The pop up studio

Do you need to record on the go? Need studio quality but don’t have studio space or studio bucks? Well this little pop up studio might just be the solution…

Image of The Porta-Booth Pro®

The Porta-Booth Pro®

Joe has spent 20 years in audio production—from sound engineer to an Aria-nominated band, to radio producer / broadcaster. His current gig includes producing and recording podcasts and online videos (as well as being my husband!).

Joe uses The Porta-Booth Pro® to record voice overs and interviews and shares his thoughts below—thoughts, I should mention, that have received no cash or in-kind payment from the makers of The Porta-Booth Pro®.

What is the Porta-Booth Pro®?

Created by American voice over legend Harlan Hogan, The Porta-Booth Pro® (as its name suggests) is a portable recording booth that can record audio out in the field, provide a smaller and cheaper studio option or, as in our case, used as an interim recording facility while our new studio is under construction.

Why do you use it?

With the work I do, it wasn’t feasible to put recording sessions on hold while the new studio was built. As I am recording on a daily basis, often with a moments’ notice, it also wasn’t cost effective or practical to hire a professional studio. We needed an affordable and compact solution that still allowed me to produce quality audio.

How does it work?

It works on the principle that to record quality audio the talent doesn’t actually need to be inside a soundproof studio—only the microphone does.

So the booth is basically a 50 cm x 50 cm box lined with acoustic foam that you put your microphone inside. It has zippered sections to allow mic cables to run up into the box and it folds up pretty easily into a carry bag.

I suggest investing in a boom arm or an adjustable stand for the booth, otherwise you are at the mercy of available furniture or the arms of your assistant to hold the booth at a height appropriate for your talent.

How does the sound quality compare with a studio?

The quality is comparable provided you set the booth up in an appropriate area—ie not a meeting room just outside the lifts as I quickly learned! While the booth does a great job of deadening the room, it can’t block out loud sounds such as the chiming and chatter that blares out of lifts.

You also need to test the placement of the mic and talent before recording—which is really no different to how I would start a recording session in a studio.

If you take those two things into consideration, the quality is fine for what I am producing. Obviously this would be different for a band producing an album…but then again it would be a bit difficult to mic up a drum kit using the booth—you’d probably need up to 8 booths—that would be interesting to see actually!

Is it expensive?

Image of The Porta-Booth Pro folded up in the carry bag

Folds up easily into carry bag (note: this is not my husband)

For us it has definitely been worth the investment and has meant we haven’t had to put production on hold while our new studio is built. We use the more expensive Porta-Booth Pro® version—but it is still cheaper than hiring a studio for 1 day.

It’s made of a durable, heavy canvas and is lined with top-notch Auralex Acoustic Studiofoam—which is a marked improvement on the old mattresses and blankets covering the walls of many studios I have worked in over the years.

It is easy to assemble and carry around—so we take it out on location, set it up in an office for quick grabs and spots, or take it out to the talent if they can’t come to us. Once the studio is complete I think we will continue to use The Porta-Booth Pro® in these instances.

For more information on the Porta-Booth Pro®, visit Harlan’s website. And many thanks to Joe for the info—actually who am I kidding? It is his husbandly duty hehe!

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