New York audio powerhouse Sonic Union is expanding with the launch of a new studio and creative lab overlooking Bryant Park to further accommodate clients’ evolving needs. The uptown location will focus on growth in the emerging spatial and interactive audio spaces, as well as continued work with broadcast clients. With its expanded capabilities, Sonic Union continues its passion for everything that is and involves sound. The expansion is led by principal Mix Engineer/Sound Designer Joe O’Connell, now partnered with original Sonic Union Founders/Mix Engineers Michael Marinelli and Steve Rosen and their staff, who will work out of both locations. O’Connell helmed award-winning sound company Blast as co-founder, and has now teamed up with Sonic Union for the next step in his successful and entrepreneurial career.
Mix Engineer Owen Shearer advances to also serve as Technical Director, with an emphasis on VR and Immersive Audio. Former Blast EP Carolyn Mandlavitz has joined as Sonic Union Bryant Park Studio Director. And Executive Creative Producer Halle Petro, formerly Senior Producer at Nylon Studios will support both studios.
The four-room audio lab affirms the studio’s continuing evolution into new and emerging audio technologies and creative work in sound. Three rooms are built for Dolby Atmos®, with the first room slated to be approved by Dolby for Nov 13 bookings. The location drops the new space in an ideal spot between uptown clients and their Union Square location.
“We feel really fortunate to encounter good people like Joe, who invest in themselves in so many ways. He has a real affinity for becoming nuanced in these new formats and our all-encompassing approach to audio post, which fits in solidly here,” says Sonic Union Managing Director and Co-Founder Adam Barone. O’Connell adds, “Adam, Mike and Steve have built something very special. I’ve had a great time working with the crew out of the Union Square location and can see the tight-knit staff and top-notch work are very much a result of what these guys are about. From the beginning, the focus of our collaboration was to build a dynamic, more diverse toolbox for future projects. With the new immersive capabilities and such a talented team on board, I am really excited about what we’re creating together.”
Working as one team across two locations, Sonic Union is inspired to expand their creative sound capabilities. This emerging creative audio production arm will also include a roster of talent outside of the core staff engineering roles. The team will now be integrated to handle non-traditional immersive VR, AR and experiential audio planning and coding, in addition to casting, production music supervision, extended sound design and production assignments.
It all got started when Steve Rosen, Michael Marinelli and Adam Barone met for a few pints in 2007, after discussing some mixes they were exchanging in the early days of surround. One day, they hatched an audacious plan that would eventually give rise to Sonic Union in 2008.
The new sunlit studio, with sweeping views of Bryant Park, was created and developed by Ilan Ohayon of IOAD (Architect of Record), with architectural design by Raya Ani of RAW-NYC. Renowned for her visionary and unconventional design, Ani, who also designed Sonic’s Union Square studio, brought forth a feeling of dimensional interconnectivity through a bold, origami-inspired functional finish. Its generous rooms with plentiful windows, and workspaces for clients to inhabit before and after sessions allow for creativity to flourish.
Over nine years, Sonic Union has steadily grown its staff and abilities, earning its role as one of the premiere 100% owner-operated and independent audio boutiques in the industry. The second Manhattan location is their first expansion since 2014.