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Even if you have a top-quality microphone and headphones, good gear can only take you so far when recording your voice on the road without proper insulation surrounding you. That’s where a portable recording booth, also called a vocal isolation booth, can make or break your vocal takes.
When recording at home or remotely, we’ve personally seen (or rather heard) the difference one of these can create. It may look pretty simplistic, but the comparison is instantly noticeable and the ability to set up a recording area anywhere is a great bonus to have at a moment’s notice. The best portable isolation booth can keep your tracks sounding consistent, and you don’t need to have studio-trained ears to hear it either. If you’ve got a space with limited size, such as a small apartment or garage, this is an invaluable piece of your setup, and some smaller “shield” models can even fit right onto your existing mic stand.
These movable booths not only isolate outside sounds from creeping in to your mic, but also provide a backing that reduces echo. The result is a clean and clear capture of your voice, ready to be edited in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) of choice. Even without the effects of a studio application though, the comparison between vocals recorded with and without insulation enveloping you is night and day, and might even be the missing piece you’ve been looking for to get your tracks sounding just the way you first heard them in your head.
Another benefit we’ve experienced with these is keeping your roommates, family and neighbors from being disturbed by noise. Sometimes you need to get loud for the right feeling to come through on the final mix, and with some of the more encapsulating vocal isolation booths, you’ll be able to sing and scream at top volume, while the people next door will barely be bothered. This goes both ways as well, since the inner layer helps to dampen any sounds coming from other parts of the house, like if someone’s watching TV, running air conditioners or just from the natural hum happening in any room.
And it’s not just for singing either — these portable booths also work great for voice acting, narration, podcasts or really anything that involves voice (or even acoustic instruments too), and can be taken anywhere you need to record. Here are the best portable recording booths, some of which include panels and other accessories to set up your remote studio.
1. Snap Studio Voice Booth
One of the few portable “full-body” booths available out there, this soft setup can accommodate singers up to 6’8″ tall, and still provide enough room inside, 5.5 square feet, to be comfortable. The frame is lightweight and easy to install, yet still sturdy, and you can even detach the acoustic Pro Sound Pad insulation blankets and use them on your studio’s walls (or double up with an extra set to make the booth extra quiet).
Overall, it’s pretty incredible that such a large booth can fold up and be transported so simply, then be set up again wherever you want. This also works great for small apartments or places where room is limited. Simply store it after your session is done, instead of having a permanent vocal booth taking up valuable floor space.
An LED light is included inside, and operated by a single switch. This also includes a mount for your tablet or phone, along with a duffel bag for easy transport.
The Snap isn’t completely soundproof, but it can help significantly cut down on reverb and unwanted outside noises. The result is impeccably clean and dry vocals to get your final tracks sounding the best they can without paying for studio time or spending thousands on professional, high-end gear.
2. Isovox Portable Mobile Vocal Studio Booth
With its patented 360 XYZ Pro Acoustic construction, this portable recording booth does an awesome job at keeping vocals warm and clean, while cutting down any extra audio from all other directions. The company says it spent years developing this small booth, and the result looks impressive. There’s even a battery-powered LED light inside so you’re not in total darkness when brainstorming lyrics on the fly and trying out new verses to see how they sound. It also comes with a tripod stand and XLR cable, making setup quick and breakdown simple for storage or travel.
3. LyxPro VRI-50 Mic Shield Bundle
The tough-quality inner foam of this foldable booth reduces any bounce-back, and cuts down on annoying extra noises that can ruin a track. You’ll end up with incredibly clean vocals, without any interfering outside sound or background distractions.
It has a sturdy and heavy feel to it, crafted with aluminum and just the right size for recording in a tight space. For travel, this not only folds up, but can actually be taken apart too. Once you reach your destination, it’s equally easy to set it back up again.
It also includes the helpful accessories you need to get started right out of the package. A set of over-the-ear headphones lets you hear yourself and the backing tracks while recording to ensure you get the right vocal delivery, and specialized mounts that slip onto your mic stand can resize to hold either your phone or your tablet right where you can see it.
4. AxcessAbles SF-101KIT-VW Vented Recording Studio
AxcessAbles provides a lot in one bundle, covering the core basics you’ll need to start recording right out of the box. This includes a tripod stand, which holds not only the five-paneled mic shield, but also an included pop filter to help to cut down on sharp clicks and pops that come out with consonant sounds when laying down vocals. If you’re recording a podcast, or would just rather sit down than stand for long periods of time, this shield easily detaches, and can sit upright on the desk in front of you. It’ll definitely do the job of cutting down on background noise and focusing the mic to pick up your voice, and some users even put it into a closet when recording to give vocal tracks the effect of a fully insulated booth.