Our new studio in Puerto Rico had so much echo that it was ruining the audio in all of our videos. I'm happy to say that we have finally figured things out, and we've learned a few things that might help you as well.
Our new studio in Puerto Rico is a concrete box. The thick floor, walls, and ceiling do an amazing job of insulating us from external noise, but they also produce an echo chamber. Even with a lav mic just a couple of inches from my mouth, the echo was apparent.
Adding furniture to an empty room can do a lot to cut down on reverb. Most furniture is soft and can absorb sound waves, but also, odd shapes places around the room can help to stop sound waves from bouncing directly off of flat walls. If you can hang curtains, they can do a lot to cut down on echo, and in most cases, the thicker the better. Perhaps the most valuable piece of sound-damping gear would be a rug. The thicker and heavier the rug, the more sound it will absorb.
Adding foam panels to a wall or ceiling can be one of the easiest and cheapest types of sound treatment, but it may not be the best bang for your buck. Cheap foam panels will be significantly less dense than expensive foam panels and may do very little to cut the echo in a room. Also, hanging hundreds of small foam panels around a studio could take hours, and they might damage your walls. After a lot of research, I decided to stay away from foam and go for something larger, heavier, and cheaper.
Sound blankets are heavy blankets specifically made to dampen sound. We ended up buying eight sound blankets from Vocal Booth to Go. Because of their weight, they are able to absorb much more sound per square foot compared to foam, and they ended up being cheaper as well. Each blanket has grommets along the top that make hanging them extremely easy.
Vocal Booth to Go sells all black or black and white sound blankets. I accidentally ordered the full black blankets. If I could do it over, I would buy the black and white version so that I would have the option of spinning them around and using them as a bounce card. Black isn't bad, but it makes our studio very dark.
In this video, we tested three different mics. We have been using the Senheisers MKE2 microphone for a few years now, and it's the best lav mic we have ever tested. With the sound blankets installed, I was shocked at how much better the lav sounded. I assumed that because it was so close to my mouth, the difference wouldn't be very significant. I was very wrong.
The best sounding mic of our test was Rodes NTG-3 Shotgun. Without the sound blankets, the reverb was overwhelming, but once we added them, the sound of this mic was fantastic. We will probably start using this mic every chance we get.
The Rode NTG-8 was the third mic we tested. This mic really isn't designed to be used inside, but with the sound blankets hung, it also sounded really impressive.
I hope you're enjoying all of the new content we are producing from our new studio in Puerto Rico. Make sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel to see some exclusive content that we will not release on Fstoppers.