Build a Professional Vocal Booth on a 500 Dollar Budget
DIY Vocal Recording Booth Plans:
My home recording space is primarily used for voice-over work. Doing voice-over or voice acting in a home-studio has two main drawbacks:
- Daytime – Noisy recordings: Appliances, fighting children, traffic, and construction noise is guaranteed to ruin a good take.
- Nighttime – Disturbing others: To avoid interruptions I often recorded voice overs late at night. But my voice booming through the house at 1:30am is generally met with disapproval.
The solution was to create a recording space with excellent sound damping properties. Notice I avoided using the term sound-proofing. A truly sound-proof space requires thousands of dollars. I had a $500 budget.
The $500 DIY Vocal Recording Booth
Vocal Booth Objectives
1) Size: Just large enough for me to sit/stand and perform voice-overs without banging a wall or mic stand.
2) Comfort: I’d be spending a lot of time in this booth, so it had to feel right – comfortable. The lighting had to be adequate for reading scripts, but not to harsh. Comfortable seating. A window to stave off claustrophobia. And ventilation – for safety reasons – because the booth is essentially an airtight chamber.
3) Acoustics: Above all else, the vocal booth must be quiet; reducing outside noise from bleeding into my recordings, and containing my voice so it doesn’t disturb others. Equally important, the inside of the booth needs to sound very neutral – not boxy or boomy.
4) Budget: $500 (Canadian). This is insanely cheap compared to other vocal booths and plans – but it’s all I can afford at this point. Like Matt Damon’s character in The Martian, I had to “science the shit out of this”.
Science of the Affordable Vocal Booth
I have decades of live and studio recording experience, so between me and my trusty side-kick Google, we were able to come up with a plan for a vocal booth that is both quiet and affordable.
First, some basic (yawn) physics
- High frequency noise (birds chirping, little yappy dogs, telephones, etc) is made of low-energy sound waves which are fairly easy to eliminate – like little ripples on the surface of a pond that you can block with your hand.
- Low frequency noise (heavy footsteps, the rumble of traffic, booming construction) is made of high-energy sound waves and requires more effort to reduce – like rolling, crashing ocean waves that can flatten a beachfront house.
Ways to eliminate unwanted sound
- Cancellation: Sound waves are cancelled when they meet a mirror image (inverse-phase) – this is called destructive interference. There are electronic devices that use cancellation to wipe out ambient noise, but this process introduces undesirable audio artifacts and degrades recording quality – so cancellation is not an ideal solution for noisy recordings.
- Reflection: Some materials possess high sonic reflectivity – these are usually hard, smooth, rigid surfaces, like concrete, stone, hardwood, and metal. These materials are unforgiving and don’t resonate, so the sound wave bounces (reflects) right off. This is very useful, especially for high frequency sounds – so reflection will be partly responsible for the sound damping of our vocal booth.
- Absorption: Some materials will absorb, rather than reflect sound – especially high frequency (low energy) sounds. These materials tend to be porous like Styrofoam, which we will use for surface treatment to control reflection inside the vocal booth.
- Dissipation: Different materials reflect and/or absorb different frequencies. Building a wall with many layers of materials with different properties is an effective way of disrupting a broad spectrum of noise. This vocal booth will have many layers.
Using a combination of reflection and absorption techniques, I was successfully able to block a substantial amount of noise in the typical human range (20-20,000Hz). As I said from the beginning, it’s not 100% sound proof, but it is effective enough to block the types of noise that were causing 95% of my problems.
Building the DIY Vocal Booth
To reduce the costs and improve the overall effectiveness, I recommend placing the booth in basement if possible – where the room’s walls are made of concrete. If this is not possible, find a space in your home that is somewhat isolated – away from furnaces, laundry appliances, water pumps, etc. – and choose a corner where the walls are most dense; probably the exterior walls of your home.
Prices of building materials fluctuate between seasons and regions, so I won’t publish many costs. Suffice to say, I did my homework and selected the best materials for the job within my $500 budget.
- Insulation: 1x bundle. Roxul Safe-n-Sound.
- Frame: 20x spruce studs (a.k.a. “two-by-fours”). 96″ x 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″.
- Door-Jamb and window.: 6x premium pine boards. 96″ x 6″ x 3/4″.
- Door casing, baseboard & misc. trim: 12x flat pine baseboard. (no scrolls). 96″ x 3″ x 1/2″.
- ALTERNATIVELY, you can save a lot of cash and make your own trim by ripping 2×4’s lengthwise. It’s good way to lose a finger/hand/eye so be careful if you choose this route.
- Flooring: Laminate. 20 sq.ft.
- Drywall: 3x sheets gypsum board. 96″ x 48″ x 5/8″.
- Other Wood:
- 4x sheets OSB (oriented strand board). 96″ x 48″ x 3/4″.
- NOTE: In the video I used 1/2″ OSB, but in hind-sight 3/4″ would have been better.
- 1x sheet spruce ply-wood. 96″ 48″ x 1/2″.
- 1x small sheet MDF. 24″ x 24″ x 1/2″
- 4x sheets OSB (oriented strand board). 96″ x 48″ x 3/4″.
- Glass: 2x panels. 22″ x 8″ x 1/4″.
- Acoustic sealant: 2x 300ml tubes Acousti-Seal.
- Construction adhesive: 4x 300ml tubes Foam Board Adhesive.
- Clear Silicon window caulking: 1x 300ml tube.
- Spray foam expanding insulation: 454g can.
- Closed cell, rubberized foam tape: 1x roll. 100-feet x 1/2″ wide, 1/4″ wide x 1/8″ thick.
- 4″ wood screws. 1/4-lb
- 3″ wood screws. 1/2-lb
- 2-1/4″ wood screws. 1-lb
- 1-5/8″ drywall screws. 1/4-lb
- Finish nails: 1/4-lb
- Door hinges: 2x standard 3-1/2″ hinges.
- Vent covers: 2x grills. 4″ x 10″.
- Magnetic cabinet latch: 4x.
- Light switches: 2x
- Switch cover plate: 1x two-gang.
- Switch box: 1x two-gang.
- Computer Fans: 4x quiet fans. 80mm, 12VDC.
- LED Light strips: 2x surface mount, 12V. Approx 12″ long by 1″ wide.
- Wire: 50-ft. 16AWG 2-conductor insulated copper wire*
- *NOTE: All electricals in this booth are 12VDC. The full current draw is less than 0.2 Amps. Consult an electrical professional if you don’t know what this means.
- Power supply: 1x 500mA, 12VDC.
- Acoustic foam: 48x panels. 12″ x 12″ x 1″ Acoustic Wedge Foam.
NOTES about Materials:
- The acoustic sealant is EXTREMELY MESSY to work with. I’m not 100% convinced that it’s effective when used as we’re using it – If I was to do this over again, I might consider replacing it with construction adhesive.
- Consult your local electrical code regarding the use of 12VDC lights and fans. If you’re not familiar with electrical, consider hiring an electrician.
- Speaking of cheap … I bought locally where I could, but some things were only available on-line, and some other things were just too expensive to buy locally.
- Of note: I bought the 12VDC fans on ebay. They came from China and cost $1.50 each including shipping.
- I shopped the world and found the best deal on acoustic foam at The Foam Factory: http://www.thefoamfactory.com/acousticfoam/wedgefoam.html
- Recycle or Up-cycle where possible. I scavenged the LED panel from a discarded laptop and used it as a surface mount ceiling light.
Build the Subfloor
The subfloor is the foundation of your vocal booth. Everything else is built on top of this. There cannot be any squeaks or movement in this subfloor, so don’t be stingy with the screws. A little glue wouldn’t hurt.
- Start by sketching out dimensions that will work in your studio space. Use the above image as a guide.
- Measure and cut your studs. Lay them out to confirm everything fits together.
- Screw it together with 3″ wood screws.
- From the leftover ends of 2×4’s, build ventilation maze. (more on this in the ventilation section further down)
- Using a 2-1/2″ hole-saw, drill one ventilation hole for the air-exchanger in the side of the subfloor-frame. The hole should be 3″ from the right corner.
- Carefully Measure EXACTLY where this hole is – you will need to drill through the drywall here later.
- Flip the subfloor-frame over – bottom-side-up – and apply a strip of rubberized closed cell foam tape to every segment of the underside. This will further reduce any chance of a squeaky subfloor and help prevent wobbling. It will also create a seal against the real room-floor and improve airflow through the ventilation maze.
- Flip it the subfloor-frame back over so it’s right-side-up again – with the tape on the underside.
- Cut a sheet of 3/4″ OSB exactly to size. Lay it on top of the subfloor-frame to check the measurement – should be a perfect fit with no overhang – then remove it and set it aside.
- (CAREFUL here – this is messy step). Apply a generous bead of acoustic sealant compound to the entire top surface of the subfloor-frame. With help, carefully position the OSB on top of the subfloor-frame. Screw into place with LOTS of 1-3/4″ wood screws. Wipe away any sealant that squeezed out between the OSB and the frame.
- Finally, drill two 3-1/2″ holes in your new floor, for air (See the diagram above).
Make the Wall-Frames
- The left (short) wall is a simple rectangle. Mine is 30″ wide, but measure yours to suite your space. Measure so it extends from the surface of the subfloor up to the actual room ceiling.
- In my case, the room ceilings are 7’6″. If you have really high ceilings, make your booth walls as high as you need – 8″ is probably good.
- Likewise, the door frame is a simple rectangle, approximately 26″ wide, with a header 6″ from the top.
- This 26″ wide door-frame will allow for only a 19″ door after we build a sound-seal. If you need a wider door, adjust your measurements accordingly.
- The right wall has 9″ x 23″ opening for a window, and another ventilation maze – similar to the subfloor.
Cover the Wall-Frames
- Cut 3/4″ OSB panels to exactly match the left and right wall-frames.
- Cut 1″ Polystyrene Foam Insulation to exactly match the left and right wall-frames.
- Carefully cut the window opening in the right-panels.
- Using acoustic sealant, laminate the left OSB & foam panels. Do the same for the right panels. Set these aside.
- With the left and right wall-frames lying flat, apply a single bead of acoustic sealant to the surface of the frames.
- With help, carefully position the OSB/Foam panels onto the matching frames.
- Align exactly and screw the OSB/Foam panels into place.
- Use a minimal* number of 2-1/4″ wood screws. (*screws provide a medium for sound vibrations to travel through the wall, so use as few as possible – one in each corner and another every 24-inches)
- Wipe away any excess sealant that might have squeezed out from between the panels and frames.
Erect the walls and door frame
- Stand up the left wall so it it sits flush with the corresponding edge of the subfloor – OSB will be the inside of the booth. The exposed studs are facing outward. Using 3″ wood screws attach the left wall to the subfloor.
- Repeat for the right wall.
- Position the door-frame between the two walls. Adjust so all three are plumb and true. Then fasten the door frame to the side walls with three 4″ screws per side.
- Lastly, measure and cut three strips of OSB to finish the inner side of the door frame and the header gap above the door opening.
- Cut three pieces of polystyrene; same size as the OSB you just cut.
- Laminate the OSB/Foam to the door frame with acoustic sealant and secure with a couple of 2-1/4″ screws.
- Fill the wall cavities of the left/right walls with Roxol Safe-n-Sound insulation (DO NOT fill the air-way in the right-wall).
Completing the Walls
Drill holes for air exchange and wiring
- Using a 2-1/2″ hole saw, drill two or three holes – side by side – through the OSB/polystyrene inner wall in the upper right corner (3″ in from the right).
- Also drill through the studs that separate the lower, middle, and upper chambers of the air-maze.
- Using a 1″ bit, drill one hole in the bottom left of the left-side wall panel for other wiring (Mic, headphones, misc.)
Wiring the wall
- Mount a 2-gang electrical box below and to the left of the window.
- Run 16AWG wire from the box:
- up through the top of the wall for lights
- down to the fan-box location.
- down to the bottom (leave lots of extra for this lead – it goes to your 12VDC power supply).
- ALSO – not mentioned in the video (because I forgot), this is the time to run cables for your microphone, headphones, and anything else you might need inside the booth.
- A 1-1/2″ hole should be big enough. Put this in a corner – where the cables won’t pose a tripping hazard.
Install the drywall
- With the wiring complete and holes drilled, pack the left wall with insulation – especially around the cables to prevent sound leakage.
- Pack the right wall also – but DO NOT fill the ventilation maze. This remains empty for air-flow.
- Measure gypsum board to exactly match the left and right walls. Allow for a 3/4″ gap between the bottom edge and actual room-floor.
- This gap will be handy if you need to hide wire runs behind the baseboard.
- Cut out openings for the window and switch box. Set the cut drywall panels aside.
- Apply a bead of acoustic sealant to the exterior face of all studs.
- Carefully align the cut panels to each wall (remembering to lift them up 3/4″ off the floor) and secure them to the studs with minimal drywall screws.
- With the drywall fixed in place, drill out the 1″ hole in the bottom left of the left wall to match the the position of the 1″ hole in the OSB.
- Drill out the 3-1/2″ hole in the bottom-right corner of the drywall to match the ventilation hole in the subfloor.
- NOTE: You will need TWO people for this part.
- Inside the booth, affix studs horizontally at 84″ high around the inside of the booth.
- Cut and affix two studs as cross-supports (see “strapping” in the above diagram). This will ensure your ceiling doesn’t sag and the rigidity will help with sound quality.
- Position a double layer of sound-proof insulation above the frame.
- With the ceiling framed and insulated, run the 16AWG for the lights and tack in place.
- Cut a sheet of OSB precisely to fit for the booth ceiling.
- Cut an identical piece of Polystyrene Foam.
- Laminate the OSB/Foam with acoustic sealant.
- Drill 1/4″ holes and pull the 16AWG wiring through for the lights.
- Fasten the OSB/Foam ceiling panel in place with 3″ wood screws.
The Door Frame and Jamb
I made a separate page with more pictures and notes about the door … https://murrant.ca/ideas/vocal-booth-door-notes-and-pictures/
- The overall thickness of the door frame and jamb should be 5-7/8″ (5/8″ drywall + 3-1/2″ stud + 1″ Polystyrene + 3/4″ OSB)
- So, it’s best to start out with solid pine, 6″ wide x 3/4″ thick. Rip this to 5-7/8″ wide. Use this for the door jamb: Unlike most door jamb, this one will have a top, sides, and threshold.
- As you put this together you might notice a 2-3/8″ gap under the sill – this is because the door frame studs are only 3-1/2″ and the casing is 5-7/8″. Stepping on this will eventually cause the pine threshold to split, so cut a leftover piece of stud to permanently slide in under for support.
- Once the pine jamb is secured to the stud frame, measure the width and height of the opening. Subtract 1/4″ from both measurements – these are the dimensions of the actual door.
The door has been a constant source of questions. There are more details in the comment section (at the bottom of this page) and I also created another page just to help explain it better … https://murrant.ca/vocal-booth-door-notes-and-pictures/
- Write down the dimensions of the door as determined in the previous step – you’ve got some math to do…
- First, cut two 2×4 studs to the appropriate height – these are the left and right edges of the door.
- Next, rip a groove down the center of a one wide edge – one groove per stud.
- The groove should be 1/2″ deep x 3/4″ wide.
- Now, assuming your studs are 1-1/2″ thick, subtract 3″ from the width of the door (the width, as you have written down) – and cut two of these from a 2×4. These are the top and bottom edges of the door.
- Rip a groove down the center of these as well – one side on each.
- Subtract 2″ from the width and height as you have written down and cut a sheet of 3/4″ spruce plywood to these dimensions – this is the door panel.
- This rectangular plywood panel should fit snugly into the grooves along the top, bottom, left, and right door edges. DON’T screw/glue anything together yet… Check that everything is square and that the finished dimensions are exactly as you have written down. If anything is off, now is the time to correct it.
- If it’s all good, disassemble – proceed by running a thin bead of construction adhesive in the four grooves. Reassemble, checking again for correct dimensions and right angles. Secure the four corners with 3″ wood screws.
- The panel, on both the front and the back, will be inset by 1-3/8″.
- Measure the width/height of the inset front panel and cut polystyrene foam to fit.
- Cut gypsum board to the same dimensions.
- Bond the polystyrene and gypsum board with acoustic sealant.
- Apply sealant to the surface of the front door panel. Press the polystyrene/gypsum board into place and secure with minimal 2″ drywall screws.
- Repeat for the back panel.
- The door can now be hung in the casing on hinges – position it flush with the exterior and swing outward.
The Door (Part 2)
- Once the door is hung, plane any sticky edges to minimum tolerance – try not to exceed 1/8″ gap on any side.
- Once planed and freely opening/closing without obstruction, apply closed-cell rubberized foam tape (weather strip) to the inside face of the door, as close to the edge as possible.
- Then, with the door closed flush, mark the position of door stops on the casing around all four edges.
- Install door stops – I ripped a 2×4 down to 1″x1″ for these – when the door closes, the foam tape should now rest snug against the stops. There should be no air gaps, nor should the tape be so compressed that the door “pops” open.
- There is fine line here – it took me several attempts to find the sweet spot.
- Now, last step … using 3″ wide x 1/4″ solid wood trim (DON’T use MDF for this, it will warp) – measure, cut and fasten the wood trim to the front face of the door so there is a 1″ overlap all the way round.
- Apply a strip of closed-cell foam tape to this overlap, so when the door closes the foam tape creates a seal around the door.
- Again, there should be no air gaps, but it should be bulky enough to prevent the door from staying closed.
- NOTE: depending on your level of precision – or lack thereof, in my case – you might have to use two strips of foam-tape, one on each of the facing surfaces, to achieve a good seal … it will no doubt require some fussing/trial-and-error.
- Finally, with the door held closed, position and mount the magnetic catches. The door should now effortlessly “click” closed, held only by magnets, and have an airtight double-seal all the way round.
- OH MY GOD – YOU’RE TRAPPED! – 1/2 an hour ago would have been a good time to fashion a door handle from some scrap wood.
- Just like the door casing, the window is also 5-7/8″ deep and made of 3/4″ pine.
- Measure the width and height of the window opening – 23″ x 9″ in this example – these are outer dimensions of your window. It has to be a very tight fit, so there is no need to allow for a gap.
- The dimensions of the glass panes will be exactly 1″ shorter and narrower than the outer dimensions – so, 22″ x 8″ for this example.
- Give these measurments to your local glass shop – Ask for 1/4″ glass, like they use for glass shelves. (My local shop – Sam’s Auto Glass in North Sydney – charged $20 for both panes)
- Using the outer measurements, cut four pieces of pine – the top, bottom, left and right sides.
- Rip two grooves, 1″ apart on center, 1/4″ deep and 1/4″ wide, along the length of one of the longer pieces.
- In the other long piece, rip two grooves 3″ apart on center, 1/4″ deep and 1/4″ wide.
- Clamp everything together and mark the spots where the four grooves in the long pieces intersect with the short pieces – four spots on the end of each piece.
- Connect the dots as if you were making a “V” with a flat bottom on each short piece.
- Remove from the clamps and rip grooves along these lines as well.
- Clamp together one long and two short pieces.
- Slide the two panes of glass all the way down into the “V” grooves – check to be sure the glass sits in the grooves of the long side. Join the 4th side and confirm that everything fits – you might have to widen the grooves by a 1/16″ because of the angle of glass.
- MEASURE AGAIN to MAKE SURE the finished assembly will fit in the window opening.
- I made the mistake of putting clear caulking in the grooves – DO NOT DO THIS.
- If it all fits – screw it together at the corners (drill pilot holes first to avoid splitting the wood), and slide the completed window into the window opening.
- You can now put clear caulking around the outer edges where the panes meet the pine frame.
The Fan Box
- Use plywood leftover from the door for this.
- Front and back pieces are both 8″ x 12″.
- The two sides are 3″ x 12″
- The top, bottom and divider are all 7″ x 3″
- The fan box will rest on the floor, so drill two 2-1/2″ holes in the back panel of the box, in exactly the same positions as the two air-holes on the booth (lower right corner of right wall). The holes in the back of the box have to line-up with the holes in the booth.
- Drill four 3″ holes in the front panel of the box – two across the middle of the upper half, two in the lower half.
- Drill a 1/4″ hole in the bottom center of the left panel.
- Drill a 1/4″ hole in the center of the divider.
- Assemble the box as shown in the diagram, using the divider to separate the upper and lower halves of the box.
- Run the 12VDC line form the switch box in through the 1/4″ hole in the side of the fan box.
- marette or solder four leads here (parallel) – one for each fan.
- Pull two leads out through the bottom fan holes.
- Pull two leads up through the divider and out through the two top fan holes.
- Secure the box to the outside of the booth with construction adhesive (NOT screws) so the air holes line up.
- Connect the 12VDC to fans and mount the fans over the four holes –
- Orient the top two fans to blow air OUT of the box
- Reverse the the orientation of the bottom two so they blow air IN to the box.
- Check the output of the power supply that came with your LED lights.
- Measure the load for the four fans and two lights combined. Make sure this load doesn’t exceed the max of the power supply. If it does, you’ll need to source a power supply with more available current.
- Assuming you have enough juice, connect the 12VDC power supply to the lead coming down from the switch box.
- Might as well connect the switches now, while you’re at it, because the lights are next …
Inside the Booth
- Connect and mount the two LED light strips to the ceiling.
- Lay the laminate floor as per the instructions on the box.
- Drill two 2-1/2″ holes, side by side, through the floor into the air chamber at the end of the maze in the subfloor frame.
- Finish trim as needed around the window, door, corners, and use cover plates to tidy-up the holes where cables enter the booth..
- OPTIONAL: Instead of using the pre-milled trim, I ripped a couple of 2×4’s and made my own 1-1/2″ trim.
- Apply the acoustic foam tiles to the ceiling, inside of door, sides, and back of booth
- You only have 48 sq.ft. so you’ll need to figure out how many squares go in each location.
- Build a script stand from of leftover wood. Mount it permanently to the front wall so it doesn’t vibrate or rattle.
- Finally … FINALLY … give it all a coat of paint and crack the Dom Perignon because YOU … ARE … DONE !!!
Pass it on!
Please don’t forget to share this page with your friends and colleagues who might benefit. Thanks.
Glen! I just wanted to pop in here and say thank you! A few months ago I completed work on my voice over booth which was heavily based on your design.
All told it took me about 3 months to complete. The main areas where I diverged from your plans were including interior walls and using a (used and cheap) pre-hung solid core door.
I also made mine “floating” on rubber isolation clips and didn’t connect it to my walls, to try and minimize outside vibrations getting in.
It works great and I am really happy with the results. Thanks so much for sharing all of your plans. I know for a fact that mine wouldn’t have turned out as good as it did without your info!
I’m not sure if this will allow links but I did try and document my process https://photos.app.goo.gl/izBTQRTFvrxwEAVGA
Fantastic Job Sean!!! Thank so much sharing the pics. You’ve done much better job than I managed. 🙂
Hey Glen, I’m getting ready to follow your plans and build a similar booth, but I have a question about the polystyrene foam insulation. Auralex, in their Acoustics 101 PDF (https://auralex.com/content/guides/Acoustics101.pdf) says that expanded polystyrene insulation is “mostly useless in terms of acoustical isolation” (p. 15) and that mostly useless in terms of acoustical isolation. The density of the material is very low and the material itself is a closed-cell foam. Thus, there is no mass benefit to be gained for isolation and no absorptive benefit to be gained when using it *in wall cavities*.” Any thoughts on that? I realize that you’re using it as sheeting instead of in wall cavities, but it’s making me think of replacing the foam layer with another layer of drywall.
I’m glad you found this useful and am happy to share any additional advice I can.
In hindsight, yes, I would have used a 2nd layer of drywall for the exact reasons you mention. That being said, the layer of polystyrene does serve a useful function when combined with materials of other densities. As employed in my instructions is very effective – but yes, a 2nd layer of drywall would help.
With a bigger budget, there could be many improvements. Remember, the goal of the these instructions is not to make a perfect soundproof booth, but to make sufficiently quiet booth on a tight budget.
First off, thanks so much for this amazing resource! It is obviously helping a lot of people!
I have few small questions for you, if I may ask:
One is, how did you connect your booth frame to your existing wall (or did you)?
And how did you fill in that gap (between your booth frame studs and the existing basement wall) to make sure it isn’t a source of sound getting inside?
In addition it looks like you have some baseboard trim on your basement wall. How did you deal with that it terms of making the booth fit snug against your basement wall. I mainly ask because where I am looking to make my booth, there is a decent sized baseboard that sticks out and I’m trying to figure out how to work with it.
And lastly, why did you use OSB inside instead of drywall? Is it just to have different materials to help deaden sound coming in?
(I hope I’m not asking things you already answered! I scoured everything first before I asked!)
Hi Sean. All good questions.
1) I attached the booth to the room walls with a couple of metal “L” joiners. They’re small – only about 1-1/2” – nothing too serious because the booth was already really stable. I placed them on the inside so the wedge foam hides them. I think in total I used 4. 2 on the right wall, 2 on the left wall.
2) I left the baseboard in place, which resulted in about a 1/2” gap where the booth meets the walls. I filled the gap with spray foam, and finished it with some trim. Spray foam is excellent at blocking sound.
3) In hind sight, I would have opted for MDF rather than OSB. But that would have pushed me over the $500 budget.
Hope that helps 🙂
Hi Glenn, thanks so much for the resource. I’ve been looking for something exactly like this. My room is street side next to a busy road, and the walls of the room are concrete. I’m planning to put the booth in the corner as far away from the street as possible. Would you recommend building 4 walls instead of just 2? I’m concerned the vibrations/noise could carry through the walls. For reference I’m a going to use this for voiceover recording violin.
If budget permits I would receommend four walls.
Hi Glen. I‘m planning to build my booth and studied tons of instructions on the net and YouTube. The absolutely best I found is your site and your instructions. Our world is not so bad as long as there are so gentle, kind and helpful people arround as you are. And with such great ideas…
I didn‘t even start yet, but thank you already now for all that stuf in here…
All the best and kind regards from Switzerlad
Hello Thomy! Thank you so much for the kid words. I’m happy to share some of what I’ve learned along the way – and hopefully help others avoid some of my mistakes. If you need any clarification or further advice, feel free to ask.
Hope you’re well and safe.
I had a question about drywall. How did you finish your outside corners? I’m wondering if metal corner boards helps transmit sounds? Thoughts?
I think on the outside, any material will work as a trim. Consider using construction adhesive rather than drywall screws – if possible. I used wood trim (same as my baseboard – it was on sale!). I ripped all the trim at 45-deg along one edge, then fit them together. See image below:
Hey Glen. Almost at the end of this journey. All that’s left is the door and the fan box (I opted out of the window for the sake of getting this done this century). Quick question regarding the door jamb. You mention “The overall thickness of the door frame and jamb should be 5-7/8″ (5/8″ drywall + 3-1/2″ stud + 1″ Polystyrene + 3/4″ OSB).” However, taking into the actual thickness of each material, the measured thickness of my wall sandwich is closer to 5-5/8″.
1″ polystyrene: 1″
3/4″ OSB: ~5/8″
2×4 stud: 3-1/2″
5/8″ drywall: 5/8″
Is there some aspect of this that requires that extra 1/4″ or is 5-5/8″ the correct width? Thanks as always for your help. The fact that you are still actively responding to these comments is pretty incredible!
You are correct – The jamb is a 1/4″ wider than the wall – but if you split the difference, it’s only 1/8″ on each side. The trim will hide that.
If you look at the left side of photo below, you can see where the trim meets the door jamb. (ignore the references to the magnetic catches – that was in response to another comment)
I am planning to put together an iso booth in the corner of my studio. it’s two primary uses will be as a vocal booth and as an iso booth for guitar amps. I don’t need total isolation, just a substantial reduction in sound from the amp outside the booth. Can you tell me what kind of sound reduction you get from your design? I understand that the more sound deadening I want the more mass I need. I’m just trying to figure the best bang for the buck (on a budget like everyone else! :-)) I have looked at some of the sound deadening mass loaded vinyl products but am not sure how they would perform in relation to mids and highs reflections back into the space.
Just looking for some opinions on my next steps…thanks so much and great article! The ventilation issue was something I was thinking through and came up with essentially the same solution.
I’ve put a guitar amp inside my booth – It’s okay at dampening moderate volumes, but the low-mids roar right through the walls at higher volumes.
You will need to employ two techniques; mass and decoupling.
It’s not cheap, but mass loaded vinyl is your best option for substantial low-mid reduction (https://www.tmsoundproofing.com/Mass-Loaded-Vinyl-2-pound/). Then decouple the inner walls so those low-mid waves can’t travel through the structure.
I have found a product to decouple the framed walls and framed floor. I guess I better start saving my money for the MLV!
As an aside, I won’t be allowing Marshall half stacks in the space…loudest thing I usually do is like a VOX AC 30 or something similar. Those do get pretty loud when going for a good overdriven sound.
I’m thinking MLV to line the interior and cover that with mid-high absorption and then maybe 4 inches of absorption behind that and
Yeah – sadly, real sound “proofing” isn’t cheap. If you’re using an SM57 to mic your amp inside the booth, don’t get to fussy with the inner treatment. The SM57 will only capture the loudest-direct sound right in front of the amp – it won’t pick up the nuances and reflections bouncing around inside the booth.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your notes on this. I live in a surprisingly noisy suburban area (lawn mowers, planes, etc.) with no interior rooms and closets less than 18″ deep. So I am very excited to build out a booth I can record in!
I’m designing everything in a 3D program first to work out the kinks for my setup. Between your instructions, the pictures and the Comments section, I was able to figure most of it out. But I’m running into some issues with the construction of the door itself. Maybe I’m misunderstanding something, but it doesn’t seem to add up. Could I possibly trouble you to sketch out a diagram of the door’s build?
Here’s where I’m stuck:
[A] Per the instructions, the front/back panels extend past the door frame by 1/4″ on either side: 3/4″ plywood + two 1″ foamboards + two 5/8″ gypsum = 4″. The 2×4 frame is only 3.5″ wide. This creates an issue with the trim. Did I miss something?
[B] The pictures look substantially different. It looks like there’s two sets of frames, one inside the other. Also, the exterior panel (front? back?) is flush with the frame, while the interior panel looks to be recessed from the edge of the frame with a layer of acoustic foam filling the cavity.
No one else has commented on the door, so I’m thinking it’s just me, but would you be kind enough to clarify?
Also, for the foam tape, it says “1x roll. 100-feet x 1/2″ wide, 1/4″ wide x 1/8″ thick.” I don’t understand the “1/2″ wide, 1/4″ wide” part. Do I need two different sizes/widths? Or am I cutting the 1/2″ down to 1/4″?
Thanks again, this is awesome!
The door is the most complicated part – and I really didn’t do a very good job explaining it. So … here are some pics that I hope will clarify some of it. Also, just in case you missed it, here’s a link to the page with some extra details … https://murrant.ca/ideas/vocal-booth-door-notes-and-pictures/
This is great, thank you. I’m still unclear on the thickness of the door, though. If you have a sheet of 3/4″ plywood, with two 1″ pieces of foamboard and two 5/8″ sheets of gypsum on either side, nestled in a 3.5″ stud frame… doesn’t the gypsum protrude 1/4″ from the door frame on either side?
Here’s what I see (top-down view) when I try to build it:
| |_____gypsum_____| |
| |___foamboard____| |
| |____foamboard___| |
| |_____gypsum_____| |
This is correct. The centre panel of the door will be about 1/4 thicker than the 2×4 frame. You can’t really tell – the foam tape hides it.
As an FYI, the material list says to use 1/2″ plywood, but the instructions say to use 3/4″. I bought materials based on the material list. I think it’ll be fine with 1/2″, but I would update the material list.
Well spotted. The list is corrected. Thanks Dan.
Hey Glen gotta start off by saying “Thank You!”… I have 2 walls which one I’d say it’s a room divider 5” in. Wide (sheetrock and normal insulation, frame) separates kitchen from living room. The other wall has a little more than 5 inches wide but it leads to a concrete wall (Garage). Also, I have super high ceiling so I have to create a ceiling. My question to u is, should I build a 3rd wall and just add the acoustic foam to the wall that leads to concrete or should I go ahead and make all 4 walls? One thing to note is the wall that leads to concrete already has an outlet available. Thanks again.
I can’t quite visualize your space. If you email a few pics I’ll try to help you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for helping us. My ceiling is 83″ without the Sub Floor. Adding a 6 ” False ceiling and the sub floor about 5″ would make the height standing inside the booth difficult .im 6’3 . I have a drop Ceiling like your basement .did u alter your drop ceiling to fit the false one ? if so how?
did you screw your left and right wall and sub floor to the existing walls ? My existing walls are drywall .what type of drywall crews should I your to fasten the wood to the dry wall so the crews won’t come out the wall ? what type of sealant to use to fill in the gaps between the existing wall and the panels I’m building ?
Hey there. No matter how you swing it, the booth needs its own ceiling and subfloor. But you can reduce the thickness of each …
1) The floor: As I’ve said some previous posts/comments, the ventilation “maze” in the subfloor wasn’t a total success – so you can safely skip it. Instead of framing a subfloor, just use a sheet of 3/4″ plywood for the floor. Place felt underlay, cork, or a rug under the booth to reduce sound transfer and squeaks/creaks.
2) For the ceiling, laminate a sheet of 2″ Polystyrene to a sheet of 3/4″ MDF. Then put the rock-wool in the cavities ABOVE the drop ceiling (in the spaces between the ceiling joists).
See below …
Thank you! When Adding rocwool between the joist . Do I fill the rocwool from the drop ceiling up to the top of the structural ceiling or do I just fill the joist leaving a gap / space like you have on the diagram ? I believe I need a fan because I would have 4inch auralex Max wall foam inside the booth . Is there a way to build a fan box outside the booth ? Your are the man for this .. thanks so much
Start with filling the cavities between the joists. If you have leftover Rockwell, it will also help the fill in the gap just above the drop ceiling.
As for the fan box, it is mounted on the exterior of the booth. I recommend that you locate the switch’s box on the inside of the booth, and replace the switch with a variable resistor so you can control the fan speed (rather than just on/off).
Glen, Thank you SO much for all of this informative material!!! I’m wondering if you could give me some advice? My space requires me to make my booth a rectangle 4′ x 3′, if I’ve done my home work, I will have to make the walls not perpendicular? Or I will have to add bass traps? My question is: how would I design the walls so they’re not perpendicular? Thanks again!!!
Parallel walls can lead to standing waves and phasing issues. If possible, offset the dimensions of two adjacent walls by 1″ – 2″ so the corners aren’t perfectly square. Also, using diffusers is great option! (google “DIY diffuser panels”)
Hello Glen this is Steve Y. again I sent you a question yesterday regarding adding the Polystyrene to the new sub floor yesterday as to whether the Polystyrene should be installed under the OSB or at the bottom of the new sub floor and our carpeting and here’s one more question;
-In the video it shows a hose in the wall for exhaust ventilation but was removed in your PDF above in this article-for clarity should we be using a winding hose or just build “the maze” with the studs? Please clarify and let us know and thanks agasin for sharing your design!
As you might have seen in the comments – I made a few mistakes LOL. But I learned from them. So, 3 things I learned …
1) The ventilation is mostly unnecessary. I rarely spend more than 10-15 minutes in the booth with the door closed, so I didn’t really need a fan.
2) IF you really want/need a fan, don’t use the hose. Instead, as you already picked up on, just build the maze in the wall – like this… https://murrant.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/DIY-Vocal-Booth-walls-door-rev.jpg
and #3) – put the switches INSIDE the booth.
Thanks for getting back so quickly Glen the wholw family is excited to get this build started and thanks again for supplying the final pieces for us to get going-we can hardly wait and thanks agin for sharing your design!!………….
Thanks for all of your information to date and my son and I are just about to start the project after your design just waiting on a few items, question sorry to be redundant but you are very clear about adding a layer of polystyrene at the sub floor (as for us we have a raised foundation and are concerned about sound emanating up through the floor) so here’s our question:
Is the added polystyrene just under the OSB or is it between the bottom of the sub floor and our carpeting? Could you clarify? Thanks for your time in advance and we’ve really learned a lot from your design!
Hi Steve. You mentioned that you are building the booth on carpet, which is fine – it might actually help. It will act to decouple the booth from the structural floor. Put the sheet of polystyrene right on top of the carpet, and build the booth on top of that.
I’ve got almost everything purchased and I’ve read through the instructions numerous times. I aim to build the subfloor this weekend.
What are the 4x 300 ml tubes of Foam Board Adhesive meant to be used for? You reference “Construction Adhesive” in one step with the door and once again for the fan box. On the other hand, you reference the acoustic sealant throughout almost every step of the process (including attaching the polystyrene foam to the OSB, which is what I would have thought the Foam Board Adhesive was meant for), but only call for 2x 300 ml tubes of that?
Originally I spec’d 2x tubes of acoustic sealant and 2x tubes of foam-safe construction adhesive. I found the acoustic goo was messy to work with and lacked the adhesion – so I recommend just using the construction adhesive. Apply it generously everywhere foam and wood meet. You’ll probably need all four tubes.
This guide is outstanding! I am starting work on mine in the coming weeks. I do have one question as it relates to my home. I own a cape cod style house and the booth will be on the 2nd floor beneath the slanted ceiling. Aside from accommodating the angle of the frame for the roof of the booth, is there anything else I should consider before getting started?
I think the slanted ceiling will work great to avoid standing waves, cancellation, etc.
That’s a relief to hear. I have one more concern before I really dig in, though. Since I am not building this in my basement (which I know is the ideal scenario, but I can’t build it there for various reasons), I don’t have inner walls made of concrete blocks. One is a normal plaster/gypsum wall that has another room on the other side and the other wall is the side of my house (plaster/gypsum and brick). Do you think that is sufficient for this project or should I incorporate additional soundproofing for those two walls?
Thanks for all of your help with this!
Great job and thanks for sharing. I’m wondering why not just make it a rectangle? Most ( or many) commercial booths are. Why not put door in front wall and window in side. I’m finishing my basement and planning to build a booth. At this point I’m impressed with yours And considering it.
The angled corner is there to break up standing waves inside the booth. It also made it fit better in my room – but primarily it’s for sound.
Ok thanks Glenn. Have you taken any “ decibel ” readings inside the booth? With fans on /off? I know it’s important to have a certain absence of sound for voiceover work( can’t remember the exact preferred decibel level) but I know there is one. I haven’t watched your video for a while maybe you included that in it.
Yes, the preferred decibel level (noise floor) is *none* LOL. I’m not being a smart-ass, but when it comes to noise – less is better. With the fans OFF, the booth is silent. The Rode NT1A has a native noise floor of about -70db. I also use a DBX 286S pre-amp which might add a couple of db to the floor – but it’s minimal.
With the fans ON, the noise floor climbs to about -54db. So I’ll turn the fan ON while I do some run-throughs and practice reads, then turn them OFF while actually recording.
Great design. I’ve viewed many, many hours on YouTube and this is the best design and direction of all I’ve viewed. Question- in your first photo at the top of the page, the bare wall to your left, when you step in to the booth, that is my neighbors bedroom. I’m in a one bed room apartment. I’ll be doing only voice over, recording guitar parts, and recording some singing to a sound track. would thick curtains with some type of foam help or build another wall? What would you suggest. Thank you so much for your work. This will help supplement my retirement.
Hi Perry – Sorry for the late reply. depending on how deep your voice is, and how loud you sing, I’d probably recommend building complete walls vs. just sound treatment. You’re neighbour will thank you 😉
Hi, I want to construct this booth to study in since I live in a very noisy house and neighborhood. Do I need the Polystyrene Foam Insulation if I’m not plannig to record music? Seems kind of expensive so would like to save money if I can. Is the roxul safe n’sound also required? Or can I use cheaper insulation? Thanks for any advice!
Great post. Thanks for making this info available and the video. Building a booth is a massive headache already and this is a great set of plans to make things easier.
I’ve been using just a square booth for a few years now that I built out of just wooden struts, acoustic wool, cardboard inside wall and hardboard outside. Got foam tiles all over and it was made to be broken down and rebuilt joining the pieces using hinges. It mutes some sound but its very boxy. So I’m looking at rebuilding it properly.
I was thinking about the vibration that you mention in your video. I already wondered about using computer vibration screws or even rubber washers to fix anything that carries noise. I love your concept about the sound traveling through the twisty pipe and I wonder if its just the vibration traveling through as opposed to sound waves. Got me thinking about the acoustic sealant as well and whether that might help to stop the vibrations from traveling. I’d never seen these rubber things until I built a computer with an expensive case recently. They attach to things like hard drives to stop vibration from interfering with the hard drives, presumably when they are spinning I guess. If you drop me a message in a few weeks and I’ve built my booth I’ll let you know if it works out. If you want to know exactly what they are I’ll dig them out and find out what they are exactly and where to get them. They just came with the case I think.
Are those fans efficient enough btw? I was already thinking about using that kind of fans for airflow, top to bottom actually and also just through the floor, but I hadn’t considered hot air rising and making it flow in that direction. Great idea again and now that you’ve pointed that out my floor flow doesn’t make sense really. Really great post you’ve made here. Thanks once again.
Yeah, the fans work well – and they don’t actually cause any vibration. The noise is just the sound of the air moving – like a hissing/shooshing sound, not a hum. There is a solution … use a dimmer instead of a switch to control the fan speed. Just slightly slowing the fans speed almost completely eliminated the noise.
And you’re onto something with the rubber grommits. They are great insulators and are used often to decouple walls. Good luck with the build!
Cheers Glen. I have just cut all the frame pieces, so I’m a fair way off building the fan, but that’s great info on the dimmer.
I saw a video in the past couple of days on a tour of a studio. They pointed out the fans on the wall, pumping out cool air but making no sound. I think it was a really thin panel on the studio side that I’m guessing was filtering the sound through its shape. It looked like a half inch strip, two feet high and 6 inches deep maybe if you can picture that, with like a vent on the side in like a mesh. That got me thinking about looking into it a bit deeper.
Did you notice if the sound of the fans was noticeable on both the inlet and the outlet?
Can you foresee any issue with putting the air exhaust up top, being that hot air rises?
The active ventilation fan box can be placed anywhere. As long as you have the cool, fresh air entering the booth from the bottom and warm air exhausting out from the top.
First off, thank you for posting these instructions. It is very well done and it will greatly help my recordings.
I have two questions:
1) the only wall I have that could work for this layout has a window about 37” from the corner. Should I build it within that 37”, leaving a max of ~32” of functional space, or use insulation to block up the window and make it the full size. I know you say the dimensions aren’t exact, but I think the layout you use allows for a good amount of space inside.
2) would there be a noticeable difference to instead use carpet inside the booth instead of the laminate? When I was finding other DIY solutions, they all stress the importance of carpet in your recording space (carpeted closets were one of the top recommendations for an easy studio)
No trouble at all …
1) a window would be great. I wish my booth had window to the outside. But there are two problems that you might encounter. First is noise; if you live in a noisy neighbourhood, the window will probably not be adequate to block outside noise. Secondly, glass is highly reflective and will cause acoustic problems within the booth. However – both of those problems can be mitigate with a dense, absorbent curtain
2) Carpet would be great. I only used laminate because it matched the rest of the room, but carpet would be better.
I’ve got the walls built, and I’m looking to the next step. When it comes to the ceiling, should that be done even if my booth is in my basement, where there is already a ceiling? The height of the walls from the top of the subfloor to the ceiling is 86″, and if I were to follow the drawings exactly, putting the ceiling 6 inches down could interfere with the holes drilled for the ventilation intake.
Also, for the ceiling, should 2×4 studs be screwed around the perimeter of the inside, or is the brown in the drawing actually just the OSB?
Hi Robert. The dimensions in the diagrams are all approximate. You should adjust all measurements for you own room. The ceiling is important because it will stop noise from the upstairs (people walking around, talking loud, etc.) If your house is really well built and noise from upstairs isn’t a problem, then you can probably scrimp on the booth ceiling. And yes, you are correct, the brown parts in the diagram are 2×4’s around the perimeter. (actually, I ripped them down to 2×2).
Great video- when you built the sub- floor did you cut out some of the two x four on the frame to fit the existing wall trim on the bottom.?
Good question … No. I just removed a section of the existing baseboard so the booth would sit flush against the room wall.
Hello hello! I’m still plugging away at my booth, getting much closer 🙂 I’m going to buy fans next and was wondering how you power them since they don’t lug into the wall or anything like that. I’m not much of an electronic… well I’m not at all, I know nothing lol are there quiet fans like that that I can plug into a wall? Or are there adaptors or something? Also, ,having a Mac laptop, can I not have it in the booth with me? I thought they were quiet enough to have in the booth but i don’t want to be wrong and have to redo my wiring. Thanks!
Hi Jojo. I used a really chep 12v power supply – like the one below (about $2 on amazon). Just cut off the connector and splice on an extension (16awg “lamp cord” is fine) long enough to go from your switch box to the nearest receptacle.
As for the MacBook, yes, it should be quiet enough to take in the booth. Why didn’t I think of that LOL. Would have saved me a lot of trouble.
Ok cool, so I’m going to have to do some converting of my own then! That will be an adventure! I’ve never done something like that before, I’ll look it up, but if you have any advice let me know 🙂 Thanks so much for the help!
Also, what would you think about just doing 2, more powerful, fans one to push air and one to pull? Instead of 4?
You could. Larger fans tend to be noisy – but if you can find some quiet one, it should work fine.
Here’s the basics. It’s all 12-volt DC – very low current (under 200 milliamps), so relatively safe for a DIY. Make sure all your connections are clean and snug.
Thanks so much for sharing your plans! So very generous of you! I was hoping you could give me some advice. I’m building the booth in a 1941 raised bungalow with stucco exterior walls and plaster interior walls with no insulation in between. Since the density of the materials in the walls are virtually the same – except for the studs of course – and there is no insulation, I’m thinking that I should use some of the one inch foam board on the two inside walls with some green glue or similar acoustic caulk/glue to decouple the interior wall from the booth. Do you think that would be sufficient or should I build full interior walls as well? Also, since the house is raised and has wood floors with no insulation underneath, one of my issues is low frequency resonance from under the house due to people walking in the rest of the house. I hear footsteps in the room. Should I decouple the base platform from the floor? If so, can I accomplish that with the acoustic caulk or will I need to take more drastic measures? I’m assuming I should also use Roxul insulation in the base platform. This situation would also prevent me from putting the fan tunnel in the base platform so I would have to accomplish that in some other way. One last thing. The 1 x 6 x 96 you are referring to are traditional 1x’s correct? Meaning that they are actually 3/4″ x 5.5″ x 96. Thanks for your time!
Wow! Super questions. 1) If you live close to busy/noisy road, I would frame the 3rd and 4th walls; the foam would probably not be sufficient to block traffic noise. 2) Technically, since the subfloor is not attached to floor, it is already decoupled; but I would go an extra step and add a layer of 1″ polystyrene between the subfloor and room-floor – which would allow for the fan. 3) 1x6x96 is dimensional lumber, so actually 1″ thick by 6″ wide.
Fantastic! You’re a prince Glenn! I’ve actually been thinking about using 2×6’s or 2×8’s for the subfloor so I can have extra insulation and also separate the air tunnel from the actual floor with a layer of insulation. I’ve worked with this Roxul insulation before and I’ve found that it only expands to 2.75″ to 3″. Are you ripping your 2×4’s to 3″‘s or are you allowing the Roxul to have that extra 1/2″ space in the wall? Also, what’s the latest on the acoustic sealant? Has anyone found a better product? Are you familiar with Green Glue products? Thanks again for you time!
You’re right about the Roxul (or RockWool since they re-branded). It doesn’t completely fill the cavity, but close enough, so I left the studs at 3-1/2″. I haven’t used the Green Glue, but I read it works well.
This is so very helpful! Thank you! I am basing my build off of your design and the only thing that I am confused about is the air vents. I was wondering if there were more pics for those? I think that the air vents/maze in the right wall are separate from the floor and fan?
Again, thanks so much for your time and skill!
Sorry for the delayed response. I don’t have any other pics of the air vents, but these sketchy sketches might help. A couple of notes: 1) the fans in the upper chamber of the fan box point outward – to pull the air down through the maze in the right-wall. 2) the fans in the lower chamber of the fan box point inward, to push cool air into the sub-floor maze (see below)
Hello Glen! Thank you so much for posting all of this, it is really useful! I am getting a bit confused with the casing and trim mentioned in the materials list. Is the casing (6x premium pine boards. 96″ x 6″ x 3/4″) only for the door? And I am not quite sure what the “Trim” is meant for.
Hi Audrey. I suppose I should start by apologizing to you and everyone – I’m not a carpenter and my terminology seems to have caused a lot of confusion…
The “casing” (as I called it) is actually what everybody else knows as the door “Jamb”.
And what I called the “trim”, I should have been calling the “casing”.
So … the 6″x3/4″ premium pine was for the “jamb”.
The other wood was for the “casing”, baseboards, and trim around the window. I hope that makes sense?
Thank you Glen! It does make sense 🙂
Hi Glen, Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with all of us out here trying to DIY a booth. Im going to use all this information and will be attempting it! 🙂
I’ve got one quick question: As I do not own the space Im building the booth in I will have to build all 4 side walls. I assume having it standing freely in the space will be too shaky? How would I fix it to the walls or floor without transmitting outside sound through this connection into the booth? (I’m building in a pretty noisy loft.)
Hi Eva-Marie. I don’t think you’ll have any stability problems. Use long screws to secure the four walls (like I showed in the video at 6:40). The whole structure should become very stable after the ceiling is attached as well.
As for sound transmission… the biggest concern is transmitting sound “through” the walls (i.e. from outside-to-inside). The screws that connect the four walls together really won’t cause any issue. Since you’re building in a loft, I would recommend that you beef-up the floor with an extra a layer of polystyrene.
Thank you for posting this awesome build Glen! I am working out the details of modifying and building a similar booth for my space. I was wondering if you have pictures of the hinge side of the door. I am a little unclear on the mechanics in that area. Especially when considering the overhang portion on the door for a good seal. Also, is there a reason to use the 2 circular holes rather than a floor vent , similar to this : https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-4-in-x-10-in-Brown-Floor-Diffuser-E150MB-04X10/300539116
Thank you again!
Hi Erich. I will post some extra pictures later tonight. As for the floor – I found it simpler/faster to use a hole-saw (drill-bit) for the floor, but I covered the holes with a vent cover.
Awesome, Thanks Glen! I chose piano hinges for my door, at least thats how it looks like it works in my 3D program…we shall see!
Look forward to the additional pics!
Thank you for putting this out, it really helped me in my build design.
Hi Erich. Hopefully this isn’t too late … https://murrant.ca/ideas/vocal-booth-door-notes-and-pictures/
Hi Glen, this is a great resource thanks very much for all the time you put into it. I have a booth under construction for my wife, and soon I’ll be installing the acoustic panels. Maybe I missed it in the video, but I don’t see anywhere what adhesive you used to attach the acoustic wedge foam (we ordered from the link you provided and it shipped and arrived faster than I expected) to the walls. Did you use construction adhesive caulk or something else? Thanks in advance for your time!
You’re right – I skipped that bit – sorry … I tried the construction adhesive first, but it reacted with the foam.
So I just used a cheap tube of latex caulking (ALEX brand “Painter’s Caulk”). Worked awesome. Just a few dabs on the back of each square – no spreading, no fuss. And you can adjust and reposition for a few minutes.
Oh great thanks. As an added bonus that caulk is only a couple bucks for a tube!
Are the walls resting on the floor of your house or on the platform you built?
The booth walls sit on top of the booth floor. Have a look …
Hi!! So I’m using your plans to build a booth in my NYC apartment! I’m doing it little by little and am having a lot of questions . I’m working on the floor right now. (does the floor get insulted?)
One question so far tho is… MDF vs. Oriented Strand Board. People seem to think MDF is going to be better for sound dampening. but does it really matter since I’m building a wall with varying material? Also… MDF is SO heavy. (I’m going to try and make my booth modular because we don’t have much space here. And I’d love it to not be TOOO Heavy because I’ll have to move it by my self.
Hi JoJo. All good questions.
1) In an apartment, yes – I would insulate the booth floor to block sound from bleeding to/from the apartment below you. Use a layer of Polystyrene and fill the voids with rockwool. Just don’t block the air intake.
2) Yes, MDF is better at sound reduction. It’s very dense and rigid … but it costs (and weighs) twice as much as OSB. So, if you’re on a tight budget – and need to keep the weight down – OSB is the next best thing.
AMAZING! Thank you. I hope it’s ok if I hit you up as this goes on 🙂 DO you have an IG? I’m documenting it all and would love to tag you.
No trouble at all. Happy to help. IG is murrantmedia. Thanks.
Tremendous resource! I am looking at doing something like this in my basement for recording vocals and guitar. I’ll need my PC outside the booth with maybe a wireless keyboard and mouse, Computer monitor and Audio interface inside the booth. Have you has to handle any of this? Aside from wondering if there will be any kind of hum from the interface or monitor, I also figure that a shelf for these items will impact the sound. Any thoughts?
Hi Ed. Before anything, let me just remind everybody again … don’t forget to run cables for your microphone and headphones. Don’t rely on wireless headphones – they have too much latency for recording purposes.
If you use a Mac, you can control Garage Band and Logic-Pro with your iPhone or iPad – wirelessly – from inside the booth; no need for a monitor or keyboard.
If you use a Windows machine, I would suggest a wireless keyboard with touch pad like the Logitech K400, and a wireless display adapter. I would also recommend that you mount the monitor directly on the wall (rather than setting it on shelf).
Thanks for the reply!
Definitely wasn’t planning on using wireless mike cables or monitor phones. I have a Windows machine and my DAW is Reaper. but you have me the idea to google it and it looks like they have an interface for remote controlling with an iPhone. It’s not an app (though some generic apps do exist which might do it), but it’s a browser interface and by all accounts works quite well for just stopping and starting recording and fiddling with levels a bit. I normally don’t do much except maybe a little EQ during recording vocals anyway.
Again, thanks so much for posting this resource. Gotta begin the materials identification phase. . .
Glen, the way the 4 fans are set up how is it that the warm air being pulled out isn’t immediately sucked into what’s supposed to be cool air? Getting close to finishing this part and it suddenly occurred to me. Ideas?
It’s not really an issue. There will be some, but very minimal, mixing between the exhaust and the intake. But if you are still concerned about it, you could add a small divider with an angled fin to deflect the exhaust air upward – away from the intake. See my sketch:
This is a side view of the fan-box showing where to place the divider.
In the video you were using 1/2’ OSB, plans call for 3/4”. Did you just decide after the fact that you should have used the thicker?
Precisely. The 3/4″ only costs a few bucks more – but will do a better job.
Glen, what an amazing resource!! Thank you for sharing! Regarding the subfloor, in you above instructions you state;
“Cut a sheet of 3/4″ OSB exactly to size. Lay it on top of the subfloor-frame to check the measurement – should be a perfect fit with no overhang – then remove it and set it aside. (CAREFUL here – this is messy step). Apply a generous bead of acoustic sealant compound to the entire top surface of the subfloor-frame. With help, carefully position the OSB on top of the subfloor-frame. Screw into place with LOTS of 1-3/4″ wood screws. Wipe away any sealant that squeezed out between the OSB and the frame.”
But in your YouTube video you add a layer of styrofoam to the OSB before attaching it to the subfloor base and you specifically state to NOT use many screws as they can allow sound to pass through them.
Could you clarify? Thank you!
Hi Jared. Sorry for the confusion.
In the video, I didn’t use a foam layer in the sub-floor because the booth was in my basement. However, I heard from several others who built this booth for their apartments etc., and unfortunately the sound travels down through the floor and can annoy neighbours living in the flat below..
So, in short, if you’re putting this in your basement you don’t need the foam layer in the subfloor.
But if you’re putting the booth on an upper floor of your house or in an appartment, consider including a layer of foam.
Hope this helps! 🙂
Hi Glen! Looking into following this project slightly scaled up for a slightly larger booth and with the 4th and 5th walls built on as well. When going through the materials list I noticed a couple of things:
– You don’t mention in the required materials the Durafoam that you used for the walls in your video and your diagrams. What was the number of these sheets you needed to buy for the design as presented?
– You list a 24″x24″ piece of MDF, but I couldn’t find any point in the instructions or the video where you use this MDF. What is the purpose of this piece?
Looking forward to doing this project this week as current events have meant I need to fast track this project. Hope to hear back from you soon, and thanks for the very detailed project notes!
Hi Mark! You’re right … looks like I left out some details – sorry. I’ll edit the post later, but here are the details you’re looking for: The Durofoam is just their typical 1″ poly-styrene insualtion (4×8 ft) … https://www.homedepot.ca/product/durofoam-eps-rigid-insulation-96inch-x-48inch-x-1inch/1000116769
I used the 2ft x 2ft MDF to build a script stand – nothing fancy – just a panel with a lip at the bottom to hold papers etc.
Hi. Amazing job you’ve done here Sir. Just found all this information on the web and so happy that I got that boost of confidence to DIY my own booth I desperately needed. That being said, I want to try to follow your instructions as close as possible. Would you mind pointing me to the diagrams of the project you write about in the plans for building the booth. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a link or a picture of those diagrams. Thank you. Best,
Hi Sidney. I had a problem with the site and the images were deleted by accident. I am working to restore them. Should be back on line by Feb 24. Sorry – and thanks!
Sadly, still no images as of February 26, 2020. 🙁
Really, really sorry. Things got a little busy. Should be fixed in a few hours. 🙂
Brandon here ! First off Amazing work ! I will doing this soon, my question is how do run your xlr and six cable. I know we need to close gaps so sound can not come through but what if you need to change out a faulty cable .
I would love to ask you a few questions as I will be doing this for my hone studio in Orlando to record at home records for a increase in business !
Hi Brandon. Thanks for asking such a good question … I have to admit that I overlooked this VERY IMPORTANT step in the instructions, so here it is:
While you are wiring the 12VDC for the lights and fans, you should also run any other wires that will need: At least one XLR cable for your mic, a headphone extension, monitor, for keyboard/control, and anything else you can think of.
I overlooked this step, and had to discretely drill a hole in the side of the booth to run these wires after it was all done. Doh!
I’m thinking about doing this project in y own studio and I was wondering how you would go about running the mic cable into the booth
I mentioned this in a previous comment…
“October 28, 2019 at 2:39 pm –
Hi Brandon. Thanks for asking such a good question … I have to admit that I overlooked this VERY IMPORTANT step in the instructions, so here it is:
While you are wiring the 12VDC for the lights and fans, you should also run any other wires that will need: At least one XLR cable for your mic, a headphone extension, monitor, for keyboard/control, and anything else you can think of. I overlooked this step, and had to discretely drill a hole in the side of the booth to run these wires after it was all done. Doh!”
Thanks for the mention, Eugene! Great blog BTW.
AMAZING engineering work and very creative! I’m really excited to take a crack at this. And you’re so generous to post all this publicly for free. I currently reside in a house that I rent, with a home studio business of my own. My landlord is kind enough to let me drill tons of holes into the walls as long as I paint/patch up once I move out(which I’m already planning to do, no biggie) which will be in a couple years at the least. So my question is do you have any recommendations or ideas for constructing this with at least somewhat of an ability to tear-down and rebuild without completely f**king up the structural walls/ceiling/floor beyond what simply repainting would fix once it’s times to move out? I’ve skimmed thru all the instructions a couple times and haven’t gotten it completely in my head yet, so maybe the way your plans are written currently, there is already minimal possible damage to the house.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
Hey Miles. Thanks for your comment! The booth was designed to “float” in the corner of the room. That is to say, it’s only attached to the existing walls with a couple of screws and a bit of spray foam to seal the gaps. In terms of tear-down/removal, the existing walls can be easily repaired with a bit of spackle and paint. My design wasn’t intended to be moved/re-used, but it’s possible. The booth is really just 5 pieces: floor, ceiling, door, left wall, and right wall. If you think of these parts as modules and assemble/attach them with removable fasteners, then you should be able to disassemble and relocate the booth.