NAMM Preview: The Portable Vocal Booth 2

Let’s face it buddy, you’re probably never going to get around to acoustically treating your recording area. It’s expensive, you probably don’t understand the physics behind it, and your contractor laughed at you when you asked him for an estimate on raising your basement’s ceiling by a few feet. So no, it’s never going to look like this. But if you can’t build yourself a good live room, at the very least you can avoid bad reflections* and achieve some neutral deadness. Hell, half of you only use a mic when it’s time to track a vocal anyway.


The Editors Keys Portable Vocal Booth has been a solid and inexpensive solution to for the ambiance-challenged. It’s pretty simple, just a catcher’s mitt that goes behind the mic and largely filters out all the sound waves that you don’t want coming back at you, so you get a clear, direct, dry recording. It’s especially ideal for aggressive metal vocalists who want to be punchy and up front in the mix, but even if you want some reverb and delay on your voice, I’d wager that the “drywall and concrete shitty room” isn’t a preset that anyone wants to be dialing up.

Well now the Portable Vocal Booth has been revised with new foam, and an included stand (although that does seem to have raised the cost, unless the old one is simply being sold at a clearance price). I’ll have to hear an a/b comparison before weighing in on whether the design changes are anything to get excited about, but I was a fan of the original product regardless. If you have to track vocals (and it’s useful for a lot of guitar tracks as well) in less then ideal acoustic circumstances then it’s a serious problem solver.

*Bad Reflections is my new hair-metal band. We’re opening for Bent Brother at the Stone Pony next Tuesday. We’ll be selling tickets in the parking lot before the show. I’ll be the guy with the blue Camaro.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

Latest comments
  • Not sure why these are so popular. They do more harm than good to the sound. And comparing a large diaphragm condenser mic with over hyped top with a crappy lavalier makes no sense at all.

    • I agree that the mic comparison was unfair, and unscientific, but I’d disagree that they do more harm than good. If you have a great sounding, or even a neutral, room, then this probably isn’t the product for you. But if you have to record in a room with a lot of outside bleed-in, or you have concrete walls, etc, it can be really useful.

      And some people just like the driest possible recording and prefer to handle all ambiance in mixdown. For example, I once tracked vocals with Will Putney at the Machine Shop and he put the mic in the corner of the room, where the walls were treated to absorb all the sound. It was essentially the same effect.

      • There are several differences. Surface and more importantly mass, not to mention possible absorption and diffusion material that you typically find in pro studios.

  • Or you could just use a SM7b like every other budget metal band out there and not worry about it picking up much of the reflections.

    • Fuck you Stan, beta 58 fo lyfe!

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