Was curious to hear this forum's ideas and opinions on the Sound for Terminator Salvation. Also would love to hear of any overall reviews out there.

  • I will simply lurk for this thread… :) Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 3:55
  • Hah! Watch out for sharp objects, @Jay :P P.S. I still want those recordings. I'll trade you for my corvette. :)
    – Utopia
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 4:10
  • An ACTUAL Corvette or a recording of a Corvette? Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 5:31
  • @Jay Hehe. jingles keys
    – Utopia
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 19:24
  • 1
    quiet on set...
    – ChrisSound
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 5:18

4 Answers 4


Just watched it last night on my terrible ATH headphones in a streaming stereo mix. But my thoughts:

The growly, synthetic vocal elements of the baseline terminators struck me as over the top in a few early scenes, like when it was clawing after him after the helicopter crash. I felt like I wanted something lighter, shriller, more agile and sharp than a warbly Skrillex-type monster. I think I see what Chris is saying there - those voices are just so attention-grabbing (not necessarily a bad thing) that I immediately started trying to dissect it and wondered what was used to make it, not what was making or saying "Shit, it's a Terminator!" By the end of the film when all the extra 'weight' was coming into the mix with score, explosions, etc. though, those voices started to feel quite nice.

Excellent use of distortion throughout. So much! The mix was clear and shifted focus really well, I first noticed it in the opening scene where helicopters/jets were flying by and bombing everything. I enjoyed the couple of quiet moments we got (when Connor came out of the underground facility where they first discovered the T-800 research, the shot of Marcus swimming after the road scene/transport capture).

I randomly remember loving the musical wooden plank Marcus tosses on the fire when he sets up camp in the wastes. Great torrential rain there, too, fit the picture perfectly.

Sound design for the Marcus/Skynet sequence was nice and glitchy and crazy and I liked that the end tail of it was just a tiny phoneme out of Marcus instead of a random beep or tchik. Kinda emphasized the human element. (Maybe? Reading into this like a high school English teacher?)

And I loved the mech foley on his fingers when he clasps around the girl's towards the end. Anyone know was used for that? It was so nice and delicate, but fit these horrific metal fingers perfectly just the same.

Can't really complain other than the occasional extreme loudness of the stereo mix. Vehicles, weapons and explosions were sick and - most importantly - nothing sounded canned. I've been working on cutting sound sounds in a similar aesthetic for a trailer redesign over the last month or so and can really appreciate how hard the team must've worked to avoid being another movie with "that explosion" or "those bullet ricochets."

  • I'm with Luca on this: It had the standard hallmarks of generally good action film sound design, sometimes being great, but the Terminator effects were over-processed. Really took you out of the fiction by calling attention to the craft. Commented Oct 4, 2011 at 20:33

Overall I really liked the sound.

They added quite a few details of the sand and gravel to really put you into the surroundings of an apocalyptic world.

That coupled with the nice bike recordings and plane recordings (wish I could get my hands on some of those warthog recordings... cough J!!! cough), and the guns I remember being quite nice, too.

I liked it because everything had a good weight to it. Everything was beefy and real. And I know for a fact that they did a lot of great field recording and creating original material which I think is really the only way to go when you're designing a movie.

I must admit, I was lucky and I watched this movie inside the Grundman's Chinese theater on Hollywood Blv. (the large original one which usually premieres movies). This theater's sound was excellent. At first, during the previews, I was like "Shouldn't it be at least 5 dB louder than it is right now?" and then the screen said it was switching over to a different projector for the feature presentation and the sound bumped up about 5 dB and I smiled... Guess I'm a sound freak, eh?

But anyway, I really liked the sound.

Overall review of the story... Well, I'll save that for some other board. I don't think storyline and overall movie reviews need to make their way on this board.


Hi, Well first of all, i didn't think it was the best Terminator ever.. So there goes objectivity :)

I did hear enough attention to detail in the sounds and like Utopia says, it sounds really beefy. I liked the low end (although i don't have a sub). Oh and i totally believed the sounds when the big terminator get's flooded with lava stuff hotness and the crackling when he comes back to motion. Nice sounds!

Minor issues i had with the movie where: -ADR lines sounded like game characters, to clean and either badly directed or not the best talents. It might also have something to do with the content though, a lot of cliches flying around. -(Film)Editing was at some points weak in my opinion, especially in some transitions and jump cuts.

Only thing i did think sound design wise. Maybe we could have gotten a hint by 'distorting' in the hearing of the good terminator, we could have maybe heard some glitches subtly here and there to feel he is different from humans. Then again, this was already confirmed visually in the second scene when we see him on a operation table in the underground factory/lab. Perhaps this was discussed with the director(s)?

Overall it wasn't a remarkable script soundwise and i think it sounded the best it could and most of all it sold the story, so i think the editors/designers did a very good job.



I thought it was sooooo cheesy and overdone that it set a benchmark for overdone, cheesy sound. Some fine sound design though too much sounded way processed.

  • Set a benchmark? Wow. Care to give some examples? Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 6:26
  • Well, all of the sounds sounded heavily processed and obviously overbaked. I said benchmark because it seems that since so much of it seems like it was processed and heavliy designed, its a benchmark for determining or observing, how much is too is too much.
    – ChrisSound
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 8:12
  • @chris, to say "all of the sounds" is a gross overstatement. Try to give specific examples. As a contributor to that soundtrack I can tell you that, given the aesthetics of the director and the genre of film, some sounds were designed to be larger-than-life and meant to be so. But to call them overbaked I think is an incorrect analysis. Perhaps you are reacting to the visual style? Or the general "overboardness" of the movie? Because, in the end, the movie itself was fairly over the top and not very believable. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 16:15
  • @Jay, thats awesome, I think the sounds are amazing really. By overbaked and "all the sounds," it may be my reaction to the overall overboardness. Before the film there was a cartoon advertisement and during the film, I got to wondering if the producers were aiming towards a different aesthetic with Salvation. I think there can be a balance between processed sounds and more natural things, this can contribute to "realism." By the way, on the bridge scene where the flying terminator comes in and blows up the bridge, were those pitched dog sounds?
    – ChrisSound
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 16:54
  • I have the Blueray, I bought it for sound design reference. I feel like the regular drone / guard / robot terminator movements and articulations were a bit over the top and I can understand the "overbaked" comment on those sounds but not the entire thing. I actually quite liked the sound overall. A few source music cues bugged me like the music in the jeep.
    – studio13
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 1:50

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