Stellar studios

The Middle East is home to a small but stellar array of recording studios best known for their eclectic output.
Analysis, Content management
Farzin (foreground) at work in the Pro Sound Design studio.
Farzin (foreground) at work in the Pro Sound Design studio.

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The Middle East is home to a small but stellar array of recording studios best known for their eclectic output. S&S takes a look at four facilities that have given new meaning to multitasking.

Eko Sound - Egypt

Eko Sound was founded in 1980 and lays claim to being the first multi-track audio recording studio established in the Middle East.

Eko's main studio has been used to produce an eclectic mix of content, from dubbing films to recording choirs. Since 1994, Eko has provided Arabic-language dubbing services to Disney Pictures and was responsible for the studio's first official Arabic-language animation, The Lion King. Eko has also supplied dubbing and post-production services to Disney produced films including Air Force One, Con Air and The Rock.

Key technology includes a Yamaha 02R mixing console, an assortment of AKG and Neumann microphones, an Amek/Neve 9098 preamp and a HHB T1000 DAT mastering machine. Studios two and three are also equipped with Yamaha 02R consoles.

In recent years, Eko has emerged as one of Egypt's leading AV equipment distributors. The company represents leading brands including Amek, Harrison, Genelec and AKG.

In The Mix - UAE

Dubai-based In the Mix's recording studio is equipped with a 48-channel Allen & Heath mixing console, a Behringer 32-channel digital console and an Alesis 48-channel HD multi-track recorder.

A sound booth complete with a host of AKG, Neumann and Shure microphones is used for recording radio spots, voiceover work and post-production for television, film and computer games.

In The Mix also boasts a fully equipped rehearsal studio available for hire, complete with Fender guitars, amplifiers, acoustic and electronic drum kits, a piano and an in-house PA system.

"It's the only rehearsal studio of its type in Dubai," claims In The Mix founder Nash Planojevic. "The room is available for hire in four-hour slots and clients are provided with full access to the equipment."

In The Mix also provides professional audio training and consultancy services to corporate clients.

Al-Nazaer - Kuwait

Al-Nazaer is arguably Kuwait's best-known audio production facility with a rich 30 year history recording some of the region's best-known artists.

The facility boasts four studios, each of which is uniquely configured for a variety of recording applications.

The largest, Studio A, features a 96-channel, Harrison series-12 analogue console. The 37 sq metre facility also boasts a 48-track Euphonix multi-track digital recorder expandable to 64-track using Pro-Tools 24 MixPlus software in conjunction with Apogee converters. Studios B and C feature open reel recorders, Soundcraft analogue consoles and Digital Betacam/Betacam SP recording and video monitors for synchronised video dubbing and voiceover work.

Studio D is a dedicated video post-production suite equipped with a Digidesign Pro-Tools HD system.

Al-Nazaer also boasts an audio and video duplication facility capable of producing more than a thousand cassette copies per hour.

Pro Sound Design - UAE

Dubai-based Pro Sound Design (PSD) is one of the region's most prolific recording facilities, having played a huge role in fostering the emergence of some of neighbouring Iran's best-known recording artists.

The studio's chief sound engineer, Farzin, has recorded, mixed and mastered more than 50 albums and is widely recognised as one of the region's digital audio production pioneers. Farzin has worked extensively with Iranian composer Behrooz Saffarian whose work features prominently on BBC Persian service.

The facility's main Pro Tools-equipped digital recording studio boasts a Digidesign Control 24 console linked to a TC System 6000 audio compressor. The set-up provides Farzin and his team with access to more than 40 Pro Tools digital recording software applications. PSD also recently acquired an Apogee ROSETTA 800 HD analogue/digital converter.

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