Home Studio Tip – Build Your Own Vocal Booth (On The Cheap)

Hey all, we are back from a much needed end-of-summer break, and with renewed energy we now bring forth a bunch of new content for you! First off: we get this question a lot: “What’s a cheap way to get or build a vocal booth for my studio?”

Great question, as I had struggled with this for my own studio as well! It seems like everyone who owns a home studio wants their own vocal booth. But here’s a roadblock most of them run into:

One usually finds after a quick search that the high-end commercial booths will end up running between $5000-10,000! The problem is that about 99% of studio owners don’t have that type of budget (but if you CAN go that route, all the better). Which leaves us with one alternative…and that’s to build your own. Which brings us to another problem…all research we’ve found on building your own vocal booth works for only about 1% of studio owners, and that’s only because these folks have skills in carpentry, have huge houses and have lots of free time and disposable income to spend on such an endeavour. But the good news for the rest of you 99% is this:

We have 4 very quick (and very simple) solutions for you for building a DIY (that’s ‘do it yourself’) vocal booth for anyone on a tight budget. And while they may not be pretty, you’ll find them to be highly effective. Also note that the example images shown may not necessarily be the most optimal for you but are meant to give you an idea of what’s possible.

And here we go!

SOLUTION 1: Utilizing the closet vocal booth approach

vocalbooth1

When it comes to building or designing a vocal booth, one will quickly find that the biggest hurdle in doing so is creating the outer structure. So if at all possible, try to utilize an existing structure. For example, your home studio may have an adjoining closet or storage space that will work great for you with just a few tweaks.  Make sure to get together as much clothing, towels, pillows, blankets or what have you and use this as acoustic treatment (the thicker the amount, the better). You may need to play with the amount of this treatment to see what works best for you.

If your space has shelving it in awesome, but if not and you’re willing to build shelving in that closet to accommodate, check out this helpful video here from YouTube that shows you how to do just that.

The best practice to go with here is to NOT use carpet. One would think this would be an ideal treatment, but it only ends up absorbing higher frequencies.

 

SOLUTION 2: Utilizing a mattress vocal booth approach

vocalbooth2

For this solution, any one of a number of different setups can be created, but the following are the best approach depending on the number of mattresses you have available:

If you have only 1 mattress available, then place that behind the singer’s head. If you have 2 available, arrange them in a ‘V’ formation behind the singer’s head. If you have 3 available (much like the picture shown except the mic is facing the wrong way) then place in a ‘C’ formation behind the singer’s head.

If you don’t have any extra mattresses available, hit up a thrift shop or Craigslist (make sure it holds up to some sanitation standards though). But note that the best type of mattress you can go with is the memory foam which offers a LOT of absorption; going with a lighter innerspring mattress will not yield as much results due to their hollow nature. So the heavier, the better.

 

SOLUTION 3: Utilizing the curtain vocal booth approach

vocalbooth3

It’s a pretty safe bet you’re not familiar with this technique, because to be honest it’s not often used. But this method works on a different (yet effective) principle: where one may think that thicker and heavier is better, there’s yet another factor according to Auralex University’s Acoustics 101 guide: 

Limp mass is most often better than rigid mass

Think of it how a speeding hockey puck entering a goal has the energy absorbed in the net…it’s the same way with using a curtain to absorb the energy of vocals.

All you need to do to implement this solution is get yourself a circular shower curtain rod (or angled in such a way like the photo above…either way it should be mounted to the ceiling and strong enough to hold a good amount of weight), and then a large enough blanket to hang from the rod and should be as thick and heavy as the curtain rod can support. Best of all, when not in use, you can just retract the curtain and you’re taking up virtually no space with this option.

SOLUTION 4: Going with the mini vocal booth approach

vocalbooth4

So as you can see, these first few approaches are really simple and economical to implement, however it does still take some effort and work to set these up.  Enter the ‘reflection filter’ in which all you have to do is mount it to your mic stand. This is in essence a mini vocal both which wraps around your microphone, is ridiculously affordable and portable enough to take on the road with you! For its sheer effectiveness, ease of use and affordability, this is my recommendation right here. I’ll cover some ideal mini vocal booths to review in a future blog pos

In Summary…

So that’s it in a nutshell! You can use one or more of the above-mentioned solutions (see the featured image for this post for a good example of a mixed solution), and you can set your own DIY vocal booth up for (maximum) about $100-$200. As you can tell, it’s not pretty or super impressive looking, however the important thing is that it gets the job done…and that’s what we’re all going for, right?

Matter of fact, if you want to be one of the first people to be able to get a notification for when the reflection filter model comparison blog posts are up, it’s a SNAP to do…simply sign up on our subscriber list throughout anywhere on our site and you’ll be on the list to be the first informed (plus get exclusive access to contests, music gear deals, exclusive content and MORE)!

 

 

 

 

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Rob Cushing

Rob Cushing, along with being the co-founder of this blog, is a renowned singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who has performed and toured nationally with many famed musical acts. He currently resides in Cape Cod, MA with his wife and son, where he usually can be found holed up in the studio, coaching others on their bands & businesses, or enjoying the beaches.

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