A few weeks ago, I found myself away from my home recording studio with a big voice over job needing done before the end of that day. It was big money, and I couldn’t afford to miss the job. If I didn’t have it by the end of the day, the client would be forced to use someone else.
Luckily, I don’t travel anywhere without my laptop, an external sound card and a cheaper condenser mic that all fits nicely in my laptop bag. (which gets me searched by the TSA EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Dangit!) However, I don’t regularly travel with a well insulated and sound dampened studio. In fact, where I happened to be staying was a large, open floor plan style condo with wood flooring and high ceilings. When I got out my microphone and gear and began recording, it sounded like I was in a large high school gym. Aka – not very conducive for voice over work. I needed a solution. And I needed it fast.
Luckily, I remember a fellow voice over talent telling me about their “portable studio” – basically a large rolling suitcase outlined with foam – with a nice mic stand installed in the middle and an XLR plug ran professionally through the back of the suitcase. It was a sweeet setup. I didn’t have time for that.
What I did have, was a Wal-Mart nearby. So, I present to you what I call the 15/15. It took me 15 minutes to setup, and less than $15 to buy.
What you need to buy:
1 Styrofoam cooler – $3.99
1 roll of cheap bed padding – $7.99
1 can of spray glue – $1.99
Grand total: Approx $14.00 (almost $15 with tax)
Putting it together is simple – you can take a look at my pictures. Cut the foam to fit and outline the inside of the cooler – spray the backside of the foam and stick it to the cooler so it has a nice bond. You can cut a small hole to run your XLR/mic cable through it if you need to. I did not need to since my portable mic is also a hard drive – so I just plopped it all in there and went to town. While it’s no substitution for a permanent, professional studio – it can really get the job done in a pinch!
Below is an audio sample from the same room – with, and without the 15/15 studio.