Do I Need A Vocal Booth? (Explained for Beginners!)

No, it might not be necessary for you to have a vocal booth. There are other alternatives for you in which you can still get a crisp and clear recording, like acoustic treatment and better editing. If you insist on having a vocal booth, you can opt for just a portable one that does the same thing as a full-sized, professional vocal booth or maybe DIY ones that are cheaper and easy to set up.

I will explain more about the different alternatives you could do and how to do DIY vocal booths, but first, let us understand what vocal booths are, their purpose, and if it is really needed to record vocals at home.

What Is A Vocal Booth?

If you want to make it in the music industry, it is important to have vocals that are crisp, clear, and overall sounds great once produced. To achieve this high-quality sound, it is important to be mindful of where you record the track due to varying room acoustics.

One of the things that big companies in the music industry do to achieve this is through the construction of vocal booths in their recording studios.

A vocal booth is essentially a room where producers or sound engineers could have a better control of the recording environment of the artists. They could be completely enclosed or partially enclosed, depending on the design and materials used in constructing the booth.

The main purpose of this is to be able to isolate the sound and as much as possible, lessen the bleeding and the possibility of having bad reverb and environment noise caught in the raw recording.

There are different types of vocal booths. It mainly depends on what size you need to get, how much soundproofing the room needs, and if you will need to travel with it.

Here are the 3 main types of vocal booths:

  • Permanent Vocal Booth
  • Modular Vocal Booth
  • Portable Vocal Booth

Permanent Vocal Booth

These are usually professionally built and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects, like converting bedrooms or basements into recording studios.

These booths are usually permanent fixtures and cannot be removed from where it is installed. Moreover, these booths are usually pricey to get done.

Modular Vocal Booth

Manufacturers consider these as “portable” booths as well. However, compared to true portable booths, these usually have limited portability and might require a little effort to disassemble.

These booths can be easily transported from one room to another due to their modularity, which is a big advantage for this type of booth.

Portable Vocal Booth

This type of vocal booth is small and lightweight. You can carry around while you travel, and practically anywhere you go.

The design of portable vocal booths is usually just a small space to create a small enclosed space that creates a good environment ideal for recording by reducing the reverberation and ambient noise.

How Much Does A Vocal Booth Cost?

Constructing vocal booths could be very pricey, especially if you want a high-end booth. The ones that record companies have in their studios cost around $5,000 to 15,000. Maybe even more.

However, if you want a budget-friendly booth, you can either buy a portable vocal booth or take on a DIY vocal booth. If you want a flexible budget, then it would be best to go DIY.

Do-It-Yourself Vocal Booths

This is advantageous for you because you control the budget and be as flexible as you can. You can choose cheaper materials and equipment that would do a good job for its purpose and opt to build it little by little.

You can pick your own place to set up your DIY vocal booth, but there are some favorites because they are a cheaper option as compared to DIY vocal booths that have professional equipment. Places like closets or a makeshift booth using mattresses or acoustic blankets are perfect for people who are on a tight budget.

Closets tend to be good booths if you acoustically treat it. You can either buy equipment or make do with duvets, carpets, etc. You just have to be mindful of where to put them.

DIY Closet Vocal Booth

Closets are usually great for DIY booths because it is already an enclosed space for you to acoustically treat with acoustic panels or any other dense material that would absorb sound like carpets, blankets, etc.. Here is a little checklist for you:

  • A closet or even just a tiny space (as much as possible enclosed)
  • Materials that absorb and dampen sound waves (acoustic panels, carpets, blankets, rugs, etc.)
  • Adhesives (nails, glue, etc.)

This is probably the cheapest and easiest option for DIY vocal booths. Here is a step by step process for you to follow:

STEP 1: Pick a closet or small room for you to convert and remove all the things inside.

STEP 2: Check if there are ambient sounds that you could remove from the room, like noisy lights.

STEP 3: Apply acoustic treatment on the area. Cover the reflective surfaces with something that would absorb the sound waves. For example, put a carpet on the floor and put thick blankets or acoustic panels on the walls of the closet.

You might have to do a little trial and error to get the optimal sound that you want..

DIY Acoustic Blanket Vocal Booth

Makeshift booths made of acoustic blankets can easily be done using common materials. Here are the things that you are going to need:

  • 4 acoustic blankets
  • 7 (1-inch) PVC pipes
  • 14 (1-inch) PVC tee joints
  • 8 (1-inch) 90 degree PVC elbow joints
  • 24 shower curtain rings
  • 1 small saw to cut through the pipes

STEP 1: You have to know how big you want your vocal booth to be. Take note of the measurements and feel free to change the amount of materials listed above.

STEP 2: Download blueprints and follow the instructions on how to do it. Make sure you cut your pipes properly to ensure that it is stable, you can try and have your pipes cut when you buy them so you can save time.

STEP 3: After building your foundation, you can go ahead and hang your acoustic blankets to form an enclosed booth.

How Important is A Vocal Booth?

As mentioned before, big companies use vocal booths in the music industry to produce high-quality records. So, I guess in a sense, it does help your tracks to sound professional when you have a vocal booth in your recording studio.

However, there are other alternatives where you can spend a lot less for almost the same clean recording that the vocal booth helps achieve. Here are some factors you can alter:

  • Acoustic treatment of your room
  • Transferring to a better sounding room
  • Hiring a sound engineer

Acoustic Treatment of Your Room

Acoustically treating your recording room is imperative if you have a room with bad acoustics or if you want improvements on the overall sound of your home studio. This could be something that you could do to be able to get better sounding records.

You can gain a little more control over the environment and the feedback, like the reverb, that would end up being registered by your microphone.

That being said, it could be quite expensive to be able to do acoustic treatment to a bad-sounding room.

Transferring to a Better Sounding Room

The room’s acoustics is one of the main reasons why people consider building professional vocal booths, even portable ones. What you can do is to get a better-sounding room wherein you only need minimal acoustic treatment.

This lessens the cost of acoustic treatment and the need to get a vocal booth, which would save you a lot of money.

Hiring a Sound Engineer

This is an option for the people who can afford to hire one. However, if you cannot do that, you can always be your own sound engineer.

Some artists edit their own vocal tracks, and who is to say that you can’t do this, too?

We have the most advanced technologies and applications on the internet that you can purchase, so you can edit your tracks the way you like them and make them sound professionally edited.

Final Thoughts

Vocal booths can be expensive to construct, so if you do not have the budget for it, you can try alternative ways to improve your recording space’s acoustics like acoustically treating it or maybe even finding a different recording space.

If you want to further improve your track, then hire a sound engineer to do the job for you or, better yet, get busy and do it yourself!

However, if you really want a vocal booth in your recording space, you can take on a DIY project and convert your own closet into a vocal booth or maybe a DIY vocal booth using acoustic blankets.

Jacob Miller

Hi, I'm Jacob Miller, and welcome to AudioOver, a platform designed to help aspiring music producers create music from home. With a musical background inspired by my award-winning father, I've been passionate about music since I was young.

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