Saturday, August 20, 2011

Into the closet, scum queen!*

* Adapted from the line "Into the mud, scum queen" from the Steve Martin movie The Man With Two Brains.

Well, it finally happened.  I've been driven to record audiobooks in my closet.  I knew it was only a matter of time but I needed to clear the closet and then set up my mic, script (paper or netbook, depending), and various other items such as water, throat lozenges and this wonderful mouth spray called 'Entertainer's Secret.'  It really does help to cut down on the mouth clicks.  Some days it's dry mouth and other days I feel like Mr. Slurpy.   This spray is great for dry mouth/and or throat days.

I've also added to my arsenal of physical barriers to cut down on mouth sounds getting into my recordings.  Besides the black mesh pop filter that I've been using, I came across another more substantial filter made by Blue, the company that made my microphone -- the Blue Yeti.  It attaches to my mic but can be used with just about any brand of microphone.   It's made of two metal mesh screens that actually curve around the front of the mic.  I bought mine from Amazon which is one of the cheapest places to buy one.  The price can range from $30-$70 depending on where you buy it.  This filter really makes a difference, particularly with breathing noise.

My studio -- not pretty but it gets the job done.
I've been recording from my closet/studio for several weeks now and it's such a big difference when it comes to outside noises.  I covered the back wall of the closet with an egg crate mattress that we weren't using.  Just nailed it to the wall.  Then I nailed old blankets to the side walls and the front wall where the door of the closet opens into the room.  When I shut the closet door, I just pull the blanket on that wall across the door and attach it to a nail I already have there holding the blanket from the side.  Still close enough for my mic's USB cord to plug into my desktop but away from the computer noise.  I'm lucky that this is an inner closet.  No outer walls of the house are near it and there's an attic above it.  This cuts out almost all street noise unless an enormous jet flies overhead or there's a thunderstorm going on.  Since the closet is carpeted, I actually sit on the floor, cross-legged, which is very comfortable for me.  I can lean back into the egg-crate and I have my mic still inside it's little protective box I built for it.  I can't see my computer screen once I shut the closet door but I've found that that really doesn't matter.  I don't have a tendency to 'spike' in my speech unless I stop to cough which gets edited out, anyway.

I have the mic box stacked on heavy books so that it's directly in front of my mouth when I speak, although I usually speak 'across' it as I'm reading from a paper script or from my netbook.  The small parsons table is there to hold my water, throat lozenges, throat spray and lip balm.  (Dry lips can present a problem, too.)  The string you see hanging in the doorway allows me to turn the closet light on from the floor. I'm currently finishing up another book on LibriVox and I'm sending out auditions for more Iambik books (now made in my 'studio').  I still have one book I finished for Iambik that hasn't been published yet.  It's in post-production but should be out within a month.  I'll post here, as usual, when it's available.


  1. Good job! Looks like you're set. I'm sure this is what professionals do.

  2. :D Well, it's certainly an improvement for me but a professional booth would be REALLY nice.