Dante was the “best decision made” at MNK Studios in the United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

The only recording and rehearsal space of its kind in the United Arab Emirates, MNK Studios supports artists and musicians looking to hone their talents in a professional studio environment. Initially, plans called for building multiple recording studios, but the focus shifted to constructing multiple live rooms for rehearsals and other activities in addition to two recording studios, all catering to artists as well as production companies and corporate clients. Flexibility in the audio system was a priority to maximize studio usage, which is why MNK built its system using Dante -enabled products.

“I went with Dante because I wanted to route audio signals for our various requirements seamlessly,” said Miltiadis Kyvernitis, founder and engineer-in-chief of MNK Studios. “Quite frankly, it was the best decision I made for the facility.”

The facility's primary goals were to have acoustically isolated rooms designed for superior live instrument performances and the best-sounding rooms for recording. While the live rooms primarily serve as rehearsal spaces, they’re often also used for podcasts and video shoots. Two rehearsal rooms, Studio M and Studio S, are each 320 square feet (~30 square meters) in size, with sound attenuation of approximately -55 dB. The main live room of the facility, Studio B, is 700 square feet (65 square meters) and connected to both control rooms via Dante. With sound attenuation at around -65 dB, Studio B also serves as a multipurpose room, with in-room stereo and multitrack recording abilities, ADR for film, music rehearsals, video shoots, and podcasts. The rooms are so well done that bleed from live group performances is minimal and easy to mix in post.

Up to 24 audio channels (expandable) are transmitted bidirectionally between Studio B and both recording studios via a Dante-enabled Avid MTRX with negligible latency, which is perfect for recording anything from a single instrument to a live band. The audio is transported to the respective MTRX Studio Interfaces in Studio 1 or 2 using Dante Controller and then routed to Avid Pro Tools through DADman control software running on a MacBook Pro. The control rooms use Dante AVIOs for system audio playback. The ability to route any audio coming from the MacBook allows the studio to record that audio and transmit it without requiring third-party software. It also allows them to route their talkback microphone into other software, such as Zoom.

In Studio B, an Allen & Heath Avantis digital mixer — equipped with two Dante expansion cards for connecting inputs and outputs — was connected to an Allen & Heath DT168 Dante expander and DT164-W preamplifier for session recordings. Using the second Dante card on the Avantis, the studio can multitrack record up to 32 channels from the Avantis to the MacBook Pro, which uses Dante Virtual Soundcard to route the signal to a REAPER digital audio workstation.

“One of the biggest benefits of Dante has been the huge reduction in the number of XLR cables that need to run from the live room to the control room, and the ability to route signals to and from both control rooms provides a good backup in the event one of them is unavailable,” said Kyvernitis. “Using Dante has made our workflow efficient and flexible to the needs and requirements of any task that comes our way.”

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