TJ Richards is an audiobook narrator with a love for diverse LGBT+ fiction and damned fine stories!  She is also an LGBT+ activist, National Co-Chair of the LGBT+ Embrace Network, a Trustee for Q:Alliance and on the founding committee for RoundabOUT; Milton Keynes' Inter Company LGBT+ Network.  A busy woman indeed!

The New Booth Is Live!

When I started this little adventure last year, it quickly became apparent that no matter what technology or skill I had, if I had a shitty recording space I was going to have a shitty recorded sound.  Rocket science, right??


After months of doodling ideas on little bits of paper, watching hours and hours of YouTube videos from others who had built their own sound booths, and of course the advice of the all knowing ACX Producers Group on Facebook - I was ready to take the plunge. 


Now I just had to convince Mrs Wifey that I also needed a booth.  That part turned out to be easy because she is an amazing human who's response was "of course dear, whatever you need."  I am a damned lucky woman ya'll. 


So I sketched out an idea on the back of an envelope.  It needed to be big enough for me to work inside of, not just a recording closet but a little studio room.  I wanted to start doing punch and roll recording instead of my current dog clicker method, and for that I need to have a keyboard, mouse and monitor in the booth along with the microphone.  What I most definitely did NOT need was anything with fans - so the laptop was going to be exiled.  The plans started to take shape.


I knew from watching all those videos and reading all those blogs that the main component of noise reduction (not sound proofing as I'm not capable of perfect soundproofing on my tiny little budget) that mixing my materials - hard & soft - would help the sound waves to dissapate and get lost before they made it inside.  That's hardly a scientific explanation but honestly I think some of it is made of magic....


Anyhow, I sketched out my ideas on an envelope and showed Wifey.  She is the practical half of our dynamic duo, whilst I am the envelope scribbler.  She did what she always does and made it even better.  For example, she based the measurements of the booth on the standard size of acoustic plasterboard that we could easily buy (cheaply) from our local DIY store, to minimise cuts and keep things easier.  See?  She's a gem!


The basic design is this - 3 walls, a floor, cieling, and door.  Each need to be as sound proof as possible and provide enough space for me to ply my trade inside.  The walls are simple stud wall constructions with acoutic plasterboard on the outside.  All seams are then sealed with super flexible bathroom sealant.  The more flexible the better, as this stops air (and sound!) getting through the gaps and and the less sound can conduct itself through it.  The wall cavities are then packed with rock wool insulation (on sale!), and topped off with a set of heavy, thermal lined velvety curtains my mother in law was getting rid of - which were EXACTLY the right size to use one per wall with no cutting or tucking.  LIKE A GLOVE!


The floor is set 2 inches from the room floor, and the gap filled with polystyrene insulation.  Why polystyrene?  Because we had some - and because we are on a budget.  On top of that is a layer of half inch plywood, and then topped with a layer of 5mm foam from some gaskets my wife was making at work.  All the foam was going to be thrown out, and is self adhesive so I figured we'd put that to use as well.  On top of the layer of thin gasket foam I layed carpet tiles.  Just cheap tiles my in laws had bought and were replacing with nicer ones. 


The cieling was built in a similar manner (in reverse), acoustic plaster board, topped with rock wool insulation and covered with more thick velvelt curtains like a giant cushion. 


We also installed a cheap LED light panel that we bought off of Amazon, because I buy most of my life off of there so why not?  Then a simple workbench was installed, layered with the gasket foam and then carpet tiles. 


Then I drilled a small hole at the bottom of one wall to run all my cables through - the basic idea being that the laptop sits outside whilst cables connect it to my keyboard, mouse and monitor from my old tower PC which is currently shoved inside an old 1920's wooden radio case that is gorgeous - but still in a box following our move...........2 years ago.......


So that's about it really.  I have a Focusrite solo USB that plugs into my Asus laptop, and into that go my Audio Technica ATH-M30X studio headphones and my Samson CO1 studio mic.  I run Audacity on the laptop and am trying to learn Reaper although there are about 4 million options that I have little chance of figuring out quickly...


Ok, I know you want pictures so here we go...