Friday, June 10, 2011

The ice cream man cometh

...just as I'm starting to recordeth.  Sigh.  First my headphones pick up the slightest sound of tinkly bells.  Then I can hear the actual music emanating from the truck of our local ice cream man as he roams through the neighborhood.  It's always the same tune - "Do Your Ears Hang Low?"  Although, when I was growing up, we used to sing variations of this song that I'm sure are still around -- "Do Your Boobs/Balls Hang Low?"  -- depending on your gender.  Ah, memories of childhood.

Back to business.  Due to the growing number of suggestions and pictures I've seen of other audiobook narrators and their recording set-ups, I've been slowly improving mine.  A number of people have purchased or made foam boxes similar to the one I made to house my mic while recording.  Here's one that a fellow narrator, Clive, made himself which I found interesting.  He actually used wood for the outer housing and a couple of different types of foam to block/absorb noise.  Notice how the box is also raised so that any vibration from the table is minimized.  Clive reads from his laptop which is visible in the photo.

Unless you own a Whisper Booth or some other type of home studio, you are going to have to deal with noise.  In Clive's case, he lives in a very remote area where he doesn't have many of the noises I have but then I don't have to deal with a rooster (which Clive named Gregory Peck) in my neighborhood.  A rooster crowing is right up there with lawn services, pressure washers, delivery trucks, school buses, etc.

I'm actually considering doing what many of my fellow narrators on Iambik are already doing -- recording in a closet.  The closet I would use is in the room where I record and is a very small walk-in.  First I'd have to clean out a lot of stuff (I keep most of our Christmas decorations in there) and then shift it to another closet in the house.  Also, this closet has the attic opening in the ceiling where our ac/heat unit resides which means that I would need to be able to clear it out pretty quickly if we had to have the unit serviced.

The one thing I don't have in this closet is clothing which would actually be beneficial since it's a pretty good sound barrier.  I'm thinking of moving some of my cooler weather clothes upstairs and storing them in it.  If I push them to the sides, that would help and then I can use egg crate foam for the back of the closet.  Since I read the text from my netbook (I can't get close enough to my desktop because my mic picks up the fan noise), I'll even have a light source -- the netbook -- although I may need to take a small lamp in there with me.  So, besides the clothing and sound-proofing foam, there's just enough room for me, my mic in it's sound box and my netbook.  Oh, and my enormous bottle of water that I have with me at all times when recording.

Closet (before) with all items removed.
One of the folks at Iambik posted a link to a site where a guy made his own soundbooth from a closet.  He did all of the work himself and it only cost him around $600-$700.  Not too bad since booths that you purchase run in the thousands.  I've included 'before' and 'after' pics of this guy's soundbooth. 

Outside of booth after renovation.

Very impressive!  If you would like to see photos of the inside of his booth, just check out his step-by-step instructions with photos here . Gee, I wonder if he rents himself out for this kind of work?

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