Judas Priest, one of the best live-performing bands in the history of heavy metal, made its move once again standing up for its name. The newly released Battle Cry Live CD/DVD, recorded in front of 85,000 metal fans during Germany’s Wacken Festival in August 2015, crashed the charts worldwide. Battle Cry ranks #1 on the U.S Billboard Music DVD Chart, #1 in Finland, Sweden, and Canada and #3 in Australia, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. An inseparable part of Battle Cry’s success story is the mixing of the live recording, handled on Amphion’s One18’s near-field monitors.
Battle Cry was produced by Tom Allom (Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard) and mixed by Jack Ruston, who had to face a number of challenges before achieving the optimum result. Ruston admits that it is already complicated when you have to consider a whole variety of listening formats and environments, such as the car stereo, laptop or home audio system. Involving video and putting in the equation the various TVs, as well as all varieties of AV speaker setups makes the task even harder. According to Ruston: “it becomes even more critical to have different ‘windows’ through which to examine the mixes.”
Throughout the mixing process, Ruston and Allom often take the rough mixes outside the studio to check their translation in a car, on earbuds off a laptop, in Ruston’s living room and on the big surround system at Hackenbacker in Soho. “The rough mixes were done mainly on NS10’s, and generally they were good,” Ruston says. “But there was certainly a bit of the ‘NS10 effect’ going on. Pushing bottom end a little too much, and going a tiny bit shy around 1.5-2 kHz.” This is the reason Ruston decides they need to get flatter, more natural speakers that do not require engineers to compensate the mix because of their character.
After putting Amphion’s One18s in the setup, the whole team immediately recognises the slightly bloated low-end and high-mid softness that they had identified earlier when checking the roughs in the various environments. “It was plainly obvious,” says Ruston, “and having made a few adjustments on the Amphions, we found that the mix translation just fell into line.”
“With One18’s, I find I’m in exactly the right place,” Ruston adds. “The speakers don’t hype the sound anywhere – they’re supremely natural and feel very ‘joined-up’ throughout the frequency spectrum.” In addition, Ruston admits his surprise about the significance of Amphion’s Amp100 in the setup: “I found it a very worthwhile investment, despite already owning a very high-quality power-amp.”
Battle Cry was released on March 25, and just a couple of weeks later hit the pole positions. Thanks to Allom’s, Ruston’s and the whole team’s dedication the live recording translates amazingly the band’s incredible energy and performance.
Battle Cry Live is #1 on the U.S Billboard Music DVD Chart, as well as going in at the top spot in Canada, Sweden, and Finland.
Jack Ruston is a producer, engineer, and mixer. For more info visit www.jackruston.com.