The acoustics of audio recording are often a challenge to pin down. It’s easy to end up with vocals that contain an echoing effect or a recording that captures far too much background noise. The space in which you record has a substantial effect on sound quality. For this reason, many podcasters or musicians look into building an audio recording booth to improve their recording and sound quality.
One of the most important and noticeable components for any recording booth is the foam or felt soundproof tiles installed on the walls or ceiling. However, this is only the beginning for building a recording booth. Planning out the space can be a long process, and the budget you choose to operate on can significantly impact the resulting acoustics.
There are some fantastic DIY options out there for making a recording booth at home- we’ve even seen a voice-over booth put together for just 30 bucks. This article will look towards a more full-sized home booth construction strategy that doesn’t break the bank. Here are a few steps for getting started on building a complete audio recording booth with soundproofing panels.
Create a Space
Depending on the size of your house or apartment, it can be tricky to find space for a recording booth. It has become common practice to transform walk-in closets to fit recording needs, but many people either don’t have or cannot sacrifice this type of space.
First, consider the tasks you want to accomplish within the recording booth. What type of space is required to make these tasks happen? For example, if you are recording a podcast, you will need comfortable seating for yourself and perhaps for a guest. If you are recording music, you will likely want to find room for your instruments within the booth’s space. You may also want a small table for your computer or room in the corner for a camera tripod.
By considering first what you need to fit into the booth’s space, you can have a plan in mind for the amount of space your booth will take up at home. Select your space carefully, particularly if you are leaning towards using a closet.
Build the Frame
After selecting your audio booth’s space, begin building a frame for the booth’s structure. When making the booth over a carpeted floor, constructing a base for the booth is largely unnecessary. If you are building a floor, use 2x6s and rubber risers.
For the wall frames, use 2x4s around the edges with a single beam down the middle of each wall. Next, add in wood wall paneling on both sides of the frame, attached with construction adhesive. If desired, or if you are building for a particularly noisy area, you add insulation within the walls. However, this is highly likely to make the booth interior too hot.
The last piece that should go in is the overhead panel. Other building options for the booth frame to consider include cutting in a window or adding in panels for wiring or electrical connections. Take a look at this audio booth build for a detailed look at how to build the booth’s framework.
Carpeting for the booth’s flooring is nearly essential to creating clean acoustics without an echo. The carpeting in question should be as thin as possible to maximize space and prevent heat from building up within the booth. If you are building the booth on an open floor without carpet, consider cutting a rug or folding sheets to cover the bottom. This won’t have the same effect as carpeting but can still have an impact on sound recording quality.
Install Sound Proofing Panels
With the basic structure of the audio recording booth complete, the next step is to add soundproofing panels or tiles. There are several options when it comes to soundproofing materials for the wall and ceiling of your booth. The most popular of these options are typically made of foam, as this is the cheapest material. Foam panels also tend to have the most decorative appeal, but this may not be a factor worth considering for many.
A great alternative material for soundproofing is felt, which is often just as effective as foam paneling. Felt is much thinner than foam, making it easier to manage the heat that can build up within the recording booth. When purchasing felt paneling, make sure you are buying a soundproofing product- many retailers sell felt panels or tiles for decorative purposes only.
Measure your wall space and cut soundproofing panels carefully before installing. Soundproofing panels are most effective in and around the booth’s corners, as this can directly prevent reverberating sound.
Many felt and foam paneling options come with clips or wall adhesives that make installation easy. However, if you plan to install sound panels on the booth’s ceiling, use a stronger adhesive. Note that not every inch of the booth interior requires soundproofing panels.
Choose Your Equipment
A home audio recording booth has a maximized effect when paired with a high-quality microphone. To support this, you will also need a mic stand, XLR connector, and a place to plug in your equipment. Choose comfortable seating options that fit your recording needs, and make sure to leave room for your computer, headphones, and preamp. Take the time to experiment with the sound quality and acoustics before deciding on a final setup.
Conclusion– How to Build an Audio Recording Booth with Sound Proofing Panels
For any recording booth project, you will need soundproofing foam or felt panels, carpeting, and high-quality recording equipment. Building an audio recording booth for your home requires careful planning and construction, no matter your budget or space considerations. However, the end result of this project is often a dramatic improvement in the acoustics and sound quality of your recorded work.