Voice Over Blog

Home Studio Essentials - Quick Tip 3 - Portable Vocal Booth

For many of us, our recording space is less than ideal. Perhaps you are setup in an extra bedroom, or even a closet (trust me, I’ve seen a few of these). Regardless of where you setup, the truth is you are likely to encounter room reflections in your recording. These problematic reverberations can really muddy up, and lessen the quality of our recordings. While a fully treated room is the best option for reducing room reflections, there are some work-arounds that might suit your needs. Yes, I’m talking about a portable mic booth.

It is possible to build a portable mic booth using materials that you can find at your local hardware store and insulation store. There are a plethora of Youtube videos and tutorials on the Internet to teach you how to safely and effectively build one of these, so I won’t go into much detail regarding how to build one. Rather, I want to encourage you to pursue solutions like this one for your recording problems.

The truth is, on a philosophical level, the very nature of audio engineering is problem solving. Since the dawn of recording, producers have come up with creative solutions to solve issues in their recordings or to inspire creativity. This day, I encourage you to explore your creativity to see what ideas you might have for improving your recordings!

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Home Studio Essentials - Quick Tip 1 - Room Noise Trick

Here’s a quick tip for you to try today. Ever made a bunch of cuts to a vocal take cleaning it up and then thought it sounded odd as the track was silent in the missing audio? Let me help you with that.

The truth is, most recording environments, especially home studios, have some level of noise other than the sound source. This could be a natural reverb or some background noise in your recording environment. When you cut up your takes, the silence sounds odd because your ears were hearing this “noise” even if it was not very prevalent in the mix.

One trick to help your tracks sound consistent is to record a few seconds worth of “silence” in the recording environment on the day you record. Then chop it up and fill in the gaps of your track with the background noise. This way, when the original track drops out, it doesn’t sound like someone turned the mic off!

Another way to do this would be to use a side-chain compression technique known as ducking. Essentially, you would have a loop or track of the “silence” playing on one track and your take on another. Then, you would put a compressor on your silence track but have it respond to the vocal take track. Set the ratio high and the threshold low and watch as every time the audio track goes to silent, the compressor backs off the “silence” track allowing the room noise to come through.

If “ducking” is a bit confusing, we will be discussing side-chain compression in the near future. No need to fret!

Hope this quick tip helps and come back for more soon!

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