Start to Finish: Matt Ross-Spang - Episode 2 - Working On The Arrangement

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Time to start laying down some takes!

With the sounds dialed in for all of the players, it's time to start laying down some takes for the first song.

In this episode, you'll watch as Matt and the band:

  • Work out the song structure for the first song, creating interesting suprises throughout the track.
  • Compare a few different RCA 77 microphones on Eli "Paperboy" Reed, showing how microphones this special can sound different, even though they are the same model.
  • Work to get the perfect blend on the Masqueraders with just one microphone
  • Adjust the snare microphone for the perfect tone, instead of resorting to eq
  • Discusses microphone placement on Eli's vocal mic
  • Dials in a Fairchild 670 on the lead vocal and background vocal mics
  • Explain the importance of always being in record
  • Work out the tempo and feel of the song
  • Tune the snare to get the perfect amount of thump
  • Blend in the gorgeous sounding reverb chambers at Sam Phillips Recording
  • Listen back to the takes in the control and create a plan for overdubs

Join Matt Ross-Spang, Eli "Paperboy" Reed, The Hodges Brothers, Ken Coomer, and The Masqueraders inside the legendary Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, TN for an incredible recording event, from Start To Finish.

Equipment & Software


  • AEA R88
  • AKG D 25
  • Neumann U48
  • Neumann U47
  • Neumann U67
  • RCA 77
  • Shure SM57
  • Upton 251
    • Outboard Gear

  • 1969 Spectra Sonics Console
  • Ampeg B15
  • Burl Mothership
  • Fairchild 670 MKII
  • Studer A27
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    Matt Ross-Spang

    Matt Ross-Spang is a Multi award-winning engineer, mixer, and producer. His first brush with greatness began at only 14 years old when he received 2 hours of studio time at Sun Studios in Memphis, TN, for his birthday.

    He went on to intern at Sun Studios when he was 16 and learned what it meant to bring recording back to its roots. Matt now operates out of the newly renovated Studio B at Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, TN, which he now calls “Southern Groove.”

    Among the many incredible entries in his discography, Ross-Spang was hired in 2016 by Sony Records to mix 18 previously unreleased songs by Elvis Presley from his historic 1976 sessions from the Jungle Room at Graceland.

    Known for his unique taste and ability to preserve old school recording techniques and bring them into today’s music, Matt Ross-Spang has worked with some of the world’s most cherished artists from the most legendary studios in recording history.


    John Prine

    Al Green

    Margo Price

    Elvis Presley

    Eli “Paperboy” Reed

    Mary Chapin Carpenter

    What do you have to say?
    Leave a comment
    2020 Nov 19
    He's putting a gel that absorbs and deadens the vibrations... think of moongel, or a bandana, or tape or anything that steals some of the snare heads immediate vibrations which will deaden the sound.... sound is just vibration... absorb some, you kill some of the sound, just like putting up baffles or anything else that you want to stop a sound from doing something undesirable
    2020 Nov 19
    It's about proper setup, gear selection, levels, psychology, positioning, chemistry.... everything at its core... it is also why he doesn't need to "tune those three guys" what do you hear that needs tuning?? He called them specifically because they don't need any tuning whatsoever.... they have the feel and sound.... they also have amazing pitch and harmonize amazingly.... I can't imagine why anyone would ever hear that and wonder how he's going to tune them? Also, feel and musicality override tuning every time. The big picture is all that matters.... this is music, real music.
    L Pass
    2020 Jul 30
    So great. Love it.
    2020 Jul 21
    please subtitles in Spanish
    2020 Jul 14
    i wonder how he's going to tune those three guys altogeter
    2020 Jul 14
    So whats he putting on that snare? worked like magic for the sound they wanted
    2020 Jul 11
    Wesley cameo!
    2020 Jul 11
    Besides the equipment and techniques used, it’s like the talk and respectful manors also comes from a kinder more pleasant time. Y’all sound so good, gentlemen I love it
    2020 Jul 11
    Wow...this is a winner song....Fantastic tutorial...
    Delinquent Noise
    2020 Jul 11
    Real. This is, at least for me, the most inspirational lesson of all. It is all about the relationship between people, song and sound. I love the vibe. There´s no place for autotune in real life. Thanks for this!
    2020 Jul 11
    Nice recording . sound of Ribbon mic is amazing .