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How to build a soundbooth on the cheap

August 7th, 2009

Today we will be going over the ThoughtLab “high quality sound booth on the cheap” project. This is a great project if you need a sound booth with excellent sound quality on a budget. Additionally there is a bonus with this simple design in that the sound booth can be collapsed to save space. For this project you will need a drill, jigsaw, staple gun and razor blade.

The overall construction of the sound booth is very simple. This is a simple diagram to clearly illustrate the box layout.
For this project we recommend using 1/2 inch to 5/8ths inch plywood. To save some time you can have your local home improvement store cut the pieces for you.
You will need the following pieces cut.
4 – 4X6’6” – sides
1 – 4’X4’ – top
The key component for your sound booths effectiveness will be the sound proofing material. We chose to use an open cell foam based product that is cut in 2’ X 4’ panels produced by Auralex. We picked ours up from Guitar Center. This material can range greatly in price but you can start your booth at about 2.00 – 5.00 per square foot.
With the door closed the booth gets very dark inside, so we installed a light. To keep with the theme of cheap we used an 8.00 aluminum clam shell light from our local home improvement store. We simply cut a hole in the top, hot glued it in place and used a compact florescent bulb to keep heat to a minimum in our small enclosed well insulated box.
We use a handful of different pieces of hardware for this build that are all easily available at your local hardware store.
4 – Corner brackets (3.50)
4 – L brackets (3.00)
2 – gate hinges (8.00)
1 – Box of ¾” Screws (5.00)
Step one: Take the foam panels and use a staple gun to attach them to the board. Most staple guns have adjustable depth to accommodate for different staple sizes. If yours is adjustable you will want to adjust it to leave space for the compressed foam under it so that it doesn’t accidentally cut it.
Here we have our panels with the foam attached to them all ready for assembly. If you attach the hinges with the boards laying down it is easier to stand up and assemble.
With a few extra hands, stand the pieces up and connect them with the l brackets and screws. If the foam is slightly crushed inside it can be fixed by cutting out a small section of one side to allow for overlap.
Here we have a picture of the drill screwing the bracket into the wood… now there is actually a trick to this. Screw the bracket to one of the panels by itself first. Make sure to account for any gap you may need for the other panel. Once that’s done you will need to likely squeeze the second panel into place because the foam is springy. A second set of hands helps here.
With all four walls standing, have a person stand in the center and place the top on. The person in the center can hold it up so another person can apply the final screws to hold it together.
Here is the completed sound booth with the top light installed. Make sure you install the light before you put the top on… it just makes life easier.
More pics of the sound booth. You can see it is actually quite roomy. I suppose if you wanted to save on material cost you could actually do a 3X3 box… but then you just get cranky voice talent…
So… next up is to put the sound booth to use. We actually fell in love with Adobe Audition for recording and editing. It makes cleaning up the audio very simple and is user friendly (especially if you are used to the other tools in the Adobe arsenal. One thing to point out is the importance of a good microphone with a good stand and pop shield. This will reduce any noise you get from your voice that could cause the stand to vibrate…
Jonathan Sings for you.
Jonathan Sings for you.
You can also hear a more heavily edited end result at Winder Farms’ refer a friend site. To hear what was recorded in this booth you have to go to the third step of the process – all of those recordings were done in the soundbooth.

9 Responses to "How to build a soundbooth on the cheap"
jared bouck says: August 7th, 2009 at 11:30am

Oh and one more thing… this soundbooth is really effective! so its a great place for naps if you need one.

Shon Ross says: August 7th, 2009 at 11:57am

Okay – we highly recommend inviting Alyssa to come and sing for you – or …..anyone…….you got us laughing that is for sure …… I finally found someone to rival Rudy.

Web Design Solutions says: August 13th, 2009 at 5:53am

This is a unique post.Thanks for elaborating the points too.

Generic says: September 14th, 2009 at 8:57pm

yeh right.. great post, Thank You

chris s says: September 16th, 2009 at 12:46pm

Pretty cool — thanks for the post…

I’m looking to build a relatively cheap soundproof booth to play my drums…it would have to be slightly bigger in size than the one you built, but do you think it’d work? That is using the plywood & sound proofing material. Have you tired to play a drum (or something that you bang on similar to drums that would be loud and have the equivalent “shock wave” ) in this soundbooth yet? And if so, did it muffle the sound?

thanks again!

Porpal says: October 16th, 2009 at 11:03am

Can I quote a post in your blog with a link to you?

Moomoo says: February 20th, 2010 at 6:00am

Nice work.. just love the idea :D

Kawon1 says: February 25th, 2010 at 2:31am

Its guys like you who keep this sh*t fun and interresting!!!!! i would give you guys a f*cking hug if i knew you…lol!!!! keep the info coming my dudes…later!!!!!

Tom Hathaway El Cajon, CA says: December 29th, 2010 at 11:53am

Thanks for sharing. I really like your “guerrilla” approach to recording. Good luck. 8-D