These days, it seems like every home studio owner wants his own vocal booth. But do a quick search for them, and you discover that most commercial models cost between $5,000-$10,000. If you can afford those, great! But if you CAN’T, the only alternative is to build your own vocal booth inside your home, on a shoestring budget.
The problem is…almost all the online info regarding this topic is aimed at the 1% of studio owners who:
- Know carpentry
- Own big houses
- Have tons of disposable income
- Have weeks of free time
So instead, for the other 99% of us average guys let’s see…
How To Build A DIY Vocal Booth: 4 Quick & Easy Methods
Method #1: The “Closet” Vocal Booth
When designing a vocal booth…
The most difficult and expensive part of the job is building the outer structure. So it makes sense then, to start with a pre-existing structure if possible. Fortunately, many home studios have adjacent closets or storage rooms that can work with just a few modifications.
Start by gathering any extra pillows, blankets, and clothes from your house, to use as free acoustic treatment. Ideally, the room you choose should have lots of shelves for stacking…but if it doesn’t, you can easily build some by following this video.
As a general rule of thumb, thicker absorption is better. Avoid using carpet, as it only absorbs higher frequencies. To find a good sound, simply experiment with more or less absorption, until you like what you hear.
Method #2: The “Mattress” Vocal Booth
At some point or another, we all try building the mattress vocal booth and while most don’t turn out as awesome as the one in the picture…they really don’t need to be. Because depending on how many mattresses you have…
Any of the following simple configurations can work perfectly:
- If you have 1 – position it behind the singer’s head.
- If you have 2 – arrange them in a “V” behind the singer’s head
- If you have 3 – arrange them in a “C” behind the singer’s head.
If you need extra mattresses, I suggest trying either Craigslist, or your local thrift store. When you’re shopping though, remember that for this purpose, some mattresses work far batter than others…
- The WORST kind to use is the hollow “innerspring” mattresses which offer minimal absorption.
- The BEST kind to use is the dense “memory foam” mattresses which offer tons of absorption.
But as a general rule of thumb: the heavier…the better.
Method #3: The “Curtain” Vocal Booth
Chances are you’ve never heard of it before… Because the curtain vocal booth works on an acoustic principle that few studios ever explore.
Normally with absorption, people say that:
- Thick is better than thin.
- More mass is better than less mass.
But a 3rd factor that also makes a huge difference is rigidity. According to Auralex University’s Acoustics 101 Guide:
“Limp mass is most often better than rigid mass.”
And it makes sense when you think about it. In the same way that energy from a soccer ball is absorbed by the net…the sound waves of the singer’s voice get absorbed by the curtain.
To build one, all you need is the following 2 items:
- A circular curtain rod – which mounts to the ceiling, and should be strong enough to hold lots of weight.
- A large blanket – which hangs in place of the shower curtain, and should be as heavy as the rod can support.
A great part about this design is when you aren’t using it, just retract the curtain and it takes up virtually no space in the room.
And now for the last option…
Method #4: The “Mini” Vocal Booth
While the last 3 methods I’ve shown you are SUPER simple compared to most methods. They still require more work than some folks prefer to do.
So here’s the one final solution that requires ZERO work on your part: Known as a reflection filter, this device is essentially a “mini vocal booth” that mounts to your mic stand, and wraps around the microphone.
Not only does it look cool…
- It’s surprisingly affordable…
- And it’s small enough to take with you on the road.
Which is why for many studio owners, it may be the best solution of all. To see which ones I recommend, check out this article: The 6 Best Reflections Filters for Recording Vocals.
Well there you go guys. Using any one (or a combination) of the methods I just described…you can build a simple DIY vocal booth for no more than $100-$200. It may not be quite as impressive as what you’d find in a pro studio, but it gets the job done, and that’s what’s important.
Also read: How To Record Vocals (8 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid).
Article by E-HomeRecordingStudio, Written for ProducerSpot.com
E-Home Recording Studio – A blog helping everyday musicians build affordable home studios.