When I first set up my studio at home, it was a bit of a makeshift job because I didn’t know if being a full-time, freelance Voiceover was going to work out. My little study became my office and the “cupboard under the stairs” (downstairs loo!) immediately next to it was the perfect size and shape for a voice booth. Over time I upgraded the space, my equipment and fortunately the work kept coming in.
Six years later, I’ve completely outgrown it. In truth, I outgrew it a couple of years ago, but time, money and unwillingness to make the leap plus how to do it held me back. I didn’t have room for a dedicated pro room like a Whisperroom or Esmono booth, so how was I going to do it? My house just wasn’t big enough! One day though, the penny dropped and everything fell into place. At the end of my garden is a very large and slightly rundown shed with power and a good solid base. It occupies a 5m x3m plot. It’s going to need replacing in the next few years, so why not do it now. How about demolishing that and putting in a liveable space that would work as a studio?
I looked at a number of options. A standard room with a portable booth, (handy if I move), a room with a built in booth (integrated booths look good) or a fully treated, flexible use soundproof room?
I’ve gone for option three. The WHOLE ROOM is going to be the booth and I’ll work within it. The company I’m working with, Swift, have experience building soundproof outdoor rooms for musicians, sound editors and harried parents of teenage drummers. So not only will the extra acoustic treatment in the build block out all external noise, but it will stop me and my noise leaking out when I fire up the karaoke app… And if I DO move house, I’ll be leaving behind a soundproof room with multiple uses for a potential buyer. A cinema room. A music room. A gym. A playroom for noisy kids. A bondage room, where no-one can hear your screams…
At these early stages, depending on how soundproof the room actually is (I’m told one of their most demanding soundproof room projects blocked out noise up to 115 decibels) and how much dampening the room needs inside, I’m planning to use acoustic screens around my mic, plus wall panels but that may change. We’re in the early stages of design and planning and I won’t know how I’ll need to treat the final interior until I know more about the costs and what I can do.
The other big change will be switching off the ISDN. My telephone line will be extended to the studio so I’ll keep superfast broadband, but I’m not planning – at the moment – to extend the ISDN lines down the garden. I used to use it fairly regularly, but in the last year the work I’ve been doing hasn’t required it, I’ve had no demand for it and it hasn’t affected the amount of work I do. With Skype, ipDTL and Source Connect NOW providing better quality audio and increasingly stable and almost latency free connections over broadband ,I’m going to put my hand up and say ISDN is on its way out and I’m letting it go. I’m keeping hold of my codec though. Just in case. I’m not daft.
The thing that really tipped me over the edge is that the company’s designer is a bit of an Art Deco fan. I’m getting ahead of myself here, but I’ve found myself a lovely Art Deco leather sofa to sit in the corner of the studio. Y’know, now that there’ll be space for one…