Shortly after Sum1 opened four years ago, the audio post and sound design boutique became known as an unofficial extension of the advertising agencies it served. Since moving into a customized studio at 180 N. Michigan Ave. earlier this year, that reputation is now just a few steps away from most of Chicago’s largest shops.
“No more hailing a ride, generating an expense report and producing a paper trail to get to and from our studios,” says producer / sound designer Shawn Ballman.
“Being within two blocks of the river on Michigan Avenue means clients can walk to us in just a few minutes.”
The convenient location is enhanced by innovative interior design. Boasting a suite of glass-walled studios, the facility offers clear lines of sight for up to three artists and an engineer working in separate rooms.
Basically, everyone can see each other while they do their thing.
“If we’re recording a script with multiple characters, we do not have to put them all in the same room,” explains Ballman. “We can put them in separate rooms and still maintain total control over the sound.”
After running River North’s Soundslave for nearly a decade, Ballman joined forces with Ben Keller and Robert Marshall, formerly of Cutters’ Another Country, to form Sum1 in the spring of 2013.
In the early years, the company was located at 676 LaSalle, a beloved, multi-story building that housed several small creative businesses before going condo last year.
Details throughout the new Michigan Ave. facility reflect the partners’ combined experience servicing advertising clients.
“On top of our recording and mixing capabilities, we’ve beefed up with even more instantly searchable music and sound effect files,” says Marshall. “Plus, we have multiple Source-Connect and ISDN lines for connecting to anywhere in the world in realtime.”
Essentially, the new space is built to realize their commitment to “being as convenient and cost-effective as in-house, but with an award-winning staff in a top-notch facility without compromise,” he continues.
Although in-house sound facilities are now a thing for many advertising agencies, Sum1 comes with an advantage that they will never be able to offer.
“Creatives cherish the liberty of leaving their offices,” says Keller. “It gives them a uniquely creative and collaborative perspective that their projects deserve.”
SUM1’s recent work includes projects for Porsche, Culver’s, Marlboro, BIC, Comcast, Whitney Bank, Fairlife and Pacifico. To learn more about the company, click here.