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Trying not to disturb my family is crippling my support/resonance

My house has very little in the way of soundproofing, and as such, there's nowhere I can go to practice where they won't hear me at least a little bit. So I practice really quietly in the basement.

It's very rare that I'm home alone, but on those few occasions, I have (what I think) is really great, powerful support. I think I have a really big voice. When I actually try to, I can project and fill the room effortlessly. I can't bring myself to sing like that when my family is home.

This isn't a stage fright thing. I'm fine with performing. When you perform, you're displaying the results of your hard work. But that hard work is pretty ugly sounding, and that constantly weighs over my practices and handicaps my progress. When I try to sing 'fully' or 'belt' in practice, I just end up singing through my nose because I'm subconsciously trying to muffle myself. That's not a good habit to get into.

So, does anyone have any suggestions for soundproofing, finding other places to practice, or convincing myself to stop caring? :)


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346

    Ken tells a story of being told to be quiet when trying to warm up in hotel rooms when he was on tour.

    He learned that singing into a pillow was an alternative to getting kicked out of his room and he learned to hear his own voice within his head while doing that.

    A possible alternative to singing directly into a pillow might be to build a partial enclosure that you could fold up and put away in your basement when you finish practicing.  I would take a couple of sheets of plywood and connect them with hinges.  Then take several large, fluffy pillows and hang them on the corner you have built.  You might have another piece of plywood to set on top across the corner.

    Velcro it into position.  Another material you might use would be egg-crate mattress foam.  You can get a full-size or queen-size chunk for a relatively small amount of money.  

    If you could make an entire enclosed booth, that would be even more sound-reducing, but standing, singing into an insulated corner might help to bring the sound down a few decibels for the sake of others in the house or apartment. 

    If the booth or corner is too much to do, then think about sound-absorbing materials or pillows that you could direct your voice into. 

    Cars with the windows rolled up make very good, private sound booths, if you are parked somewhere that nobody will distract you, like a parking lot at a huge mall or department store.  The downside of that is that you are much better off standing up rather than seated in a car.  Your support needs to be worked out in a standing position, if at all possible.  Don't think you are getting in the practice you need by driving and singing.  You NEED to do your workouts paying full attention to your voice and your singing.  Multitasking by singing while commuting is better than not singing at all, but you need time where you give your FULL attention to your lessons.

    The distraction of driving while singing takes away from the attention your voice needs and deserves, not to mention that your Driving NEEDS your FULL ATTENTION, for safety's sake!

    A rehearsal space is something we all have to work out.  It could be in a school room after hours, in an auditorium on days it isn't used, a church on weekdays or after the service...

    We have to take the time to work through all of our vocal workouts and lessons.  It takes focus, time, and attention. 



  • MW1MW1 Member, 2.0 PRO Posts: 8

    I totally understand this problem.

    In the apartment I live in now, I can't come close to full power.

    This will most likely change when I move in the summer. I will have a room dedicated to music that I can soundproof a bit.

    In the meantime, I am relegated to practicing in my car... which is of course comes with its own drawbacks.

  • ParkerBParkerB Pro Posts: 11
    I can relate to this issue.  I am in the process of converting a basement closet into a sound booth.  I bought a big package of soundproofing insulation at Home Depot ($40), stacked layers of it into the ceiling of the closet, which totally blocks sound from being heard upstairs.  Fortunately the closet is somewhat roomy and has an electrical outlet, I'm fixing it up.  The only sound "bleed" is through the doorway.  I'm looking for a cheapo twin mattress to slide easily back and forth across the closet doorway, and I think that oughta do it.  

  • JosephJoseph Pro Posts: 260
    They do sell sound booths or soundproof vocal practice booths that you can assemble in your garage/basement. Some will have ventilation etc. look them up on the internet.
  • wrokonwrokon Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 21
    I recently came across this:

    I ordered one for myself, haven't gotten it yet, so I don't know how effective it is. I don't need it now, but I was hoping it would come in handy during traveling. Probably a lot cheaper and easier than setting up soundproofing :)

  • MattMatt Pro Posts: 197
    Has anyone tried this yet? Sounds interesting...
  • wrokonwrokon Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 21
    I received mine. I don't regret buying it, but it's not perfect. It does muffle the sound a lot, but the downside is the size limits how wide you can open your mouth.
  • MattMatt Pro Posts: 197
    Ah okay, maybe not great to start off with then, but I'll give it a go when I receive mine - thanks wrokon
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    edited October 2014

    As to the jaw, a large, fluffy pillow can accommodate just about any jaw opening.

    Perhaps the singing filter company should include a KTVA model, with expanded sizing.

    I have a respirator that is intended for use when spray-painting that I got up and just tried to use for this purpose.  It does attenuate the sound by several decibels.  It's a rubber mask with straps to hold it on the head.  It has inlet valves and outlet valves to force inhalation through filters, and allows exhalation through an outlet valve.  I was able to fully open my jaw with it on, although it isn't quite the same as not having it on at all, due to the fact that it seals around my face.  With HEPA filters installed on the respirator, it gives only purified air into the mask (which the singing mask only allows air when you remove it) and the outgoing sound is reduced by several dB.  You could probably easily fit further muffling material lining the inside of the mask and possibly on the outlet as well (like a gas-mask hose with a muffler).  It's certainly not ideal, and there are safety cautions that should be observed when using any respirator (Read the Directions Fully, use at your own risk! ), but this thread has got me thinking outside of the box, literally.  This whole concept of a mask instead of a box to put your head inside, is more portable and practical in many situations.  Don't let anyone video you singing with a mask on and put it on YouTube, though, or you may never live it down!



  • ragnarragnar Pro Posts: 410
    Did you ever have the time to take this further Bob? I'm about to order myself one of these "belt-boxes". I'm not entirely sure they ship to Denmark though, so I am also considering putting together a DIY version of it (also just for the fun of it).
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346


    Is the "Belt Box" an isolation booth?   That might end up being better than any strap-on mask arrangement.

    Certainly wearing a mask changes the dynamics of singing.  The sound is different, and you have this THING on your face...  not too pleasant.  Being the Man in the BOX isn't ideal, either, but it would probably be pretty good for making demo recordings, which a mask would not.  I think a small booth with good air flow (maybe by an exhaust fan), and possibly some auralex foam panels on the inside would be good. 


  • jlloganjllogan Pro Posts: 1
    I have the same problem with my family being in the house to hear my annoying sounds.
    Joseph said:
    They do sell sound booths or soundproof vocal practice booths that you can assemble in your garage/basement. Some will have ventilation etc. look them up on the internet.
    I've spent some time searching and have not found anything suitable. Can you (or anyone) post some links to such booths? The more affordable the better!

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346

    This one is from vocalbooth.com   probably very expensive, but it may give you some ideas.

    I want one. They're made for home studios so you can get a decent recording without being in a studio...I want to build one!

    This is from voiceoveressentials.com  but does not keep the sound enclosed

    The Porta-Booth Pro - Your Recording Studio at Home and on the Road

    This is a do-it-yourself version, made in a plastic storage tub

    Picture of Sound Cancelling Portable Studio Box.  Looks less space consuming than a booth of fabric & pvc :-)

    Perhaps a carton that refrigerators ship in could be ventilated, lined with foam, lighted, and a flap-door cut into it.  Put it in the garage and wail away.  Fold and put away when not in use.

    Some folks drive to an empty parking lot and just sing in a car or van with the windows closed.  That's not ideal because you want to stand upright for the sake of your support. 

    Google "vocal isolation booth" on an image search, and you'll see plenty of them.  They want over a thousand dollars for one that doesn't look like much more than a fancy refrigerator box.

    Clearsonic ISOPAC G Vocal Isolation Booth, 4' W x 4' D x 6.5' H

    I think somebody could build something very similar to this for a lot less money, using mostly free materials.  You might have to buy a roll of duct tape and a couple of sheets of Plexiglas.


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