A vocal booth helps improve acoustics for a microphone and it can be a complete cabin or a portable booth. A complete cabin is relatively expensive but offers generally a better result then the portable version, although it depends on the situation. Some studios use a cabin and place a portable booth inside, but that is usually for singing.
When should you use a vocal booth?
- if the environmental noise seriously interferes with your recordings
- if the acoustics of the room are bad, a vocal booth can improve audio considerably
- if you want broadcast quality sound, like radio
If you don’t have the space to setup a cabin booth or you don’t want to spend $750 to $1500, a portable booth is a good alternative. They go for about $200. Also, you can take a portable booth with you on location. Or, if you really want to go for cheap, you can create one yourself with good quality foam, preferable from a specialized company.
The portable booth is not ideal when using in combination with a camcorder because it is quite bulky and therefore difficult to keep out of sight unless you don’t mind being filmed from above or aside, which gives a rather unusual effect.
Here is an example of a portable booth offered by editorskeys.com.
The microphone is placed within the semi circle that consist of several layers of sound absorbing material.
In a cabin boot, it is easier to set up a camcorder but the background looks a bit dorky with the foam and so on, therefore you might want to cover the foam with a green screen as a background which you can replace with something more interesting by using any video editor supporting chroma key, like Adobe AfterEffects or one of the smaller applications (type green screen video software in google to get a list).
Now, there are several ways to get a booth. You can buy one, or if you are good with your hands, build one yourself. Building it yourself is a lot cheaper, but it is a bit of work and it won’t have the same quality as the real thing. However, the difference is small, so you might want to watch the video tutorial below on creating a vocal booth by David Cirino, songwriter, producer en sound engineer. David knows his territory and he explains everything in great detail, even what type of nails to use, so for some of you, the video may drag on a bit, but he doesn’t forget a thing and that is so great about his tutorial:
If you want to know more about David, this is his video channel on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/davidthegreat99