Thursday, March 2, 2017

Portable sound booths: audio cubes

In an effort to provide students with a better way to record audition (for movie narration, video reflections, screencasts, and so forth) I have experiments with a few ideas.

Let me preface this by saying I have no illusions about the audiophile quality of these experiments, they are by no means perfect. What they are, instead, is a way to lesson the din of a classroom, and improve sound quality, when recording audio. My sound booth solutions will win no acoustic awards but they do a surprisingly good job in a few areas:

  • limiting background noise
  • providing more depth/richness to the student's voice since it forces them to be closer to the iPad/laptop microphone
  • make everyone else in the room more aware of recording happening
    • it was surprising to see how quiet the rest of the room got when everyone noticed the cubes being used
Here's what I did...

I have taken 3 closets and converted them into "sound booths" which I will cover in another blog post shortly. The problem with the closets are they are closets; they are fixed to a room, they are usually used for other things, like closet things, and they take a lot to convert into a reasonable sound booth.

I was aiming for a less expensive, portable solution. To that end I used extra foam purchased for the bigger closet project and some extra Ikea storage bins I had at home and created 3 portable "audio cubes" for students to record sound.

How I did it...

Velcro, acoustic foam, Ikea cubes...

I took 24x24 pieces of Pyramid foam and cut them to 6x6 (6 triangles by 6 triangles) for the 2 sides of the cube and 5x5 for the top of the cube. I used one SonoPanel for the back of the cube. Left the bottom empty for placing the student device:

Cubes in action:


Yes, the acoustic foam is expensive. I probably didn't need the SonoFlat panel piece (but it looks cool). With the $269 investment I've gotten 3 closest and 3 cubes done with about 1/2 of the case left over.

So it's a roughly $350 investment and some time but you can get a ton of flexible and portable audio recording solutions out of it.

I will be posting a write-up of how I built the audio closets shortly.

Feel free to comment here or reach out on Twitter if you have any questions...

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