A Temporary Sound Booth Setup

sound-booth_frameI mentioned during my Mac Minute in Julie’s podcast interview with Jack de Golia that I recently put together a temporary sound booth that can be easily moved from location to location. (We sold our house, and are doing a series of house-sitting gigs while we look for a new home.

The setup is pretty simple. As a frame I’m using a set of “light panels” that were designed for holding fabric scrims for photography. These are nothing more than shock-corded pvc pipes arranged in 4×8 foot panels. You can do the same thing with pvc pipe and corner connectors from your local hardware store. If you don’t glue all of the pipe sections into the connectors, you can still disassemble the frames for easy storage.

Across the top of the structure I’ve got two 3×3 foot frames, again from the light panel collection. Note that with two of the light panels I got supporting legs, which you see at the bottom of the image. If you use stiffer pvc pipe, maybe 3/4-inch size, you probably won’t need the extra bracing support.

 

clamp-detail

For additional rigidity I used velcro wraps and pipe clamps to hold the three vertical frames together. I also have velcro wraps holding the two 3×3-foot frames across the top of the structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sound-booth_inner-layerThe sound absorption is handled by two layers of moving blankets. I’ve got three heavy quilted moving blankets (green/blue in the photos) and four lighter blankets from Harbor Freight. The blankets are held onto the frame using the large clamps shown in the image above. I hung the heavier moving blankets inside the frame, and the lighter (black) blankets outside the frame. This gives a little airspace between the two blanket layers to further absorb and “deaden” the sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

sound-booth_finalThe booth looks a little funky, but the “boomy” sound from the room I’ve used it in so far is nicely reduced. I didn’t rig any light arrangement, so I’ve been using the booth with one of the top layers hung slightly over the front. But I don’t have a blanket extending all the way to the floor as a “door.” The computer equipment is on the table next to the booth. I have to start a file recording and then walk into the booth, but that hasn’t been much of a hassle (except when I recorded a five-minute audiobook audition and realized I’d forgotten to push “Record”).

 

 

 

 

sound-booth_equipmentWith the booth completed, I used a heavy-duty photographic tripod to mount a Harlan Hogan Porta-Pro Plus box for my “stand-up mic” (a shotgun), and brought the “sit-down” mic arm in through a gap in the blankets. A book stand holds copy or the iPad I’ve been using for scripts, and a music stool completes the setup.

If you’ve been wanting a booth, but aren’t ready to build something permanent, but your spouse would like to have you and your equipment out of the walk-in closet, consider building your own temporary booth. Since I had the frames on hand, I haven’t priced doing something like this at the hardware store. But I’m going to guess that you could put something similar together for around $100, including the pipe, connectors, and moving blankets.

 

 

Gary MacFaddden

About Gary MacFadden

Gary MacFadden is a voiceover professional specializing in audiobooks, eLearning, and narration. He became the editor of the print and online versions of the VoiceOver Insider in 2011, putting his journalism and business management experience to good use. For 25 years he was the spokesperson and Executive Director for the Adventure Cycling Association, America's largest recreational cycling organization with more than 40,000 members. When he's not in the vocal booth, Gary enjoys piloting his classic Cessna Skylark around the northwestern states.

Comments

  1. Hernán Soto says:

    Sir,
    Thanks for this article. Can you provide measurements of the booth and the plans if available? Thanks!!

    • Hernan, there aren’t really any plans. The panels are constructed of 1/2″ PVC; if I was doing it again, I would use 3/4″ for more rigidity. Each panel is 4 ft wide and 8 feet high. Moving blankets are available from places like U-Haul and Harbor Freight. I’m in the process of building a new booth structure (again, for modeling the sound, not for trying to be a sound-proof environment) using several hollow-core doors and audio foam or audio panels. I’ll post a picture on the site when it’s completed.

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