Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Sound proofing is a must for any home studio, you likely already know that. But do you know how many inexpensive sound proofing options are at your disposal? If you are struggling with proofing issues or trying to dampen sound inside a large room or studio space and the money for the professional grade stuff has you contemplating a second mortgage; then this article might give you some valuable ideas.
Sound-proofing is a must but only in and around the area where you actually record. Sound moves in a 360 degree sphere from your mouth. The size of the space you are working in will determine the exact quantity and type of sound proofing you will need. Ideally, a small space is better, because the sound will have less room to travel – a big room means more sound proofing will be needed.
In a traditional VO recording space such as a closet or vocal booth, you need to make sure that you sound proof the floor, walls and possibly even the ceiling. In an unconventional space, such as a large room, or open area, you’ll need to establish a way to section off or isolate your recording space. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.
First, you need to know if you will be standing or seating while recording. Most people prefer to stand because if offers you a greater range of motion and allows you to be more animated during a recording. There are two excellent methods for crafting stand-up recording spaces.
One is to take purchase two bi-fold changing partition commonly found in home decorating stores. With these you can create a free standing (collapsible) booth and use the sound proofing of your choice (see the options below) to the inner facing panels. Make sure the changers you select are tall and come past the top of your head.
Another way to create a dedicated recording space is to affix a bowed or curved shower curtain rod to the corner of a room. Once in place you can use heavy drapes, moving blankets or theater curtains to create an enclosure for recording.
If you plan on being seated, the best way to have the greatest range of motions is to custom create a sit down booth. One may easily be constructed by going to a used office supply store and purchasing 4 cubicle walls of even height. With a little ingenuity you will likely be able to affix a hinge and latch system to one of the four walls, creating a “door” for entry and exit into the 'booth'.
Since cubicle walls are made from a sound proof material you will automatically have some sound dampening. From there each wall can be additionally reinforced with extra proofing of your choosing (keep reading for sound proofing choices.)
Another option for seated recording is to sound proof a small area around the microphone itself. There are a few do-it yourself kits on the market for this type of devise but Harlan Hogan makes a very affordable model called the Porta Booth available at http://www.harlanhogan.com/store.shtml. The only down fall to this method is that you are slightly limited in your movements.
Now it’s time to look at the sound proofing materials available to you. You can purchase the professional grade eggshell, or corrugated Auralex sheets, or any of the products available at www.auralex.com . Their products vary in size, shape, style and price.
For the least expensive options try recycling! Carpet padding, carpet, heavy rugs, old quilts, blankets and pillows all make excellent sound proofing. They may not always look pretty, but recovering or masking these items in inexpensive fabric, is a very affordable weekend project. Likewise try obtaining reclaimed theater curtains.
Stack two or three large acoustic ceiling tiles together with a liquid adhesive. Both can be purchased at your local home improvement mega store. (Be careful when transporting because they are a bit brittle.) These ceiling tiles are used in office buildings to dampen sound between floors. Simple cover them in the fabric of your choice (old bed sheets work great) and use Velcro, or Liquid Nail, to affix them to your walls or the inside of your booth space. Voila – instant (well almost) sound proofing panels. The great thing about the ceiling tiles is that they can be easily cut with a razor knife to any size or shape you need. This is one way to create what are known as sound baffles.
House-hold grade insulation or cubicle padding insulation can make excellent sound proofing too. If you’re using reclaimed cubicle walls, simple use a razor knife to cut the padding and fabric from the external metal frame. Construct a basic wooden frames using 1x2 pieces of wood. Then take either type of insulation and affix them to the frames with heavy duty staples or Liquid Nail. Wrap the entire structure in fabric and staple the fabric to the back of the wood backing. You’ll have something that looks like a piece of sound proofing wall art. Hang it on your walls just like a picture frame. This too is considered a baffle.
Really anything that stops or blocks sound and is soft or porous will help to sound dampen your environment. While none of these ideas fully takes the place of building a professional sound booth, these alternatives might keep your VO career moving forward until such a time as you are able to afford better. Many of these ideas are not the most aesthetically pleasing. I never said it would be cheap and pretty, just cheap. Check out Habitat For Humanity Re-Stores, Good Will and other thrift shops for most of the materials mentioned.
Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Success, Entrepreneur, Marketing Strategies, Income, Home Studio, Recording, Microphone, Professional, Coaching, Voiceover Coaching, VO Coaching, Voiceover Coaches, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina, Soundproofing, Soundproofing alternatives