Most audio professionals seek a natural but controlled environment for recording vocals and instruments, which is usually achieved with a dedicated room or booth. But for those with project studios, there can be major limitations around space and budget.
As a result, portable booths have become a very popular solution, but it does pose the question of just how effective an open vocal booth will perform when trying to get that all important vocal sound, especially in highly reflective environments?
To find the answer, UK based designers and manufacturers Imperative Audio put forward their Portable Vocal Booth and looked at several venues that would be able to provide a reflection time beyond that offered in most project or commercial studios, sound stages or even most home settings. And it was St. Albans Cathedral that provided the perfect sonic environment and who kindly closed off the nave for a few hours so the test could go ahead.
Singer, Lucy Kane, was set up at the centre of the cathedral nave where the reflection time measured 3.03 seconds. The plan was to move the IA PVB (Portable Vocal Booth) over Lucy as she sang and then to measure the reflections while also monitoring the signal to see if it retained a natural sound.
Lucy was close mic’d using a Neumann U87 and 4 Imperative Audio Lucent condenser mics were used to record the ambient signal.
“You never know quite what you’re going to get when heading into these projects. St. Albans Cathedral is a beautiful and historic building, and in a normal session I would of paid to use its natural reverb on Lucy’s voice, it sounded amazing. But we were there to do a test.” Explained IA PVB designer Dave West
“And even though we knew that the PVB would perform well, even we were amazed by what we were heard.”
The resulting internal PVB measurement was 0.07 seconds which demonstrates the booth’s ability to tame even the most dramatic reflections.
To watch and hear the test for yourself, go to our Youtube Channel
More on the PVB:
The Portable Vocal Booth (PVB) is the ultimate home and studio recording solution for musicians and voiceover artists. The PVB is as close as you can get to a truly portable microphone friendly vocal/voice recording environment without building a perfect acoustically treated environment in your home or studio.
The PVB solves most of the problems that we encounter trying to record vocals in an untreated room. This is thanks to its cylindrical design which helps to eliminate offensive reflections and standing waves found in acoustic solutions with corners, which in turn gives you a clean, balanced, and unaffected recording result.
Creating the right environment for you and your microphone is paramount for achieving great sound and performance. Space, comfort, versatility, and acoustics are all key elements for any vocal or instrument booth.