Start To Finish: Mixing Rock With Vance Powell

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02h 19min


Analog Mixing On A SSL Console

This video is part 3/3.
Here is part 1/3: Tracking Rock with Vance Powell
Here is part 2/3: Vocal Production & Guitar Solos

Grammy winner Vance Powell walks you through his entire mixing process, taking his production from a great sounding rough to a finished mix using his SSL console.

Learn Vance’s mixing philosophy and tricks that help him achieve a killer mix quickly and his workflow secrets that give him a flexible sonic palette to work from on every mix.

Whether you work in or out of the box, this tutorial is your chance to see how a Nashville legend approaches the mix from not only the technical point of view but also adds creativity and energy to the song Aftershock by Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown.

In this tutorial you’ll learn how Vance:

  • Sets up and aligns his console’s gain stage so his starting point give him the maximum flexibility later on
  • Uses effects sends and busses to route audio to parallel processing as well as reverb and delays
  • EQ and compression settings that add attack and life to drums and guitars
  • Sends certain tracks off to the “magic bus” for enhanced stereo processing and tone
  • Combines clean and overdriven vocals to give Tyler’s vocal the perfect amount of bite and presence to pop through the mix
  • Pro Tools tricks to help his tracks hit the console in just the right way
  • Tweaking the phase alignment of the bass amp and DI tracks
  • Automation passes using the SSL console's VCA automation computer
  • Monitoring level advice for various stages of the mix to give him the energy and details he needs to hear without ear fatigue
  • Mix bus processing and taking the time to compare the API 2500 to the SSL Bus compressors
  • Tweaking the mix with the band and preparing alternate mixes for mastering

Be sure to watch Part 1 and Part 2 of Vance’s Start to Finish series to see the entire record making process including tracking, production, overdubs, and editing.

Then download the raw multitrack files so you can translate Vance’s mixing techniques to your setup and practice mixing professionally tracked and produced material.

Exercise files
Equipment & Software
  • Avid EQ III
  • Fabfilter Pro-DS
  • UA 1176 Rev A
  • UA Fatso Jr.
  • UA Little Labs IBP
  • UA Maag EQ
  • Valhalla DSP Valhalla Freq Echo
  • Waves L2 UltraMaximizer
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    Vance Powell

    Vance studied electrical engineering in Missouri and started his career in live sound as a front-of-house engineer. In 2002, he moved to Nashville in order to become studio manager and chief engineer at the legendary Black Bird studios in Nashville. In 2006, he co-founded Sputnik studios along with Grammy-winning engineer Mitch Dane, still in Nashville.

    Vance Powell has won 6 Grammy awards working with rock artists such as The Raconteurs, Kings of Leon, Jack White, Pearl Jam, The White Stripes, The Dead Weather and more.

    Powell's domain of expertise is definitely mixing and producing rock music. As shown in his pureMix videos, Vance likes to experiment and create new fuller and exciting sounds using all kinds of pedals, echos, analog outboards and plug-ins. Vance was used to recording to tape and definitely has an analog approach that makes him commit to fewer good sounding tracks rather than piling up takes in Pro Tools.

    His goal is to make something new and warm that fits the band's vision with upfront snare drums and powerful guitars. Rocking.


    Jack White

    Chris Stapleton

    The Deadweather

    The Raconteurs

    Arctic Monkeys


    Featured Artists and Musics
    Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown

    Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown is a rock and roll band born of Nashville, TN. Their sound is a soulful patchwork of roots-infused melodies and muscular riffs, all woven tightly with the thread of their alternative psychedelic mystique. It’s as rambunctious, raw and real as rock & roll gets these days.

    • Aftershock

    What do you have to say?
    Leave a comment
    2020 Nov 01
    Thanks Puremix, Thanks Vance, Thanks Mike, Thanks everybody.
    2020 Jun 13
    Exercise tracks for kick and snare are hard clipped. is there a reason for it o simply a mistake?
    Oscar Gasch
    2020 Mar 23
    Sonicaly, no dubt, my favorite mixer in this world . Best guitars ever.....
    2019 Feb 22
    An incredible resource! It's truly inspiring to see Vance use the gear and plugins and not worry about all the technical aspects but use it by how it feels and makes the mix better. And it's also great that he explains without vilifying in-the-box workflows for us mere mortals with our home studios. Please do another track and mix with Vance.
    2018 Nov 03
    I watched this video and the Recording of this song videos a few times. I mixed the song myself in Pro Tools using the Tracks provided here. I just could not achieve the definition and pressure the final CD version sounds like. I had no Idea what I was doing wrong. Then I compared the final mix Vance is printing at the end of the video. It sounds pretty similar to mine. The mastering engineer must have done a LOT to the song. I sounds way different than the final mix. Who was the mastering engineer. He or she did an amazing job.
    2018 Sep 15
    Really enjoyed this entire soup-to-nuts series with Vance. Entertaining and educational, all at once. Thanks for this!
    2017 Nov 20
    If you do rock (which is all I do) this tutorial is extremely helpful. I thought I was nuts using pedals as outboard effects while mixing- not anymore. This tutorial is really going to help my OTB technique and of course just great solid technique shown here from a master.
    2017 Nov 03
    Vance's parallels add so much life to the track! Great tutorial.
    2017 Nov 01
    OK I have listen the song on Spotify and I realised that on this tutorial The Drum is glorious than the original track which is released on Spotify. How is that happen?
    2017 Nov 01
    It is a pleasure to watch this Video. Pure awesomeness! I felt my ear got goosebumps cause of happiness. This tutorial is a true example of taking care of what we need on tracking stage than on mixing. Loving it! keep it coming. Glorious tutorial. Thank you so much!
    2017 Oct 29
    Great mix video, too bad we don't have enough explanations on the settings of reverb and delay who make a big deal in the mix in my opinion. By the way, the mix here is better than the album version
    2017 Oct 28
    Great mix vid, even if you don't have an SSL and all the hardware. Kinda wish he mentioned what ipad app he uses for controlling Pro Tools and what his SPL meter app was...