Here we are with another response to a Facebook post. This time from the Indie (ACX And Others) Audiobook Narrators and Producers Group. Someone said they were working out of their double walled vocal booth and was still hearing sounds from neighbors. Particularly washing machines and loud footsteps. “Do I need to adjust my expectations?”
Unfortunately the short answer is yes. Can you build a totally soundproof room that will keep out washing machines, loud trucks, even planes and helicopters? Sure you can. In order to do so, however, you need HEAVY, HEAVY materials like concrete, steel, an in some cases, lead.
I’ve struggled with this for years, as you may have heard on my voice over podcast The VO Meter, www.vometer.com. I have now been through 5 pre-fab booths by the big manufactures in the voice industry. Five, if you count my simple blanket booth. In EVERY case, there were still sounds bleeding through that I couldn’t control. Finally, after trying the different booths in different locations, I settled on a Studiobricks One booth. It is a double walled booth that will keep out 90% of the sound in my house. Kids yelling, check, dog barking, check. Lawnmower in the neighbors yard, check. Traffic from the 8 lane highway in my backyard…mostly check.
Here’s the thing. Sounds STILL creep in. When an 18 wheeler downshifts too quickly on the road behind me, or a trash truck bounces too hard on the speed hump in front of my house, I AND my microphone will hear it. I have found in those cases, I just need to take break, or do a re-take and all will be well.
The good news is, producers and directors know this! Especially after 2020 when the entire world was at home, people are pretty accepting when it comes to the occasional noise interruption. After all, those ALWAYS happened, even during in person sessions. Do you think a recording session was never interrupted by a cough, a chair bump or even a fart from inside the booth? Sure it was. That’s why your dog barking 1 time at the mailman outside your booth is also going to be okay.
So yes, adjust your expectations about what a home recording booth can do, and RELAX!