Item: RealTraps Portable Vocal Booth
Price: $299 (US)
Mic Rating: 4/5
At A Glance: Real Traps’ Portable Vocal Booth (PVB) is a portable and fairly low-cost way to help capture dry, clear sounding vocals, even in locations that are less than acoustically ideal. This simple to use, light-weight device (around 11 pounds) can mount on any microphone boom stand to create a highly controlled environment for recording vocals and spoken narration in acoustically hostile spaces. The Real Traps PVB is larger than many similar products; comprising of a pair of 2×2 foot absorbing panels joined with a hinge in a fully adjustable V shape. The integrated base attaches easily and securely to any microphone boom stand, and it can also be placed directly on a table or other flat surface.
High Notes: Due to its larger size, the PVB blocks more unwanted sound and reduces room ambience much more effectively than when compared to many competing products. The panels help to prevent your voice from getting out into the room, which is more effective than trying to block room ambiance and reflections afterwards. As well as being useful for vocal recordings, the panels can be arranged to help reduce room reflections for many types of recording setups such when recording acoustic guitar. One useful feature is that the panels can be folded in half for storage when they are not in use – useful if you’re recording in a temporary studio setup such as in a bedroom or on location.
Low Notes: At the time of writing this review there appeared to be no European distributors of the Portable Vocal Booths; meaning you will need to ship one from the USA, which will add around $100 +VAT to the price. This makes its competitors’ products that have worldwide distribution a more cost-effective option for anyone living outside the USA. Also, the PVB (like all similar products) is much more effective at higher frequencies than bass frequencies – so you may want to also invest in some form of low frequency acoustic treatment for your home studio if you don’t want your vocals to sound a little muddy.
VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: Real Traps’ Portable Vocal Booth is a useful product for singers wanting to record in a less than perfect acoustic environment (such as most bedroom studios). That said, it can only eliminate certain problems with the room you are in and does nothing to eliminate issues such as reducing the sound bouncing off the wall behind the singer if you are in a small room – which can sometimes be the most important reflections to eliminate as they reflect back into the mic at its most sensitive side (assuming you are using a cardioid pattern). So, although the PVB can be a useful addition to a home studio, you will probably need to look into other acoustic treatment to your room to get a perfect sound. The PVB faces strong competition from sE Electronics’ Relexion Filter, which is more compact and performs almost as well (within 3dB of reduction over 2kHz); however if you have the space for the larger Real Traps panels and are looking for a way to improve your vocal recordings, the PVB performs well and is definitely worth trying out.
Manufacturer’s Website: http://realtraps.com