Start to Finish: Vance Powell - Episode 5 - Getting Drum Sounds

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With the arrangement sorted out from the control room pre-production sessions, Vance heads into the tracking rooms to place microphones and dial in the drum sound with the band.

See how Vance Powell:

  • Places microphones on the drum kit
  • Builds a drum tent over the kick drum
  • Sets up the Studio A live reverb chamber
  • Explains why he used a U47 in pre-production and is using a fet 47 during production
  • Dials in the drum tones on the legendary Blackbird Neve 8068 console
  • Checks polarity on the drum microphones
  • Sculpts the knee microphone by inserting his custom pedals
  • Explains how he gain stages Pro Tools to always have the rough mix with the faders set at unity

This is your chance to join Nashville legend Vance Powell and The Weird Sisters at the world-famous Blackbird Studio and watch them craft "Live And I Learn" from Start To Finish.

Equipment & Software
  • AEA R88
  • Ampeg B-15
  • BAE 1073
  • Josephson E22S
  • Neumann FET 47
  • Neumann KM84
  • Neumann U67
  • Neve 31102
  • Neve 8078 Desk
  • RCA 77-D
  • Shure 57
  • Shure SM-7
  • Teletronix LA-2A
  • Universal Audio 1176
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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


What do you have to say?
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2022 Aug 19
Vance explains the STT knobs (send-to-tape). He says: preamp all the way down (20db I think), channel fader up to 0 unity, STT all the way down and then bring up appropriately. I think he is adjusting the preamp before he adjusts the STT for ProTools, right? Sometimes it's nice to drive the preamp for a bit more dirt. How does he keep faders at unity if he is doing that?
2022 Apr 05
Spanish subs, please
2022 Feb 15
Spanish subs, please
2021 Dec 18
2021 Dec 18
Love your work, well explained too. Unity gain on the faders, on the end of tutorial, was a great point that many don't understand.