Most guitarists know that to hit the "sweet" spot of your amplifier it has to be a fairly high volume, but the question is; how do you achieve those high studio volumes when you're living in a house with other people or in an apartment block? Well, there are a few different ways. One is to create some sort of isolation box and place your amp inside it. The other method is to move your amplifier to another room or closet and deaden the sound with blankets. But, why not have the best of both world, and place your amplifier in an isolation box, in another room. What's so great about isolation boxes? ? - They allow you to really crank up the volume without annoying the neighbours - Roommates and housemates will hear the amplifier at only a moderately loud level - Simple and easy to build - Cheap - Fits any room, such as a closet - Control your environment - most professional studios are acoustically and scientifically design and treated which costs enormous amounts of money. You can acoustically treat an isolation box for a fraction of the cost, giving you the perfect environment to record in.
An isolation box is basically a simple 4-sided wooden box, big enough to fit your amplifier inside. The walls of the isolation box should all be coated with acoustic foam, have a hinged lid and small hole for cables. If you find the type of flooring you have (carpeted, tiled etc) is adding or taking away from the sound you can always stand the amp on a blanket or some more foam.
Construction Tips - Use 1.5" thick particleboard (as thick and as many layers of wood as you can afford). Some stores do not have 1.5" particleboard or MDF. However you should be able to 1" particleboard at a common store, call around to your local hardware store or wood yard - you'll find many will cut the wood to your desired dimensions. Make it around 6ft long, 3.
75' tall, 3' deep - check what size is required for a 4x12 cabinet. Bigger is generally better as it allows you to use different or more than one amp, and also allows a lot of space your micing should you choose to use more than one microphone. With any amplifier or cabinet you put in the isolation box you're going to want to mount it off the ground. The reason for this is, some frequencies can be amplified through the ground causing the microphone to pick up the sound again. If you lift it off the ground a little you'll hear a truer representation of what your amplifier is doing.
Both Musicansfriend and Markertek have a great selection of acoustic foams. The brand Auralex have some great offer's offer at Musicians Friend. Remember to drill a hole big enough to fit your cables through. As an added layer of sound proofing you may want to place a thick blanket over the entire box or place the isolation box inside a closet.
Ian Marples has been playing guitar for over 10 years, and now runs the website http://www.uncleslinky.co.uk to help other guitarists learn how to succesfully record music at home. For similar information to this article subscribe to his FREE Newsletter by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org