Microphone Isolation Shield Is A Great IKEA Hack; Definitely Not A Xenomorph Egg

As any content creator knows, good audio is the key to maintaining an audience. Having a high quality microphone is a start, but it’s also necessary to reduce echoes and other unwanted noise. An isolation shield is key here, and [phico] has the low down on making your own.

The build starts with an IKEA lampshade, so it’s a great excuse to head down to the flatpack store and grab yourself some Köttbullar for lunch while you’re at it (that’s meatballs for those less versed in IKEA’s cafeteria fare). This is really more of a powder-coated steel frame than a shade, perfect as the bones of an enclosure. [Phico] hacks it open with a Dremel to make room for the microphone. Cardboard soaked in wallpaper paste is then used to create a papier-mache-like shell, which is then stuffed with acoustic foam. A small opening is left to allow the narrator’s voice to reach the microphone, while blocking sound from other directions. Finally, a stocking is wrapped around the whole assembly to act as an integral anti-pop filter.

It’s a tidy build, and while it looks a bit like a boulder to some, if you encounter a room full of ovomorphs that look just like this, tiptoe right out of there. IKEA hacks are always popular, and this laser projector lamp is a great example. If you’ve got your own nifty Swedish-inspired build, make sure you let us know!

19 thoughts on “Microphone Isolation Shield Is A Great IKEA Hack; Definitely Not A Xenomorph Egg

    1. Yes, starting with the right mic helps.

      Lav mics can be extremely cheap and even the £2 ones on eBay can do a good enough job for most purposes – provided you can stick the mic somewhere it won’t get bumped. This can be an issue if you need to hide the mic visually, or if they’re wearing certain clothes – scarfs are an issue, and some types of collar, and loose coats/jackets can bump. Plus some clothes (synthetics mostly) can be really noisy when they rustle.

      A directional mic is directional, but probably won’t have as much off-axis rejection as this. Many have a noticeable pickup at 180. Of course, they’re much smaller than this huge contraption, which may or may not be an issue. I suspect this might be over muffled and suffer some attenuation of desirable sound, but that may be OK for speech.

      Generally a directional mic suffers indoors from reflected sound – even if you point it straight at the sound source, the noise is reflected round the room anyway and will still be picked up. This will likely have the same issues.

      The pop filter shouldn’t be necessary though if the mic is positioned correctly, though sometimes that’s not possible.

  1. a simple way to get a decent audio quality is by recording under a thick blanket.
    Just take your microphone and go to bed to your script with you. Then just like you were a child (reading a book with a flashlight) read the text from the script into the mic. the otherwise annoying echo’s are now very well dampened by the blanket.

  2. “As any content creator knows, good audio is the key to maintaining an audience.”

    Perhaps, I dunno. I do instructional videos for test technicians and production workers, and have found that audio is a distraction. My videos tend to use text overlays and autocad ‘replays’ of exploded views.

    Recently did a vid for the niece (away at college) whom is not an engineering student but needed to know how to configure a DSO and spectrum analyzer. The only sound it had was from the wife-unit and the dog saying hello.

    1. Obviously depends on the type of video. Instructional videos can rely more on on-screen text, but that requires more editing. Providing both is most effective.

      Regardless, I’d say good content is key to maintaining an audience. For an instructional video, you’re not watching for fun, so you can put up with a poor presentation if you need to know how to replace the pump on your washing machine etc. You’re not watching it for the pleasure of watching it, you’re only watching it because you want to fix your washing machine. If you need to rewind it 10 times to catch a detail, you will.
      Most people will still prefer a well-presented video given the choice. But if your topic is sufficiently niche, there’s not going to be a choice.

      For content which is more entertainment, the presentation is much more important, and bad audio will take away the enjoyment of watching.

      Training videos often Need good production. It aids retention of the content, and engagement, particularly as the audience usually dont 100% need to be watching. So if they’re missing stuff due to poor Or distracting audio, they’re likely to give up. Or they may be watching a compulsory training video, and you want to maximise retention.

    2. If you do instructional videos and would like to introduce audio, you should try Written Audio. The web application allows you to convert written text to audio. It also allows you to add time markers for every text entry. Each track has multiple text entries for every time marker/ which then get combined together into one audio file, which is available for download. You can see a getting started video here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eznPrInQ0rs

      1. What exactly are you saying? The whole site is a bad joke? A waste of time?

        I wasn’t “looking for” this website, it was promoted to me as legitimate. So instead of putting it on me, stop promoting your website as something it’s not.

        1. I am VERY interested in how did you heard about this website and how it was presented to you. Just out of curiosity.

          A bad joke – no. It’s for people on the other end of spectrum from professionals. It’s for hackers which is meant as people who do things just to try if they could, not for profit. They try silly things and silly contraptions and sometimes they discover novel things or new ways to do things, but it’s not a joke.

          Waste of time? For professionals probably yes.

  3. I recently started to do educational videos and had the same issue with audio. Living in India, it can get pretty noisy with honking horns. It takes some effort to really get silent audio.

    I had none of these liberties or the expertise to do, so ended up building writtenaudio.

    If you do instructional videos and would like to introduce audio, you should try Written Audio. The web application allows you to convert written text to audio. Each audio track is a set of text entries. You to add time markers for every text entry. Each track has multiple text entries for every time marker/ which then get combined together into one audio file, which is available for download. You can see a getting started video here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eznPrInQ0rs

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