I skipped German class today.
I KNOW, I KNOW you don’t have to tell me that’s not what good kids do, but that’s what happened. Instead though, I took a very necessary trip to Ikea for this guy: a cloth drawer.
That probably sounds insane, coupled with the fact that I spent 30-minutes looking at seat cushions and metal hangers to go with my cloth drawer, but it was all worth it. Today, I built myself a portable recording booth. Not only was this easy and inexpensive, but this has improved the quality of my voice over recordings enough for me to be somewhat in the middle-weight leagues of voice over work. The foam from the seat cushions has dampened the sound around my microphone, and the wire hanger I used to attach to the pop filter which I also made from scratch using an embroidery hoop and some nylons.
I’m not the type of person to build things, and I usually avoid it at all costs, but there’s something intensely satisfying about the fact that I saved hundreds of dollars by taking a few hours of my day. It’s not ideal, and it’s not forever, but I’m really happy with the results. So happy, that I’m going to impart my secrets to you:
- Embroidery hoop (any material)
- Metal hanger
To make the pop filter, the main thing you need to focus on is getting the right size embroidery hoop. For me, this actually took way longer than it should have, because in Germany you can’t just stop by a Target/Walmart/[insert major chain supermarket here]. This required me to go to about 5 different discount shops to find what I needed, and then it was still €6. Still worth it though since most pop filters would have run me €20 normally. Plus, I have the added benefit that if the screen ever needs replacing, I just need to sacrifice a pair of nylons.
PORTABLE RECORDING BOOTH
- Cloth drawer/Box
- Foam material
- Scissors/Sharp knife
Unlike the pop filter, the recording booth you actually can do in a variety of ways. I used a cloth drawer from Ikea, because it was cheap, and I like the idea of having the cloth material as an added dampener for sound. Some people use plastic or cardboard boxes, but I didn’t have thick enough foam to make up for the possible echoing creating from the plastic.
The form material was definitely the hardest to find. In the States, I would have dropped by a big super market and grab some eggcrate mattress toppers for a few bucks. Here bedding is expensive, I’m never really sure where to go to buy it, and they like to use natural materials because Germany is so eco-conscious. Good job guys, but that makes my search for weird-ass materials really difficult, so give me a break. That’s why I resorted to seat cushions, which I ripped the cover off with a knife and literally just stuck it inside the Ikea drawer. And it magically stayed. If I wanted to, I could glue the foam to the drawer, but I very much like the idea of being able to take out the foam and fold up my drawer when I move, so for now it stays. Plus, if I ever find the kind of acoustic insulation foam I need, then I can upgrade my little recording booth! Somehow this feels more exciting then getting a new charm for my Motorola Razr back in 2004.
Since making this handy little guy, I’ve been able to test it out in various environments, and it turns out that this was a very wise investment. Even in very live rooms, I’m able to make quality recordings. It might take a bit more editing at the end, but 10 more minutes editing is worth the effort.