Engineers, singers, instrumentalists and voice talent looking to remove room-reflection characteristics and externally generated sounds from their recordings often rely upon stand-mounted isolations screens. One common use for this class of products is for when you’re tracking scratch vocals, which may or may not be used later, while other musicians are playing in the same room. Although these products can also affect the sound you get from your mic, their isolation benefits often outweigh any minor coloration.
The product that made the industry stand up and take note when it comes to miniature vocal booths is the sE Electronics Reflexion Filter, now available as the Reflexion Filter X ($99) and Reflexion Filter Pro ($219). Both packages combine a curved, multi-layer screen with a hardware mount that allows you to position the microphone’s distance between the vocalist and absorber.
Guitarists and engineers should check out the sE Electronics guitaRF Reflexion Filter ($169), designed to provide isolation when miking a guitar amp. The hardware will hold a single mic, but the screen includes a hole that is big enough to point an additional front-address mic (such as a Shure SM57) through when you want to double-mic your speaker cabinet.
The Primacoustic VoxGuard VU ($99) is a curved, near-field absorber with ABS plastic backing that has a small window, giving the vocalist a sightline with other musicians or the engineer. For situations where wall installation is not a problem, the Primacoustic Flexi-Booth ($449) provides a larger area of absorption, using two fold-out panels that surround the vocalist.
Instead of a utilizing a curved or square shape, like other portable vocal booths, the walls of the Auralex MudGuard v2 ($149) are convex and shaped toward the vocalist. This is meant to further remove any coloration caused by reflective artifacts from around the mic.
The GIK Acoustics Screen Panel ($299) is a free-standing, portable isolation setup measuring 32”x72”x3” that can be used for vocal recording isolation, as a gobo around drums and amps, or to minimize slap-back echo in a room. When folded, the company notes that the panels can be used as a bass trap when placed in a room corner. The Screen Panel is available in several colors and has a Class A fire rating.
GIK Acoustics also offers the PIB, or Portable Isolation Booth ($325). This attractive folding set of panels combines 2” rigid fiberglass (absorbing down to 150 Hz) with a semi-reflective back that is available with several veneers — blonde wood, mahogany, gray elm, white, and black. Remarkably, the top of the 6.5’x3.6’ panels can be folded down, allowing you to use the PIB as a smaller, wedge-shaped gobo. Now that’s handy!
If you need 360 degrees of shoulder-level isolation from the outside world (or to keep your vocals from disturbing the neighbors), check out the IsoVox 2 ($999). It has LED lighting and an internal shelf inside for use with a mobile device or lyric sheet, and the back and sides can be positioned out of the way when full isolation is not required.