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CAD Audio AS32

Vocal Reflection Filter

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Best Reflection Filter

CAD Audio AS32

  • Don Makoviney
  • Last Updated: February 25, 2016

When I need to record vocals in a room that is less than optimal, I use the CAD Audio AS32 vocal reflection filter. It traps all the vocal frequencies around the microphone, keeping them from bouncing around the room and reflecting back into the mic. Even if you have a well-treated recording space, these are super helpful. While there are more expensive brand name options, the AS32 does the job just as well.


Why you need a great vocal reflection filter

While we’d all like to have a properly treated recording space, maybe with a separate control room – reality dictates we’re often left with the spare bedroom or corner of the basement.

By placing absorption in front of the singer, you’re able to contain the voice before it spreads out and bounces around the room. Also, you’re able to block off other potential noise sources such as A/C’s or computer fans.

Recording a great vocal sound can be one of the most difficult things to do in your home recording studio.

Whenever you’re recording vocals the sound will often end up being a mix of the direct sound into your microphone, and reflections of that same vocal bouncing around the room. The natural solution is to record in a better treated room, but that isn’t always an option. It’s especially not an option if you’re recording in a spare bedroom, or in a corner of a shared room. What you need is a solution that is practical, compact, that you can put away when not in use. With a couple of extra mic stands, a thick quilt, and a reflection filter, you can dramatically improve the quality of your recordings.

A Sound on Sound writer explained it well:

The idea of the reflection filter type of product is to provide some helpful absorption of sounds that would otherwise reach the rear-facing sides of the mic, and also to catch and absorb some of the direct sound from the vocalist. The latter helps to minimise the amount of energy that gets out into the room in the first place, thus reducing the amount that subsequently bounces around to get back into the mic.

What makes a good reflection filter

This is one of those items that, once you buy, you don’t really want to have to think much about. It should do it’s one simple job well,.

That being said, overly complicated mounting systems that may wear out easily, unnecessarily heavy material, won’t make the cut.

Our pick

CAD Audio AS32

cad-audio-reflection-filterThe CAD Audio AS32 is the best vocal filter for most of us. It’s the most reasonably priced, does the job well, and costs much less than it’s competition.

If you’re still on the fence, whether this is the one to get, go take a look at the hundreds of positive and glowing reviews on Amazon. When you can stay well under $100 for a vital piece of equipment in your home recording studio, and the legit reviews are too numerous to count across multiple retailers, you know it’s the vocal reflection filter to get.

One Amazon reviewer noted:

The difference is incredible. This shield literally stopped the nasty hissing noise that my room generates. I get the dry studio sound I’ve been wanting. For added absorption I placed another foam on the top and semi treated my room but even before I did that this thing delivered. I’d highly recommend it.

Another said:

Excellent, workmanship, a fantastic solution for my small space in a one bedroom apt. I now have instant recording studio… Wow! Very light, easy to use, a must for any voice over or indie artist like myself. Using a great mic MXL 990 Pressure GT – very inexpensive under $80 perfect combo… perfect results using my MacProBook. A must for anyone who enjoys a sweet sound from their recording. It blocks out almost all other sound in the room. Very dry solid sound no slap echo, just pure goodness.

If you need a lighter pick, or a super portable option, check these out:

Also great (and weights less than our main pick)

Primacoustic VoxGuard

primacoustic-voxguard-refleOut of all the reflection filters available Primacoustic’s Voxguard is one of the lightest as well. It is made with a combination of lightweight acoustic foam and a high impact plastic frame, whereas many others use a heavy metal frame with dense layers of absorption material. I like how it doesn’t have an overly complicated mounting system. Instead, it uses the standard mounting on your mic stand.

One Amazon reviewer now intends to redo most of his vocals now that he has a great reflection filter:

I have had the Primacoustic VoxGuard Isolation Panel for about three weeks now and have used it few times now. I can only say that I intend to redo all my recent vocals using the Voxguard. The improvement was dramatic. My tracks are much louder with a lot less background noise.

For me this solves a lot of issues with recording in a small bedroom space. I will likely not have a full-blown vocal booth in this room ever, so this is a pretty good way to get a clean loud track.

A $100 is a pretty good price to pay versus some of the other similar units I’ve seen out there. It does a nice job.

99.99 on Amazon

The portable option

Porta-Booth Pro

porta-booth-pro-inlineThis one is great because it folds flat and fits in a bag for easy transport to mobile recording situations.

In fact, this Amazon reviewer explained how he uses it for voiceover work while on the road:

Several VO clients were heavy into developing new campaigns just as my wife and I were about to leave on a long-planned driving vacation. I wanted to keep my clients happy by recording sessions during the trip. A few days before leaving I purchased a Porta-Booth Pro to take along. During the next few days in hotel rooms, a hotel business center, and in the back seat of a van I was able to record several demo tracks and a few more for air. I spoke to video editors after the first few sessions to ask about voice quality. The answer was that they sounded like studio tracks. One editor even cut copy changes recorded on-the-road into existing spots that were studio recorded. The work I didn’t miss paid for the Porta-Booth Pro and most of the trip expenses. What a great product!

If I traveled a lot this is what I would get.

Conclusion

These devices will get some great isolation to vocals, instruments, whatever. While it’s no substitute for a well-treated room with acoustic panels and bass traps, it’s a lot better than nothing.

Happy recording!


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Best Reflection Filter

CAD Audio AS32

Best Reflection Filter

Important Specs

Enclosure 16 gauge perforated stainless steel shield
Foam 53mm high-density micro cell acoustic foam
Size 20" x 12.5" x 11"
Weight 7lbs
more specs

Synopsis:

When I need to record vocals in a room that is less than optimal, I use the CAD Audio AS32 vocal reflection filter. It traps all the vocal frequencies around the microphone, keeping them from bouncing around the room and reflecting back into the mic. You won't find negative reviews anywhere on the web for this great vocal recording tool.

Primacoustic Voxguard

A lighter option

Primacoustic Voxguard

This pick is one of the lightest as well. It is made with a combination of lightweight acoustic foam and a high impact plastic frame, whereas many others use a heavy metal frame with dense layers of absorption material. I like how it doesn't have an overly complicated mounting system. Instead, it uses the standard mounting on your mic stand.

Porta-Booth Pro

Travel-Friendly Option

Porta-Booth Pro

Great reviews, completely collapsible and fits in most luggage. Many users have commented on great success traveling and recording demos, or doing voiceover work with the Porta-Booth Pro. Slightly more expensive than our other picks, but might be worth it if you travel often.

- M

Sources

  1. Hugh Robjohns, Sound On Sound, 20110821
    Is a 'reflection filter' worth the money?
    “The idea of the reflection filter type of product is to provide some helpful absorption of sounds that would otherwise reach the rear-facing sides of the mic, and also to catch and absorb some of the direct sound from the vocalist. The latter helps to minimise the amount of energy that gets out into the room in the first place, thus reducing the amount that subsequently bounces around to get back into the mic.”
Originally published: January 24th, 2016

Important Specs

Enclosure 16 gauge perforated stainless steel shield
Foam 53mm high-density micro cell acoustic foam
Size 20" x 12.5" x 11"
Weight 7lbs
more specs



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