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Vocal booth ventilation
Old 10th April 2003
Gear Nut
1 Review written
๐ŸŽง 15 years
Vocal booth ventilation

I need some rather quick advice. I'm having a house built and its structure is up but not its drywall yet. I have less than a week.

I have a large room that will be the studio, and a small closet that I'd like to use as a vocal booth. I can take care of getting AC in there and padding the walls to deaden it as much as possible. What I'm concerned about is ventilation. Being a closet, there's no ventilation normally installed in there.

I could ask the builder to run the house's AC into there, but then I'm concerned that it could be noisier than I want, and that I'd have to turn the entire house's AC off when doing vocal recording.

I have virtually no budget for this. Any quick recommendations on whether it's worth pursuing the builder for AC in there, or whether it's worth installing a small fan in there (remember, no air outtake though), or any other ideas? There's no room to put a dedicated AC unit in there.

Old 10th April 2003
Gear Nut
heartsoffire's Avatar
๐ŸŽง 15 years
If you don't have any ventilation in there, then the space is only usable when the weather is fairly mild. I have such a room and when it's cold, the vocalist is cold and when it's hot, it's unbearable.

There's a web site that has some diagrams on how to "effectively" do this without it costing a lot. I'll see if I can locate it. Essentially, it describes running a separate return and duct from the main. If they run the kind with insulation on the inside, this will severely reduce the noise. The only thing you will probably have to do is turn off the air once you actually start recording - as a small room will probably allow the sound to be more audible.
Old 10th April 2003
Gear Nut
heartsoffire's Avatar
๐ŸŽง 15 years
The below information on ventilation is from the following web site:
Humbucker Music

This is one of the sources. I'll try to find some others.

Once you have completely soundproofed your studio, you have completely air proofed it as well! It's easy to forget how much we depend on ventilation through the small gaps between walls and windows and doors. Without ventilation, your studio will quickly become the stuffiest place on earth and two people working in the same room together with heat generating equipment will force the temperature up to unbearable levels even in the depths of winter. Air conditioning would be nice, but at the very least you need ventilation to bring fresh air into the room and expel stale air out of it. A free standing fan within the room will recirculate the stale air and give you a bit of a breeze but no overall benefit.

One idea for the upstairs room of a house is to cut a hole in the ceiling and fit an extractor fan in the loft above. Cut another hole close to the outside wall so that air can be drawn in from the eaves of the house. Unfortunately, fans are generally quite noisy, so you must take steps to reduce the noise as much as possible without restricting the air flow. The fan is mounted in a box which stands on top of a resilient layer, actually some packing material that came with a piece of equipment. Decoupling the fan from the structure of the building makes a big difference to the amount of mechanical noise that gets through. To reduce the noise coming down the duct (which since the fan is an extractor, has to travel against the air flow), line the box with mineral wool (sold as Rockwool in the UK). Putting some Rockwool in the duct will reduce the noise very effectively but it also reduces the air flow. Recommendations for ventilation are as follows:

Use as powerful a fan as you can find. Also, a bigger, slower running fan will be less noisy than a smaller, faster running one.
Use as large a diameter duct as you can find. The lower the velocity of the air, the less noise will be produced by turbulence.
You can make a duct from chipboard or MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard). If you line it with mineral wool, even more noise will be absorbed. Make sure that all the joins are well sealed or the fan will suck air through any gaps and not from your studio.
Don't blow air through or past Rockwool into your studio, unless you want to clog up your equipment and lungs with mineral wool fibres.
Place the exhaust vent as far as possible from the fresh air intake.
Bear in mind that noise will escape from your studio through the vents so place them where the noise will do the least harm.
These solutions will transform a significant noise problem into something manageable but it won't eliminate sound leakage entirely, particularly if you want to record heavy rock bands in your studio! Bear in mind that there is no point in having fantastically good insulation in the walls when the floor and ceiling are not up to scratch. If you want to achieve higher levels of sound insulation, the only sensible solution is to call in a professional acoustic designer. Do-it-yourself is fine up to a point, but if you want to go beyond what is suggested here then you need professional help otherwise you may spend a lot of money and not achieve the degree of insulation you need.
Old 10th April 2003
Lives for gear
Meriphew's Avatar
๐ŸŽง 15 years
Follow this link and do a search there for vocal booth or ventilation - you'll prolly find about 100 threads on it.

If the link doen't work by some chance, then go to's forums and find the board titled "Studio building and display". Good luck.
Old 12th April 2003
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
๐ŸŽง 15 years
Depending on how big the room is, you can try to position the vent so that it's out of the path of the mics. If you put it low to the ground in a small room you'll probably be ok. My old live room was about 14'x17' and I ran one 6"x9" vent from an AC on the other side of the wall. There was no outtake, total ghetto HVAC setup but it worked fine even when it was 102 outside. And, I was on the second floor of a 1906 warehouse. I had the vent facing the door which worked out pretty well. Any air coming through wasn't in the path of the mics and people got nailed when they walked into the room like it was a NYC deli.
Old 15th December 2010 | Show parent
Here for the gear
๐ŸŽง 10 years
This is designed for vocal booths but modded slightly can be used for larger rooms too. They worked perfect and I built this for $120.00 in one day.

::::Custom Ventilation DVD::::
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