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Vocal booth?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by roygbiv, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. roygbiv

    roygbiv Member

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    Jun 9, 2005
    Anyone here construct a vocal booth to improve the quality of their vocal recordings?

    I've been messing with LDCs trying to find one I like for my voice and I have found a couple that seem pretty good. The only issue I keep running up against is that everything sounds "bathroom-y" and it doesn't go away when I change LDCs.

    So, I'm beginning to think it's my room that's my problem. I have a finished basement room that's about 25' x 9' with drywall on walls and ceiling. Would using a vocal booth to cut down on reflections be a worthwhile investment in time and money? Or maybe just soundproof this room better?
     
  2. Grun

    Grun Member

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    I'm not sure, but I think vocal booths are used mainly for isolation. Folks outside the booth can't hear you, and no outside/ambient noise leaks in.
    If you are interested in improving your 'live' recording sound, I would recommend you look at some of the various sound treatment options that are available from companies like Aurelex (sp?) and many others.

    With a reasonalbly level playing field from the persepective of equipment, room treatment (sound absorbers, bass traps, etc.) are what separate the men from the boys so to speak.

    For what a decent vocal booth will cost you, you could probably do at least a semi-decent job on your room. Much more versatile and more value added, IMO.

    Unless of course, isolation is your desire. Then get a booth.
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Sounds like you have the typical untreated room problems: room modes, errant reflections, phase cancellations, etc.

    I use a combination of bass traps by ASC called Tube Traps, to which I added Auralex on the walls/ceiling. My vocal booth is isolated.

    Auralex makes a bunch of products to deaden the reflections.

    You will, however, have to add reverb.
     
  4. EVT

    EVT Member

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    Location:
    New York
    It would help if you would close mic if possible, so it wouldn't pick up the sound of the untreated room as much.
    I recently purchased a soundproofing blanket that I hang up on mic stands when recording vocals. They have it here for 20 bucks. Works well.
    http://www.markertek.com/SearchProduct.asp?off=0&sort=prod

    Also, what mic's are you using?
    I like the CAD m179 because it has variable patterns and you could set it to pick up more from direct instead of all around it.

    Also, I find that the expander on my safesound p1 is so helpful for cutting out background noise when I'm recording my vocals.

    evt
     
  5. roygbiv

    roygbiv Member

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    Thanks for all of the suggestions. The soundproofing blankets look like a good temporary fix to the problem, but i think I'll probably end up fixing the room problems in the end anyway, so i guess i might as well start now. It'll probably help my monitoring situation, too. Definitely not as sexy as a new piece of gear, though...

    i've been trying out all kinds of mics. MXL, SP, AT, etc. All the usual suspects. My buddy has a CAD 179 that he's going to let me try out. I have been looking forward to trying it for a long time. Hopefully, i'll get a shot at it soon.
     
  6. EVT

    EVT Member

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    I think you'll like the m179, it's a really great mic.
    That's cool if you could fix your room. I'm in an apt. to I can't really do that much, so hanging blankets work out well for me.
    I also have attached a 2 big pieces of auralex onto a cardboard with the spray glue they have and I placed it behind my monitors, and also on the wall that that I face when recording vocals.

    evt
     
  7. krash

    krash Member

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    a "booth" is only likely to make the problems worse. In general, the larger the room, the easier it is to deal with on a recording. The small room puts the mic closer to the room boundary (in relationship to how far it is to the source), so therefore you will have a higher proportion of room sound vs. direct sound. This can be cool if you're really looking to get that small-room in your face kind of sound but it's really not for everything. We have a decent size booth in our studio (big enough for a whole drum kit) with excellent treatment, and we pretty much use it mostly for guitar cabs and isolation for things like acoustic guitar, scratch tracks, etc. We always record the "real" vocal takes in the big room.
     
  8. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    krash speaks the truth... though the upper level of Grand Central Station might not be an improvement.

    When I started tracking vocals I used a walk-in coat closet loaded with coats and crap floor to ceiling to absorb sound, which it did. It was about as dead as you can get. But it sounded like a dead coat closet. Nothing I did afterwards, no EQ or effects, could do a thing to remove that acoustic vibe. Not to mention the problems every vocalist had, putting any sort of emotion into their singing while cooped up in there (it had a light, but it was little help).

    Since you're tracking your own voice and you want to stay in that room, try decorating the walls with cloth hangings, rugs, add some bookshelves with books, maybe some bass traps in the corners. See if you can isolate the problem areas and treat them without making the room utterly dead and lifeless. Then stand in different areas and sing, make noises, whoop and holler from low to high, see if you can narrow it down to one place on the floor where you sound best standing there. THAT's your vocal "booth." Mark it with tape. Then play around with the mic position and polar patterns (if your mic does that) to capture it best.
     
  9. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

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    a low budget solution you might want to try is to buy those sound blankets from ebay and hang up four of them. i've had good luck with this technique recording vox at home. you can experiment with how big a "room" you make with these blankets (and they don't kill all ambience like a real booth). you may want some auralex too for the ceiling.

    treating your room for reflections is also a good idea but it can be tricky.
     
  10. roygbiv

    roygbiv Member

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    Thanks all for the suggestions. I appreciate the input.
     

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