Setting up a home studio is a huge endeavor. It takes up a lot of space in your house, and you’ll need to spend a lot of time, energy, and money on design and planning. Within this studio, you might be considering installing a vocal booth to better your overall audio experience. But what if you’re short on space?
Vocal booths should not be smaller than 6 x 5 x 8 feet (1.82 x 1.52 x 2.43 m). The sound quality in most home studios will be negatively affected if you go too small, as the sound waves will have a harder time dissipating. However, it’s possible to make them smaller depending on their intended use.
In this article, I’ll discuss why vocal booths shouldn’t be any smaller than 6 x 5 feet (1.82 x 1.52 m) and how to make the most of your space when building one. I’ll also cover some other practicals for building a home studio with a vocal booth and how the size of your vocal booth will affect the quality of your vocals.
Picking the Right Size For Your Vocal Booth
Vocal booths typically need enough space for instruments, vocalists, and soundproof padding. That said, if you are a voice artist or working on a podcast or audiobook, you can get away with something smaller, as you won’t usually need room for instruments.
Larger Booths Provide Better Sound Quality
Vocal booths vary depending on the instruments and amount of singers that need to fit. Though they can be tiny and have been known to fit in a closet, the smaller your vocal booth is, the more cautious you will have to be with soundproofing and padding the room.
This is why larger vocal booths are better for sound. The smaller a vocal booth is, the more the sound will bounce off the walls and reverberate.
Sound Absorption Is Essential
Vocal booths are for recording clean and clear vocals without extra reverberation, so you’ll need to include some form of soundproofing or sound absorption.
Foam padding over 50-80% of the walls and ceiling can help absorb sound, but you’ll have to install thicker pads in a smaller space.
Unfortunately, more padding will make an already small vocal booth even smaller, so you’ll have to plan for that as well. You don’t want to build a vocal booth only to realize that the instruments or mic stand won’t fit comfortably or that the vocalist feels claustrophobic while recording.
Another unintended side effect of more padding is a dead, empty vocal sound.
There’s a phenomenon in smaller vocal booths where the midranges bounce around more, but the sound becomes boxy and unnatural if the room is deeply treated.
You don’t want vocals to sound like they were recorded in a complete vacuum, which is why having more space is vital to your audio’s quality.
For One Artist, 6 by 5 Feet Is More Than Enough
Because of the trickiness of vocal quality and balancing sound absorption levels, the smallest vocal booth that will work well is generally 6 feet by 5 feet (1.82 x 1.52 m).
This size is ideal for a single singer with an instrument to record. Home recording artists have built smaller booths than this, but they don’t give the best sound recordings.
It’s vital to remember that you’ll have to add instruments, microphones, and foam padding when you’re planning for space. If you’re adding a vocal booth into an existing space, such as a closet, ensure that you’re planning for the proper amount of room treatments and instrument equipment.
You’ll Need More Space for Larger Groups.
If space and money are no obstacle, the ideal size for a vocal booth depends only on your recording needs.
While larger booths are excellent, you don’t need anything huge if you only record one vocalist, singer, and instrument. In this case, the dimensions mentioned above will work perfectly.
However, if you are recording with a larger group or more instruments, you might want something a bit larger.
Vocal booths are generally built up to 14 x 14 feet (4.26 x 4.26 m). This size works well for a full band to record songs live. However, these are expensive to build and soundproof, and take up a lot of space.
Again, the essential factor of vocal booth size is what you will be using it for. You don’t have to have an enormous vocal booth to record extraordinary vocals and instrumentals. As long as you have the proper sound-canceling treatments and good recording equipment, you can make it work in a room of any size.
How To Save Space Building a Vocal Booth
There are many ways to save space while you’re building a vocal booth. While you won’t be able to make the booth extremely tiny, you can design your home studio so that you maximize the area you’re using.
For example, if you can’t make space for an adequately sized vocal booth, you can invest in a removable vocal booth. These vary in size and style and can be stored while you’re not recording.
Buy a Pre-Made Vocal Booth
If you are building a permanent vocal booth in your studio or home, you’ll want to make sure that it’s everything you need before installing it.
The good news is that there are pre-made vocal booths available for purchase – these come pre-treated and ready for setting up anywhere.
If you don’t have an issue spending a bit more money, you can save room by purchasing one from VocalBooth or another company—they come in sizes as small as 4 x 4 feet (1.21 x 1.21 m) are professionally treated for the best sound.
Cut a Corner To Add Space
One way to save space and increase the sound absorption in your vocal booth is to cut off one of the corners. Making a five-sided vocal booth can be more complicated, but the lack of a right angle will help the sound quality.
You might need a bit of extra padding to cover the fifth wall, but it can help save space.
Use Acoustic Foam As Insulation
The walls of the vocal booth are what separate it from the main recording studio. Instead of filling them with regular insulation, try packing some extra acoustic foam into the walls.
While foam-filled walls won’t make your sound perfect, they will lessen the amount of foam you need to put into your booth and save space that way.
Try a Removable Vocal Booth
Ideal for apartment life, portable vocal booths can be just as effective as permanent booths.
Brands like this Snap Studio Ultimate Vocal Booth from Amazon.com might be slightly less stable, but the vocal quality can remain the same with the right room tone and setup.
Impermanent vocal booths also save space because they can be torn down for storage and set back up when they’re needed. If you’re unsure how long you will be staying in a house and don’t want to invest too much time or energy into your home studio, a prefabricated movable booth might be a good option for you.
- #1 Recommended Portable Vocal Booth — Featured by Rolling Stone Magazine as the “best portable...
- #1 For Sound Quality — Snap Studio uses the highest quality Pro Sound insulation blankets - up to...
- The Ultimate Recording Kit — Jam packed with pro features! High-quality “reverb killer”...
Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
For more information, check out my guide to whether Vocal Booths are worth having.
DIY Vocal Booths
If you’re looking for a cheaper, do-it-yourself option, you can make your own, though it won’t be quite as effective.
There are several methods for this, including:
- Some people swear by memory foam mattresses, and though they do work, they might be challenging to store.
- Closets are great small spaces but have natural sound leaks and will require more proofing.
We’ve found that using blankets is the best way to muffle the sound for an impermanent vocal booth, and you can create your own using heavy-duty blankets and PVC pipes. This isn’t perfect but is surprisingly effective, and you’ll be able to record sound with decent quality and save space in your house.
Here is a helpful tutorial on a PVC pipe and blanket vocal booth:
A vocal booth can be relatively small but shouldn’t get much smaller than 6 x 5 feet (1.82 x 1.52 m). The sound quality will diminish if the booth is any smaller than this, and your audio will sound boxy or stiff.
If you don’t have the room or money to spend on building something professional, there are a few ways to save space when creating a vocal booth, whether permanent or temporary. Portable booths are well-reviewed and a great option as you can take it down and store it when it’s not in use.
- Stamp Sound: How Small Can a Vocal Booth Be?
- Musician on a Mission: DIY Vocal Booth
- Prima Acoustic: Designing a Vocal Booth
- Better Sound Proofing: How to Build a Soundproof Vocal Booth
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