Saturday, January 20, 2018

Portable Sound Booth – How To Come Out of The Closet

June 14, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Equipment, Video Production

A few days ago we posted a video we shot from a professional quality portable sound booth at the NAB Show 2011. This is a very cool booth if A) you can afford it; B) you have room for it; and C) you need this type of thing often enough to justify it.  As much as I’d like to have one of these, I don’t meet any of those criteria.

The fact is, these kinds of booths are overkill for most people. However, if you are creating videos you probably need to do voice over tracks from time to time and you want them to sound their best because the better the quality of the sound, the higher the perceived production value will be. If you hear air conditioners humming, the sound from of ventilation ducts, motors, computer fans, whatever kind of background noise, it takes away from the audio quality and the professional image you want to project. So what is the small producer to do?

Portable Vocal Booth Home VersionThere are inexpensive sound booth products that meet the needs of the occasional voiceover narrator. Here is one we like, the Portable Vocal Booth. (If you click through and don’t see it right away, look for the Portable Vocal Booth, either the Pro or Home version.)

Editors Keys Portable Vocal Booth ‘Home Version’ attaches itself to your own microphone stand and allows for great recording conditions every time. The specially moulded foam has been shaped and processed in a way which not only helps to create dry vocals, but to also prevent exterior noise such as traffic noise or air conditioning entering into your mic.

Both the home and pro models are on sale as I write this, making them quite affordable. You’ll also find some good microphone choices and pop screens. We like these so much we are affilates for them.

The Original Porta-Booth Sound BoothAnother, more portable option is the original Porta-Booth Portable Sound Booth from Harlan Hogan’s Voiceover Essentials. This clever portable sound booth collapses for easy storage or transportation. The concept behind this is that “you don’t have to build a vocal booth big enough for both the mic & the performer – just the mic!”

The photo to the left is of the portable version, which is only $129.00. There is also a professional version available for a couple hundred dollars more.

For the really handy, you can find instructions on building your own sound isolation booth.

So as you see, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to have your own little sound isolation booth for recording voice overs for narrations, screencast videos, commercials, podcasts… whatever you need.

In that previous article, I said that a good “poor man’s sound isolation booth” is a closet full of clothes or the inside of a car, parked in a quiet location. With these inexpensive alternatives, just about anyone can afford to come out of the closet.


6 Responses to “Portable Sound Booth – How To Come Out of The Closet”
  1. Bill says:

    Harlan Hogan’s portable soundbooth is cool, but is an easy DIY project. Just check any storage place, even Target, for the collapsible box (those used in cube storage) pick up some pieces of acoustic foam and you’re good to go.

    the one issue I have always had with these portable units, is not their effectiveness, but where do you put the script? 😉

    • Rick Smith says:

      I agree, Bill, the Harlan Hogan booth does look like an easy DIY project. They show placing a printed script in the back of the booth (use a little book light to read it). I’ve personally never used one of these units either, but it does make sense because your voice will not be splashing around inside of it.

      • Bill says:

        It definitely works.

        Most of my VO jobs are long form, and my technique is to read it all the way through, do re-takes as I go. I feel that way it sounds like it was done at the same time (since it was lol) rather than different takes. I get a rhythm going, and don’t like to interrupt it. Can’t really fit a long script in there and turning pages would be cumbersome at best. In a pinch though it would work (and that is what it’s designed for and it fills that need very well)

        I’ve seen guys design things that are like a huge box with a black drape over it (think olde timey camera) it would get stuffy in there. Okay for short takes, but long form it would be a killer.

        I don’t want a completely “dead” sound. I treated my room with 2″ rigid fiberglass insulation covered with muslin, hung on furring strips on the wall. Added some foam anti-fatigue mats to the floor and it kills the reflections and comb filtering. I did an episode of Video QuickTips on it, I think its episode 4. (shameless plug… available at

        • Rick Smith says:

          Very cool, Bill. We’re doing some long form on-camera videos right now and our teleprompter is fabulous. I lined my small video studio with moving blankets and it sounds pretty good. We once built a tent with sleeping bags and blankets on a noisy day (garbage day) when we had to record a narration. You do what ya gotta do.

          We’re going to have to get some guest blog posts from you for this site and the Special Interest Video Organization, once it is operational.


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  1. […] or you just need to record a narrator or a podcast, then you may wish to read about some of the portable sound booths […]


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