ (6’4″), 6 inches taller than the GretchKen solution.
StudioBricks said that because of their modular design, they could provide a custom D Level that would allow the booth to be assembled either with an internal height of 188cm or 213cm. The customization would cost $200.
I also contacted some lesser known builders like Custom Vocal Booths and Scott’s VO Booths. Any of them could handle building a custom height. Custom Vocal Booths offered that as a free customization. Custom Vocal Booths tailors the project to your budget.
When Scott saw where I lived, he let me know that being based in Los Angeles, he can only serve a radius from San Francisco to Phoenix. So, no matter how pretty his booths are, I just could not consider getting one.
Question #4a: Could there be other kinds of spacial issues?
Sure. I used to live in a New England home built in 1880 with very narrow, winding stairways. And, before that, I lived in Brooklyn, NY apartments with lots of stairs, no elevators, and narrow doorways. So, making sure that the pieces of the booth are small enough to be carried into a space individually could be an important consideration.
Questions #5: Anything else that should be considered?
Maybe. Do things like Off-gassing in the booth matter to you? How about Carbon Footprint? Or supporting local businesses? Or aesthetics? As you can see, most of the other questions that I could come up with moved from the realm of fact into opinion and personal preference. If you have other quantifiable questions that I missed, please let me know, and I will gladly add them to this article.
Otherwise, tune in again next time, for Part 3, to find out which booth I finally decided to buy, and why.
A Cup of CoffeeA ridiculous amount of caffeine was consumed while researching all of this stuff.
Add some fuel if you would like to help keep me going!
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