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Old January 6th, 2016, 10:34 AM   #1
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Treating a room for voiceovers

We need to treat a small, acoustically bright room for use in recording voiceovers. I'm thinking that the best, cheapest way to do it would be to get large acoustic panels and lay them against the walls. That way they could be moved out of the way as needed. The owner of the house doesn't want any holes drilled or anything, so something that is easy to set up and take down is required. The room has very old wood floors, so we are also planning to throw down the deepest, shaggiest carpet remnant we can find. I figure that should give us some help with foot noises and creaking boards as well as taming some of the room reflections.

Does this seem like a good way to go about this? Can anyone recommend what material to use for the acoustic panels as well as how to treat the edges, since I assume we are going to have to cut the panels into manageable widths and I want them to be easily carried without having fibers poking into people hands.

Thanks much to anyone who can help!
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Old January 6th, 2016, 10:49 AM   #2
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Old January 6th, 2016, 11:00 AM   #3
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

Acoustic treatment is a rather complex affair. Different materials absorb different frequencies etc.

Depending on the size of the room you could get some of the thick fabric used on stages etc (molton?) and hang it on photo background stands. And combine that with the SE Reflexion Filter Pro or Space (don't use the cheap knock offs). That would be the easiest solution and also very easy to disassemble and even bring with you to other places...
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Old January 6th, 2016, 11:01 AM   #4
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Picture of the room

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Old January 6th, 2016, 12:12 PM   #5
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

Many pro voiceover booths are really tiny, which means that they need to be dead, dead, dead. They also need great isolation to remove outside sounds.

One approach is to use Corning 703 panels. They have great absorption, but only down to a given frequency. Corning 705 panels damp down to a lower frequency, but aren't as dead overall. 703 is just fiberglass while 705 includes a backing. You could stack them, if desired.

Hopefully, you are in a quiet environment so you don't need isolation. Just remember to turn off HVAC and other noise sources. Tell the family not to flush while recording. :)

One way to simplify things is to use reflective angles to your advantage. Let's say you put panels directly (and close) in front and behind you. For the sides, you could have solid surfaces at 45 degrees or so that bounce the sound out into the room. If the bounce back would hit an acoustic panel before hitting the mic, that's a win.

Then there is the floor. Note that recording studios tend to use wood, rather than carpet. That's because carpet kills highs but not mids or lows. Feel free to use a solid floor. Listeners are used to hearing that reflection. To compensate, put an absorptive "cloud" above you.

If you use fiberglass, make sure to cover it with cloth.

So, three absorptive surfaces (front, back, top) and two angled reflectors (left & right) would do nicely within a larger room - as long as you don't need to block outside sounds. Unless the talent has a really deep voice, four inch Corning 703 on a frame/board would be my choice. Door hinges would be one way to connect things. You can knock out the pins to take the whole thing apart and stack against a wall.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 12:19 PM   #6
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

The cheapest way to record would be in a walk-in closet filled with clothing. You can even record under a few heavy blankets from the comfort of your bed. Obviously, it's not as comfortable for long sessions, but it would cost nothing, and keep the house intact.
I created a portable v/o booth within a closet, but it was mostly for outsiders coming in to record. If you're the only one that will see it, then looks don't matter as much as acoustics of the space.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 12:52 PM   #7
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

On the cheap side of things, I was going to say backdrop tripods strung with moving blankets from Lowes/Home Depot or quilts. That might not be enough for the room, but, for me, makes a lot of sense when I already own the things.

OTherwise, how does your guy feel about pillow forts?
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Old January 6th, 2016, 01:19 PM   #8
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

We used to use cardboard egg trays mounted on the walls.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 01:53 PM   #9
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
The cheapest way to record would be in a walk-in closet filled with clothing.
I did exactly that for recording narration on a national cable tv show. The closet is triangular in shape which is also helpful. Since I couldn't fully isolate outdoor noise, I recorded my sessions in the wee hours of the morning when there is no traffic noise, etc. Because I don't have AC power in the closet except for the overhead light, I recorded on a portable DC powered recorder. This eliminates 60 cycle hum and other power line noise issues. Although I could have used one of my condenser mics, I chose to use my Sure SM7 because it's dynamic so doesn't require phantom power and is less sensitive to far away sound.

Another decent recording environment is none other than the interior of your automobile.

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Old January 6th, 2016, 03:08 PM   #10
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

You could make yourself a 2-side, floor-standing frame out of 2x2 lumber and hang that comforter/duvet (stolen off the bed) in a corner to make a temporary "booth". Put hinges where the two "walls" join, and it is easy to fold flat to store under the bed or against a wall, etc.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 03:34 PM   #11
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

A very simple and cheap way to make an effective and easily useable voice over booth, is to construct an open fronted box, perhaps 30" square, lined with acoustic foam tiles or something such as a soft fur fabric. The box should be big enough for a mic on table mount tripod with a suspension mic clip, and big enough to lean into and be able to read your notes.

The box can even be made to fold up very easily for storage and re-use.

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Old January 6th, 2016, 04:05 PM   #12
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

And close mic. The closer the mic is to the speaker (within limits), the louder the voice it is relative to ambient sounds. And consider using a noise gate.

Speaking of in cars, take the car to an open field far away from people and roads on a calm day is a possibility. The main concerns would be wind, wildlife, and aircraft.

And don't over obsess if the rest of the audio has a relatively high noise floor. The room photo could be read to imply this is a modest budget project.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 11:25 PM   #13
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

What really works is egg boxes ..we just bought a bunch of them from a packaging distributor and stuck them on the walls ... perfect!! However you can also make a portable booth like Roger suggests if you don't want to sleep in a dead room!! We had a storeroom under our garage so that was our permanent sound room ....even 3 sides of a booth will help a lot (leaving space so you can get inside !) Google portable sound booths and then make a DIY equivalent if you don't want to permanently convert a room!!
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Old January 7th, 2016, 12:36 AM   #14
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

You can also use an even *smaller* voice over booth. After all, it's the microphone that needs protecting from unwanted reflections more than anything else.

See The Original Voice Over "Porta-Booth"

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Old January 7th, 2016, 01:18 AM   #15
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Re: Treating a room for voiceovers

Of course, none of those acoustic boxes (home-made or store-bought) can do anything about the room acoustics or the ambient noise. Their only function is to decouple near reflections (and perhaps noise) from the back-side microphone sensitivity. IMHO, they are over-hyped and not all that beneficial.
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