Room acoustics and audio treatment is a world unto itself… a world usually riddled with mathematic calculations, rocket science, and a strong dose of voodoo. For the sake of simplicity, article space, and personally sanity, I’m not going there. For most users, the important issues are simple things like “it works” and “it doesn’t work,” and I can say without any hesitation that Real Traps Portable Vocal Booth (PVB) works. It’s awesome. It works so well, I doubt I’ll ever stop using it. Really. It’s that cool.The PVB is a hinged two-panel device that attaches to a microphone stand and encloses around the mic while you are recording. It comes with an easy-to-use kit that sets up in seconds. The panels don’t attach permanently, so it can be removed and re-purposed fast and efficiently. This device is ideal for anyone recording in a space that is not acoustically treated, whether it’s a bedroom or a kitchen, or anything. Even in treated spaces, the PVB will have its uses, but in an untreated environment this is easily a “must have” item.
What this ISN’T is a sound isolation device. This will not prevent the neighbors from hearing you. This will not prevent you from hearing the neighbors. What it does, and does extremely well, is isolate room noise, so your recordings only pick up what you’re directing at the microphone, rather than reflections off the walls and other noise that can dirty-up recordings. I tested this out recording vocals and a guitar amplifier inside a horrible sounding apartment and the Portable Vocal Booth excelled in both cases. Room reverberations and echo were almost entirely absent and the recordings sounded tight and full-bodied.The PVB is not so cosmetically appealing, however. It is large, dense, and when attached to a microphone stand, it sits very close to your face. This wasn’t a problem for us while testing, but for people who don’t want to feel too closed in, especially if they have limited experience in the studio, use of the PVB may require some coaching. It also completely removes line-of-sight to anyone else in the room, so forget about visual cues. This is a minor issue considering how great the PVB can benefit the over sound of your recording, but the way that it changes your workflow is worth taking into account.Overall the PVB is built well, the microphone stand attachment is incredibly sturdy and the product surpassed any of my expectations in its abilities to keep unwanted room noise from recordings without having to shell out for full room treatment. Highly recommended.