17 Jan Setting up a home recording studio booth
So, you’re serious about getting into the voice-over game and you want to take it to the next level by building home recording studio?
Magic Studios has been in the recording studio space for over 20 years.
Initially, we started voice-over recording for the first two years in a single small home-built studio.
This was in a tin roof garage complete with roller doors. Whilst we took the time to isolate the recording space with acoustic treatment, I still remember days where we had heavy rain or hail, we would need to stop recording till the storm had passed. You also couldn’t record with the air-conditioning running, so on a 40-degree Perth summer day, you would literally voice up a sweat.
Since then and over $60,000 later we have three purpose-built recording studios in West Perth with double isolated walls and high-quality audio gear and some of the best acoustic treatment money can buy. We now have a better than the industry standard -60db noise floor.
In this article, we explore some of the basic ways you can set up a home recording studio booth.
We have over 30 professional voice overs and many have also built their own recording studios. This allows them to turn around audio productions fast!
So, let’s make it interesting and start with what some voiceovers do when they are on holiday and away from their professional recording studio.
Here are some basic rules that apply to all voice over recordings:
- Wait till the flatmates or family are out.
There is no point jumping into a 15000-word technical e-learning script if little Johnny pops in every second wanting to play.
- Record late at night or very early morning.
Cars, traffic, kids, dogs, planes, trains will be at a far lower level at these times.
- Turn everything off.
Mobile phone (landline?) air conditioning, stereo, pool pumps, etc. basically anything that can contribute to background noise where possible.
- The Pillow Method
Build a pillow fortress! Remember when you were a child? Gather every pillow, cushion, and blanket you have and build a small enclosed space and crawl in with your mic. It’s amazing how much echo and background noise this eliminates. Press record.
If you are at home and have a small space and some basic handyman skills then here are a couple of alternate low-cost studio setup options.
- The Walk-in Robe Method
a. Walk-in robes can also work great. Leave coats and clothes in place as these help with sound absorption.
b. Add in mic and paper/laptop stand
c. Face the back wall of the cupboard and press record.
- The Narnia Wardrobe Method
a. Purchase a large wardrobe preferably 2m tall x at least 1.5 m wide with swing open doors. The deeper the better.
b.Rip out all the internals and brace up the frame if needed.
c. Don’t forget holes for cable management. A wall-mounted power board with switches and surge protection is a great idea to protect expensive mics.
d. Lighting- install down lighting in the ceiling of the cupboard. Ikea do a great dimmable 12-volt version called the MITTLED LED spotlight for just $20.
e. Acoustic lining- liquid nail or spray adhesive to all internal surfaces including the roof and the insides of the doors.
(More information on this is below)
f. Mount a very solid shelf for your mic and laptop.
g. Purchase and add a quality mic stand.
h. Face the back wall of the wardrobe and press record.
- The room within a room method
If you are a serious voice-over professional and need to record regularly at any time without distractions or background noise then this option may be for you.
Find a small bedroom or isolated corner away from main living areas and remove contents.
Framework and cladding
Build a full stud work frame for all walls and the ceiling. You will need to leave a 5-10 cm gap between the new stud wall and any existing home structure. This creates an acoustic void to trap sound.
Start by sealing the outside of the audio booth stud frame wall with 10-12 mm mdf wood or gyprock paneling. Then fill the walls with high-density sound shield insulation bats or similar. This is often used in home theater builds. Finish by cladding the inside of the audio booth stud frame wall with 10-12 mm mdf wood or gyprock paneling.
Next apply high density acoustic paneling to all internal surfaces including the roof using Liquid nails or adhesive spray. We use and strongly recommend Auralex acoustic foam over cheap inferior quality versions available online. There are no shortcuts to a quality sound.
Try and use as many different shapes as possible.
Note: The closer the teeth on the panels the higher the frequencies that are trapped and the further away the teeth are away more bass is trapped. Bass traps are best in the in corners.
Consider adding a wooden quadratic diffuser this will boost the 1000 Hz range and add a touch of warmth back to the room and your overall voice over tone.
Here is a great article on how to position acoustic treatment. https://auralex.com/home-studio/
You can also build a floating floor and add down a thick carpet underlay for the floor and top with a thick soft feel carpet.
Power and Cooling
Remember that you will need to allow for an entry point for power cabling and air conditioning/ventilation. This can be turned on and off as needed between recordings to keep the room cool.
Finish by purchasing a solid core entry door. Fire doors work very well. The original room door can be reversed hinged to open outwards and the new solid door will open inwards.
As you can see there are many ways to set up a home recording studio depending on your budget or location. We hope this article helped you on your recording studio journey with some of the basics. If magic studios can assist with any additional voice-over or video work, please email us at email@example.com We have a huge range of professional talent and can also offer professional voice-over training to further develop your skills. Should you like a tour of our recording studio contact us.
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