Product name: Beltbox Vocal Dampener
Where to buy: Amazon US or Amazon UK
Is it really worth your money? Not if you already own a pillow.
You might have heard in the past someone say that if something is too good to be true, most of the time, it isn’t true. In this review of the beltbox vocal dampener, I’m going to tell you straight-up if this product actually does what it says on the box and if it’s worth your money or not. I’m also going to give you free alternatives you may already have in your possession that will perform equally or better than this product. Let’s get started.
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Do you just need to scream and/or let out some steam?
Here is another semi-useless product that will make you laugh 🙂 It’s called the Scream Jar.
What exactly is the Beltbox voice silencer mask?
The beltbox is a padded voice dampener/silencing mask shaped to fit over your mouth and nose. Like a personal and pocket-able recording sound booth. It was created for those who love to sing in the shower, those who live in cities apartment blocks and want to warm up or practice their singing or anyone else who just wants to shout and scream without waking up the whole block.
If everything the marketing department states about this product is true, it is supposed to allow you to belt out your voice, sing out loudly into it with less disturbance to people around you and your immediate neighbours. This is where things get tricky, because there are millions of people who actually need a product like this, it is easy to romanticise about the possibilities, fall for the hype and buy this product hoping it will work.
Does the vocal dampener for singers beltbox work?
We live in an age where printed, audio and visual information is immediately available to us whenever we want. I will let you listen and decide for yourself if this product works are not. So see for yourself this video testing out the belt box. You can start watching from around minute 1:20
So what do you think? The singer in the video goes on to say there is a reduction in sound (to her ears) while to me as a listener, the reduction was not a much as the product claims to provide. This is the problem. The false premise that since you are making an effort to reduce noise, then the noise is actually been reduced. Most users and hence, reviewers of this product may not be the best judges of the products performance.
Personally, having heard someone using this belt box, have come to the conclusion that it will dampen your voice a bit but you’re still going to disturb your neighbours. There is no magic here. Unfortunately, in this case, simple physics still wins. While the high frequencies of the voice are reduced, there is still a great amount of mid-range muffled sound going through and out of the belt box.
The end result of this is even more pissed off neighbours because, before the beltbox, they were able to hear your beautiful voice in all its glory. But now all they get is a muffled mid-range / low tone, still loud and disturbing. How disappointing.
Drawbacks to using voice dampener masks like the beltbox
Here are some drawbacks to using sound dampening masks like the belt box.
- These types of masks tend to give a smothering or choking feeling because of the difficulty you have breathing. You can lower the mask to cover just your mouth but then you reduce its effectiveness as a voice dampener.
- Just one size to fit them all, whether it fits or not. Many have complained about the huge size of this mask. Calls for the production of a smaller size have gone unheard so far.
- A mask like the beltbox can actually hinder the movement of your mouth/jaw and that limits your singing range.
- You have to keep it held onto your face either by hand or by a provided strap which doesn’t really hold the mask in the right spot. Most users of the belt box have complained that the provided head strap doesn’t prevent the mask from sliding down the face onto your neck rendering it useless.
- Your voice keeps bouncing back into your head and throat. This is an uncomfortable experience especially if you plan on using this mask for long sessions.
- Right out of the box, you will have to deal with strong plastic fumes and smells for some time. It might be best to let it dissipate the smell by simply letting it sit in an open space for a couple of days first before use.
Best free alternative portable vocal booth to beltbox voice mask
So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, that the beltbox is not all what it claims to be, what options so you have if you really want to belt out your voice? Here are some of the most popular recommendations.
- You can do nothing and continue to piss off your neighbours. While this is not the best option, you now know that owning the belt box changes little to the amount of disturbance you’ll provide to the neighbourhood. You might as well just continue singing naturally and hope for the best.
- You can use a pillow. Your next best option is to belt your voice into your pillow. While reading reviews and comments on the Internet about the beltbox, I kept seeing this as the most recommended alternative. Most commenters actually stated that a pillow is much more effective than the beltbox. So there you go, you already have on your sofa or your bed a fantastic beltbox replacement which is equally as uncomfortable and smothering to use.
- Use the towel. Similar to the pillow mentioned above, thick towels can help dampen your voice. Just get a big enough one and fold it as many times as you can and go right ahead and belt into it. You’ll have to deal with the same smothering feeling as the pillow though.
- Lock yourself up in your car (if you have or can borrow one). This may actually be the best option you have aside from owning a real recording studio booth. Here you can let yourself go and sing at the top of your lungs. If you don’t like the strange looks from neighbouring car drivers and/or those passing by, you can simply drive off to a deserted place like a parking lot or a nearby forest or field and sing to your heart’s content, whether it be rap, gospel or opera.
Beltbox repurposed as a noise-cancelling privacy microphone StenoMask?
So after what appears as blatant bashing of the product for its weak performance, here is something the beltbox can actually do very well. While the beltbox has no inbuilt microphone out of the box, it can be adapted using a lapel mic or an in-line microphone like those that come with your smartphone wired headset, to create a sort of DIY steno mask, noise-cancelling microphone system. When you consider that products like this Steno SR pro 2 steno mask microphone cost over $250, a DIY set up with the beltbox could actually be worth a try.
Here below is a video tutorial showing exactly how this is done and the results it provides on a very busy street. Now, this actually gets me excited about this product because I dictate into a headset microphone to create most of the content on this and my other websites.
I’m actually dictating this blog post and I have to whisper into my wired headset because it’s early in the morning and the rest of my family is sleeping in a nearby room. This is something I may actually try and it makes me happy that there may actually be some productive use for this product.
Frequently asked questions FAQs about Beltbox
Here below are some of the frequently asked questions about the beltbox.
Q: What is the weight of the beltbox?
A: It weighs 1.11 ounces of 500 gr approximately.
Q: Can I use the beltbox hands-free or do I need to hold it all the time?
A: The product comes with the strap in the box. It is a single strap, not a three-point system. This means that there is a possibility that the mask slides down off of your face if not tightly secured. Obviously, over tightening the mask over your face will induce other unplesantries.
Q: How to clean the Beltbox insides?
A: You can clean the mask with a piece of cloth, some warm water and antibacterial soap. It is very important to keep germs and other nasties away from this mask due to it being unintentionally spat into while in use. The manufacturers actually state that you should avoid using harsh chemicals like alcohol.
Q: What is the Beltbox made of?
A: The mask is made of silicone rubber on the outside and inside is padded with polyurethane foam. While the producers of the beltbox take care to have a quality end product, it is still important to note that if you are allergic to latex, it is recommended to avoid using this product due to manufacturing cross-contamination.
Q: Is the beltbox mask waterproof
A: Yes, this is a product actually marketed as a voice mask you can use under the shower while singing.
Q: What do you get in the beltbox packaging?
A: You get the beltbox mask, a carrying bag and the strap to enable you to use it hands-free.
Q: Can you use the beltbox to reduce the sound of snoring?
A: It is not recommended to use the beltbox for snoring as there is actually a risk of choking and suffocation.
Q: Can you use the beltbox left or right-handed
A: Yes you can. It is shaped for use with either hand or fully hands-free with the included strap.
To be honest, I truly wanted this product to work as a voice dampener/silencer mask. I know how it feels to want to practice your singing and feel hindered by the fact that you are going to be disturbing others. Unfortunately, there are no magic solutions. I still commend the manufacturer for trying. For some people, ANY reduction in voice noise counts.
An overwhelming amount of people wrote that using your pillow actually dampens your voice more than the beltbox. This means that I just cannot recommend this product to you as you already have a good alternative in your house.
Having said that, there are still a lot of positive reviews on Amazon for this product. I believe most of these people bought into the product in a bid to try and make an effort to reduce their noise. Something like a placebo effect, where you have a feeling you’re actually doing better because you’re doing something different.
I noticed that most positive reviews were left by people who actually didn’t have someone standing near to them to confirm if the voice was dampened and more silent or not. People who actually had others listening to them nearby left more critical reviews saying that sound was only reduced or dampened 10 to 30% and that they could still be heard loudly.
If you want to try out the product for yourself, go right ahead as Amazon has a very good return policy. I personally don’t like returning products, but you can rest assured that if it doesn’t work for you, you may be able to return this for a refund.
I hope that this review helped you make a decision on the beltbox product. Feel free to share with us your opinions in the comment section below if you already tried the beltbox sound-dampening mask. Did it give you results or did you end up feeling cheated in the end?
As always, I wish you all the best in your endeavours.