Building an isolation booth for your home recording studio

[Brattonwvu] wanted to lay down some tracks with as high an audio quality as possible. To help get rid of the noise pollution of the everyday world he built this isolation booth in his attic.

The project started off with a trip to the home store for some 2×4 stock and OSB to use as sheathing. The framing is as you would expect, but to help deaden the sound he went with a surprising material. He’s filled the cavities between each 2×4 with stuffed animals and old clothes. The same is done in the walls and the inside surfaces are all covered in fabric to prevent echoing. The door has a lip and we can just make out what looks like weather stripping to provide a seal. There is just one opening in the box, where a PVC pipe allows electrical and microphone cables to pass through. [Brattonwvu] reports that you can hear your heartbeat in your ears when standing inside the sealed booth.

Comments

  1. David M. says:

    Isn’t it hot in there?

    In the attic, in an insulated booth?

    • drago3711 says:

      I have a similar setup (mine is in a walk-in closet) and it gets pretty hot; I can’t imagine how hot it would be in an attic. I hope this was built in a cold weather climate.

  2. roboman2444 says:

    i heard egg cartons work well.

  3. Dan B says:

    I hope he provides a means for fresh air.

  4. ColdTurkey says:

    Stuffed animals? lol

  5. Galane says:

    Stuffed animals, imprisoned within the walls of a soundbooth?

    “Daddy, what happened to Mr. fuzzbear?”

    “He’s in a better place…”

  6. Hirudinea says:

    Insulated with stuffed animals? Creepy. Well if he ever gets out of the music business he can repurpose this for serial killing.

  7. andreasfm says:

    Well insulated I’m sure, but getting rid of parallel walls would have helped to reduce internal reflections – on the other hand it’s probably small enough though for this not to be a big issue.

  8. obsoehollerith says:

    I like it. I have built (or just set some people in the right direction,more often than not)quite a number of rudimentary ‘studio’ spaces. After getting stupidly deep in acoustics theory,and came up with at best marginal improvements over the tried and true ‘just knock the damn thing together’ approach, the best (and the most affordable)way to get exactly what you want out of it is beautifully illustrated by your project.I don’t know about how you secured your sheeting,but the ‘glue,glue,and only glue’ minimizes sound conduction that comes from nails or screws.Maybe next time,when you feel like getting crazy over your next Iso booth,you could build it in a parallelogram,and cut back on the wall carpet to taste. Little bitty goboes that are threaded to mount on a mike stand will give you the option over how live and dead your booth is.You have an excellent booth,but my gf would kill me with my skillsaw if I did that in our tiny apartment. And kill me again.Good work,sir!

  9. Tim says:

    you should make the top and Bottom boards 2 X 6’s and the studs 2 x 4’s stagger them so the the inside wall is on the studs to the front of the 2 by 4;s and the outside wall to another set.

    I I I I I I I
    I I I I I I

    • Neglecto says:

      my whole house is 2×6’s. You dont understand how much better insulated it is then the old place.

    • metis says:

      for somethign so small, you could even get away with using 1×3 for the “studs” and 1×4 for the header and footer. akin to a theatre flat. the mass of the chip board is helpful, but i’d have gone with fuzz board or styrofoam board for the interior glued on, and fuzz board on the exterior. styro can be scraped to massively reduce high end reflection when coupled with acoustic foam it’s not too shabby.

      it’d also be trivial to have installed it with rubber floats for the floor, which would cut out all of the foot fall that will go right into that drum.

  10. gene says:

    the commercial booths we have all have a fairly long labrynth in the top with a 4 inch fan to circulate air through it otherwise it gets about like an oven inside them.

  11. samimy says:

    that is very useful for recording sounds.
    i have the experiences of narrating some of my videos, in-front of computer it is just annoying, the sound of pc fans creates noise and hard to clean it with editors.
    also if it is summer, the noise from a wall fan or air-condition would be a plus.
    the only problem with this booth is getting hot inside in the summer, a metal cold pipe coming from an external air-condition would solve the problem because we cannot use fan or direct air-condition inside the booth.

    i love the project though.

  12. Doug says:

    OSB Smells awful, and the fumes take a long time to go away (years for the boxes we built for a game center). If anyone replicates, some good indoor plywood might be worth the extra bucks.

  13. andar_b says:

    One problem I became aware of when looking to build my own recording booth is the trouble deadening low frequency noise. We frequently had large trucks and Harleys passing by our house, and the neighbors would play that deep mariachi bass at all hours. It’s virtually impossible to stop those sounds getting through.

    • JamieWho says:

      You need a basement. Concrete walls and 6 feet of earth is pretty much the only way to keep those noises out.

    • metis says:

      floor isolation will help a lot, as will breaking your double wall so it’s not connected, as will making them not parallel. the thickness of your insul will be the max waveform you’ll be able to block, but any resonant things that can wiggle one skin or the floor will transfer through unless you separate as noted above.

  14. Hackerspacer says:

    I hope there is a no smoking sign. Unless this were built out of liquid oxygen and gasoline, I doubt you could make it MORE flammable.

    • Tech Joker says:

      You can’t be serious! Most stuffed animals and even blankets produced in the last 30 or 40 years are either flame retardant or flame resistant! The acoustic foam has a Class B Fire retardancy Rating.

      I am not saying it’s fireproof, but really, quit being such an alarmist. It is no where near the deathtrap you make it out to be.

      Is it the way I would design and build an isolation booth? No, but it is, never the less a great hack. In keeping with the website that posted it. This is “Hack a Day” not “In a perfect world 100% safe always a day”

  15. Neglecto says:

    i heard aerogel works well

  16. steve says:

    I work in the audio booth industry and I must say, that the dampening of the chamber will be good only for high pitched sounds. For low pitch one needs extremely heavy filling like sand etc. Typically a real chamber is built from multiple ffdiffferentent layers, each with special characteristics. I would really be interested in the attenuation values over frequency with his chamber!

  17. Random Man says:

    I have looked into creating a Sound Box for my Drum kit but low frequency noise is almost impossible to contain. It just penetrates almost everything and vibrates it. Kinda like the dude beside you at the stop light with the blaring bass that shakes your teeth and your entire car. I have my kit set up in the bedroom now which seems to do for now. In the room the drums are around 121db on the other side of the house its only 70db so you can still hear them but the intensity is way down. (normal conversation is around 60db. Good enough that my 2 yr old sleeps through me playing.

  18. McMajik says:

    Um…for what it’s worth, this design is crap. It’ll keep out some outside noise, but the sound inside the booth itself will be terrible. And covering the inside surfaces with fabric will do nothing but take off the hard, top end flutter echoes IF YOU’RE LUCKY and it’s thick fabric. If it’s thin fabric, it’ll do even less. This design would work much better if the inside walls were removed, and the insulation was held in by the fabric being held taught or somesuch. Even better again would be using fiberglass wool or something for the insulation.

  19. Random Man says:

    The best setup from what I have researched is:
    2 layers of half inch sheet rock wood stud framing with 2x6s and insulation with a 1/2 inch air gap and the mirror image for the inside. For the best room in room isolation. Sounds expensive.

  20. kyle says:

    One thing I’m surprized to not see mentioned yet as a sound proofing material is drop ceiling tile.

    Stacking 2 sheets of drop ceiling tile at attaching that to a wall/ceiling does an excellent job of eliminating echo, and a fairly good job of blocking out unwanted environmental sounds. I use them as portable, re-arrangable sound panels.

    Good job on your own boot, but if you haven’t done so already, I would highly recommend putting the whole thing on top of a piece of thick shag carpet.
    I haven’t heard the results of your box first hand, but from the description, I would imagine that the majority of sounds working their way into the booth would be through vibrations in the floor; thick carpet would reduce that.

  21. DKenton says:

    Perhap his own lavatory that doesn’t wanted to be bothered by his girlfriend?

  22. Hi there! I know this is only about a year and a half after the last comment, so, maybe I’m a bit late to the party… :) but, I am the dude who built the booth and I have some finished product you could listen to if you wanted to hear the end result of my labors.

    Here is a link to the youtube playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFT07Ny5mCbAteKLQrX3ZVv7JKVVx-QcK

    Most people’s favorites seem to be track 3, “Sitting Next To You”, and 6, “A Thousand Years.”

    All of the vocals were done in the booth, and some of the acoustic guitars, including the slap rhythm thing in “Sitting Next To You”.

    Thank you for your interest in this project! Hackaday seems like an awesome place!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 97,541 other followers