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Old June 13th, 2014, 08:58 AM   #16
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Re: Ideas for an inexpensive home voice-over studio?

I thought the egg-box solution vanished about 20 years ago. Egg boxes do a nice job of attenuating the top end, but lower frequencies pass straight through. To the ears, they seem to work nicely, but unless you only need audio control right at the top, they're terrible things. If you look at the foam products sold by people like can ford and studiospares in the UK, you'll see that the thicker the foam, the better the performance down below - but even the thickest are quite poor at the bottom end - so can't cope with the boomy resonance so many rooms seem to have. A bass guitar, for example passes through an egg box virtually untouched, while a piccolo does get quieter. Things like shakers and triangles get attenuated quite usefully. Egg boxes are the equivalent of sticking cotton wool in your ears - the sound just gets muffled, but it's still there.
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Old June 13th, 2014, 09:10 AM   #17
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Re: Ideas for an inexpensive home voice-over studio?

Egg cartons and other noise 'deadening' materials do little to stop extraneous noise from getting in (or out) of an area. STL Solid materials are the best choice. Lead sheeting, double/triple wallboard (and walls) sand filled blocks, ect. Read about building recording studios for more info. It can get very expensive, especially with structural renovations.
My first music recording studio was 'outfitted' with egg-crates (the cardboard fiber kind) in the early '70s along w/ a Teac 4-track R-R.
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Old June 13th, 2014, 12:23 PM   #18
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Re: Ideas for an inexpensive home voice-over studio?

I took 1/2 of a closet in my office and added about $100 worth of acoustic foam and sound blankets to make a very passable sound booth. If the vacuum cleaner is running, I wouldn't bother using it, but you don't hear the hum of the fridge, A/C or the occasional dog bark from the neighbors yard. Overall, I'm very happy with it. The sliding closet door is also lined with foam, but you can hang a heavy-duty moving blanket (doubled up even) from floor to ceiling to help attenuate external noise.
If you have enough space, you can even build sound-absorbing frames using 2x8's and rockwool insulation. I have those panels hanging on my walls to abosorb the natural echos in the room.

Check Craigslist for acoustic foam, I got mine for about 1/2 the price of retail.
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Old June 13th, 2014, 03:50 PM   #19
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Re: Ideas for an inexpensive home voice-over studio?

Mass Loaded Vinyl sheeting is great stuff - it's really heavy - feels like the stuff the dentist puts on your lap at X-ray time.

Change of materials is really effective - basically creating impedance at transition points. Lining a plywood box with a layer of vinyl, then a layer of wallboard, then the vinyl, then wallboard will make a really dead space. Much better than egg cartons.

We used a layer of the vinyl under wallboard when we did a bathroom remodel (maybe a bit off topic) and it really made a difference in what you could hear on the other side of the wall.

Or something like the SE Electronics Reflexion unit - haven't tried one myself but have heard some good things. They claim to use 9 layers of material. Same principle as above.

sE Electronics Reflexion Filter Pro: The Original Portable Vocal Booth
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Old June 13th, 2014, 05:38 PM   #20
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Re: Ideas for an inexpensive home voice-over studio?

Close miking is obviously the biggest factor.

Inexpensive limits you to absorbing reflections to control the reverb, rather than sealing out external noise (which requires lots of mass in the walls).

I often find myself in homes being used as film sets, needing to record a few lines of wild dialog while the rest of the crew is setting up for another shot.

If the rest of the crew can't be silenced, then I'll look for a filled walk-in closet because the contents provide both absorption and sealing, and the small size of the room makes reflections fall under the haas zone where they are annoying.

If I have a bit more time and/or space I will try throwing sound blankets on furniture in a larger room, or even using C stands to make a "room within a room" of sound blankets. That can be even more effective.

The sE reflexion and it's ilk are useful just because it's easier to set up if you do this often, but for bang for buck nothing beats a sound blanket hung behind the speaker. Unless you are using a figure 8 mic it makes more sense to be absorbing reflections that are on-mic rather than off axis reflections from an absorber behind the mic where most people misplace it.
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Old June 14th, 2014, 10:14 AM   #21
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Re: Ideas for an inexpensive home voice-over studio?

I am, and shall have to remain, a long way from a purpose built studio. However, with the information you have given me, I feel I am now able to make the best of the situation.

I shall have to work around most of the surrounding noise. I can't control the traffic and almost nothing will stop the noise and vibration of F15s taking off from the local air base, but I can switch off fridges, fans and other household items for a short time if necessary. With a sound absorbing mike box and close miking, working when external noise is at its minimum, I am hoping I can produce acceptable, even if not perfect, voice-overs for the odd times I need to and I can always add Chris Barcellos' tent idea if needed.

All your replies are much appreciated. Thank you.

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