there never is another "once"

When you have been an audio provider for as long as I have, I can not understand why customers can think they do not need the audio stage of their productions, no matter what their media use. When you think about it, it is almost like putting your hands over your ears, and hoping for the best... Or closing your eyes and hoping you hit the target...where does this idea come from?

It is almost like ..." I hear the audio must be fine..."
Does this mean "that they can see me, so it does not matter what I wear? Or it does not matter if I speak good English?

How can people so easily forget that the reason they are in this business probably is because of a movie that was crafted so well, that it inspired them to work all their life in an industry that questions whether their craft and craftsmanship is necessary?

Well, no matter what is the trend of the day, this fact will always remain, that good communication respects what I call..." the perspective of the first-listener basis". This is my job as an audio provider do everything I can to help the audience get the media's message the very first time! After all, most audiences only watch something the first time, that is, once....then it is gone...because there never is another once.

The best sound design is never noticed

...our best work is not noticed at all, because we create a sound reality that has high believability, thus being believed by the audience as the true sound of your project, when, actually the sound track is completely fabricated...that's Hollywood...And everyone loves it...

The first movie that hooked you!

...we believe that everyone in our business saw a feature film when they were a child that is responsible for their choice to be in this business...tell us about your childhood inspirational film...

Music is not sound

...Music is not sound, it is is dear and close to our hearts, and I believe it to be the voice of the angles...we feel feelings when listening to music, but we know that a vocal in a song is not dialogue, but rather a vocal instrument of the music...therefore, mixing dialogue of content as though it were music is wrong. in a mix, the dialogue message is king, whether it is spoken word, or a voice over...the second element of a mix is the sound. The sound is the reality of the mix which puts you in the place of the picture, and the third element is the music, which is the emotion of the mix. So dialogue is first, telling you something, the sound is second, putting you at the place or location, and the music delivers the emotion in the mix of the content...

Sound is not music

We believe sound is not music, rather music is one of 3 elements of a sound track. If you are allowing your content to be mixed by a music house you are not getting an objective mix. It is like letting a criminal manage the jail...

Radio Production on spec with Chicago-Based Cerny/American

Buttons New York has forged a creative partnership with Chicago-based production and creative service company Cerny/American Creative. In an effort to create a mutually beneficial relationship for both agencies by encouraging commercial work between partners in both cities, Buttons and Cerny/American have generated a collaborative creative relationship with a technological link between the two studios and will offer special project rates to agencies and film companies throughout the world.

Both studios enjoy the benefits of their locations, close to great talent and their clients’ major offices. Buttons is centrally located near Times Square in New York and Cerny/American is located in the heart of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue advertising district. Both studios utilize their 3D2 digital patches for clients in both cities by offering enhanced services at special project rates.

The partnership will allow both studios to provide an enhanced creative team with depth and breadth of knowledge and experience. Rich Macar, owner and chief engineer at Buttons has had a formidable presence in the industry for more than twenty years and has worked with film directors, television personalities, radio voice artists, advertising creatives and public relations professionals.

In addition to his role as president of Cerny/American, JoBe Cerny is an actor, writer and producer. His most well-known role is that of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Cerny was a member of the Second City National Touring Company and now serves corporate clients, making their speeches and advertising campaigns more fun.

The partnership’s first joint venture was a great success. The team was awarded the opportunity to reintroduce Snaucrates the dog to radio audiences for the “Snausages” brand. The spots were entitled “Cabinet” for Think 360, Inc. Buttons and Cerny/American collaborated on the complete creative development from scripting, development, casting, direction, engineering, music and post production. Cerny wrote the scripts for both radio and the web. Both studios worked on casting, JoBe Cerny directed the commercial, and Rich Macar produced and sound designed the commercial. The materials were provided on spec and the companies won the contract with the spot which features Snocrates, the Snausages dog, voiced by Sean Curran in his quest to get his paws on some Fortune “Snookies.” Spot production included the use of ProTools HD, Sound Miner SFX and music search software, Stock Music from Killer Tracks.

5.1 Surround Dolby E mixing

As of February 2009, the standard distribution audio format for all broadcast projects will be Dolby E, a transition that will enhance the quality of all of our home viewing experience. After local hub distribution of Dolby E audio, the new Dolby E will be decoded to Dolby Digital 5.1 to be piped into our homes. This Dolby Digital 5.1 is the very same format we enjoy in movie theaters nationwide. However, it marks a significant change that we in the sound industry will have to accommodate. It will change the way we do business. And for many of us, it probably already has.

Rich Macar was featured in a piece by David Weiss for Mix. Read it here...

Every sound design studio will need to confront issues associated with the intricacies of DolbyE. Every facility will need to purchase, install, and calibrate sufficient Dolby E processors to regulate, encode, and test every final mix for broadcast. They will also need to become familiar with the film standard of dialogue to dynamic range ratios by controlling and monitoring the LeqA standards that have been used for years in feature film mixing.

However, the transition to Dolby E or Dolby Digital is exciting. Among other benefits consumers will find in Dolby E, the dialogue level will be controlled using a Dolby concept called DialNorm, which equalizes the sound on every channel, virtually eliminating the need to adjust the volume from channel to channel or between programming and commercials because of a difference in audio levels. This level of DialNorm will be stored within the digital signal in metadata that will communicate directly with your TV box and communicate and auto adjust within milliseconds the dialogue levels of different channels, programs and commercials

This new standard will provide a home viewing experience with high quality sound that equals that of the movie theater. All new spots can be created with intricate “Hollywood sound” and sound design professionals need not worry that viewers will miss the nuances of their creations. Even in cases where the picture is not in high definition, high quality sound will be delivered.

From the perspective of a boutique sound design studio, we believe the transition should start early so we are completely prepared to deliver the best quality sound ahead of schedule. It will keep our clients happy and confident with our continued first-up philosophy to invest early in new technologies preparing for this new quality of television experience.

Currently, Buttons is set up to deliver all projects in Dolby E. Our audio suites are Dolby-certified-accurate and equipped with Meyer HD1 speaker systems tuned by Bob Hodas in San Francisco, CA. Each room includes the latest ProTools HD audio post systems, equipped to complete 5.1 surround sound design and cinema mixing with layback to Dbeta in ProLogicII and Dolby E for HDTV and Digital Cable Delivery.

By integrating this technology ahead of schedule, it generates a level of confidence in our ability to deliver projects in the new standard with accuracy, dependability, and professionalism.

NY's best audio post secret

On a standard midtown Manhattan street, in a quasi-anonymous office building, is a remarkable sound design studio, a gourmet audio production house serving up premium surround sound with every dish.

Walking into Buttons New York is like walking into a melding of the earthy and exotic, dark wood accents and rich leather furniture punctuate the newly designed reception area. Tapestries dot the walls on the way to the just-completed client lounge. With three state of the art recording suites, Buttons has been cooking up a supreme mix of professionalism, precision, and personality.

Drawing on a record of innovation over the course of a twenty-year career in sound design, Rich Macar, owner and chief engineer, has kept Buttons on the forefront of new developments in the industry. Because of Buttons’ size, Macar has been able to fuel a passion for new technologies and encourage an inventive approach to sound design.

As of late, Buttons has made a commitment to deliver all projects in Dolby E, which will answer the industry call for standard surround sound for all video ahead of the proposed deadline. Macar says that the move to Dolby E gives television the sound and quality of DVDs and film and that eventually people will have that high caliber viewing experience in their own homes on a daily basis.

All Buttons’ suites – each named after a type of wood, perpetuating the natural yet intricate theme - Padauk, Mahogany, and Oak - are Dolby certified and outfitted with ProTools HD. Recently, Macar installed a 72” projection screen into the Padauk Suite, making it ideal for viewing SD, HS, and cinema projects while designing them, enhancing clients’ comfort level as well as that of the staff.

Buttons’ suites are decorated with a flare for the exotic, with artifacts from all over the world. A sense of nostalgia is provided care of antique gear refurbished to serve as talkbacks in each suite.

The newest technology is integrated at Buttons on a regular basis. Because of Buttons’ size, upgrades are swift and virtually effortless. They are part of the culture and are flawlessly integrated into the daily routine. Each room serves as a full-service digital audio post suite for sound recording, editing, designing and mixing, for radio, television, and film, with picture lock to QuickTime and layback to 3/4, Beta SP, DIGIBeta, DV and D2. All rooms have Dolby-certified-accurate, Meyer HD1 speaker systems tuned by Bob Hodas, in San Francisco, CA. Each room includes the latest ProTools HD audio post systems, with Focusrite mic preamps and High quality plugins as well as 2-second access to all sound effects and music from Sound Miner server. Rooms are also equipped to complete 5.1 surround sound design and cinema mixing with layback to Dbeta in ProLogicII and Dolby E for HDTV and Digital Cable Delivery.

A laid back, flexible energy permeates the space, as Macar’s takes care to generate a creative inspired environment. Macar’s staff shares his passion for their trade and for making their studio an oasis of sound high above New York City.

For more information, a client list, and a photo tour visit Or contact Rich Macar, 212.764.8650,