Open House: NYC's Man Made Music
Issue: November 1, 2015

Open House: NYC's Man Made Music

NEW YORK —Post got a tour of Man Made Music’s new penthouse studio in lower Manhattan recently. Located at 50 Broad Street, the 20th floor facility occupies 8,000-square feet, with another 4,000 available for future expansion, if needed. 

Man Made Music principal Joel Beckerman says the new construction represents a two-year, multi-million dollar venture — one in which he collaborated with studio designer/acoustic consultant Francis Manzella ( Man Made Music was previously located in Midtown. That studio occupied just a quarter of the square footage compared to the current location, and with ever increasing noise, traffic, and tourists, Beckerman says it was time to find a larger space that could offer peace and quiet, along with higher ceilings and natural light.

Designer Fran Manzella and Man Made Music principal Joel Beckerman

According to Manzella, his directive was to design a studio that offered lots of flexibility and felt big and open, without seeming compartmentalized. It also had to have a creative aesthetic — one with a design that suggests a surprise around every corner.

The new facility is home to a large Studio A, which includes a live room and separate isolation booth; the smaller Studio B and Studio C, also with connectivity to recording space; and two flexible writing rooms, each with their own dedicated voiceover booth. 

The space also contains a Lab, which is where the Man Made team can brainstorm on client projects and even set up different speaker and furniture configurations to represent the space of the environment they are designing sound for. Man Made Music’s lobby, kitchen, offices and common areas also share this this experimental concept, where lighting and sound can be presented, studied and tweaked to gain insight into client work and real-world environments.

When Post toured the studio, there were a number of projects in the works. One of the writing rooms was being used for voiceover work for Abbott, a company with an interest in the healthcare industry. Producer Amy Crawford was in Studio C working on a music package for a broadcaster to use throughout the network’s political debate coverage. According to Crawford, the package would ultimately include a two-minute piece and numerous cues derived from the theme. Variations would not only be shortened in length (:45, :30, :15, :05, etc.), but also feature stripped-down mixes and solo’d  instruments. Preliminary tracks were created electronically, but would be replaced with an orchestral recording that was to take place in early November. 

Right: VP/supervising producer, Dan Venne 

Left: Producer/director of technology Brian Scherman and producer Amy Crawford

And in Studio A, Man Made Music had just completed work on the global sonic identity for IMAX. The piece would appear before every IMAX theatrical presentation in 1,000 theatres worldwide. Its goal is to show IMAX as the preeminent leader in technology and presentation, and the soundtrack — with its “sonic drop” —represents how the IMAX experience gives audiences exposure to the highest of highs and lowest of lows in the sound spectrum. Man Made Music also created a longer “anthem” that IMAX will use on its Website and at corporate events. And the theme was given nine different variations — romantic, sci-fi, action/suspense, family, etc. — to tie in to different content being presented at different times.

Mickey Alexander served as producer/creative director in the IMAX project. Justine Ryan was director of client services, and Brian Scherman is producer/ director of technology.