Last year I ran into a consistently annoying problem. How do I record a VO audition/audiobook/podcast if I have to stop recording and wait for the sound of a passing plane, large truck, motorcycle, church bell, school bell, water pipes, computer fan, or friendly cricket?
Solution - build a small room where no sound can enter or leave. Having never really built anything, I decided to do some research and planning to make sure that if I'm spending a good amount of money, I do it right. I scoured the internet for pictures, videos, and forum threads that dealt with the various stages of building this giant recording box.
If you're at all thinking of this I recommend these forums to get a sense of the work ahead of you/plethora of problems that will arise:
There are a few senior forum members that everyone listens to. Rod Gervais is one of those members who not only offers advice frequently, but also has a book about this very thing. If only I had bought it at the beginning of my planning and design, it would have saved me time. Many people echo this sentiment on the forums.
The planning took me the better part of January and February. The building took me most of my free time in March and part of April.
Home Depot and Baller Hardware sold me most of the building materials, the other stuff (like fans, window glass) I got online.
Now, for the most part, it's done. There are still a few tweaks that need to be made, but when a helicopter passes overhead or a leaf-blower passes next door, I don't hear it, so I can focus on my performance.
It wasn't possible without Rod Gervais' book and the help of many friends - Matthew Watterson for his viking strength and know how (and drill), Brian Nichols for his carpentry expertise, David Graziano for his sage advice and the loan of woodworking tools, and my fiance for many hearty home cooked meals.
What you're looking at is this - A ventilated room with a double pane tempered/laminated 1/2'' glass window. The walls are built with staggered studs for decoupling, a 1/2'' ply outer sheath, 3'' Roxul Safe N Sound Insulation, with two layers of 5/8'' drywall on the inner wall that are separated by a layer of Green Glue. The floor is plywood on a concrete slab, with Flor carpet tiles on top (I plan to add a rubber underlay later when budget allows). The ceiling is built much like the walls, except that I used chicken wire to secure the insulation.
For room treatments I built a panel resonator into the corner, and attached acoustic foam to most of the corners and wall. I'll probably continue to tweak this as I find what sounds best for recording.
I built a small shelf on the panel resonator to attach my scissor arm mic stand, and a fold out table for the podcast mic. The booth comfortably seats two people, and stays cool even with temperatures of 80-90 degrees outside.
The Escape Pod is now open for business.