Portable Mini Vocal Booth
Written by Durk Kooistra on Saturday the 15th of August, 2009
In this tutorial we will make a DIY
portable mini vocal booth
that can be used to record your voice on the road (on a flash disc
recorder). But there's more that can be done with this easy to make
You can cancel background noise when doing Foley recordings in your
project or home studio, or have a portable mini deadroom, ideal for
specialized field recording.
The DIY Portable Mini Vocal Booth is ideal for podcasters, DIY
filmakers and sound designers alike. My personal motivation to build
this, was a desire to have a mobile mini deadroom to make foley
recordings and recordings for my music.
Why a mini dead
While a recording session
with live played instruments
might involve one or multiple 'room' mic's to enhence the sound, some
recordings need to be
as small and 'dead' as possible.
In Short: If you dont have a treated room
quality gets comprimised by the reflections of soundwaves on
surfaces in your room. A deadroom or treated room, ensure a
recording with as little 'room' or 'echo' as possible. Once
have the perfect recording you can treat the audio with any reverb,
effect processor or VST you come up with. Its better to add things
later than not being able to remove things later.
A common practise in sound design is applying an Impulse respondse (IR)
Reverb to a recording. A IR reverb uses the actual reverb of a room.
like the name suggests, an impulse, like a loud clap or a starters
pistol, triggers a decay. The charactaristics of a
be applied to any sound source this way. The less room in a recording
the better the results will be when you use a IR reverb. There are IR
kits featuring crazy rooms like a pharao's tombe chamber in a pyramid,
but you can also choose what seat you'd like to have in carnegie hall.
Things you'll need:
- Sharp boxcutter knife.
- Sound Isolation Foam
(1 M², dependig on the size of you box)
- 2 durable Cardboard boxes (In
this tutorial I use an old box from my notebook and a generic one)
- Bolts (12 bolts) and or a
(indsutrial) stapler. (20 staples)
- Mic stand
- Bag with handle (or just the
It cost me about 10 euros. I
bought the foam at a hardware store. Be sure to get foam made for sound
I use one cardboard box that is long and slim (so not square). I chose
for this shape because it leaves me some arm space, hence it
set up in a V position. (When
placed in a V shape, in a
upright position, the cardboard box is stable leaving
enough room for my hands to move objects i want to record)
Its also makes it nice and slim, great when your traveling or doing
field recordings. The other box is only used for the top/roof.
I used a handle from another box, nice sturdy plastic one.
can use any plastic handle thats sturdy enough. Want to know what type
of microphone to use? see the wiki page.
Step by step:
Cut one of the short sides of the cardboard , leaving you with 2 long
sides and a short side in the middle. (when you use a square box you
can make as many folds as you like, be sure to cut the foam
accordingly, see follwing steps how to)
put the box flat on the ground. Put the foam on top of it and check
if everything is covered. (I had 1 M²,
which was plenty for my 2x 40x40 cm and 15x40 box)
Start by marking the foam
where the folds of the cardboard
are using the marker.
Now measure the short side of the cardboard and the thickness of the
foam (in my case 2 cm). Make sure you leave twice the thickness (in my
case 4 cm) of the foam as spare space so the longer sides of the
cardboard have space to move around. (see picture)
Draw lines with the marker
to guide you before cutting
We now have 3 pieces of foam. Two even arms and one short
part. Staple and/or attach the foam with bolts. Do not attach the foam
to the middle part just yet.
Time to put a roof on there.
fiddle around until you
have a nice position of the arms. Cut the second cardboard
box to a size so you
can lay it on top of the upright mini vocal booth. Use a marker to mark
the position of the arms of the booth and use it as guidelines to cut
Just like before, remind to
leave (in my case 4 cm) enough space. This time so that the cardboard
leans on the V construction
Now place the handle on the middle of the middle part of the cardboard
box. Depending on your handle you should try to make the 2
the handle to entry the cardboard box and attach them on the inside.
Otherwise make it as sturdy as possible.
Time to place the last piece of foam in the middle and attach it. As a
finnishing touch I've put a strap on it so you can close it for
Different applications call for different mic set ups. Please read the Mic Wiki
I attached a Mic holder to the cardboard: