Should I build a vocal booth?

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Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by 53mph » Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:59 pm

I've just bought my first flat and due to laws in Italy about reselling and paying huge taxes, I've got to stay in it for at least 5 years. I spent my entire summer gutting the flat and rebuilding it. So, after more than 2 months away from my recording equipement I set up my vocal mic in the bedroom yesterday and laid down some pretty loud vocals on some new songs. The accoustics in the house aren't great but I found a nice nook in the bedroom between the wardrobe and the mirror that gave a nice lively sound (and also let me look at myself in the mirror whilst I sang)...after about an hour I got the distinct feeling that my only ajoining neighbour, beneath us, was banging on the ceiling (either in appreciation of my fine gospel style voice or just to keep time). The sound carries very easily through these old 50's Italian apartments and my main concern is that I don't have enough room to build something in the flat to isolate the sound.....however. I have a basement room that I've considered building a vocal/guitar booth into but my question is this.I'm very much an amateur musician. The more the years pass by I realise that I'm not going to be the next Elliot Smith (especially since I live in Italy) and my music making is becoming more for pleasure than profit. So, would it be cheaper over time to rent a studio to record vocals in rather than build a vocal booth in my house?I've been researching on building a studio and it's something I could quite easily do over time (as I've already rebuilt half my house) but it would take time away from making music and also it would cost a fair amount in materials.Any thoughts?

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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by neuphoria » Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:43 am

yes, build a vocal booth-- i think sound on sound, future music, computer music or one of those magazines even has printed instructions how to do. (you can also buy portable vocal booths... google 'vocal booths for sale'... not too expensive). studio time, even very very cheap, will still equal the cost of your own booth construction after doing only a handful of songs. maybe look to see if anyone has a 'used' one-- check out your local music instrument stores.

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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by nickbatzdorf » Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:27 am

Just bear in mind that acoustics and isolation are two very different things. You pretty much have to build a room within a room to prevent your voice from leaking through the walls and floor to the next flat.

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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by 53mph » Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:22 pm

Thanks for the advice newph and Nick.I've seen those vocal booths in Recording Magazine. Do they stop the sound from travelling out as well as in?If I built a room around one of those would it do the tick?I was going to build a room within a room with a floating floor and suspended ceiling. I actually found a feature on the Home Improvement channel's web site showing how to convert a room into a soundproof theatre using similar methods. I just need to save some pennies to do the job. Any-one need a translator from Italian to English? If so I'm you're man!

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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by gitarrero » Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:44 pm

..I didn't read all postings here, I just want to let you know my experience with vocal booths.I had a vocal booth and to make it short: the problem was that the sound was too dry. You may argue that reverb can come out of the boxes in the studio, but I do not mean "room-sound" that can be heared.I mean the early reflections, they're often missed with homemade-booths, and therefore it sounds thin.As I realised that I went back to recording in the same room where I mix;) This means your computer van etc have to be quiet, but that is quite common with todays computer.Believe me, it sounds *a lot* better if you record in a good sounding room instead of a small and *dead* vocal booth.
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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by edteja » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:33 am

Hey Gitarro, Thanks for saring that. Do you know why your boot had such a dry sound? Wouldn't it have been possible to liven it a bit, or was this a function of its size?
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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by ernstinen » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:19 am

I built a "room within a room" vocal booth, and it's served me and my clients well. It's pretty dry, but that's the way I like to record vocals. The reflective surfaces are a solid core wood door, and the double-paned glass that looks out into the control room. So when I multi-mic a guitar cabinet, for instance, I experiment with putting an additional mic pointing at the door for some ambience, being careful not to get a "flangey" or "out-of phase" sound. That can really open up the stereo field!IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME! Ern

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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by neuphoria » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:16 am

many (most) software programs have quite sophisticated room reverb modeling where you can recreate 1000s of rooms, from a 'bathroom' to the whiskey a gogo to Albert's Hall to the sistine chapel, very accurately (cuz they used lasers actually at the location), so 'dryness' shouldn't be a problem. in fact i'd highly recommend, as do most manuals, mags, how tos, etc, getting as dry as possible.and also, i would think a vocal booth works both ways, sound in/sound out.

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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by 53mph » Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:15 pm

Thanks y'all. I think I'm going to try and construct a vocal booth in my basement. I'm thinking of substituting some of the materials for less expensive ones, such as standard insulating foam instead of specialised soundproof insulation.Also, what would you recommend for the surface of the walls?I was thinking, on the external wall plasterboard then a gap inbetween using isolation clips and insulating foam and the inside walls made of 2 x 4 or chipboard with some diffusers.What have other people got?I'm a bit confused about what Ed said though? Posted by Traveling Ed Teja on Yesterday at 9:33am Hey Gitarro, Thanks for saring that. Do you know why your boot had such a dry sound? Wouldn't it have been possible to liven it a bit, or was this a function of its size? There we were talking about vocal booths and then Ed steps in with some shoeware chit-chat. Either that or he was typing the message with his nose whilst tied to a chair.Which is it Ed?

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Re: Should I build a vocal booth?

Post by edteja » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:13 am

Cause I put a boot in it Mostly my feet are dry, but I wondered (although didn't type) why the booth Gitarro made was so dry. Maybe he lives in a desert?
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