I was just on the community forums and someone was asking about room control for podcasting. As a musician, I’ve seen it all. Foam, egg cartons, carpeting, and more on the walls. But what is the cheapest and aesthetically pleasing way to do it?
I remember one time I went to a friends house to lay down some drum tracks. We weaved through the house into the basement to a room stuffed in the back corner. He opened the door to a room filled with burlap hung from the ceiling and floor. The burlap had couch foam inside it and this made the whole room feel like one big padded cell.
All I needed was a straight jacket.
You don’t need to go to that extreme. After all, that’s a lot of burlap! Plus, you’re not crazy.
Step One: Figure out the bounce
Look at your empty room (or visualize the empty room). If you were to take a tennis ball and throw it from the point you will be podcasting from (and assuming this ball breaks all rules of motion and gravity), visualize where that tennis ball will go.
Does it bounce to the back wall? Will it move from corner to corner like those cheesy 90’s screensavers used to do?
This is where you want to focus your efforts. Your voice travels around a room just like that tennis ball would. Every obstacle can kill the sound and less bounce.
Floor and Ceiling
The floor might be easy to take care of with a carpet (if not already), but the ceiling can definitely cause bounce as well. If you rent your place and cannot put wall anchors up, this can get a little tricky – but not impossible.
If you have an empty a closet and can take down the shelves and cross-bar, this can be the best option. Depending on the type of closet, you can isolate your podcast rig from the rest of the room noise – even that loud computer in the corner.
Better yet – the loud computer could go into the closet to reduce the noise. Just make sure there is some ventilation.
The Shirt Method
Get a bunch of shirts and simply hang them up on the walls. The thicker the shirt the better. Move the shirts around to see how they affect the bounce of your room. When you are ready, replace the shirt with your soundproof material. Maybe just leave the shirt there…
Paintings or Pictures
A canvas painting is a great way to deaden your room. The canvas is about an inch away from the wall and can absorb and trap sound.
You can go to any craft store and get a stretched canvas. Smaller ones are $6 a canvas whereas larger ones can get up to $80.
Add $5 in acrylic paint and $5 for a brush to give your blank canvas some color. You don’t have to be an artist to give the room a feel and sound.
Curtains and Curtain Rods
Curtains might be a bad thing for the Penguin when Batman comes, but they are great for podcasters trying to get the bounce out of a room. You don’t even need a window to put curtains up with.
I have used curtain rods for more than curtains, too. Some are sturdy enough to hold mic clips, lights, or other items.
Do a search for Floor to Ceiling pole. These are adjustable polls that can sometimes hold simple items. Hang your soundproof items from there.
Cardboard boxes are also great sound barriers. If you have to store those old boxes of papers, books, or whatever, think of using the back wall for those.
And yes – they work great for your cat audience to watch you podcast.
Floor Mats, Floor Protectors
Vibrations go from mic, to floor, to room. getting padding to set under your table can also help with the sound protection – especially if you have hard wood floors.
If you go to the sporting store, you can get interlocking floor panels for a decent price. they can also be used on walls and floors. If you don’t like the look of them, you could also put the pads behind your desk so the desk-to-wall doesn’t become a sound chamber.
What Do You Use?
Do you have other ways to deaden your walls? Let me know!