Can this open, portable device help you capture a professional vocal‑booth sound?
Recording singers or voiceover artists away from a professional studio environment presents a number of challenges, and most stem from the need either to keep noise to a minimum or to control the acoustics inside what’s unlikely to be a great‑sounding room. Several commercial products attempt to address the latter issue, and the most common devices are the ones that you attach to a spare mic stand and which wrap fairly closely around the back of the microphone, the idea being that this will give you a drier recording, with the unwanted room reflections being much reduced — so you can then place the recording in a mix using reverb and other processing. These devices work to an extent, in that they dry the sound, but they tend to introduce a boxy‑sounding coloration. The cheap old‑favourite trick of hanging polyester duvets can also work, but can be bulky and it’s an aesthetic that won’t go down well with some clients!
With the main live room at my Half Ton Studio being closed recently for some extensive renovation work, I needed a reliable way to record vocals in the control room. I required something that both sounded more transparent than the sort of ‘vocal shield’ discussed above, and which looked more professional than a bunch of duvets. So the invitation to evaluate Imperative Audio’s new PVB (which stands for portable vocal booth) was very timely!
The PVB arrived at my studio on a pallet and in a very large cardboard box, and it took two of us to get it all unpacked and set up. Once in the studio, the initial setup took about 15 minutes but it’s easy, and once you’ve done it a few times you could erect it much more speedily.