Tom Salta, creator of music scores for numerous video games, prefers to work with a Blue Sky 5.1 Sky System One monitoring system to record, mix and listen to music for the game domain and more. Following his purchase and installation of the Blue Sky system last summer, Salta has used the monitors on many of the major game titles he has worked on at his home studio in Connecticut. A sampling of these instantly successful releases includes Electronic Arts’ Need For Speed Underground 2 (cinematics), Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon 2 (main theme co-writer), Microids’ Still Life, Eidos/A2M’s Get On Da Mic, Microsoft Game Studios’ Rallisport Challenge 2 and Namco’s Street Racing Syndicate.
“I knew I was going to move to 5.1 sound, since this is the standard in the videogame music industry,” says Salta, who is also noted for his collaborations with artists such as Peter Gabriel, Junior Vasquez, Mary J. Blige and Sinead O’Connor. In addition to these composing and producing ventures, Salta has recorded as an artist himself, working under the name Atlas Plug; his first solo album, 2 Days Or Die, was recently released on his independent label, Persist Records. Salta’s hard-driving electronica grooves also grace many television shows, commercials and film promos, including the Volvo S40 “Video Game” commercial, the Making of Spider-Man 2 on HBO, UPN’s America’s Top Model, NBC’s Third Watch and MTV’s Making the Video.
Salta comments that “In choosing a 5.1 monitoring system, I was literally starting from scratch. I did a lot of research, but one thing I know is that you can’t truly know a monitoring system until you’ve worked with it. I bought one system from another manufacturer and only when I got it set up did I realize that it would need additional gear for speaker switching, level calibration and bass management. I couldn’t depend on a system like that for videogame mixes, which have to be incredibly accurate because the playback systems they’re used on can be so diverse. I have to know it’s going to be right before I can call a mix truly ‘final.’”
Salta continued researching the market until he found the Blue Sky 5.1 Sky System One. “I saw that companies like Lucasfilm used the Blue Sky monitors and that told me something, since I work in a very cinematic environment,” he explains. “They have built-in calibration capability, on-board bass management and they provide level control for each speaker. I tried them out and fell in love with the sound immediately. The full frequency range that I now get in my studio is staggering. The Blue Sky’s are particularly great for game audio because they’re highly accurate and full range — there is no guesswork with a Blue Sky speaker.”
Tom Salta is currently working on a new title from UbiSoft, which will launch in spring 2005, and Blue Sky will be part of that effort, as well. “Whether it’s one channel or six, Blue Sky is simply a great speaker system,” Salta confirms.