One of the many challenges that you will face if you are recording outside of a sound room is echoes and reverberations. While there is nothing stopping you from recording in reverberant rooms, you will still have to deal with the fact that any sound you make in that room will create an echo and that you’ll have to deal with when editing your audio recordings or videos.
But all of this can be avoided in various ways. Like with shaky smartphone videos, there are specific approaches and tools you can turn to.
The first method is looking to post-production software that will avoid the issue entirely or kind of address the issue. The degree of quality depends on how high-end the software is. However there are some other cheaper alternatives to consider.
Soundproof Or Sound Muffling Material
One avenue you can look at is to find a way to muffle sound. Naturally a sound room is ideal, but if you want to record in a warehouse or a bathroom, you have to be creative than that. No matter the surface, each one reflects sound to some degree. Particularly surfaces that are hard and smooth, such as bare walls, tile floor, or hardwood floors, reflect the most.
Knowing this, your task is to find ways to place softer surfaces covering those areas. Sound blankets, everyday blankets, towels, and even clothing or anything similar to that can help in blocking off sound and avoid echoes.
Create A Makeshift Sound Room (Big Or Small)
Another alternative is making your own makeshift sound room. Best of all is that you can either go big or small with this. Ideally this tip applies more for voice overs or where you’re recording in one specific spot.
Small Sound Room
For the small version, you’ll need a few things. First is a box that is big enough to fit your head in. There are many tutorials that use smaller boxes, but some people still sound like they’re talking in a cave. To mitigate this, make sure you have a big enough box where you can move your head into the box.
Second you’ll need to line the box with a soft material. You can go cheap with this so things like memory foam, or any of the materials I listed above work great.
Thirdly is adhesive glue. Foam and cloth don’t like to stick if you use traditional glue.
Once you have the materials needed, measure the material out so it fits in the box. Make absolutely sure you have enough space to fit the microphone stand in it and that it’s deep enough so your head can get into the box if necessary.
After that, cut a hole in the fabric so it’s big enough for the microphone and start lining up the insides with the material. Also make sure you read the instructions on the adhesive spray as there will be pointers of what not to do with it when apply it.
If you’re still having reverbs, grab some other pillows, blankets, and other sound muffling material and bury yourself in that area. LOL
Big Sound Room
A big sound room is simple to make and is affordable as well. Generally speaking, you’ll be looking at $200-250 for this design, but Musician On A Mission created a quality instruction guide outlining how to make this sound room using joints, pipes, shower curtain rings, acoustic blankets, and a junior hacksaw. You can read all about it here.
Adjusting Computer Sound Settings
And finally another method to consider is adjusting the sound settings on your computer. If you’re relying on the built-in mic of your computer or a microphone that’s hooked into your computer, there are ways that you can adjust the sound and therefore echo.
For Windows, go to your Control Panel, click Sound then Recording tab. Right click, and select Properties followed by the Enhancements tab. Disable all enhancements and then apply the changes.
For Mac, open system preferences and click on the sound icon. Click on input and un-check the “use ambient noise reduction” and close the window.
You can also use programs like Audacity and Audition.
These are the just a handful of quick tips, but generally speaking, sound can be muffled better the more softer surfaces there are in the area you’re recording. Always keep that in mind and you’ll have cleaner and less echoes in your recordings.