You can use your laundry as a mic shield in your home recording for a surprising increase in audio quality.
One of the biggest challenges in home recording is cancelling room noise. If you own your own home you could line your space with acoustic foam at $3 per square foot, but that represents a permanent and complicated commitment. You could buy a vocal mic shield, but they can cost up to several hundred dollars and work best for voice-over recording. Or you could use this simple hack to get a much better recording with things you probably already have.
I discovered this trick while recording an episode of the Core Concept Podcast. My audio quality was unsatisfactory and I had very little time left to improve it. Remembering some DIY mic shields I had researched earlier, I did the first thing that came to mind – and I was shocked at how much better it sounded.
Please don’t assume that a mic shield made of laundry is a final solution to your home recording needs – to some extent, you get out of home recording what you put into it. But for those of us with no budget and a rented space, it could make the difference between embarrassing and satisfying.
How to Build Your Own Laundry Mic Shield
As you can imagine, it’s not that complicated to build your own mic shield out of laundry. You’ll need just a few basic items:
- A folding drying rack
- Towels, blankets, or similar large, drape-able items
- A microphone, obviously
- A mic stand or some other way to insert the microphone into the mic shield
- A pop filter (optional, but highly recommended) – these can be made at home as well, but we’ll have to get into that in another post
Once you have all of your items assembled, you’re ready to get started!
Unfold the drying rack and insert it over the mic and stand.You want to have the mic/stand positioned behind the first rods, and in front of the rest of the drying rack, as shown to the right.
Next, drape your laundry over the rack, as shown above, and snug it up against the mic stand. This will dampen the room noise underneath the microphone.
After that, just pile some more laundry on the top and down the sides of the rack (we used three lightweight blankets for the top), to dampen the noise around the rest of the microphone.
Once you have all of your dampeners surrounding the microphone, you can add a pop filter, if you have one handy. We used one that screws onto the mic stand, for extra stability, but you can get creative if you don’t have one quite like that. After all, thinking outside the box is what we like to do at The Spare Room Project!