If you want to record a podcast or demo a new song, you don’t need a professional recording studio. You may have heard that all you need is a closet. But does a recording booth in the closet really work? The short answer is yes! But of course it will work better in some situations than others.
Below, we’ve explored the ins and outs of registering in a closet and how to make it worthwhile.
Does a cabinet create a good recording space?
If you compare a recording booth in the closet with a studio, of course, it won’t give you better results. But many of us don’t have access to good recording space, and a closet is best.
That doesn’t mean it won’t sound good though. With a little bit of tinkering, you can absolutely produce broadcast-quality off-screen audio, with little more than a few added blankets, pillows, and towels, as Sound on Sound demonstrates.
If you are a songwriter, you can also record vocals, but they will simply have a different sound quality. A small recording space will produce relatively dry audio as there is not much room for the frequencies to reverberate.
The kind of sound you get when recording in a cabinet will be narrower and less spacious. You can imagine the difference when you think you are making noise in a large school room versus a small bedroom at home.
While it might look different, the quality of the results can be comparable. Listen to the example above and you’ll find there isn’t a monumental gap between recording in the closet and in a home studio setup.
Try it out for yourself by recording the voices in your closet and then in a bedroom or home studio. If you hear a lot of outside noises from the street or from inside your home, then a closet can really help improve your situation.
When to register in a closet
The good thing about a cabinet is that it can block out noise and provide enough isolated space to get a clean recording. Filling your closet with pillows and rugs (if you have a wooden floor) further “dampens” the space and prevents your voice from echoing.
This makes for a good environment for voiceovers and podcasts where you don’t need a lot of reverb. And as for voice recording, you can always add reverb and other vocal effects in post-production.
On the other hand, it won’t produce great results for some types of music. Jazz, country, rock and folk are just a few genres that would be best recorded in a room that has at least one natural reverb. Where it might work is with some types of pop and electronic music that use creative vocal effects, which will still mask the natural sound of a room.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are multiple steps involved in audio production and while recording in the right space is one of them, a lot happens on the software side. Learning how to fix audio clipping in your DAW, for example, is another way to get high-quality results.
Evaluate your space
In most cases, you’ll need to do some closet work to make it worth signing up. If you treat it like any other recording setup, you can make improvements by tweaking a few things.
Cabinets with hardwood floors will reflect more sounds which can cause problems. The same can be said of the walls, so if you think your recording sounds terrible, try adding some rugs to the floor and fill the space with pillows.
You can also try using a sleeping bag or blanket to enclose the space rather than closing the door. The blanket will allow some frequencies to be absorbed by reducing the overall accumulation of other frequencies.
If you have a large walk-in closet you may also be able to record the instruments inside. Some are large enough to even set up an entire workstation, and that’s how musician and songwriter Ben Cowling was able to record his first debut single. Ultimately, you can achieve a lot with a simple closet if you have no other options.
Alternative DIY logging booths
Sometimes, despite your best efforts to make it work, a closet may not sound good to you. If so, there are still plenty of options you can try to create a voice recording booth at home. Here’s what else you can do with things lying around the house:
- Build a strong mattress by using a sofa or other piece of furniture to create a corner where you can register. Use blankets to enclose the space and create good sound insulation.
- Build a covered tent using stacked furniture or lightweight PVC tubing that can be fitted together to create a frame. Hang the blankets over the frame and fill it with sound absorbing material such as towels and pillows.
- Build a soundproofing box by filling a large container or cardboard box with foam. This portable solution is great if you’re really working with limited space.
A tip for finding examples of DIY sound booths is to search Pinterest. Here you can find numerous ways that people have used objects in their homes to create the structures mentioned above. Building a home recording booth is just one of many DIY hacks to enhance your home recording studio.
The recording cabinet to the rescue
When all else fails, turning your closet into a recording space is a great solution. It costs nothing to build and can be upgraded with just a few household items.
A cabinet can provide the extra sound insulation you need to make your podcast, voiceover, or voice recording much more professional. If you want to dabble in some DIY audio engineering, turning your neighbor into a recording booth is definitely worth a try.
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