An action scene from Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
John Rodd employs new 500 Series compressor pair on score for latest Assassin’s Creed title
LOS ANGELES — Since its official launch in mid-November, few games have come even close to enjoying the overwhelming success of Ubisoft’s highly-anticipated Assassin’s CreedÂ® Brotherhood, the third and latest title in the insanely popular series for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows-based PCs.
L.A.-based score recording, mixing and mastering engineer John Rodd, who previously mixed and mastered Assassin’s Creed 2, was once again called upon last August by composer Jesper Kyd to perform his magic on the newest addition to the award-winning action-adventure series.
John Rodd in his studio with the pair of Pete’s Place Audio BAC-500 modules
Rodd was eager to take advantage of the sessions to try out a pair of BAC-500 compressors from Pete’s Place Audio. “Ronan Chris Murphy, a producer/engineer pal of mine who has very good ears, had been raving about the sonic excellence of the BAC-500 for quite a while, so I arranged to audition a pair for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood,” he recalls.
“Before the mix started, I ran a bunch of different sounds through the BAC-500s to get to know them. I was impressed with how well they handled a wide variety of tracks: lead vocals, drums, guitars, electric bass, strings, drum loops… basically everything I could throw at them. Ronan had described the BAC-500 as ‘an 1176 style compressor with a twist — it sounds great across a wide variety of audio tracks’. I would agree with that assessment. It’s also very easy to quickly dial in a wide variety of sounds — everything from gentle compression to fat, pumping, aggressive squashing.”
Pete’s Place BAC-500
The BAC-500 pair quickly won Rodd’s approval and ended up living on the large live percussion ensemble’s stereo buss insert during the mix sessions for the game’s score. “The percussion ensemble needed to blend together, sit well in the mixes, and gain some size and authority, and the BAC-500s did this beautifully,” he says. “In the end, I used the module’s distortion setting to add a bit of grit to the drum ensemble, to help it to have a nice presence in the complex arrangements.”
Rodd further notes that he utilized several pieces of gear from sibling company A-Designs Audio during the project as well. “As with Assassin’s Creed 2, the final mixing and mastering stereo buss included both the HM2EQ HAMMER and my pair of EM-PEQs. With those two EQs in series, I was able to dial in both a beautiful, open top end as well as a meaty, tight bottom end.”
Applauded critically by both gamers and press alike, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood currently ranks as the video game industry’s best-selling launch title to date. Crossing the one million sales mark less than a week after its release, the new chapter has sold more than 6.5 million copies as of February and helped the entire Assassin’s Creed series sell over 26 million units worldwide. In the few short months since the third title launched, it has already won both IGN‘s E3 award for best action game and the Writer’s Guild of America’s award for video game writing, as well as received nominations in an unprecedented seven categories for the GAME British Academy Video Games Awards ceremony taking place in London on March 16. For more information on the series, visit http://assassinscreed.us.ubi.com/brotherhood.
John Rodd’s full bio and list of credits can be found online at www.johnrodd.com.
Pete’s Place Audio was founded to bring a wide variety of handcrafted, innovative, boutique recording and live audio products to market. Under the leadership of President Tony Shepperd and backed by the manufacturing expertise of A-Designs Audio, Pete’s Place collaborates with some of today’s most talented recording artists and engineers to help determine what products, regardless of how esoteric, they feel are missing in the studio and live performance environments. For more info, visit www.petesplaceaudio.com.
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