- The Best Isolation Shields and Vocal Booths
- What Makes a Great Isolation Shield
Home recording is growing all the time. The days of needing to go to a recording studio to get a decent vocal recording are gone and if you know what you are doing, with the right equipment, you can record at home. Having a microphone isolation shield or portable vocal booth is almost essential unless you have a room with amazing acoustics to record in.
Recording at home is wonderful and very liberating whether you just need to record vocals or you want to record instruments too. The fact that it is a viable option for musicians opens up a world of making demos and home-recorded songs. A portable vocal booth isn’t a full-on replacement for a studio, and an isolation shield can only do so much, but combined with a good quality microphone and the right recording environment you can get professional quality audio recordings to go straight into your music.
Even if you have a recording studio or ‘home studio’ then you may still want an isolation booth to give you far more control of your vocal recordings.
These products aren’t just for musical uses too. Many people need to record their voice for all sorts of reasons, from podcasting to audiobooks. The simple principle of blocking reverberated sounds and external noise from entering the microphone can make the world of difference.
The Best Isolation Shields and Vocal Booths
We’ve picked out the best models for you and put together short reviews of recommended booths for your vocal recordings.
Silverback SoundCage Microphone Shield SW-30621
The Silverback soundcage is a good quality shield at a very reasonable price. It is lightweight and easy to use. This comes with a stand as you may expect, and you can simply attach your favorite microphone onto it and away you go. Some users have reviewed this product and claimed it can reduce 10-20 dB of noise. This, of course, depends on the loudness of your room and what other noise you have to take into consideration but is quite impressive. In spite of the fact that it is relatively lightweight and easily portable the foam undoubtedly does a good job of keeping out unwanted sounds.
Marantz Professional Sound Shield Live | Vocal Reflection Baffle
In the world of audio products, “Marantz” is not a brand that everyone has heard of. Their sound shield is definitely one of the best microphone isolation shields on the market, and the company has put a huge amount into the product, or range of products (there are three different sizes).
A very intelligently designed shield that comes in three different sizes. The outside has two metal plates which have lots of small holes designed to diffuse and reflect sounds from reaching the microphone from sources you don’t want. The inside of the shell has high-quality absorption foam which further absorbs the audio and ensures that the recording is as clean and clear as can be.
As well as the brilliant quality, the adjustable height and clip to allow almost any microphone to be mounted with ease make the Marantz pro sound shield a wonderful option for your home studio recordings.
Pyle PSIB27 Sound Recording Booth Box
An interesting product which is slightly different to the others on our list. This sound recording booth box is super portable and lightweight as it has no metal, the box shape is perfect for sitting a microphone in and improving the quality of a podcast recording for instance. This can also be a very good option for recording guitar or other instruments as it will isolate sounds around the microphone with its high-density foam.
Pyle make a huge amount of audio products and this is just a drop in the ocean. It may not be quite as rigid and high quality of the other products on the list, but it is certainly a very good price and if you are looking for a budget isolation booth then the PYLE PSIB27 could be a very good option on a shoestring.
Pyle PSMRS08 Compact Microphone Isolation Shield
Another offering from Pyle (they really do have a huge range). This is quite different to most of the products out there in that it is very compact and the foam is very tight to the microphone. It has made our list for a few reasons, firstly it is very affordable. On top of this, the fact that the foam is tight it means that it does a very good job of isolating the sound recored into it, it is wonderful for talking into, so voiceover work, podcasts, rapping and singing can all benefit from the compact shield.
On top of all this, it is super portable. A lot of us record when out-and-about nowadays, with this, you can take it to a band practice or to a friends house and grab some recordings wherever you happen to be.
Monoprice 602650 Microphone Isolation Shield
Definitely one of the highest selling Isolation shields, the Monoprice 602650 has a good balance of affordability and very good features. This has the classic combo of a vented metal outside combined with the high-density foam on the inside which most products on the market utilize, but the reason this makes our list is the huge amount of favorable reviews. It is hard to find anything other than a five-star review for the 602650 which does an exceptional job of keeping out unwanted noise and reverb. The brand has made an excellent overview of the product via a video.
Benefits of Vocal Booths
The ‘portable’ vocal booths we are talking about normally are on a stand and surround the majority of the microphone inside. The reason for this is to avoid reverberation and echo from the surrounding environment entering the mic. Think of it as ‘dampening’ the sound and stopping the frequencies from starting to sound like an echo chamber.
This is why they are often called isolation shields, they isolate the microphone from the surrounding room. You may also see these products described as ‘reflection shields’ or ‘reflection filters’ as they stop the reflected audio from entering the microphone.
Even if you think that you are recording in a nice sounding room, the likelihood is that you should still isolate your recording. Vocal effects such as reverbs can always be added later, but if you decide that you don’t like the sound of the room or end up with a nasty environmental recording then you can’t get rid of this later. A portable isolation booth is all about keeping control of your recording without having to go into a studio. Take them on the road with you, to band practice or just record in your bedroom.
What Makes a Great Isolation Shield
Isolation shields are a really great addition to any home studio. Even some recording studios and live venues make use of them in order to avoid nasty reverb, feedback or other vocal annoyances.
It can be easy to overlook this and record your vocals without any protection from outside sounds, but it is not what we would recommend. What we’ve looked for in the best booths is as follows:
- Build quality and rigidity. We want products that are built very well, keeping your microphone safe and ensuring the product doesn’t break after a few uses.
- Sound. Of course the main aspect we’ve looked at is the sound and the ability to isolate vocals as well as possible from outside noises.
- Price. We don’t all have endless money to buy audio products and some people are making home recordings on a budget!
It is important to remember that these products aren’t just for microphones for rappers or singers. Many people also use these for things like voiceovers and podcasts. With a decent microphone and vocal shield, you can get high quality, clean recordings that 20 years ago were only possible in a pro recording studio.
Can I Make My Own?
The short answer is yes. There is always a DIY method in the world of music equipment. We’ve written a full article about homemade acoustic treatments. Using foam or Owens Corning and encasing it within a wooden box, for instance, can do a decent job, but it is very hard to create something for purpose, which fits with a microphone stand nicely. Whether you choose the DIY route or go ahead and buy a vocal shield will probably come down to whether you will be using the product regularly.
Isolating your recordings can revolutionize the sound of your music. The more treatment you can add to a recording space the better, but you can’t always put acoustic treatments on the walls, and this is a good alternative. Professional home recordings are absolutely achievable in the modern age, but not without making the most of canny products like vocal booths to ensure you get the closest to a controlled studio recording product.