A Cellar Filled With Words

Back at the old house, I had made what passed for a respectable audio-booth. Sure, it wasn’t 100% sounds proof. It wasn’t entirely comfortable and it sure as heck wasn’t pretty, but it worked. All of my audiobooks to date were recorded in that booth, built from odds and ends around a desk from the Reject Shop padded with acoustic foam to dampen the noise. Ah, memories.

Well, that was then, and this is now, and this new place doesn’t really have anywhere to build a booth. I mean, yes, there’s a garage, but that’s filled with junk and boxes and stuff and more junk and boxes. And once that’s cleared, it’ll hold the car so the birds don’t have their way with it anymore. Stupid birds. And there’s a little shed out the back which, though useful, is filled with garden tools and whatnot. More whatnot than I’d prefer, and therein lies the problem. I can’t build a booth.

I toyed with the idea of having a simple shroud made out of a lightweight frame, foam and cardboard that I could put up around me and the microphone, but a small test showed that while there was some dampening of the environmental sound in this room, it wasn’t enough. There was the hum of the computer, the cars zooping outside, the cat calling for food and the birds giggling with each other. Stupid birds. So that idea went out the window.

Next was to barricade myself in my bedroom. What with all the carpet and the doona and the curtains, surely that would dampen the sound. And it did, substantially, but I didn’t have anywhere to sit. So I tried standing, but the floorboards creaked when I shifted my weight. Also no good.

So there’s me, getting all despondent, thinking I might have to grab my gear and find a library with a booth I can borrow, when the thought struck me. The cellar! It ain’t ideal, but it works! I had to patch up the door leading down to block the holes, clean out the cobwebs and evict the spiders (it’s Australia. There were many, many spiders in there), put up a whole bunch of audio foam to reduce the echo and drag in the dodgy barbecue table from the patio.

Tada! Just like old times: It’s not pretty, but it works!

So, yeah. That’s a fluoro light which has a slight hum, but only if you’re near it. Noise reduction in Audacity takes care of that easily. That, and the water pipes run through there, so when someone goes to the toot, I have to pause and wait for the slooshy-sloosh and the hiss of the cistern, but that’s a small price to pay. Besides, I get to keep an eye on the home-brew while I’m down there. I reckon I can make it a bit better, get more foam on the sides to really reduce the echo and noise, and neaten up those cords. All in all, a job well done!