How to Build a Portable Sound Booth for Podcasting

If you plan to record a podcast from some place that is not a studio, or if you are dealing with a relatively low cost microphone (e.g. under $300), chances are that the microphone will be picking up a bunch of sound that you don't want it to pick up - computer fans, for example, or lawn mowers and cars outside.

One easy fix to help you reduce unwanted noise when recording audio is to create a portable sound booth.  Though something called a "porta booth" is sold online as a complete kit, you do not need to go out and buy an expensive voice over booth when all the supplies you need are cheap and readily available.

Below I will walk you through the steps to create your own portable sound booth that you can use as an in-house or on the go sound booth for recording good-sounding podcasts!

Just using a mic by itself can lead to unwanted echo and the capture of annoying ambiant noise
Just using a mic by itself can lead to unwanted echo and the capture of annoying ambiant noise

Make Your Own Porta Booth!

If you search for podcasting booths online, a product called the Porta-booth pops up frequently (you'll also find special Porta-Sound stands and the like).   It' is a portable sound studio that you can collapse and move around with you.  Interestingly, the product, which is over $100, consists of nothing more than a collapsable box and acoustic foam squares.

Can you find these very same items on Amazon? Absolutely!  Here is EXACTLY what you will need to buy to make your own podcasting booth:

Whitmor Collapsible Fabric Cubes, Set of 2, Blue
Whitmor Collapsible Fabric Cubes, Set of 2, Blue

This is a pack of two; they measure 14 by 14 by 14 inches. You don't even really have to use one of these for your acoustic foam - a cardboard box would do!

 
Acoustic Foam 2-1/2" x 24" x 18" UL 94
Acoustic Foam 2-1/2" x 24" x 18" UL 94

You only really need two of these to fill the 14 by 14 cube, as one can make two complete squares.

 

Materials

You only really need two things to make your own podcasting booth - acoustic foam and a box.

If you want to maintain portability with the booth you create, you'll need to find a collapsable box. There are a bunch available online, and you can also find them pretty readily in container and inexpensive furniture stores or big box stores.

If you do not need a box you can collapse, consider using a cardboard box and foregoing the extra purchase altogether! Just don't use something that is plastic - it might not help to muffle sound as well as a fabric or paper-based box, even once the acoustic foam is added.

When it comes to picking out acoustic foam, all you have to do is purchase enough pieces of it to fill the box. Most of the small, a la carte acoustic foam options available on Amazon measure 24 by 18 inches, hence you might need to cut up the foam depending on the dimensions of the box you end up buying. Ideally, you will only need two, or at the most, three of these pieces.

For a Non-Mobile Podcasting Booth

If it is not imperative that you be able to move this setup around, you could always just purchase four pieces of acoustic foam (be sure to go with the 2-1/2" so that it stands on its own) and just make a box out of THAT!

Directions

Here's the fun part.  Putting together your podcasting or voice over recording booth is going to be the easiest thing ever.  

  1. Get all of your supplies in one place
  2. Measure the inner dimensions of your box
  3. Cut your acoustic foam so that you have four pieces that will be able to stand on their own in the box
  4. Put the pieces in
  5. Set your mic inside the box
  6. Record away!

Cost Comparison

The cost of the Porta-booth portable sound studio is right around $150. That includes two compression sacks which squish down the acoustic foam for easy portability, so if you want to be able to move your setup around a lot, you'll probably need to consider getting some of those, though you could also pick up some large Zip-Lock bags and sit on the foam to get all the air out before sealing them.

Compression sacks and all, that's still a pretty steep price.

Now, to make your own podcasting booth, you'll have to incur the following costs:

  • Two pieces of 24 by 18 inch acoustic foam: $18 ($9 each)
  • Collapsable Cube (optional): $20 (for two)

The total cost (without sales tax, which does not always apply) is $38. That's more than $100 less than the Porta-Booth.
You might point out at this point that shipping must also be taken into account, but both items are eligible for Super Saver Free Shipping on Amazon.com, so you're golden!


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Comments 10 comments

sagebrush_mama profile image

sagebrush_mama 5 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

Oh, my...I see a whole series of tween activity hubs possible, based on this! iCarly, look out! This is really useful and interesting!


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 5 years ago from Michigan

Never would have thought this possible. Thanks for this terrific heads up!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks sagebrush_mama and cjv123! Sagebrush_mama: yeah, I'm thinking of writing a series of podcasting Hubs - it's an interesting subject!

And cjv123- I think that you'd make for a stellar podcaster! You should look into it :D


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 5 years ago from Michigan

Well Simone - I really appreciate that compliment coming from someone like you - but I do a Podcast with Tim Bryce from The Bryce is Right - I guest on Wednesdays. But I am going to show him your Hubs about this. He complains about his microphone and I wonder if this won't fix his problem! Looking forward to the rest of the Hubs on this topic!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Oh, that's the coolest!


speedbird profile image

speedbird 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Informative hub, I have never thought of building portable sound booth for podcasting. Keep up the good work.


Peter Allison profile image

Peter Allison 5 years ago from Alameda, CA

This is awesome! I'm planning on doing a podcast series and this is just the info I've been looking for!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks speedbird! And Peter- that's AWESOME!! What a cool series it'll be!


Glenn 4 years ago

Simone,

Change your picture. You look distressed! Or maybe it is supposed to be humourous?


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Definitely humorous, Glenn ;)

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