If I could go back in time and re-do my very first MP3 audition, I would have paid more attention to the acoustic treatments in the room I was recording in. I have been meaning for some time to make a little recording area in the alarmingly large walk-in closet in my alarmingly small apartment. Today, I took a crack at it.
I am just starting out and in a rental unit. I would love to eventually work my way up to a WhisperRoom or something similar, but right now am limited to either of the following:
(1) Blanket Fort Booth (2) Science Fair Exhibit Booth, made of plywood and acoustic foam.
I figured it would be easier to start with the heavy blanket acoustic treatments, because it would utilize some things I had on hand, and probably be very cheap to try. I have decided that my goal is do this on as tighty-whitey a budget as I can, and then upgrade my equipment using revenue from voiceover jobs. I love electronics, and I know that unless I set a limit for myself (and even make a challenge out of it), equipment will be a sinkhole for my regular day-job income.
I have a 3-tier Ikea GORM shelving unit I have had for years that was already residing in the closet that the recording equipment will sit on top of, with the computer underneath.
Microphone: M-Audio Producer USB Condenser Mic. Sold to me for a great price by a fellow student of the voiceover school I attend. It comes with a handy little stand that tended to knock over and was a little low for my mouth when sitting on its new surface. So I went shopping.
Neewer Boom Arm/Shock Mount Combo ($26.99+tax) and Pop Filter($11.25). I watched a review on the boom arm, and the Youtuber seemed pretty happy with it. There are models of the same without the XLR cable built into the frame, for people who like more loose cables. I chose this one because I thought it would handy for when I upgrade to an XLR/USB interface setup in the future. The pop filter was literally the cheapest on Amazon. It does its job surprisingly well, considering, although it’s not as sexy as a metal mesh one. Sometimes the gooseneck droops and falls when you are adjusting stuff, but when you’re working, it stays put, so I’m happy with that for now. I also bought a toque for my mic. I mean a windscreen. Because it was a dollar, and I am a baller. Carrying on.
SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
TL/DR: The curtain rod supports the sleeping bag using curtain hooks which clamp on.
I cut one curtain rod with a hacksaw the length of the shelving unit that functions as my “desk”. The two “arms” you see extending from the wall are one curtain rod that was cut in half.
If you look closely, you will see I “stacked” the brackets, perpendicularly to each other, so that they share one (longer) screw closest to the wall. This is because there is a stud there, and it creates a sturdy anchor. I allocated 4 clips to the long side, and 3 clips to each shorter “arm”, so that I would only use one pack of 10 clips.
Helper. Seren likes to sleep in my walk-in closet and is not very happy that there are a lot of disruptive goings on in here today. She is keeping a very close eye on me, and is concerned for the future of her ‘bedroom’.
Hanging the blanket. I do wish the sleeping bag was a little bigger, to extend a little further out from the desk. Oh well. If I can find a bigger blanket, I will swap it out and see if the difference is really noticeable. The entrance to the closet is curtained, as is the bookshelf that is out of the frame to the right. I topped my makeshift desk with towel to dampen sound a little more. I like that I can pivot the boom arm to put the mic near the wall when not in use to keep it safe. The computer lives on the shelf below, also obscured by the towel. I hope this helps with fan noise, which was a problem when the computer was up top previously.
I am quite pleased that I was able to find these Audio Technica headphones on Craigslist for $25. I sprung another $15 for new foam “donuts” on the cans, because, well…… the originals were kind of gross.
I ordered a little stand for the headphones off eBay for like $5, but it has not arrived yet.
I would say it took a total of about an hour and a half to get everything set up, but I wasn’t really rushing. Let’s calculate the damages:
Microphone: $20 Boom arm & shock mount: $26.99 Pop filter: $11.25 Headphones: $40 3.5mm jack adapter: $6 Curtain rods and clips: $9 Sleeping bag: I already had it on hand. TOTAL: $111.24
For anyone who is curious, I am using a 13″ MacBook Pro (2010) and Garage Band. Previously Audacity, but had way too much trouble with latency and noise. Garage Band works much better.
I haven’t been able to test it out too accurately because of the huge noise in my apartment from the dryers and the dehumidifiers that are in there because of the flood. Even with that amount of ambient noise, the difference from before is already noticeable. Hope you enjoyed my Blanket Fort Booth!