We have helped several customers design and build recording booths for their home. A few of these customers had previously invested in the pre-fab isolation booths that you can find online for thousands of dollars. After purchasing a pre-fab unit they came to us to try and design/build their own booth due to dissatisfaction with the sound isolation capabilities of the pre-fab unit. We are not surprised by their dissatisfaction based on the materials used in these isolation booths. Acoustic foam, insulation board, and mass loaded vinyl are typically the main materials used. These products can help isolate the highest of frequencies and absorb some of the reflections to improve acoustics, but for actual sound isolation these designs really are not adequate.

Our Advice

If you need a temporary booth or a semi-mobile booth then it seems like the pre-fab route would be a good bet even with the limited performance. If you really want to isolate sound then you need to build a booth following the basic principles of sound isolation. Frame a booth with decoupled walls either using staggered stud walls, double stud walls, or resilient sound clipped walls and then incorporate, at minimum, mass through multiple layers of drywall on the outside of the booth and the inside of the booth along with insulation between the stud cavities. The inclusion of damping from Green Glue Compound is popular as well, especially in floors where decoupling is much more difficult.

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