There’s no one “right” way to record anything. Many artists experiment with many different recording environments and microphones until they find something that works best. Changes in your environment can also result in unique-sounding songs.
You don’t need a vocal booth for recording, but you’ll want to have one. Vocal booths provide the cleanest sounding recordings, especially when your room doesn’t have good acoustics. You can choose different environments depending on the song for varying effects. In short, you can get good sounds without one.
So, while many artists do prefer to have a vocal booth for their records, it’s not a necessity. You’ll want to consider your other options, especially if you have a smaller room. I gathered everything you need to know into this article!
What Is a Vocal Booth?
Many musicians and bands can benefit from having a vocal booth at their studio. These booths section off the performer from the rest of the room, which is great for acoustics. They also help with isolating certain sounds for a piece.
A vocal booth is a section of a studio that’s isolated from the rest of the room. It provides quiet spaces for artists to record a solo or sing. These booths have the primary purpose of offering better sound quality in the song’s final version. They have many uses for a variety of audio work.
An excellent vocal booth consists of sound-insulating materials. That way, sound doesn’t escape, but outside voices also don’t get on the recording. In short, these small booths section off a portion of a larger studio.
Benefits They Provide
Vocal booths offer plenty of benefits. The most crucial help these tiny rooms can provide artists with is improved sound quality—the booth filters out issues in acoustics, which come from hard surfaces in the room.
These rooms are very beneficial for recording voice samples and solo parts. Additionally, they’re often helpful in recording commercials or other voice-acting content. The vocalist often sings live while listening to the rest of the song parts.
Overall, you get many benefits from having a vocal booth in your studio space. They don’t need to be very complex either. You can easily make one as a weekend DIY project! As long as you invest in high-quality sound-insulating items, your recordings should turn out very clear.
For more information, check out my guide to how big a recording studio should be.
Do You Need To Use a Vocal Booth?
Large studios often have a vocal booth to prevent other sounds from getting on the recording. The room also makes it easier to mix the recording with several different elements. Still, while you may want one, you can get away without having it!
You don’t need to use a vocal booth unless you want a crystal-clear recording. Many producers don’t use a stall when they want more room sounds in the audio. You’ll need to have the proper microphone and equipment to pull this off first. Then, you’ll have to experiment with the settings.
If you want to add more room sounds to a piece of audio, then ditching the vocal booth is your best option. In other words, you can record in a variety of ways! Don’t hesitate to experiment with different pieces of equipment and methods.
When To Use One
You’ll want to use a vocal booth when you want a clear solo part to show through, without any background or room sounds attached. Many musicians record the vocals separately so that they can get the most precise possible recording.
However, vocal booths are also essential for voice-acting content. Many recordings with voice acting, such as commercials, movies, or cartoons, don’t call for room sounds in the voice audio! Because of this, many actors perform their lines in a vocal booth or room.
Additionally, vocal booths are best for smaller recording studios. The booth isolates your audio from the rest of the room, which can feel cluttered in a smaller area. In a large, full-sized studio, the recording won’t feel as jammed together! You can still benefit from having one in any room, but the benefits might not be enough to make installation worth the effort and price.
Overall, you can use a vocal booth for recording a variety of sounds. You’ll want to experiment as much as possible to find what recordings do the best in your booth. Plus, you can try different sound-insulating materials on the walls for other effects.
When You Shouldn’t Use a Vocal Booth
If the recording space already has ample sound treatment for better acoustics, you may not need a vocal booth at all! You’ll need to pay attention to the mic’s pick-up patterns, however.
The most common pattern for recording vocals is the cardioid pattern. This pattern better receives sound coming from the front of the mic, making it perfect for recording, singing, or speaking. This option also can reduce the amount of room noise in the final recording.
The pattern also resists picking up sounds coming from the sides of the mic. If you have a high-quality microphone already, you might not need to install a booth! Make sure that you use the proper settings to capture noise coming from the correct directions.
Check out my guide to ventilating recording studios.
You Can Make Your Own
Vocal booths are relatively simple to make! Many studios have homemade options- which can sound just as great as a professionally built room! It all depends on the materials that you use.
Make sure you have high-quality foam to absorb outside sounds. I recommend the Burdurry Soundproof Studio Foam (available on Amazon.com). The panels absorb a lot of noise and come in a large pack. Plus, they work well, even for use with professional recording studios.
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Last update on 2023-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
When building your vocal booth, you’re in charge of the price. You want to make sure you create something that provides you with enough room to play instruments or perform- without draining your bank account. Luckily, you have plenty of options for cost-friendly materials!
Make sure to watch this short YouTube video to learn more:
Treating a Room
You can use any room as a vocal booth as long as you treat it first! Here’s what you need to do to treat a room or vocal booth for better acoustics:
- Apply acoustic foam or panels across all wall space.
- Make sure the area is always dry.
- Install bass traps.
- Install a carpet.
- Make sure the room’s dimensions aren’t square.
So, if you already have space at home, you can set up that room for vocals. You don’t need a booth! This option works best if you already have a lot of the parts at home. You can save on installation costs if you convert a room you already have.
Keep in mind that treating is different from sound-proofing! You’ll still receive incredible sounding audio as long as you make sure to treat the space properly.
Vocal booths come with a ton of benefits for your audio recordings. However, they’re not completely necessary! You’ll want to use them when you’re looking for crystal clear recordings and solos- but you can experiment whenever you want to!
Try several different materials in your booth. You’ll likely need a few other options and methods before finding a good result you love. You can always build a cost-effective booth at home!
In short, you’ll want to record some tests to get an idea of the acoustics in your studio space. From there, you can make adjustments to the booth as needed.
- Explore Sound: What is Acoustics?
- Music Gateway: What Is A Vocal Booth And How To Create Your Own
- Shure: How to Record and Mix Vocals
- GIK Acoustics: How Bass Traps Work
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