Or… How to get “professional” quality audio on a “start up” budget
Out of the Closet: I wrote this in April 2014, when I was still exploring the viability of doing VO work full time. Since then, I’ve had the good fortune to work with some terrific clients and production studios and am indeed able to pursue VO full time and make a living! So, I recently upgraded from my very sweet closet studio to a full-fledged VocalBooth. But, I have to say that while having a truly professional space to “work” (ok, PLAY) in is really great, my closet was almost as good as my VocalBooth (external noise exclusion aside) in terms of audio quality.
Here’s my original post
When I decided to get serious about voice work after a long hiatus, I found that much had changed since doing commercial voice work in the Seattle market… in the late 80’s!
First and foremost, of course, is the trend away from in-studio auditions and toward home studios for both auditions and much of the work, itself. So, I needed to get with times by putting together a great sounding home studio without spending $1000’s…
As I prepared to set up my home studio, I knew that I would not be satisfied with settling for “ok” audio quality. I simply wasn’t willing to put out an audition or demo that wasn’t going to compete with the established pros – at least from an acoustics perspective.
Our current home has the perfect space – a larger-than-normal, but not walk-in closet in a spare bedroom that doubles as my office at the back of the house – away from all of the daily household noise, i.e, washer/dryer, dishwasher, furnace, showers, etc… Essentially, all of the “noises” that we’ve grown so accustomed to that we no longer hear them (but, the mic does!)
At first, I thought that I would simply get acoustic foam tiles for the space. But, after pricing it out based on square footage it was going to cost a butt-load of cash (that’s a technical term, by the way…) So, I started researching other options and soon found that there are lot (I mean A LOT!) of DIY options readily available on the internet.
After a few days of researching and reading, I landed on the perfect option: Recycled denim water heater blankets (R7 – so they are about 2″ thick), covered by quilted moving blankets (of the UHaul variety) and a cargo net lined with new dog beds to lower the 10′ ceilings to 7′. Total cost: less than $400… And, here’s the feedback I received from recent clients on the audio quality of my studio:
“Great job. Easy to work with, quality audio, and fast turn.” (Bainbridge State College Spot Engineer)
“Quick response, excellent audio quality.” (Rustici Software Video Producer)
“Room sounds great – no reflection – but not dead, either.” (VO Tech Guru)
I should note that this set up did not exclude very loud external noises… so on “Garbage Day” when the trucks rumbled through the neighborhood, or on a sunny afternoon when my ambitious neighbor decided to use his leaf blower to clear out his yard, my mic picked it up. But, I am fortunate enough to live in a pretty quiet neighborhood and so those occasional noises were short-lived and easy to deal with.
Overall, my noise floor hovered around -60db to -50db and that’s pretty darn good on a budget![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]