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4 Amazing Portable Vocal Recording Booths: Reviews for 2017
Choosing a Great Portable Vocal Recording Booth for Your Studio
As anyone with recording studio experience will tell you, sometimes recording vocals can be really tricky. If you record someone singing or talking in an open space, you're liable to pick up background noise, echo and other unwanted audio debris. However, not everyone can create a vocal booth space in their studio. There just isn't room! A good portable vocal recording booth is a good compromise to help you record awesome sounding vocals.
Really, this kind of device can be anything that helps you isolate the singer from outside sound. The best portable vocal booth for your studio will be easily stored in a small space, but will insulate the singer or speaker from the outside world and make sure that the only thing the mic picks up is their clear and beautiful voice.
This article will be looking at five of my favorite portable recording studio booths, and it will hopefully help you find a perfect solution for your studio space. We'll examine the pros and cons of each item and list the best features and why you might want to consider it. Before we touch on any reviews, I'll briefly touch on how these inexpensive portable vocal booths work. Let's get started!
How Portable Vocal Recording Booths Work:
Obviously a full blown studio space with foam insulation is the ideal setup for recording any kind of music or vocals, but that's not always realistic. Some amazing and groundbreaking albums have been produced with limited space and equipment, so don't sell yourself short!
Here is how a portable vocal recording booth works to improve the quality of your recordings.
- Reduce Echo:
A big problem with recording in even medium sized rooms is the echo factor. Modern condensor mics pick up just about everything. That's a good thing, but it also means we have to be careful about ambient noise. Recording without suitable sound dampening can produce an echo, which makes your vocal recordings come out boomy. The best portable recording booths prevent too much of the audio from being reflected back.
- Create a Smaller Space:
Along with echo, another effect of recording in a large room is that the sound wave lengthens as it travels. This means that to record the clearest and truest tones, you want to be close to the microphone and not let the sound waves travel too far or bounce off of too many surfaces. A good portable recording studio booth is usually placed right behind the mic.
- Deaden the Sound:
This might sound like a bad thing, but really it's not. All major recording studios use some kind of sound dampening to deaden the sound somewhat. The idea is not to strip the sound of its vibrancy, but instead to cut out distractingly low and high frequencies that make a mix sound worse. The result is that a cheap portable recording studio booth can help you achieve that distinctively professional, radio-ready sound.
Q-Mic: Portable Vocal Studio Booth on a Mic Stand
Mounts seamlessly to any stand, a great compromise
The Q-Mic portable studio for recording vocals is one of my favourites due to the fact that it's easy to use and set up, and it will help you produce a sound that's almost equal to a full-blown custom built booth.
First off it's fully foldable, letting you store it in a relatively small space for its size. It also works with any standard microphone stand and can be adjusted to sit directly behind the mic. It has a mic extension so you don't need separate stands for the microphone and the stand, which is convenient.
I really like the sound quality that this results in. Obviously much depends on your choice of mic, but in general this portable vocal booth will reduce ambient noise and recording echo by a surprisingly large degree.
You'll end up with a dry sound, which is typically exactly what you want for mixes. You may never find the need to upgrade, and it's very useful for recording on the go. It's certainly one of the better portable recording booths I'm aware of.
The Porta-Booth: Portable Vocal Recording Booth in Integrated Case
A Handy Way to Record on the Fly
The Porta-Booth Pro is truly portable and one of the best options for anyone who needs to record on the go. When it's all zipped up you can easily throw it over your shoulder, but when it's set up you have a portable vocal studio booth that holds its own with much bigger alternatives.
The interior is the same Auralex foam insulation that's used by a lot of major studios. What's more, it's compatible with most microphone stands with openings in the back and rear of the enclosure.
The triangle cut foam interior is perfect for diffusing sound and creating exactly the right signal for vocal recording purposes. It's one of the more expensive portable recording studios out there, but it's rugged, sets up in minutes and is small enough to be checked on an airline flight.
Overall I'd say it's well worth the initial expense for all the use you'll get out of it.
LyxPro: A Portable Microphone Shield / Sound Absorber
Lightweight, clip on vocal studio dampener
The LyxPro is a nice choice for anyone who needs a lightweight and cheap solution that's compatible with almost every recording studio setup. It's actually a solid piece with foam on one side and a metal outer housing which retains the curvature and ideal shape. It clips onto a mic stand right behind where the microphone itself mounts.
It's not quite as isolated as some of the other portable vocal booths reviewed here, but that's nice if you don't mind a bit of the 'colour' of the room you're recording in to show up on the record (and to be honest that kind of colour is often a desirable quality in a recording.)
It nicely reduces echo, reverberation and reflection, and can work well for recording acoustic instruments like a guitar as well. It will likely become a permanent fixture on your mic stand.
Auralex VOX: A Vocal Studio Booth Kit
A full Studio on the Go
This is a portable recording booth that comes with several pieces, and it's one of my favourites because it affords you the most flexibility in terms of setting up your ideal recording space.
With a full vocal acoustic enclosure with a door which you can close, you can completely isolate the singer, musician or speaker from the outside environment. It works to both dampen and deaden the audio inside, and to prevent outside noise from hitting the mic. It includes a small window to allow communication with the sound engineer.
The system is modular and can be expanded or changed by purchasing additional panels.
Auralex is an industry leader in producing acoustic foam for enclosures and studios, and they're also known for making individual foam panels for larger rooms and booths. This kit includes the vocal enclosure surround panels, four MAX stands to create the booth. Overall you'll reduce a lot of excess noise and ambient frequencies and end up with a great recording in the end.
The price is pretty high when compared with the other items on this list, but this will let you approximate a full audio booth at a fraction of the cost.
Need More Studio Gear Information?
If you're hunting around for affordable portable audio booths, I'm guessing you're setting up a studio of some kind. If so, please be sure to check out a few other articles I've written.
I've covered the topic pretty extensively with a mind to help people get their studio put together on a budget.
And don't forget to comment if you appreciated the info. Thanks!