Inexpensive, nonpermanent way to reduce room echo in recordings?
September 9, 2016 11:16 AM   Subscribe

I've been recording myself reading poems. I have a nice AKG P220 condenser mic which works really well in situations where there isn't a lot of room echo. My apartment is not such a place. If I can find a solution that costs less than buying a new microphone, I'd prefer it. I'm assuming that if I can deaden the room a little the problem will be fixed. Any suggestions for a cheap, nonpermanent way to accomplish this?
posted by eustacescrubb to Technology (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Bookcases can make good diffusers, especially if they're stocked with books of varying size.

You can get accoustic foam and mount it on stands that you can put near you to modify the sound. Where you place the mic in the room and where you stand can make a big difference, so experiment with it. If you can dampen down a corner, putting it in the corner facing out may work for you.
posted by Candleman at 11:35 AM on September 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Blanket forts under the dining table are surprisingly effective.
posted by advicepig at 11:36 AM on September 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Get some extendible shower curtain rods and hang blankets from them is one way to deaden the walls.

You could also go to a carpet store and get a remaindered high-pile section of carpet cut to the size you need to deaden the floor - you can then unroll when you want to record, and roll it back up and put in in a closet when you're done.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:38 AM on September 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Do it in a closet. Seriously. One that has clothes hanging in it.
posted by slkinsey at 11:47 AM on September 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Also, I use our bedroom closet to record (it's a very small walk-in) since it's acoustically dead thanks to the hanging clothes. Do you have closet that you can open and position the mic in so that you're using the hanging clothes as sound damping?

If you have hooks on the walls already for pictures and such, you could also get sections of polyurethane foam from an upholstery/fabric place, poke holes in them, run a loop of string through the holes, and then hang those off the hooks while you're recording.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:48 AM on September 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've not used one personally but the purpose-built solution would be a foam half-moon that mounts to your microphone stand, like this. If you could get some aesthetic use out of the curtains suggestion, that might have some bonus value, though, especially if you want some room sound but are looking to tame the echo but not eliminate it.
posted by alexandermatheson at 11:49 AM on September 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Look for a Reflection Filter (basically a foam enclosure for your mic) like this. Plenty affordable options online, but doesn't seem all that difficult to make yourself either.
posted by monospace at 11:59 AM on September 9, 2016

There are a lot of great tips on for podcast recording which should be helpful
posted by radioamy at 12:21 PM on September 9, 2016

You can also try a post-processing step to de-room-ize an audio file. Or, build a tiny room for your mic to go into!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:29 PM on September 9, 2016

Remember when you were a kid an built a pillow fort? Do that. Honestly.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:06 PM on September 9, 2016

If you have the mic on a stand on a desk, put a sweater under your mic so sound doesn't bounce off your table
posted by rmless at 1:51 PM on September 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: A combination of the closet suggestion and hanging a blanket from a shower curtain rod (which I set atop the open closet doors) did the trick - room echo gone.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:52 PM on September 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I was coming in to suggest clothes closet, but I also know people who record audio in their car for the same purpose.
posted by instamatic at 6:03 PM on September 9, 2016

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