Ambient noise can ruin your recordings, whether you are laying down vocal tracks for an album or recording yourself for vocal improvement play backs. Your microphone picks up everything in the room. The sound of other instruments, traffic outside or someone in another part of your home can be amplified in the mic and end up on the recording. A microphone isolation panel prevents this.
Panel styles vary, although most are made to wrap around the mic in such a way so you can control the direction from which noise is blocked. You can mount the panel on your mic stand so it wraps around on three sides, or you can set it up on a table top if you are holding the mic while singing or using a tabletop computer mic stand.
Manipulating the panel into a semi-circle ensures only your voice is reaching the microphone. This creates maximum separation and absorption. Keeping the panel relatively flat prevents some ambient noise from behind the microphone, while minimizes the separation. The panel gives you some of the benefits of the a soundproof recording booth, where ever you are.
When selecting a microphone isolation panel, one thing to keep in mind is how you plan to use it. If you will be using it on a mic stand, select one that includes all the adapters and brackets necessary to easily attach it, such as the Primacoustic Voxguard panel. This panel is also lightweight, so it works well on most microphone stands. Heavier panels are only suitable for heavy stands, otherwise keeping the stand upright can pose an issue. Another option is the Auralex MudGuard panel. It’s also lightweight and clips to any mic stand, but has the added advantage for use with table top microphones.
Regardless of the panel you select, research it well. You want a panel made of studio foam, since this foam is specially made to absorb noise completely. The foam should be attached to a firm backing. Wood is sturdy, but plastic is more lightweight and makes the panel adaptable to nearly any type of mic stand.