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How To - DIY Vocal Booth VS Reflection Filter - Part 1

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DIY Vocal Booth VS Reflection Filter (a comparison)



So you’re sitting in your home studio, mixing some demos when somebody is ringing the door bell.
You’re expecting the UPS man to finally deliver another long awaited pair of XML cables and jump to the door…just to find out your best friend and aspiring rap artist Joey has come over to your house, to report to you his latest discovery regarding audio gear:

“Yo bro I got news.  Yo I just watched the latest episode of cribs and…man…50 Cent was spitting on a beat yo…but he didn’t do it in like his kitchen…instead he went in that crazy isolated thingy and it was totally awsome bro. No wonder he went platinum man. Yo we need to build something like that. If we had a thing like that…we would like…be at the Grammys by now”.

So now you find yourself in front of your computer typing random things into Google like “crazy isolation thing for rap vocals”.

Seconds later you find out that what your friend has been all excited about is in fact called a “vocal booth”.
By the time you reach page 2 on Google you discover, that there are actually all kind of DIY recording booth blueprints all over the net. Then some guy in a video is telling you that you only need ‘a tiny bit of wooden plates, some screws and some foam’.

As the vision of platinum plaques hanging on your living room walls evolves, your inner voice is telling you something along the lines of

But is that really the case?

Let us find some answers to these 5 questions first:

1) What happens if you record vocals in a regular room without a vocal booth?

2) What exactly is a vocal booth?

3) Why have vocal booths been invented?

4) Can a self-made booth possibly make your recordings even worse?

5) Are there any alternatives to improve your vocal recordings?


1) What happens if you record vocals in a regular room without a vocal booth? tl_files/images/content/booth-filter-01.jpg

If you place a microphone in a regular or as audio engineers call it ‘untreated’ room, you probably won’t get the best results trying to record vocals. Why is that? Well every acoustic sound consists of single acoustic waves. A human voice makes no difference here. The thing with acoustic waves is, they tend to reflect from certain surfaces. So recording in an untreated room means having thousands of different acoustic waves flying all over the place, reflecting from the walls, the ceiling, the floor and everything else. These waves are also called ‘diffused reflections’.

The front side of the microphone might catch the performer’s actual vocals but the back side will catch every other single acoustic reflection of them. The signal you will record in such a scenario is what is commonly referred to as a ‘wet signal’.


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