VocalBooth Gold, Platinum and Diamond Series Review

Sep 22, 2010 4:20 PM, By Michael Cooper



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Figure 2: VocalBooth Diamond Series rooms feature five splayed walls with optional floating floor and walls.

Figure 2: VocalBooth Diamond Series rooms feature five splayed walls with optional floating floor and walls.

Platinum Series booths float their floors and walls by sandwiching 2-inch-thick, hypoallergenic, pressed-polyester batting between two layers of construction. All wall and ceiling seams, including in corners, have thin strips of mass-loaded vinyl to prevent sound leakage. The inside seams between wall panels are also covered with thin acoustic panels.

The custom Platinum Series booth I tested had walls that were additionally dressed on the inside with 2-inch-thick acoustic panels. These are made from spun and pressed polyester, which ages better than open-cell acoustic foam. Alternatively, your Platinum booth can be ordered with 2-inch soy-based Auralex foam.

Platinum Series booths are designed to prevent low frequencies entering from the outside world, and Gold Series booths are intended to keep high and mid frequencies from exiting the enclosure. Gold booth floors and walls are generally not floated. However, a “sub-floor” upgrade is available.

Gold Series walls are constructed of four different layers and are typically finished on the inside with Auralex foam. The 100-percent soy-based foam ensures no toxic out-gassing; it’s offered in one of 10 different colors and sports either a pyramid or rounded-tip profile. You can optionally replace the blown foam with pressed-polyester panels.

The two-pane windows for Gold Series booths have one fewer layer than the three-pane Platinum Series. The window assemblies for both series have a clear, thin vinyl laminate on the outermost window pane. A vacuum between window panes creates an inert environment that prevents condensation from forming.

I tested a large Platinum Diamond Special (custom-configured) booth with five splayed walls, each measuring between five and 10 feet in length. I also tested a standard 4x4-foot Gold Series booth. With a drummer and electric guitarist blasting away a few yards outside each booth, the highest SPL measurement was roughly 103 dB (C-weighted) just outside the door of each booth. Inside either booth, with its door firmly shut, the sound transmission loss (STL) was between roughly 19 and 20 dB. Subjectively, the music sounded only a tenth as loud inside the booth as compared to being just outside the door, with high and midrange frequencies being the most dramatically attenuated.

Bass frequencies were also attenuated quite impressively but were still very audible from inside either booth. Quite frankly, you’d probably have to accept much greater expense and fixed construction for better performance than a modular booth can provide at low frequencies. It takes tremendous mass to eliminate the transmission of bass frequencies through physical structures, which is why state-of-the-art recording studios with floating construction can easily cost six figures to build. Most people can (and do) get professional work done with far less isolation.

If your main goal is keeping bidirectional sound leakage between your studio and the outside world to a bare minimum, a VocalBooth room inside your building should provide outstanding isolation. VocalBooth’s rooms offer cost-effective, quick, comfortable and visually attractive acoustical solutions that don’t force irreversible construction on your existing home, studio or office space. Best of all, you can take the booth with you.

Mix contributing editor Michael Cooperappears in a speaking role in an upcoming movie, The Wait, which stars Jena Malone and Luke Grimes.

Click on the Product Summary box above to view the VocalBooth product page.

Click on the Product Summary box above to view the VocalBooth product page.

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