Gregory Allen, an award-winning composer, senior sound designer and director with more than 25 years of experience in the fields of game audio and cinematics, feature trailers, television and motion picture marketing, has installed the latest generation Blue Sky 5.1 monitoring system—the Star System One—at his personal studio in Austin, Texas. Allen’s surround sound speaker system comprises five of Blue Sky’s new Sat 6D active monitors, a Sub 12D subwoofer and a brand new Audio Management Controller (AMC).
Allen, who has been using Blue Sky monitors for a decade, notes that the Sat 6D system features both digital and analog inputs with Burr-Brown 192 kHz/24-bit converters, plus a “pure-digital” mode that enables direct digital input from a DAW at 48 kHz or 96 kHz. “Blue Sky made them that way so that you have flexibility,” he says. “I’ve been testing them in both digital and analog modes, and the A-to-D converters are really impressive sounding.”
Not everybody has the budget to create a well-tuned studio, observes Allen. Although his facility is fully acoustically treated, “the ability to tune each speaker perfectly to my room has been phenomenal and a time saver. I can pull them out of my studio if I’m going to some other location, recalibrate them and get them set perfect for the type of room that I’m in,” he adds.
The sound designer appreciates the benefits of Blue Sky’s new AMC monitor controller, even in environments where he isn’t able to bring in his Sat 6Ds and Sub 12D. “The controller is the perfect tool to allow me to tune each speaker and set presets for the type of speakers and EQ,” he says. “I have been wanting a box like this for years!” He points out that the AMC has nicely remedied a host of issues previously experienced at many studios by creating a trusted reference point of balanced sound regardless of what monitor system is being utilized.
Allen has extensive experience in composition and sound design, working as a supervising sound designer and music director for major game developers such as Activision, Electronic Arts, Interplay, Sony and Ubisoft, and as a freelancer in Europe and the United States. He has used Blue Sky monitors at many of the game studios, working on top titles like Call of Duty, Prince of Persia, Star Wars, Killer Instinct, Def Jam: Icon, Fight Night and Medal of Honor.
Allen has additional experience in the trailer and marketing world using the Star System One and AMC to compose, mix and master literally hundreds of movie trailers, TV promos and Web marketing spots. Recent theatrical trailers that he’s worked on have included The Martian, Victor Frankenstein, Furious 7, Jurassic World, Robocop, Amazing Spiderman 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Godzilla, 300: Rise of an Empire, Draft Day and Tomorrowland, while TV promotions have included projects for NBC, CBS, FOX, CW Network, MTV and Sony Computer Entertainment, plus specific shows like Orange is the New Black, E!, On Air and American Idol.
Having already put his Sat 6D system to work on a wide variety of projects, Allen has discovered that he is able to work more efficiently. “They translate really well; I can 100 percent trust that what I’m hearing here will translate elsewhere. The quicker you can make decisions on your speakers, the faster you can get done with your work. With these Sat 6D monitors, I spend less time referencing all my other speakers and just and get more work done faster”.
He continues, “I’ve touched everything with these Sat 6Ds: audio for iOS, Android, PC, mobile, web-based and console games, theatrical trailers and TV trailers. Clients have been completely happy—I’ve had zero re-dos when it comes to the mix. For the stuff that I do, they’re perfect. These speakers help me get more work and get it done faster with a sound I can trust.”
Working with production music company Position Music, Allen has produced countless music cues and thousands of sound effects for trailer marketing using his Blue Sky monitors. With his music and sound effects licensing albums, his work has appeared on more than half of 2015’s major trailers, and the composer expects to have two more albums available before the close of 2016.
Allen also currently serves as audio director for Bee Cave Games, an Austin-based developer specializing in casino games for the web, mobile and other gaming platforms. To ensure that his work translates perfectly to those platforms, “I’ve now just put another Sat 6D system into Bee Cave’s studio, plus some eXo monitors,” he reports.