BarCoe Studios – Inventing tomorrow from the dreams of today

The transformation of The BarCoe Studio to BarCoe Studios is a labour of love. For Sean Barcoe it is breathing life into a vision he had 10 years back when The Barcoe Studio started its journey of taking regional musicians to the world stage.

The Barcoe Studio was set up in 2014 in Abu Dhabi with the aim of building a space in which the artists of the region could turn their dreams into reality. By that year, Abu Dhabi was already leading the region in re-inventing itself for tomorrow. Many firsts expressing a progressive outlook – Masdar city, twofour54, and transition to a smart city – were noticed attracting young talent to the city. This included creative artists – musicians, composers, and performers from all genres.

Sean Barcoe who founded the first studio had a dream to set up a space where artists could fully express their creativity. He says, “From the very outset, we had world-class ambition. We knew that our region is a universal contender for quality and excellence. We wanted to showcase the talent in the region to a global audience. This studio epitomises that dream turning into an actuality.”

The New Studio: Sculpting dreams into existence

The new facility has been designed and built for the purposes of video content creation for music artists, live music production and recording, video, and audio editing. It houses a live room with a stage and space enough to record a full orchestra, if needed, a songwriting room for artists to work on their creations, a vocal booth, a drum room, a video editing suite, and a main control/mastering room. Top-of-the-line renowned Neumann equipment has been installed with valuable advice from acknowledged technical and audio experts to match their standards.

The journey this process follows is designed to mirror the path each artist has taken to get their creations from concept to content and is fuelled by an insatiable drive to lift the knowledge and exposure of the artists from the region. The space is designed so artists can fully express their creativity and turn their creations into market-ready products for worldwide circulation.

Ryan Burr, Head of Technical Sales & Application Engineering, Professional Audio at Sennheiser Middle East says, “We have been fortunate with this project in the sense that our relationship with the end user is already well established. This has meant that we have been involved from the concept to its delivery and established links between the end user and other vendors to ensure that the design complies with standards related to how the content will be consumed. This includes following guidelines set by Dolby for room configuration and loudspeaker positioning to create and mix Atmos for Music content. Thankfully, this project has been relatively smooth and has certainly given us the time to feel smooth because of our early involvement. That’s not to say it hasn’t been without its challenges but those are more from a construction point of view and the setting up of the IT network.”

“Because Barcoe Studios is unique in the region, in terms of how advanced the Neumann technology they are using is, they will gain interest and paying custom from all over the region. This will not only include local artists but also corporate entities and government establishments looking to have their next promo video or music as unique as current technology will allow. This return on investment is what funds the advancement of the facility and Sean’s passion for what he does. It is also a future investment for us here at Sennheiser in terms of what he does next.” He added.

Talent: An eclectic symphony of diverse talents and boundless creativity

The Barcoe Studio is a milestone in Sean Barcoe’s quest to display regional talent to world audiences. Driven by passion and dedicated to growth, Barcoe has tapped into the diversity of the UAE and surrounding countries to showcase the local talent of Emirati and GCC artists, non-Emiratis born in the country and others who consider the region as their second home. The spectrum of creativity spans the globe, traverses continents, and covers all the ethnicities in the country: a melting pot of cultures, flavours, and sound. The completed Barcoe Studios facility will not only give the artists of the region a state-of-the-art facility to hone their skills whilst learning about the technology but will also show them how this technology can be used as part of their process to create more unique and interesting content.

The studio has recorded five EPs, all produced in this revolutionary space, and filmed three music videos for our label’s artists. The stage, fully equipped and rigged, has played host to these productions and more, embodying our ethos of comprehensive artistry.

Design: Alchemy of imagination into fruition

For design, the objective was clear; the control room, the heart of the auditory experience, had to meet the stringent requirements of Dolby’s impeccable standards. The meticulous approach to the studio’s acoustic design was matched by the deliberate choice of equipment. To this end, Neumann was the go-to partner. With their expertise, the studio sculpted a control room that is not just a centrepiece but an engineer’s dream. It is fully equipped with a state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 setup, with aspirations to expand to a 9.1.6 configuration.

The paramount consideration in the studio’s design was the Atmos room—its very name a nod to the immersive Dolby Atmos technology that represents the zenith of auditory experience.

The dimensions and specifications of this room were not left to chance; they were engineered to precise standards, creating an auditory sanctuary where sound is not just heard, but felt in its full dimensional spectrum.

Following closely in importance was the live room, a versatile space designed to serve multiple purposes: from recording crystal-clear audio to hosting video shoots to hosting live performances and facilitating album launch events. Its capacity to accommodate a diverse range of activities makes it the studio’s beating heart, a place where art is both made and celebrated.

Striking the perfect balance between the visual and auditory, particularly in the live room, was crucial. The essence of the space is defined by the synergy of sound and sight, performance, and presentation. The studio is now advancing into the realm of virtual production, with a vision to incorporate spatial audio into live music experiences. The facility is a 360-degree content creation powerhouse, a veritable one-stop shop offering audio and video production, artist management, and mentoring.

The Barcoe Studio was already equipped with the first M-49V Set, an array of U87 and TLM-103 but this project is more about the monitors with every functional room in the facility now being outfitted with Neumann Monitors in the following configurations:

? Video Editing has KH – 310s.

? Song Writing has 2 x KH-120s.

? The Main Mastering/Control room has the region’s first 7.1.4 over AES-67 configured monitoring system for Atmos music creation and mixing comprising 13 x KH-120-II AES-67 and 4 x KH-750 DSP AES-67 subs.

The design process for the main control room required Sennheiser’s TAE members Ryan Burr and Marcus Blight to use Dolby’s DAARDT room configuration tool to come up with the optimum loudspeaker configuration and positioning before attending the site to confirm the locations etc.

The AES-67 network then needed to be configured using a Merging Technologies Anubis as the main hub for routing and control by the TAE team onsite. Only then could the process of aligning the loudspeakers to the room be completed and checked using the MA-1 before playback and listening could take place.

The whole onsite configuration and alignment process took the team 2 days to complete.


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