Building a pro soundbooth at low cost by Scott Gorman

Posted on September 28, 2011 by

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Voice123 loves hearing from voice talent when they have blogs that they wish to share with us for the entire community of voice over talent!  Today, we wish to share a great blog provided by voice talent, Scott “Scotty G.” Gorman. He wrote us and shared pics of how he built his voice over booth! You will see just how low-cost such a process can be!

“Ever since getting into the voice over industry, I’ve always wanted an isolation booth. I wanted that “dead” sound, so that I could concentrate on the voice, and not the room tone or the equipment. I’m sure that there’s a lot of forum topics and endless hours of conversations that could be had about room tone and such, but for this article, It’s just strictly wanting to just build an affordable and professional iso-booth, that I was happy with.

First, I went to Home Depot and looked for some plywood thin enough and I ended up selecting a 3 ply 4′ x 8′ piece at 5mm. One panel per side wasn’t going to be sturdy enough, so I ended up getting 2 plywood sheets per wall and then used 1″ x 2″ slat to give the wall a rigid form so that there was no bending and stiff enough to stand tall. My office ceiling is 8-feet tall, so I had to also cut the plywood a bit shorter to make it fit well enough and not tough the ceiling and to give a bit more room near the top just in case I needed some. Home Depot can help with the cutting if you don’t have a table saw like me. They’ll cut it to any length for you at no charge.

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I used the 1″ x 2″ slats to border the plywood sheet, and then added ribs horizontally to give the wall enough stiffness. I used both wood glue and small wood screws to keep all the slats strong and firm. The glue probably would have been enough but the screw would help me sleep at night. I then used a 1″ thick (rigid) foam insulation to fill in the gaps. I didn’t know if this would help lower noise bleeding though the walls, but I figured that the more dense the walls the better it could trap sound or prevent it from getting though. I also felt better filling up this empty space rather than just have open cavities in the walls. Once the foam was cut and installed, I then glued and screwed another sheet of plywood to make a “sandwich”, and repeated the same process for all four walls. Once the panels were completed, I took them to a local speaker installation shop and had them wrap the outside walls with the thin speaker box carpet that they use for making custom speaker boxes. I probably could have done this myself, but it was something that I felt ok with having them do since they cut, and glue this carpet on a regular basis. It only took them a day to finish it, and it made the outside of the walls look very nice and finished.

I knew that I wanted to get acoustic foam squares for the inside of the booth. And with the plenty of research and hunting around on the Internet, I ended up getting all my foam from www.foamforyou.com. I found them to be cheaper in price, but this is where the majority of your of your cost will come in. I ordered the 12″ x 12″ x 2″ wedges, and the customer service and delivery was perfect. I used about four cans of spray adhesive to glue them to the inside walls. NOTE: I recommend that you use the spray outside because that stuff gets on everything and makes the floor sticky. I also alternated the squares to help deflect the sound in various directions, and give it a neat look.

The door was probably the hardest part. I had to cut out the threshold of one of the walls, and fit it myself. My main scare was not getting it straight, and flush, but with proper planning and measuring, it turned out better than I thought it would. I just used one of the smaller doors from Home Depot at 24″ wide and 80″ from top to bottom. The door fit perfectly. I then used some angled aluminum to create a border around the door that covered the gap, and finished it like molding.

I also added a ceiling near the end of the build to totally enclose the iso-booth. Just a piece of thicker plywood wrapped in carpet, and attached to the top of the booth with right angled brackets on the inside, hidden under the iso-foam. There was no room on the top to allow me to use a drill or screwdriver to secure it down, since I only had less than 5″ of space from the ceiling.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the sound inside and love the feeling that I have built a DIY-voice over booth at a fraction of the cost, compared to big online companies that sell a similar product. I’m not saying that it’s anywhere near what they offer as a product, but for me, it’s perfect and my clients won’t know the difference.

Total cost: Less than $400! ”

Do you have any questions for Scott about this process?  Please let us know below!

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