Fine Tuning the Vocal Booth Pt. 3

by | Studio Equipment

An addendum to the previous two posts from Scott Gentle:

Had actually been meaning to publish something like this myself whenever my
official site goes online, but as mentioned, haven’t had the time to devote to
it until today when I had a rare post-holiday lull. Figured now was as good a
time as any to write it all up, and I’d just copy from this e-mail and post in
the future – so very much appreciate your getting the word out early as a sneak
preview of what may come one day…

BTW, an update on the brand search: 

After several unsuccessful tries with TinEye and Google Goggles and a whole
bunch of Google image searches, I think I’ve found out who made these…..the
aforementioned Sonex! 

Unlike the ultra high-end, rubbery-coated studio stuff I remembered
broadcast engineers quoting thousands of dollars for back in the day, this
particular panel appears to be from their “SONEXclassic” line, which I think is
VERY reasonably priced at around +/- $250 USD per box of 4-6, depending on which
of 3 available thicknesses (2″-4″) you get – check out the brochure here for all
the details and geeky scientific graphs:

Needless to say, I’m REALLY pleased to have learned this, and based on my
experience now and with their previous generation products, I’d highly recommend
Sonex products over the other cheaper, more commercially available stuff you’d
find at the big box music stores catering to the public. I think the deeper
alternating wedge pattern of their panels does a better job of breaking up
sound, and it’s very sturdy, flame-resistant, and I also think looks way cooler
and more professional if aesthetics are an issue. You’ll probably have better
luck finding it via sites and retailers catering to pro audio studios and
broadcast, and which seemed the case for most of the retailers I saw selling ’em

For the record I have 9 panels tucked into my booth, which is probably a
little bit overkill, but my location needs dictate it and I can always remove
some if needed. It has the large glass window as well as glass windowed door
options, and the Sonex probably covers 2/3-3/4 of the interior surface, with the
windows uncovered. On exceptionally noisy days or when I need higher than usual
amounts of quiet, I do notice a slight difference if I put a panel over them
(which I had no other choice but face in the railway direction in my
installation), but this is very rare – most of the noise is lower frequency and
gets zapped in the audio editor at mixdown anyway.

Oh, and one other thing I forgot to mention regarding my Whisper Room
purchase that’s worth mentioning for the home VO builder on a budget, which
could literally save someone thousands of bucks (with apologies to Whisper Room
and other booth manufacturers):

The seller, a non-musician who’d inherited it, mistakenly listed the booth
as a smaller 3.5′ x 3.5′ “Enhanced” double-walled model (MDL 4242E) , which I
verified with the factory on delivery as actually being a larger singled-walled
4′ x 4′ “Standard” (MDL 4848S) version. Their Standard booths can actually be
upgraded to Enhanced models – they essentially ship you an extra set of interior
walls, which would have cost me more than my used booth’s price (along with
increasing weight dramatically, and decreasing interior space which the Sonex
unfortunately also does). But based on my real-world experience here in NYC, I
think a box or two of SONEXclassic will be plenty sufficient for most VO types
with vocal booths and need an extra level of sound absorption and
It’s not 100% soundproof – no booth is – but it really is a big help in
noise reduction. If they’re living next to a bombing range, well, that’s another
matter entirely….

Again, please keep me in the loop on how your studio works out, and thanks
once more for featuring me on your blog, which is great stuff for any VO talent
to have in their RSS reader!

– SG


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