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The History of Voice Acting

Voice acting has become a popular alternative to being in front of the camera, and it done professionally as well as for fun by hobbyists. Can you believe it’s been almost 110 years since what is regarded as the first ever voice over was recorded? Many wrongly assume that Walt Disney was the first voice actor, voicing Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie in 1928, but it was actually Reginald Fessenden in 1906 who holds this achievement.

On Christmas Eve 1906, Fessenden became radio’s first ever voice, although six years earlier, he had successfully reported on the weather during a test whilst working for the United States Weather Bureau.  Fessenden reported that on the evening of December 24, 1906 (Christmas Eve), he had made the first of two radio broadcasts of music and entertainment to a general audience, using the alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock. The broadcast consisted of Christmas messages and music.

Although this may not be considered today’s definition of voice acting, we can agree that radio programs did include a lot of voice acting. Radio hosts, as well as radio narrative programs, needed talented actors to relay                                                        their stories over the air.

Today’s definition of voice acting is usually related to actors that voice animated characters. And of course, of the most recognized early voice actors was none other than Walt Disney. Walt, together with his wife Lilly, his brother Roy’s wife Edna, and Ub Iwerks, inked the first Mickey Mouse cartoons in 1928. The first two cartoons he created with Mickey didn’t sell so he added synchronized sound and provided the voices to Mickey and Minnie to the third one, Steamboat Willie. Walt Disney continued to voice Micky and Minnie Mouse until 1946.

 

 

Another key voice actor also belonged in the cartoon industry. Mel Blanc worked for Warner Bros. and Leon Schlesinger Productions and quickly became one of the most prominent voice actors of the time. A former radio personality, Mel first joined Leon Schlesinger Productions in 1936 and earned himself the title, “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” one which, to this day, he is still referred to by.  Voicing some of the history’s most famous cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and other Warner Bros. classics, Mel is accepted by many as the first outstanding voice actor who set the bar at an incredibly high level for others to follow in his footsteps over the forthcoming years.

Prior to Mel’s involvement with Leon Schlesinger Productions, voice artists were given no on-screen credit for their work; something which changed when the company refused to award him a pay rise. As a compromise, Blanc requested that his name be added to the credits. This did wonders for his career and quickly earned him a wealth of recognition. The question we must ask is, at what stage would voice artists have been credited had Mel not asked for, and been turned down, that pay rise?

Fast forward to the present and we now find that there’s often a very fine line between a big screen actor and a voice actor and, whilst there was once a clear divide, recent years have seen some of Hollywood’s most known names voicing animated characters in both film and TV.

We will continue to explore some of today’s voice actors for movies, TV, radio, and podcasts. Stay tuned to learn more about the most influential voice actors across the nation and in the world.

How to Control Sound Reflections in a Voice Over Recording Studio

What are sound reflections and reverberations and why do you need to care?

When we talk about sound reflections think echo.

If you are in mountains, a cave, large hall or an empty room,  say something or just clap your hands – that sound gets back to you as an echo ( reflections) and repeats itself over and over ( reverberations) until it loses its energy and dies (reverberant decay).   This is because the sound reflects from one hard surface goes to the other and reflects over and over again until it loses its energy.

The same exact process happens in your studio, except that you might not hear it as loud as in a cave, but sensitive microphone will pick it up and your recording will be “inadequate”.

 

HOW THE SOUND BEHAVES IN A VOICE OVER STUDIO

Sound energy can be reflected by the surfaces in the room and bounce around or it can be partially absorbed, lose some of that energy and bounce around a bit less, or it can hit an odd shaped object, break apart and go in different directions with diminished energy (diffused).

These behaviors can be problematic in a recording studio – sound waves bouncing inside the room can interfere with each other, cancel or reinforce the energy at certain points,  which makes a recording in the room difficult.

How your recording affected by the way sound waves behave in a room depends on a number of factors – the frequency of the sound wave; the shape and dimensions of the room; the materials that the walls and ceiling and floor are made of and covered with; how many doors and windows are there, and where they are placed, location of the microphone and voice other actor in relation to the nearest walls , etc.,  and the contents of the room ( furniture, tapestry, equipment etc.)

One of the biggest factors that determine what happens with sound in a room is the frequency of the sound wave. As we discussed in the previous article,  lower frequencies wavelengths are long, and sound waves are more powerful.  Low-frequency sound  wave cannot be reflected by a small obstacle, so it  bends around objects in the room  and  passes through lighter materials
At mid and high frequencies, say 100Hz or so and above – sound waves are more straightforward and easier to control.

Their behavior in the room can be compared to that of a tennis ball: they bounce from hard surfaces and being slowed down (absorbed) by soft surfaces.

 

First reflection:

 

Then it will bounce from a corner:

Then from the other wall:

And so on until it loses its energy. The harder and flatter the surface – the stronger the reflected sound and the longer it will be bouncing around before it dies.

(This is just a simplified example, in reality, a surface has to have a dimension equal to a wavelength to reflect sound in this manner. So our 100Hz wave will bounce off a roughly 12 ft wide wall. But will diffract (bend around) around objects that have dimensions smaller than 12 ft wide. Also, sound waves are omnidirectional, meaning that they go in all directions at once, so when they reflect they also interact and affect each other).

However, throw a ball against a pillow and it will stop because the direct energy will be absorbed by the pillow.

That’s the basic idea.

 

WHY REFLECTIONS ARE BAD FOR YOUR RECORDING

In reality, the voice over actor is positioned right in front of a microphone, so the microphone will pick up the sound coming directly from you, the speaker, but it will also record the sound waves reflected off by nearby walls and other surfaces.

The problem is that the microphone will record the sound from the voice over actor a very short time before the sound reflected off the walls gets to it too.  How long the delay depends on how far away the nearest reflective surface is.

This delay between the two sound waves ( direct and reflected) can result in phase differences in the waves.

As the direct sound waves of your voice and the reflected sound combine, the time/phase delay can cause cancellations and/or reinforcements in the sound waves, changing the tonality of what you are recording.

This effect is known as “comb filtering”.   And if the tonality is changed, you are not recording what you are really saying, or rather not the way you say it.

 

ARE THERE BAD AND GOOD REFLECTIONS?

Well, ideally you do not want any reflections in your recording. You want only direct sound to be recorded. But some reflections are indeed worse than others.

First reflections.

The worst and most powerful are the so-called first reflections.  These are the sound waves that bounced the first time, less than 20 milliseconds or so after the direct sound. Sound travels at a rate of about one foot per millisecond, so that means that any reflective surface within about 10 feet or so of the recording position will cause problems.
There are also Secondary (second bounce) and tertiary (third bounce) reflections.

 

Flutter echo

Flutter echo happens when the sound waves are reflected directly between two parallel surfaces – say opposing walls in a small room – back and forth.  Try it in a smallish room with hard parallel bare walls: clap your hands and you’ll  hear a rattling sound – that is flatter echo.

Most of apartment and house rooms have parallel walls, so flutter echo can be a real problem when you are recording with a microphone.

 

Reverberant decay

Reverberation is the sound left ringing in the room after the direct sound from the sound source stops.  It is those secondary and tertiary reflections, it is that remaining reflected sound that tends to wash together.

For most recording too much reverberation that lasts too long is a problem – recording clarity will be compromised, and there may be phase problems.

Equally important is making sure that the reverberant decay across the frequency range is even. If the reverberant decay for high frequencies is different than for low frequencies, the room will have a characteristic sound that probably won’t be desirable – a bright ring, boomy low end,  or uneven midrange. However, if the reverberant decay is too short, the room will have a dry, dead feeling and sound that will be uncomfortable.

 

HOW TO MANAGE REFLECTIONS AND REVERBERATIONS.

If you are thinking of setting up your voice over recording studio you might be choosing a spot in a bedroom a walk-in closet or may be in a spare room.

If you start with an empty room with hard surfaces on the walls, ceiling, and floors what do you do to manage reflections and reverberant decay?  There are two different methods:  absorption and diffusion, each of which is effective for solving certain problems. But in small rooms such as home recording studio diffusion is not as effective as absorption.  We will stop on Diffusion briefly because they are not exclusive and a combination of the two methods can be used successfully.

 

DIFFUSION

“Diffusion” is breaking a single sound wave into smaller reflections and dispersing them in different directions.  Because there are no big reflections going back to the microphone, first reflection problems are reduced, and because diffusive materials are irregular in shape, flatter echo is eliminated.  Although reverberation won’t be eliminated, scattering and breaking up the reflections tends to result in a smoother reverberation at a lower level.

While any irregular surface can break down reflections at some frequencies to a degree, to figure out exactly how to make a diffuser that evenly scatters a broad frequency range of sound waves requires specialized diffusion materials. Such specialized diffusers are hard to build and they can be expensive.

 

ABSORPTION

Remember the example of echo in the mountains?  Now, why is it so quiet when the snow is falling?  That is because the snowflakes absorb the sound and speed up the reverberant decay.

For voice over recording studios, absorption is the main method for managing first reflections in mid- and high-frequency range,  flutter echo and reverberant decay.

The idea is to use sound absorption materials placed at the main reflection points to reduce – absorb – sound energy so that the level of the reflected sound waves is significantly quieter than the direct sound.

Absorption works best with high- and midrange frequencies. Lower frequencies require large quantities of absorptive material for effective energy reduction.

Very high frequencies have a very little energy compared to low frequencies, so thin, soft materials can be used to absorb them.  As the frequency gets lower, thicker and heavier absorptive materials are required.   Those thicker sound absorption materials are even more effective at controlling high frequencies.

There is an array or sound absorption materials that can be used and we will talk in details about it later. Most fall into the category of porous absorbers. These materials consist mineral wool, acoustic blankets,  clothing, curtains, carpets and acoustic foam

The sound-absorbing effect comes from the fact that the sound energy can penetrate the material on hitting the surface. Here, the sound energy is converted into heat energy, so that only a small part is reflected in the form of sound energy. In other words, the material has absorbed some of the sounds.

The sound absorption in acoustic foam and acoustic sound absorption blankets works differently. 

 

Acoustic foam is a popular material for lining up the recording studios.  They are often shaped in a conical or egg crate shape.  The make of acoustic foam is different from the make of the packing foam even though they might look the same and even YouTubers may claim they can stuff the packing foam in the box and it works great.  Packing foam made out of CLOSED channel foam, so the air trapped in the channels provides more cushioning.  But for the sound to be absorbed, it has to have a way to enter the material. This is why acoustic foam is made with OPEN channels. So-called “Open Cell Foam”  The sound gets in and then travels through the twisted channels bouncing off the internal walls and losing its energy.  The reason for the egg crate surface of the foam is to increase the absorption area and allow more opportunity for the sound to get in.  The thicker the foam the more sound it absorbs. This is why unechoic chamber lined up with acoustic foam with two feet deep wedges.

The other difference is that acoustic foam is generally rated as fire retardant – an important factor because some types of foam are extremely flammable and therefore not safe for residences and businesses

 

Acoustic blankets, on the other hand, work differently. Unlike moving blankets filled with low quality mixed with recycled polyester and cotton fibers, specialized acoustic Blankets known as “Producer’s choice”, filled with highly absorptive cotton.  As the sound gets in it agitates the cotton fibers and by making them vibrate it loses its own energy.

The thicker the blanket, the more filler it has, the better its sound absorption efficiency and broader its frequency range.  Using blankets in pleated fashion increases the absorption surface and increases the total quantity of absorption material in the room.

 

Fiberglass InsulationGlass fiber is another common absorptive material. The rigid variety such as Owens Corning 700 fiberglass series provides decent absorption in high and mid frequency range. Rock wool Safe and Sound is used to fill the space between drywall during construction for better soundproofing.  It is also can be used in the corners as a bass trap.   RockWool and  Glass fiber, of course, can be a major irritant, so make sure to cover it and do not disturb, to prevent strands from getting into the air.

Regular household materials such as soft furniture with fabric upholstery, pillows, curtains and drapes, blankets, carpet and so on, all absorb sound to one degree or another at mid and high frequencies.

 

HOW MUCH ABSORPTION SHOULD YOU USE?

So you have to get rid of reflections do you just line up the walls, floor and ceiling of your studio with sound absorbing the material and start recording?

But it’s not quite that simple.  Many types of absorptive materials only work well on higher frequencies, leaving midrange sound bouncing around without much control.

This can result in an odd, dark –sounding room with no high end. If you have too much absorption in the upper frequencies,  the mid- and high-frequency reflections will be reduced, but the bass frequencies will be bouncing around, resulting in a boomy, bassy room that sounds muddy.  Too much of the overall absorption and the room will sound too dead and it will be uncomfortable to work in.

The idea is to use just enough to control first reflections and to tame reverberation decay. Keep in mind that you can always add more absorption if the room still seems too live.

The right balance is the key to finding the right amount of absorption in the proper location so they will be as effective as possible – enough to control the mid and high range, and enough bass traps to end up with a balanced room response and an even reverberant decay across the frequency range.

 

HOW DOES IT RELATE TO VOICE OVER RECORDING?

The purest and cleanest of all is the direct sound energy.  This is the sound that travels in a direct (straight) line from the voice actor to the microphone

Sound energy reflected from objects in a room confuse the direct sound of our voice and make recording  “mudded”.

You want to have everything in the recording, emotions and different intonations and do not want to hear any sonic additions from your recording room.

Unfortunately, you must record in a “box” or room that has walls, ceiling, and a floor. When you speak into a microphone the sound radiates in many directions. The sound of your voice goes through the room until it hits an object or wall, then it reflects back and gets recorded by your microphone over what you are saying at the moment. 

Unlike the reflections in a control room where the sound comes from a speaker and reaches the engineer at some distance, in voice over recording you position yourself right in front of the microphone.  So your first reflections would be the reflections from the nearest reflective surface:   laptop screen,  walls to the right or left of you and a wall in front or behind you if you are sitting close to a wall.  Wherever the closest reflective surface is – that will be your first reflection point to treat acoustically.
Do not forget the ceiling and the Floor. They are also reflective.

Reflections arrive at your microphone delayed in time and add sonic distortions to your voice narration.  To minimize the sound of the room sound absorption works best for small recording studios such as home voice over studio.

For voice over actor who does individual work (one person commercial or book narration), having a small acoustic booth might be an easier and more effective and practical way to create the great sound recording environment, rather than acoustically treating the whole room.

Portable or small acoustic vocal booths are easy to set up and also easy to take with you if you have to move.

Untreated reflective surface reflecting the sound back at the microphone.

Reflective surface was treated with an acoustic blanket.  Reflected sound comes back with considerably reduced energy.

 

Signature:

VocalBoothToGo.com ( VocalBoothToGo.co.uk) specializes in providing effective and inexpensive acoustic room treatment products, such as Producers choice acoustic blankets for sound reflection control, Noise control products,  mobile sound booth, portable vocal booths and Vocal booth Rentals.

support@vocalboothtogo.com

Meet the Voices Behind Cortana and Siri

Ever wondered how Cortana or Siri came to be?  We have to admit, it is extremely convenient (and loads of fun) to converse with these voice assistants. The voices have to have come from somebody, but who?

Meet Jen Taylor, the voice actor behind Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana. Cortana was made available to Microsoft mobile in 2014 when Microsoft launched their Windows Phone 8.1.

If the name Cortana sounds familiar it’s because Cortana is also the artificial intelligence companion for one of the best-selling military science fiction video game Halo of Bungie, a subsidiary of Microsoft Studios.   Unlike Siri, whose identity was unknown for a while, people almost immediately recognized the voice behind Cortana, as Microsoft didn’t look further into finding the voice for their phone’s personal assistant; they tapped the talents of Jen Taylor.

Jen is active in their local theater but has also been a voice actress since the late 1990’s, mostly voicing for video game roles like Left for Dead as Zoey and in various Mario games as Princess Peach, Toad, and Toadette.  Jen shares, “Voice acting is just like regular acting, but without the lights.”  She started playing the role of Cortana in 2001 and has since been part of the game franchise. 

You can watch an interview of Jen Taylor below:

 

The voice actor for Siri, however, was a secret for a long time. Kept unknown for many years, Susan Bennett finally revealed in an interview with CNN in 2013 about her identity.

Susan and Apple’s relationship all started with a text-to-speech project of Apple’s ScanSoft in 2005, recording various sentences, 4 hours a day for a whole month. Later on, these recordings were linked together to form various sentences and phrases to what we now know as Siri’s voice. Unlike Microsoft, Apple has not made it official that Susan is the voice of Siri, however, with CNN sponsored audio-forensic tests, it is confirmed that Susan Bennett is indeed 100% Siri.

This was not the first time Susan’s voice was used for a “machine.” Her first big break was with First National Bank of Atlanta as the voice Tillie the All-Time Teller, the first automated teller machine (ATM). She went on to voice the public address system of Delta Air Lines, various GPS navigation software and telephone system.

This seasoned voice actress of more than 40 years experience found it “creepy” the first time hearing her voice in something interactive, but she is now used to it and declares that she and Siri are friends.

You can watch her CNN interview below:

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Room Acoustics and Basics About Sound

With the availability of more compact and less expensive recording gear, available and easy to use software, it becomes very easy to record your gigs at home. 

But despite the fact this gear has definitely become much better, there is a limitation on home voice over recordings.  Most professional magazines talk about latest and most sensitive microphones or software that allows to “filter” the noise and “make you sound better”, yet it still does not sound as good as a recording made in a “professional” recording studio.

The reason is acoustics.  If your room does not sound good – it will be very difficult to produce great sounding results.  This, of course, translates to your ability to get repeat business and eventually make a good living doing what you love.

Acoustics can get intimidatingly complex, but treating tour room acoustically does not have to be difficult, or require hours in front of a calculator. Understanding how sound works in the room and how to apply that to creating your home recording space can get you a long way to sounding your best without major construction work or spending too much money.

Whether you are converting your garage, bedroom or a closet into your voice over recording studio, knowing the basic principles of how the sound works will help you to improve the sound in the room you are making the recording.

 

Acoustics is defined as

  • the science that deals with the production, control, transmission, reception, and effects of sound and
  • the qualities or characteristics of a room, auditorium, stadium, etc., that determine the audibility or fidelity of sounds in it.

 

In most cases improving the acoustics in your room will result in the biggest improvement in the way your recording sounds.

So while the expensive microphones allow you to capture your best sound, it is the room acoustics is what allows you to sound your best.

This is why commercial studios spend tens of thousands of dollars to design and build acoustically optimized spaces.  But you do not have to spend thousands to make your room sound good. For very little money you can make even the worst space sound good. So how?

 

First, we need to define two major aspects of your room treatment:

Acoustics and Sound Isolation

When we talk about the “acoustic room treatment” we are not talking about stopping construction noise from the street getting into your mic.  And we are not talking about your own voice annoying your neighbors.   These are examples of “soundproofing” or rather “sound isolation”  – stopping the transmission of sound from one point to another.  We can talk about this in a different article.

Room acoustics, or the way the sound generated inside the room behaves within the room itself, has very little to do with the ability of the sound to go through the barriers and spread out ( or into) your recording space. The approach is different, the materials are different as well.

People often get this confused, but materials used to “soundproof” your room will do nothing for helping your room acoustically and actually in some cases can make it even worse.

 

So what is Sound?

“Sound”  in most people experience is what we can hear.  In physics, “sound” is a vibration that propagates as a typically audible mechanical wave of pressure and displacement, through a transmission medium such as air or water.

So basically sound is the energy of vibration, and that energy requires some sort of medium to spread around.  It spreads by agitating/vibrating adjacent molecules in the medium, so it can go through the air, water, steel etc. The denser the medium the faster it travels.  In the absence of a medium, such as in vacuum it ( sound energy) cannot spread so there is no sound in Space.

Since it is the energy of vibration, sound travels in waves. Called “soundwaves”.  Like if you wave your hand in a bathtub water you will create waves.  In this example your “vibrating” hand simulates a sound source and the waves in the water will be like “sound waves” spreading all around the tub.

Now you can wave your hand faster or more slowly and with more force, the resulting waves in the tub will also change the pattern.  That wave pattern is important in understanding of basic characteristics of sound:  Frequency, Wave length, Amplitude and Phase.

Try to vibrate your hand fast and easy – the resulting waves will be shallow, frequent and low in height. It will require very little effort on your part to make them.

Now try to wave your hand wider and more forcefully , this will be much harder to do and the waves will be deeper/higher and then will come not as often, and most probably will splash out of the bathtub because they are so high and strong.

You will also notice that the waves are bouncing back from the walls of the bathtub.  You can stop and watch what happens to the waves after you stopped generating more of them.

What you just did you created a model of how the sound waves work. A model that you can actually see.

Have that image in mind this might make it easier to understand how the sound works.

 

Sound waves and Frequency

Sound travels in waves.  Unlike your bathtub water waves, sound creates area of Dense (wave peak) and Rare (wave valley) pressure, because the sound spreads in all directions at the same time (omnidirectionally).  The frequency of the waves or how fast and how often the waves come, determine the pitch of the sound.  Frequency is measured in Hz (“Hertz”, after Heinrich Hertz, who had described this first). The higher the frequency, the higher the note. 

Human ear generally can hear between 20 to 20 000 Hz.  Sound above 20 000 inaudible to the human ear is called ultrasound.  Ultrasound is used by some animals for echolocation.

Sounds below 20 Hz called Infrasound. Infrasounds used for communication by some animals and also by people for monitoring earthquakes (seismic activity).

But for acoustic purposes we are mostly concerned with the audible range of frequencies.  And the related aspect here is “frequency response” .

 Frequency response refers to the way a microphone responds to different frequencies. It is a characteristic of all microphones that some frequencies are exaggerated and others are attenuated (reduced). For example, a frequency response which favours high frequencies means that the resulting audio output will sound more trebly than the original sound.

Ideally response should be the same for all frequencies or “flat response” .  This is virtually impossible to do, so the goal here is to “smooth things out”.

 

Amplitude of Sound

This is the Volume of sound, that measured in dB.  A decibel is defined as the smallest volume that can be perceived by human ear in isolation.  ( note “in isolation” means without reference to another sound. In reference to another sound trained ear can perceive sound volume changes as low as 1/10th of a decibel). 

A very quiet professional recording studio may have 30 to 40 dB of background noise, while Jet airplane engine can produce 140 dB of noise. This is not that the Jet engine noise is only 4-5 times louder than a professional recording studio, but dB level is measured on a logarithmic scale. In approximation, every 10 dB difference is about a 100 times change in sound energy level.

 

Wavelength

Wavelength is the length of a sound wave.  (did I have to explain that?)  It is related to the frequency of the sound waves. The higher the frequency – the shorter then waves. The lower the frequency the longer the waves.  Think of the bathtub example or the ocean.  On a nice calm day, you can see multiple small shallow waves coming onshore in brief succession.   Or you can see huge long waves crashing against the rocks during a storm.

The wavelength is important in combination with “phase” when dealing with room acoustics.

 

Phase

As the ocean waves have the Peaks and valleys, the sound waves also have the peak and trough. The term “phase” describes the relationship of two waves in time. If two identical waves that are at the different points of their cycle are combined, they may cause problems.

Phase is important in the acoustics and recording because the waves that are out of phase can cancel each other or vice versa reinforce each other resulting in tonal changes.

Phase problems occur when the sound bounces around the room.  Sound reflection is not a characteristic of sound per se, but it plays a major role in the room acoustics.  The reflective waves interfere with each other destructively, causing all sorts of problems.  Sound intensity near the hard surfaces because reflected wave adds to the original sound wave.

So Reflection control will be our next topic.

 

Signature:

VocalBoothToGo.com ( VocalBoothToGo.co.uk) specializes in providing effective and inexpensive acoustic room treatment products, such as Producer’s Choice acoustic blankets for sound reflection control, Noise control productsmobile sound booth, portable vocal booths and Vocal booth Rentals.

If you have any questions, contact us!

Sound Absorbing Ceiling Baffles

Vocal Booth To Go is happy to offer a new product to help get your home studio acoustics under control.

Most acoustical solutions are either mounted on a wall like acoustic foam or sound absorbing panels, or standing on the floor, like free-standing sound absorption gobo.  These surfaces are lending themselves for easy support. But what about the ceiling?

Ceilings are a major reflective surface and often remains untreated.

VocalBoothToGo has been offering the ceiling tiles, that have grommets all around the perimeter and can be suspended on hooks off the ceiling.  These tiles work well in small enclosures to cover the ceiling in your booth.

For larger studios, installation is a bit less convenient since there is a need to use several hooks to hang the blanket. This requires you to do more work and make more holes in the ceiling.

 

Now we offer a new product – The Ceiling Baffle.

Ceiling Sound Baffle blanket    Sound absorption panels    Ceiling sound baffle blanket for sound absorption

This “new” product is actually a forgotten yet very effective old sound absorption ceiling baffle.

It has several advantages:

First of all, the baffle can be suspended from the ceiling using only two hooks or strings. So installing several baffles in a larger studio is much easier and requires less drilling and less hardware.

Secondly, the baffle not only cancels the sound reflected directly off the ceiling, but also the sound going across the room. And because you would normally install several baffles in a ceiling, they may absorb more low-frequency noise than an acoustic blanket that is installed flat on the ceiling.

Thirdly, it can be shaped in a semicircle or to go around obstacles, such as air ducts or pipes.  It can also be used to hang in front of the air ducts to cover the ugly pipes and have a great acoustic treatment at the same time. We provide 8 grommets per baffle in order to be able to hang the blankets in a shape the best helps to fix your room’s acoustic problems

This Ceiling Baffle allows you to control the noise and reverberation reflected off of the ceilings and add dimension and acoustical control right where you need it the most.

This product is made out of our Producer’s Choice sound absorption material, NRC 0.8 ( 80% noise reduction). The length is 78 inches and the width is 19 inches. Its design allows you to hang the baffle in any shape to fit your needs.

This product is a great addition to noise reduction panels and sound absorption blankets.

 

If you have any questions about our Ceiling Baffle, give us a call at  (877) 428-6225 or fill out our contact form.

Sound ART Acoustic Room Treatment

With many audio editing platforms available today, recording can be done in the comfort of your own home, although it is not as easy as buying a microphone and pressing “Record”.  Room acoustics are paramount. Every professional recording studio is fine-tuned to get the best sound possible.  It requires expertise and costs thousands of dollars to do a proper job in acoustic room treatment.  Yet in-home audio recording studios this often underestimated.  It is much more fun to talk about expensive mics, EQ (equalizers) and latest software that “removes” noise and optimizes your tracks all by itself.

But with proper acoustics you might not need all that!  Every room sounds different depending on the shape, size and build, yet they all have similar issues that can be corrected with proper acoustic treatment. 

We now offer products and suggestions designed to help audio engineers to achieve just that – proper acoustics. Using Producer’s choice sound blankets for acoustic room treatment is effective and much less expensive that acoustic foam.  It covers more surface for less money, and with proper installation acoustic blankets tested to be as effective as 3 inch acoustic foam.

The suggestions in Sound Acoustic Room Treatment (Sound ART) are for different room sizes to treat your first reflections, reduce reverb time, and achieve a uniform frequency response throughout the room.

Suggested by VocalBoothToGo.com, Sound ART designs will

  • Help to treat your first reflections by introducing sound absorption panels at the first reflection points.
  • Reduce reverberation time in your studio by absorbing sound reflected from the walls.
  • Help you to achieve uniform frequency response throughout the room by calculated placement of sound absorption blankets in strategic locations.
  • NOTE that Sound ART designs are just suggestions that can be further customized to perform best in your environment

One of the unique design features that Sound ART models include is the Corner absorption panels with Ceiling tracks.

We recommend two separate track kits, so you can place the blanket in the corners to work as bass traps.

The tracks are flexible, which means that you can shape the blankets on the track as concave  “ ) “ ,  Convex “ ( “ , or even as a semi column  “ C “  or column “ O “ shape. Each shape has its own advantages.  Even though the Acoustic blanket is absorbent and not reflective, the shape may interact with the sound waves differently, because of the variation in distance from the corner and adjacent walls, ( Concave vs Convex shape) or simply doubling the absorption layer at certain directions as in “C”  or “O” shape

Blankets suspended in “ C “ or “ O “ shape will serve as effective bass traps in your room. 

Another feature is Free standing Sound absorption panels, which are especially effective in larger rooms.  These panels that can be moved around the room to break the sound waves bouncing around. The Unique feature of these panels is that they can be Acoustically advanced by filling the panel with “Safe and Sound” rockwool material for broadband frequency absorption.  You can insert a sheet of mass loaded vinyl or another limp mass barrier to tame the stubborn low frequency waves. Placing such absorption panel in a corner makes it very effective bass trap.

And of course the obvious advantage of acoustic room treatment with sound blankets is not only that you can take them away when your move, and even not that you can take your set up and use it at a different location, but you can change your room acoustics at will by covering more or less of the reflective surfaces in your room to make it more live or dead.

For more information about Acoustic room treatment with sound blankets, check out our acoustic sound blanket products.

Assembly Instructions AVB33

Acoustic Vocal Booth 3’ x 3’
     Assembly Instructions
Material

  • 16 straight pieces
  • 4 straight connectors
  • 8 3-way corner connectors
  • 2 specially designed wall covers
  • 1 ceiling cover
  • 3 corner sound trap

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Frame Assembly

  1. Assemble a square on the floor using 4 straight pieces and 4 3-way corner connectors, leaving the third prong of the connector facing up.

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  1. Use the 4 straight connectors and 8 straight pieces to make 4 double-long poles, and insert them into the open prongs of the 3-way connectors.

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  1. Make another square using the remaining straight pieces and 3-way corner connectors. Place it on top of the four double-long poles by attaching the open prongs of the 3-way corner connectors to the 4 standing poles. This completes the frame.

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  1. Use the Velcro strips to fit the booth cover over the frame.

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  1. Record and enjoy!

Traveling Voice Over Using VocalBoothToGo.Com

Dean Wendt on the Quality of VocalBoothToGo Products and Customer Service

If there’s one thing Dean Wendt knows—really knows—it’s sound. You may know Dean Wendt as the voice of Barney, the iconic purple dinosaur from Barney & Friends. Yes, the voice that most of us parents remember oh so very well. If your kids were anything like mine we must have watched the shows on a constant loop for most of their pre-k and kindergarten days. That is why I for one was excited in his use of VocalBoothToGo.Com’s products. A voice I had become all too familiar with over the years was using OUR products. How cool is that!

Dean had tried lots of acoustic solutions and portable vocal booths throughout his career. But when he stumbled upon VocalBoothToGo.com he knew he had a winner. He quickly became a huge fan of the Carry-On Vocal Booth to GO series. The carry on was able to rid him of annoying reverberations that were wreaking havoc on his recordings, a problem which he had not been able to find a solution for until now.

“I’ve pretty much bought all the stuff Adil has,” Dean says of VocalBoothToGo’s owner, Adil Aliev (talk about literally putting your money where your mouth is!). “It’s really great stuff.”

Dean had been looking for products he could use to record that would ensure high quality audio that’s when he came upon VocalBoothToGo. Excited to see the line of products we had to offer; but skeptical to their efficiency, Dean decided to start off by renting a Portable Acoustic vocal booth (AVB-33) and used it to do commercial voiceover work for a week while he was on the road. And the rest is history! Blown away by the sound quality and its ease of use and portability Dean became a proud VocalBoothtoGo.Com supporter.

Topping off his order experience Dean praised the customer support he received when placing his order. From all his preorder questions to his feedback after his rental VocalBoothtoGo.Com Owner; Adil, answered all his questions and even got some great ideas on how to improve some of the products that were later implemented in the latest edition “Carry on Vocal Booth 2.o”  which Dean is currently using today.

We are proud to offer such unique and amazing products. Helping the busy, traveling, always on the go voice actor has become our specialty. We offer the BEST in Affordable, PORTABLE acoustic solutions.  And you can always count on us to provide incredible customer service and support provided by REAL people (No computerized voices over here) 7 days a week by contacting Support@VocalBoothToGo.Com

Producers Choice Sound Blankets Takes Virtual Reality to the next level at the Tribeca Film Festival

Each year the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC showcases an impressive group of independent features, documentaries and short films. It’s the place where filmmakers, innovators, movie and music enthusiasts, in addition to countless celebrities and artists come together to see what new and exciting advances in technology and film are awaiting in the next year and honor those who have created remarkable films and music throughout the year. That is why we were thrilled when one of the newest additions to the festival showcasing the Virtual Reality experience wanted to use our Producers Choice Blankets in its 2016 exhibit.BBC/VRTOV, an independent digital production studio based out of Melbourne Australia successfully used Producers Choice Acoustic Blankets to create an acoustically treated shelter for its showcase at the festival “The Turning Forest”.  With the Producers Choice blankets on board it quickly became the ULTIMATE virtual reality experience. The exhibit, which was listed as one of Wired Magazine’s favorite VR experiences, received rave reviews and was a hit with attendees of the festival.

Highlighting just one more, of the many; uses of Producers Choice acoustic blankets this exhibit is a groundbreaking and game changing example of how using acoustic blankets can give you an acoustically treated environment ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.

VocalBoothToGo.com was honored to be used in this exhibit. Our products can be found in many places and used in a variety of ways, all designed to improve acoustic quality. This is why VocalBoothtoGo is here to change the way you hear the future.

We are literally “Changing the game”!

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Introducing The Carry-On Vocal Booth 2.0

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Introducing our new Carry-On Vocal Booth 2.0!

We have seen some portable vocal booths before. All of them based on using acoustic foam. Youtube is full of ” DIY $20 portable vocal booths”.  Some of them look mundane just a show box lined with foam and some are quite peculiar. We have also seen what happens to portable vocal booths made out of acoustic foam after they have been used for some time.  Even professionally made foam based booth gets saggy, skewy and  overall shabby looking. The foam gets soiled and rubbed.

 

We also heard from the users of such booths, professional Voice over actors, unhappy about the boominess and boxiness of the recording. The space inside the booth was very limited, which resulted both in bad acoustics and great inconvenience, because there was no place for the script so actors had to look away at the script, which did not make for comfortable reading.
(NOTE: close proximity of acoustic foam to a microphone can create a severe high frequency depletion in the recorded audio).

 

Encouraged by great success of our Producer’s choice acoustic blanket material, we designed the Carry-on Vocal Booth with strong rigid support, and ample space inside to allow not only to place a script, but also place your laptop or tablet in it.  Most importantly, the larger internal space creates much better acoustics inside the vocal booth.We demonstrated the very first Carry-On Vocal booth and Producer’s choice blankets at Voice Over conference VOICE2012 in Anaheim, CA. The VocalBoothToGo products were met with great enthusiasm. This is when our work had actually started.  Voice actors in unison commended the great acoustic quality and spacious interior of the booth, but they wanted some additional features.

 

So we started adding features and accessories:
First we added support table, that made the booth “self supported”;
then we made the booth microphone stand mountable;
then we added base strap for “one step” set up;
then we added a miniboom to provide hookup for a microphone and a pop filter,
then we added specially designed script holder,
then we added a micro mic stand to support miniboom that would support the script holder and/or pop filter without a microphone stand;
then we added a light to illuminate the beauty of the whole assembly and then we came up with a solution to hold that light. (the solution was clumsy and confusing, but it worked);

We wanted to create a complete traveling Vocal recording studio, because we realized that voice actors, want to have a full set up, so they can get to work right away.
And we did all that without increasing the price of the unit! Voice actors, new and experienced, were praising the sound quality of the Carry on Vocal Booth, but as more and more users were working with it, we started getting complaints about, things like – “mounting bracket did not fit all of the microphone stands out there, the table was wobbly, the light was hard to fix, the stitching was a little off”.

 

We also realized that by adding all the additional gear we created clutter, that needed to be organized.

It is prettier, stronger and fitter. It is better organized and it has softer hug on your shoulders. It is practical and very stylish!

On the move it is the thinnest Vocal Booth in the world!

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Each accessory has its own niche and we even made additional holders for microphone and pop filter.
Now you can load the traveling Vocal booth with your gear ready for anything, like a Navy Seal on a mission!
Another change we made is larger front padding, which allows to cover more of the area in front of the microphone.But when it is ready to work – it turns into a spacious recording studio ready to accept all your gear. All additional accessories are now neatly organized and stay in their place until you are ready to use them.

We redesigned the support table. it is now a little thicker to provide more reliable support on a mic stand.
The mounting bracket was redesigned as well to allow for use with thicker mic. stands.
Remember i had mentioned the  awkward light attachment?  so now we offer an easy attachment and we offer two positions for the light.  or you can get an additional light and have more illumination inside your booth.The carry bag was changed dramatically. The first most noticeable change is color. instead of  buttoned down all black, we use playful summer-sky blue color with new logo imprinted.

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The Opening for a mic stand mounting table was changed in a way that it is a solid pocket, and not a weird flap in the middle of the bag.
We also added a shoulder pad for a comfortable carry.

In addition, we added quick-close buckles to the booth. Some of the previous cases also had the quick release buckles, but not all of them.  This feature was added by the request of reporters and journalists, who sometimes have to get going in a hurry and spending extra 15 seconds on zipping up the bag is a luxury they cannot afford.

And lastly, we are adding packaging.  As our brand becomes well known the new Carry-on Vocal Booth will come in a beautiful new box.

Our new Carry-On Vocal Booth 2.0 includes the following:

1.  Carry-on Vocal Booth with nylon case and Support table;
2. Mounting Bracket
3. Miniboom
4. Micro Mic stand.
5. Script holder
6. LED no-noise wireless light (One per unit. Batteries not included)
7.  Special gift: VocalBoothToGo USB pen.

Extremely useful tool for a creative professional. It has an all world ball point smooth pen and 8G USB storage to keep  all your auditions or other digital files handy.

All that for only $375.77! Get one today!

 

Using a Sound Man, Sound Blankets and Other Tips for Bands

There’s tons of little known important tips and tricks to being hired, called back, and liked in the music community. There are many many more ways to lose the job and never get another chance. Here’s a number of things I’ve learned firsthand that’ll help in any live music venue. Okay, some of them are things I’ve learned from friends, but I left out all the urban legends. Don’t worry though, there’s still lots of entertaining feats of stupidity here.

 

Continue reading “Using a Sound Man, Sound Blankets and Other Tips for Bands”