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#1104092 - 02/11/12 12:31 AM Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth.
Brian Roberts Offline
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Registered: 07/13/04
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I created a vocal booth in my studio but it has no ventilation or AC and sometimes it gets pretty warm in there. I have thought about perhaps installing a passive vent at the floor level out into the main studio area and then installing some quiet PC fans (using an old PC power supply to run them) at the top of the wall to enhance the circulation.

But before I do that, I thought it would probably be worth polling the room to see if anyone else had encountered and solved this problem a different way or had any ideas that might be better.

I also need to acquire some audio-friendly dimmers for the lights in there and would appreciate hearing about any good (hopefully not outrageously expensive) dimmers that anyone else has used in their studios (I have 3 sets of track lights in the studio and 2 lights in the booth I would like to control).

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#1104197 - 02/11/12 01:30 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: Brian Roberts]
MadGuitrst Offline
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Registered: 06/10/99
Posts: 13633
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Never an easy answer when you want cool, quiet, and inexpensive.

I'm FAR from an expert but have seen my share of contraptions (and what big boy studios do/did).

You have a interesting idea but I don't know how much air a PC fan will move. Might be better with something that is bigger, turns slower, and moves more air.

Going with your idea, depending on how quiet you need the iso booth:
Allowing for the hot air to escape from above, does one part of the booth face away from sound and yet allow for air to escape? You can buy or build something so that the "return" is not direct. That is, not simply an opening but an opening that goes one way, turns, and vents in a different direction (same will hold for air going in).

Ex (just something I found fast....don't mind all of the details for your purposes):




If pushing in air, obviously allow cooler air to come in from the bottom (or, as you described, pull hot air from the top and let the cool air come in passively from the bottom.....not sure which would be better, but any system I have seen active pushes air and passively let's it return).
I would consider a little duct system using something absorptive, again that is not in a straight line.



You could use something like the top one or something like the bottom one, only have the air come into the back and split between the two.

The idea, ideally, is:
for the air coming in, don't have it come in a straight line; use absorptive material for the duct if possible (this doesn't have to be expensive, maybe some sweat equity). If you wanted to get anal, you could build diffusors at each angle.
For the air going out, don't just have an open hole.

In all, no matter which way the air is moving, anything with angles should help with sound transmission/diffusion/reduction, especially if you have some absorption with the duct material (you could just use neoprene duct type of material).
Have louvers on the ends (in and out).

Good luck.
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#1104201 - 02/11/12 01:43 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: MadGuitrst]
MadGuitrst Offline
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Registered: 06/10/99
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Dimmers:

Good quality dimmer, something that is an auto-transfomer instead of a triac dimmer, and maybe that is over-rated might help.

Noise from dimmers is basically the AC getting chopped up and you're hearing the chopping. Something that is transformer based and uses a capacitor to keep the current flow smooth and consistent is the way to go.

IOW, you'll need a good dimmer or just use lower wattage bulbs and simply twist some out and redirect (if possible) to get the desired effect (might consider very low wattage lamp or floor lamp facing upwards).
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#1104288 - 02/11/12 08:53 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: MadGuitrst]
MadGuitrst Offline
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Oooops. I have the cool air backwards.....cool air should come in from the top.....don't know what I was thinking,,,,
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My real name is MadGuitrst

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#1104338 - 02/12/12 08:55 AM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: MadGuitrst]
GAMBLE Offline
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Registered: 02/22/04
Posts: 18894
Gee.....let's see.

Take out the lava lamp and replace the lighting source with LED.

That will fix your warmth issue right there....but if you wanted to take it a step further cut a square hole in the booth....replace with some thick plexi glass and mount that monitor on the outside of the booth.

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#1104347 - 02/12/12 09:57 AM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: GAMBLE]
Brian Roberts Offline
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Registered: 07/13/04
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Loc: The Department of Inexplicable...
Good ideas, Gamble. Unfortunately the orientation of the studie won't really allow me to mount the monitor on the outside while still having the mic directly in front of it. As it will be used as a "teleprompter" for lyrics and script, I need to keep the user's head oriented forward toward the mic--and the mic and stand really only fit if they are in a corner (It's a pretty small booth.) The lava lamp is rarely even turned on--I just turned it on for the picture. The real problem is the two 50 watt can light floods in the ceiling. I suppose I could replace the fixtures but I'd still like to get some circulation going in there.

To Mad's point, unfortunately the proximity of the booth to any actual household airconditioning supply runs is not favorable for installing more duct work. Not impossible I suppose, but would require ripping out drywall ceiling, etc. Which is why I was trying to come up with some kind of a passive system that would suck cooler air in from the floor of the main studio room by creating negative pressure by blowing the hot air out at the top.
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"hey, what's a half-step among friends?"
Old songwriters never die...they just decompose. \:p

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#1104349 - 02/12/12 10:27 AM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: Brian Roberts]
JazAddict Offline
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Registered: 05/17/04
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I think u would be surprised at the positive cooling effect of ur original thought : 2 or 3 small openings along the ceiling line with quiet small pc fans pushing air up there and the heat it holds out...then a couple of passive intakes down low. A classic fundamental solar architecture functional design.
I'd say start small and cheap up there & see if that's enough..


Edited by JazAddict (02/12/12 10:30 AM)
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#1104361 - 02/12/12 11:21 AM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: JazAddict]
WRC,Jr. Offline
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Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 5157
Loc: San Antonio
What about something like this?

http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materi...1&storeId=10051

You could attach it on or close to the top, run the duct away from the vocal booth, and attach a blower on the other end to draw cooler air from the bottom of the booth.


Edited by WRC,Jr. (02/12/12 11:21 AM)
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#1104367 - 02/12/12 11:53 AM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: WRC,Jr.]
Popmann Offline
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Registered: 05/23/02
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Why a vocal booth? If anything built, (little) studio I interviewed at recently had a corner with two folding walls that came out from the corner to form a little booth. Window was in the wall itself, revealed when you pulled it out.

Anyway...I know, that not helpful if you've already built, but for a home studio...I thought it was a cool idea.

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#1104372 - 02/12/12 12:29 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: Popmann]
Brian Roberts Offline
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Registered: 07/13/04
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Loc: The Department of Inexplicable...
Popmann--the studio was converted from a bedroom--the vocal booth was converted from a pre-existing walk-in closet.
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"hey, what's a half-step among friends?"
Old songwriters never die...they just decompose. \:p

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#1104405 - 02/12/12 02:30 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: Brian Roberts]
MadGuitrst Offline
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Registered: 06/10/99
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Can you take some other pictures?
It would be good to see it from other angles, including the outside.

The bottom line is there are always methods to try to do what you want, trade-offs you'll have to consider, trial and error, etc., but you already know that.

What's above the ceiling?
Any space for air to vent?

Based on what you've mentioned, I would consider using flexible, insulated duct and an in-line duct fan, whether it be above to pull air out or below to push air in.

You can get the duct in all different diameters (and the fan too). You can snake the duct up through the ceiling, if there's insulation there, and run cooler room air from outside of the booth into the bottom of it. I would still use ducting of some sort - you can do it very inexpensively. After all, it's supposed to be quiet in there and not having a fan right at the point of entry is almost a must, IMO.

I'll look for some pics
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#1104413 - 02/12/12 03:11 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: MadGuitrst]
Xenophile Offline
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Registered: 09/27/00
Posts: 14543
Loc: Sacramento, CA, USA
Doesn't that big flat-panel right behind the mic kind of defeat the purpose of all that nice acoustic foam stuff?
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#1104419 - 02/12/12 03:41 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: Xenophile]
MadGuitrst Offline
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Registered: 06/10/99
Posts: 13633
Loc: 3rd Stone From The Sun
Windows/glass aren't foreign to vocal booths - not all walls, floor and ceiling need too be absorptive. If it's not a window it's a monitor. Don't want a singer feeling like they're in a coffin.....well, their have been singers I would have liked to put in a coffin (at least for a scare \:D ).

In my make-shift set-ups at home, I never sing at the monitors, but they're usually in my space (and I have two 28" screens), unless I am using my notebook.

I do what I can and it seems to work out. I like to sing in my living room - it sounds good with almost no (very little) acoustic considerations (as long as the mic isn't in omni).

I have a big issue in my studio area when my heater/AC is running. The unit is right on the other side of the wall and there is a return there. I need to build a double wall a few feet out....just haven't gotten around to it. It's just one reason I like a notebook for general purposes. I can move to any room in my house or at my work-place after hours/on weekends.....it's pretty cool, actually.
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My real name is MadGuitrst

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
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#1104421 - 02/12/12 04:03 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: MadGuitrst]
Popmann Offline
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Registered: 05/23/02
Posts: 28880
Loc: Twangville, TN
Gotcha...yeah, ditch the LCD...frontier TranZport is your friend for recording yourself away from the unit.
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#1104459 - 02/12/12 06:22 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: Popmann]
Brian Roberts Offline
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Registered: 07/13/04
Posts: 13364
Loc: The Department of Inexplicable...
Booth viewed from the back wall of the studio


closer view


front on view


looking in the door


the "floor plan" (mic stand base on left for size comparison)


int the door to the left--mic is in this corner


looking straight in from the door.


looking at the right corner opposite the mic


corner of door showing ceiling--entire ceiling is covered with auralex except where the two recessed can mini spots are


looking though the booth door out to the studio


yeah, yeah, I know--I'm not supposed to have glass panels in the door--but like Mad said--it's VERY claustrophobic in there if it's completely enclosed and it makes it more difficult to effectively communicate with the person in the booth without it.

Almost every other surface is covered with auralex--it's VERY dead sounding in there.

One of the primary uses for the studio is songwriting--my partners and I often do it "on the fly" with frequent rewrites of the lyrics--and thus, to keep everyone in sync, rather than reprinting or marking up multiple copies (which is time consuming and leads to errrors), we decided to keep ONE copy in a word processing document, make the changes there, and display it where needed.
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"hey, what's a half-step among friends?"
Old songwriters never die...they just decompose. \:p

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#1104502 - 02/12/12 09:15 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: Brian Roberts]
MadGuitrst Offline
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Registered: 06/10/99
Posts: 13633
Loc: 3rd Stone From The Sun
It doesn't matter whether or not you have a LCD monitor in there, it's going to get stagnant and warm if anyone is in there for any length of time. So, no need to get beat up over your design choice (pretty nice, actually).

The good news is that it looks pretty tight.
The bad new is that it looks pretty tight.

So, decisions......

Firstly, I think you're going to have to decide whether ot not you're willing to put a few holes in the wall/ceiling/doors.

It's a small enough space that if you could put one passive vent out up top and one hole in down the bottom. An 8" fan would be preferable as you can move a lot more air with an 8" fan that a 6" fan. FWIW, a 120mm PC fan is like 4.75". I think that could do the trick. A little sweat equity and $50 or so in parts - not bad.

Whaddya think?
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My real name is MadGuitrst

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
- Dr. Stephen R. Covey

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#1104520 - 02/12/12 10:03 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: MadGuitrst]
Brian Roberts Offline
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Registered: 07/13/04
Posts: 13364
Loc: The Department of Inexplicable...
 Originally Posted By: MadGuitrst

Firstly, I think you're going to have to decide whether ot not you're willing to put a few holes in the wall/ceiling/doors.

It's a small enough space that if you could put one passive vent out up top and one hole in down the bottom. An 8" fan would be preferable as you can move a lot more air with an 8" fan that a 6" fan. FWIW, a 120mm PC fan is like 4.75". I think that could do the trick. A little sweat equity and $50 or so in parts - not bad.

Whaddya think?


No problems with cutting holes in the walls--I was thinking PC fans because they make some specifically to be quiet--and I was thinking maybe as large and slow as I could get--and then maybe 2 or 3 of them. I could just shut them off during takes and turn them on between takes.
_________________________


"hey, what's a half-step among friends?"
Old songwriters never die...they just decompose. \:p

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#1104534 - 02/12/12 11:14 PM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: Brian Roberts]
GAMBLE Offline
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Registered: 02/22/04
Posts: 18894
And get a pop filter that isn't gay.


It's like I have to hand feed you people.

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#1104543 - 02/13/12 12:42 AM Re: Ventilation and AC for a vocal booth. [Re: GAMBLE]
MadGuitrst Offline
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Registered: 06/10/99
Posts: 13633
Loc: 3rd Stone From The Sun
Them thars is good pop filters.....I gots two of em.

Stop dating barnyard animals.....talk about hand feeding.....
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My real name is MadGuitrst

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
- Dr. Stephen R. Covey

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