Adventures in Sound Proofing

In my current home, my recording “booth” is a large walk-in closet with a vaulted ceiling located off my sons’ “Jam Room”. All of my boys play one or more musical instruments and that room is FULL of music making gear. I hung out-of-season clothes in the closet and then covered the high wooden shelves and clothes with moving blankets.  (the movers heard me saying I coveted them for soundproofing and very kindly “forgot” some for me!) The ceiling and side and back walls are covered with acoustic foam tiles, and the floor is carpeted.  The microphone and tablet stand are nestled in the moving blankets creating a cozy place for me to either stand or sit to work.  IMG_9992  Overall, I have an excellent “noise floor” (the sound of the room when there is no extra noise – no movement, breath, speech – just the room’s silence)…however, I also have four sons, three dogs, and three cats.

When I first got the booth set up, I conducted extensive tests to determine what the boys could and could not do while I was working. I set myself up in the room with all my gear and my cell phone. My oldest son herded his brothers around and followed my texted instructions as I sent them from room to room, telling them to talk loudly or quietly, to laugh, or even to go outside and bounce a basketball.  Next we had to test the television.  Because of the wood floors throughout the downstairs, we have found that the ONLY place to speak AT ALL while I am recording is the den.  And even there they must murmur.  They can watch television if it’s quiet and they use subtitles. Plus I must be careful what shows I allow.  Nothing that incites hysterical giggling is permitted, of course. On the whole, they have been marvelous during my work times.  The animals, however, get up to their own mischief.  I have had cats hiding in the booth and scratching at the door of it while I’m recording…and of course the dogs have had their moments of “GOOD GOD WOMAN THERE IS A SQUIRREL OUTSIDE!!!”.

On top of all of that, I of course need to be concerned about excessive rain and thunderstorms – too noisy on the roof – and lawn mowers and helicopters.  We live near a military base, so military aircraft and the occasional round of artillery can be a factor.  I’m just glad we live in a very quiet neighborhood!

My next goal for my booth is to acquire some sort of small desk where I can have my workstation directly in front of me while I’m recording so I can improve my “punch and roll” technique for a more streamlined approach to editing while recording.


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