Start to Finish - Vance Powell & Tyler Bryant The Shake Down: Ep 5 Vocal Production Pt 2

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Getting a hard hitting, thick, and punchy rock track doesn’t just come together in the mix, it starts with a vision and sonic direction from an experienced producer and engineer. Recorded live at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, Tennessee, Vance Powell teaches you the tricks he has developed over decades of live sound and studio gigs.

Four time Grammy winner Vance Powell explains his entire recording and production process and details how he sets up a tracking session for the band Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. Learn tips and tricks to use for recording drums, bass, guitars and vocals on any project.

Vance’s signature sound is all about committing to compression, distortion and embracing bleed to create a cohesive and rockin sound.

Watch how a session happens in real time, step by step, and hear before and after comparisons as Vance explains:

  • Placing the drums and amps in the room for optimal bleed
  • Microphone placement on drums, bass, guitars, and vocals
  • Tracking workflow using SSL console and external preamps
  • How to nail a great sounding balance with the faders all at 0
  • Checking phase coherence between multiple microphones
  • Adding compression, distortion, and EQ to mics during the tracking session
  • Using creative routing and parallel processing during the tracking process
  • Adding guitar pedals as effect sends
  • Setting up headphone cue mixes
  • Producing a song without a click track
  • Recording lead vocals with effects “to tape”

Learn how to produce and record a band with one of the biggest names in rock music.

Between the tracking session and the mixing session is the often overlooked editing and production process that adds the finishing touches and details that can make a song stand out.

Every producer and engineer needs to help guide artists towards a cohesive vision for their records. Grammy winner Vance Powell works with the band Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown to add layers of vocals, guitar overdubs and create the final song arrangement together at his studio Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN.

Vance demonstrates and explains his strategies for:

  • Vocal comping, working line by line, take by take, to make a good performance great
  • Recording background vocals to make the arrangement even more dynamic
  • Using Vocalign on the vocal doubles for a wide and tight sound
  • Special effects processing including reverse reverb, distortion, and delays
  • Crafting the perfect guitar solo tone from the comfort of the control room
  • Vance’s special “spin fader” trick using analog delay

Learn how to give a song both polish and attitude with clever production touches that take the record from sounding good to feeling incredible!

Equipment & Software


  • Sony C48
  • Shure SM57
  • Shure SM7
  • AKG D12
  • Neumann FET U47
  • Neumann KM84
  • AEA R88
  • Ampex 1101
  • Coles 4030
  • Chandler Limited TG-1
  • Sta-Level Retro
  • UA 1176
  • Empirical Labs Distressor
  • SPL Transient Designer
  • PigTronix PolySaturator
  • DBX 500 Professional "Disco" Boom Box
  • CAPI MicPre
  • ARA RPQ 500 Ribbon Pre

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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


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2021 Jan 05
Would be great if you could include the date when a video is put up.