VAM 057 | Q & A Session 08 – Sound Proofing Your Booth and Dealing with Rude Directors

VAM 057 | Q & A Session 08 – Sound Proofing Your Booth and Dealing with Rude Directors

Welcome to episode 57 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

It’s time for another round of Questions and Answers from my podcast audience! For those who may not be as familiar with the podcast, in past episodes, I’ve given out a phone number where you can call in and leave me a question about voice acting as a voicemail. From time to time, I’ll pick the most relevant questions I receive and answer them here on the podcast.

For this round of Q & A, I answer questions from Ben from Washington D.C. and Leonard from Calgary, Alberta.

Ben is recording a number of projects from home and he has discovered that when he raises his voice or screams, he ends up getting a lot of unwanted echoes or reverb on his recording. He wants to know what he can do to improve the acoustics of his recording space without spending a lot of money. There are two aspects to acoustical treatment:

  1. Isolation
  2. Absorption

Isolation can be very expensive, but sound absorption is far more achievable. One of the best ways to increase sound absorption in your booth is to use acoustical foam. The foremost manufacturer of acoustical foam is a company called Auralex. You can visit their website for more information including tutorials on how to treat your recording space.

If acoustical foam is outside your budget, some of my students have recommended using a Porta-Booth solution which is marketed by the voice over artist Harlan Hogan.

I discuss 2 other possible solutions in the episode as well that are even less expensive.

Leonard wants to know what to do when you encounter a rude or demeaning voice director. While most voice directors are incredibly professional and respectful, you may run into voice directors who can be quite obnoxious. I share with Leonard my techniques for keeping my cool in the booth when trying to work under ridiculous or even hostile circumstances!

I hope you find the answers useful in your own voice acting endeavors!


As a reminder, the number where you can call in and ask your question is:


Please don’t forget to include your first name and what city in the world you’re calling from. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #57 Here (MP3)


24 Responses to “VAM 057 | Q & A Session 08 – Sound Proofing Your Booth and Dealing with Rude Directors”

  1. Kalyn McCabe says:

    I use my closet all the time for my recordings. The only problem is finding a table to place my computer and put my mic at an angle where I can read and speak without being too quiet or loud.

    Directors in the online communities can be divas (I definitely know a couple), but as in the professional world, word travels fast. You don’t have to put up with unreasonable directors in the online world; just simply remove yourself from the project. Be polite, reasonable, and courteous.

    Hope that helps.
    ~ Kalyn

  2. Andrew says:

    There’s a room in my basement that I use to practice my voice’s range, pitch, and other stuff like that in, though I frequently come out to see my sister on the other side of my door laughing. I usually just try to brush it off, but it sometimes affects my practice with the feeling of somebody lurking outside the door giggling, causing me to give it less than 100%.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Sorry that your sister is making you self-concious. Sounds like you and her might need to have a talk, or else hopefully you can find some other location to record.

  3. Terance says:

    Packing blankets or quilted moving pads are also great for sound absorption. The setup I currently use for my home studio was inspired by this video:

    It actually works really well for preventing room reverberation.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      That’s a great little video. I’m actually very impressed with the recording quality. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Leonard says:

    Thank you for answering my question Crispin. I’ve heard a few stories from other voice actors where they ended up coming across rude voice directors on a few occasions so I thought it was a good question to ask in order to be prepared. I also thank you for the other question you answered in the video. That will be very important for me too for when I create a home booth.

  5. Jeff says:

    Crispin, I just discovered your podcast. As for cost effective sound absorption, have you ever tried to build your own acoustic panels? It’s basically a wood frame, filled with a rockwool type of insulation, and covered with fabric. I would think you could outfit a closet with a bunch of these panels and get some decent results.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I have not tried to build my own acoustic panels, although it does sound intriguing.

      However, I’m not sure the term “cost effective” applies. I find it far more cost effective to simply by the acoustical foam I need and put it up saving me hours of time and effort that I could be spending making money doing voice overs or furthering my career.

  6. Alaina says:

    Crispin, I just recently started listening to your podcasts and I’m not sure if someone’s asked this question yet or not. I was wondering if there any specific recording and editing software that you recommend or if they’re even necessary?

    • Sean Daeley says:

      Hi, Alaina!

      My name’s Sean, and I wanted to offer you some suggestions on software. Audacity is an impressively powerful free program that will help you get your feet wet and familiarize yourself with recording software. (Just be sure to dl the LAME encoder so you can save to mp3 format). Garageband is another great free alternative for practicing. Reaper ($40) and Twisted Wave ($80) are cheap but powerful options popular with professional voice actors. Things get more expensive from there, but Adobe Audition ($300) and pro tools ($300-500) are still popular mainstays. Hope that helps!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      You can use any software you like. Audacity is free. I’ve heard people like a program called Reaper. I myself use ProTools, but really any software will do. The biggest thing that affects the quality of your sound is not your software, but the quality of your microphone and recording environment.

  7. Ben says:

    Hi Crispin,
    Thanks for answering my question! Since I sent that in, I’ve actually gotten pretty good results by filling a closet with couch cushions and pillows, then sticking a foam mattress pad over the door and clamping a blanket in place as a ceiling. But since I can’t bring that whole setup to my dorm room, the porta-booth recommendation is extremely helpful. I’ll give it a look.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Glad to hear it. Much of sound absorption is trial and error, trying to figure out what you need to put where to absorb those invisible sound waves! Glad you found a set up that works for you.

  8. Perry King says:

    hey Crispin how often do you make Q&A podcast’s here and there. When will your next one come out?

  9. Nicendeth says:

    My one question: does warming up your voice center around a certain vocal quality you’d like to attain, or is vocal quality, and obtaining the “proper” voice quality as a “character” trait require a little more regular excercise? Curious because I’m part of a project that’s pretty much requiring me to work in a higher register.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      For me, warming up my voice is about making sure all aspects of my voice are available. It’s like an athlete warming up their muscles to play a sport. You want your instrument warm and supple so that you can go in any direction you want and not hurt yourself.

      However, it is possible to warm up different parts of your voice if you’re looking to work either in your higher or lower register. I have in the past specifically worked the upper part of my voice so as to have access to higher tones, or conversely the lower part of my voice to have access to lower tones. You can slant your warm-up to favor one side or the other.

  10. Sean Daeley says:

    Hi Everyone!

    Crispin, as always, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, and provide a consistently stellar podcast. I have been using Harlan’s Porta-booth plus ($189, for several months now and have been very happy with the results (my vo coach even said it was usable for professional web content). It does not isolate, so you do need to do some noise cleaning (very easy w/audacity) to kill those unwanted sounds. Other than that, it sounds great.

    Here are some other options:

    Studio Suit, designed by Dan Lenard (aka the homestudio master)

    Vo studiotech’s acoustics products page

    Vicoustic panels (a relative newcomer gettin a lot of positive feedbak because their partnership with the sexy studiobricks booths; potential alternative to auralex)

    Hope this helps! Happy voicing!)

  11. Shakirah says:

    Hi Crispin,

    I am an NYC Actress breaking into the VoiceOver business. What kind/brand of home recording equipment do you recommend?


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