Pro Acoustic Foam Microphone Screen: Do Portable Sound Booths Really Work?

Do portable sound booths work? Find out in our review of the Pro Acoustic Foam Microphone Screen if they actually reduce ambient noises and improve your audio.

Jamie Ashbrook
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Are you looking for a portable sound booth, but not sure if they’re worth it? Find out if they actually work for your studio setup.

What is a Portable Sound Booth?

A portable sound booth is a tool to block out ambient noises to make your vocals clearer. Not everyone can afford state of the art equipment or studio time in a professional environment, so these are a workaround if you plan on recording in a noisy room. For example, recording at home may pickup chatter from other rooms or outside noises. A portable sound booth acts as a buffer to get rid of those sounds. Just pop it on a stand behind your microphone and you're ready to record.

How Do Portable Sound Booths Work?

Portable sound booths like the AFMS from Pro Acoustic, (Acoustic Foam Microphone Screen), are fairly lightweight, portable, and easy to assemble. In this case, AFMS comes with a 5/8” and 3/8” microphone thread adapters, allowing it to fit most mics and shock mounts easily on a stand.

The thick CNC cut polyurethane acoustic foam offers outstanding results for absorbing surrounding noises and making recordings cleaner. Usually, portable sound booths have a metal back, but those like the AFMS from Pro Acoustic are more lightweight as they’re all foam, meaning it won’t topple microphones or shock mounts over during production.

Do Portable Sound Booths Actually Block out Noises?

Truth be told, portable sound booths are not a permanent solution if you’re looking to block unwanted noises. They do a really good job at keeping most ambient and far away noises at bay, but they only go so far, as you can see in our video tests. They’re the equivalent of guest chairs at a dinner party: good for one off events when the occasion needs it, but ultimately it’s a short solution.

The long term solution is to optimise your recording location. Try the following:

  • Foam Tiles: Place just a few foam tiles around your studio to absorb bounce backs.
  • Dense Curtains: Windows are the worst at reflecting noises back, so hang up dense curtains or blankets.
  • Carpets: Hard wooden floors can sometimes be a problem, so lay down carpet or place carpet tiles down.
  • Small Spaces: Large spaces are echo nightmares for recording equipment, so choose a smaller room for your studio.

Having things like foam tiles on the walls, fabric furniture, and curtains up can help absorb any ambient sounds and increase the quality of your recordings.

Summary

Overall, portable sound booths do make a noticeable difference in audio quality, but they’re just a short term solution. Sound booths like the AFMS from Pro Acoustic reduce outside street noises drifting in through your walls or windows, so they help focus your mic leaving you with clear and crisp audio. While you could definitely still hear things like buses, cars, and trams go past if they’re loud enough, it does get rid of most ambient noises.

Have you tried a portable sound booth? How are you treating your room’s acoustics? Let us know your experiences and if a sound booth worked for your studio setup.