ISO Box's Magic
For the past couple weeks, my wife and I have been working on making the studio look and sound better, I wanted to make sure it was functional and it felt great to work in there.
We did everything from paint, lights, treating the room , etc (Maybe Ill do another blog post about what we did to treat it) but the one thing that I left to last bit and I've been dreading was finishing my ISO cab.
ISO cabs are pretty much a box where you can lock in a cabinet , mic it up and turn your amp up without getting blasted from it.
As a mixer, it really helps when I have to revamp guitars, since I can have the amp head next to me, and dial a tone while listening through the speakers. This helps me get to the end result way faster, than trying to record something that sounds good in the room.
Sound travels by moving air, so the Key to making the Iso box work is stopping the air movement. Making it air tight and insulating it, cuts sound going out to a minimum.
I have seen people use Auralex foam to treat iso boxes, I am not a fan since it doesn't do much absorption. I like to use Owen corniness 703 Rigid Fiber Glass Boards. They suck to install and cut (Everything will itch, prepare yourself) but it is so dense that it absorbs any sound going its way. Great for this purpose.
The box is made out of 1/2 inch MDF board, the material is super dense (compared to plywood) which also helps greatly to control the loudness of the cab.
I also wired a XLR snake and a speaker wire. For speaker wire, I wanted something long enough to reach my workstation and have the ISO booth all the way back in the room away from me. The cheapest and most effective way to get a cable long enough is buying a heavy gauge extension chord from your favorite hardware store, cut the ends and wire it to two TRS tips. The heavy gauge will help minimize the loose of signal. It is just harder to wire.
Incorporating this to my workflow is going to be great because I can write with a real amp and not be extremely loud. I t is dedicated so i can reamp any sound i want with a couple patches. And the best part is it makes guitar tones sound more controlled. It cleans the low end rumble out. Focusing the tone towards the mids and most importantly it lets you dial your tone exactly to how it will be in your record.
I strongly recommend trying one out for your personal studios. It is a cheap investment for a very useful tool!