Here we are in July, and there have been a ton of changes and work done to the booth, the spare bedroom it’s located in, and my knowledge of such fun things as ambient noise. Exciting, hunh?!
So, first. Geez, what was first? OK, after a ton of hours practicing I realized that when I was ready to start legit recording for auditions, I’d have to move the laptop out of the booth.
While it’s super quiet, you can hear the fan or the electric hum just a bit. I moved the shelf behind the mic and due to the nature of my lovely Rhode NT1, man, that noise cut in in half! Things behind the mic don’t really get picked up much, but you still have to worry about peripheral pick up as well as bounce. But anyway, it helped.
So time goes by, I’m starting to put together a wish list of things I need or want, and I attend a groovy free webinar by Marc Cashman and Larry Hudson. Larry is talking about a bunch of tech aspects, which was super helpful as everyone is always looking for the best possible levels whether recording or editing, yadda yadda, you get the picture.
I emailed Larry a thank you and told him a bit about my booth and we started a dialogue, with terrific suggestions from him. Long story short, I did everything he recommended.
- I’ve narrowed down the booth from 48×48 to 36×48. Since building it, I’ve wanted it a bit more confined, I guess. I loved the room of the larger space, but I know that in my apartment, in my city, the more condensed the space, the better chance of quieting all the noise down.
- I was able to add extra blanket padding by shortening the booth, with more layers on some key spaces like the sides and door.
- I also added a 4 times folded comforter to the roof blanket, and an extra blanket to the door, giving it 4 times thickness. Everything now is at least 3 times the thickness where before it was only 2. Already a big improvement. And, a folded blanket can be mounted over the door to the room.
Now with a smaller booth, I’ll be ready to move the laptop. It’s a bit more “toit”, ya know?
Another noise source for me are windows. I live in an apartment building with 3 other buildings next to it, with two shared, communal open spaces. One an “alley”, the other a private garden-y lounge area. I knew I needed something for the windows, and the internet didn’t fail. After talking to Larry about ATS panels( I put one in my Amazon cart that day) I went for a walk and found 12(?), 54″ pieces of wood trim in the trash.
Walk cut short, I brought it home and started purchasing some building materials. Staples, wood glue, hook eyes, hanging wire, and towels. Lots and lots of towels. $75 worth of materials, all in. I had hammer, nails, tape measure, scissors, saw, 1 old towel, and two 6′ lengths of old carpet.
I made two 53″x 32″ frames and filled them with 6 layers of 27″x50″ and 30″x50″towels. 2 towels wrapped around the front as covers. Hook and eyes attached to the frame and the ceiling, let me hang them babies right in front of the windows. Not only are the fits tight and strong, the room is blacked out when they’re in, and noise? Oh man.
Next, more sawing with my handy hack saw got me 3 more frames. All 26 by various lengths. 1 square, others rectangular. All with at least 5 layers of towels with 1 to cover. The 26″x26″ panel is 9 layers thick in the center. BOOM!
Also, my first ATS panel arrived. That panel cost me $61. Its 24″x36″.
For $75, and my time I got 5 panels
Also, funny story. The ATS panel I bought arrived and it was damaged in the factory. There’s a greasy, sticky stain on the bottom left. I emailed the company, and they’ve replaced it free of charge. It should come in within a few days from now.
Last night, into the booth, and my noise floor has now dropped to -78db-100db!
WITH the laptop in there! Before, the ambient noise was between -55db and -45db.
From what I’ve heard online, -60 to -65db is good for professional broadcast quality recording. With some EQing, still, but it’s possible that my booth that I once thought would only be good enough for auditions, is now good enough for hired jobs, too!
Fingers crossed. Did I mention that Larry had told me HIS at home studio, from which he produces broadcast quality recordings, was a PVC and packing blanket construction, too?