Start to Finish: Tracking Rock With Vance Powell


01h 50min


Recording and Producing A Rock Song From Scratch with Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown

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

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.

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


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
2019 Jul 10
This is the third time I watch Vance setup these guys. It's wonderfully non-pretentious recording, let audio bleed, let the drums ring, no hi hat mic, homemade gobos with blankets and loose auralex.. It's the way I have to record at home by necessity and he embraces it jajajaja PureMix is absolutely the best resource!
2019 May 23
Probably an elementary trick to the seasoned guy, but the whole "flipping drum perspectives" in the drummers ear mix is good stuff for a green home recording guy like myself.
2019 Apr 12
If you notice the Sony C48 mic, there are three polar patterns. I cant tell if his is set to omni along with a cardiod sm57.
2018 May 18
Excellent video tutorial!
2018 Mar 22
Awesome video! It appears to me that the video is panned opposite to the way that his pan knobs move.
2018 Feb 27
This made me want re-record some stuff on a personal project that I'm no hurry to finish. I'm glad I have the time to change some stuff. Thank you!!
2018 Jan 04
Does this mean he ends up with a single printed kick and snare track? So in pro tools, a single kick print that is made up of two kick mics, a compressed dual kick channel, and a transient designed dual kick channel (same analogy for the snare top and bottom)? Noting that the compressor and transient designer are in parallel to each other, not in series. Thanks PureMix for this amazing content!
2017 Nov 18
Ok, duh, my bad, maybe I should have watched the whole video before commenting, i see now the scartch was done as an OD, so no bleed..however is there a situation when the vocalist does record the scratch at the same time as the band recording, and if so is bleed a problem as stated before. Thanks. :)
2017 Nov 18
Great stuff, amazing to see this, can someone tell me if when recording a scratch vox the bleed/remnant from the scratch vocal is a problem later on when recording the "proper vox take"..hope this makes sense...or is there complete separation somehow, if so how is this done, surely the vocalist scratch vox is feeding into the mics in the room? possibly causing a problem with a different vocal take later on? ..thanks, good stuff :)
2017 Sep 16
Nice video. Why does VP place guitar mics on the edge of the speakers and then put some EQ to take Low-mids out? Why not placing them halfway?
2017 Sep 13
Excellent approach to the mixing. Learned a lot. That lead singer and the music was fantastic. Thanks for the tips. Excellent engineer.
The Rocker
2017 Sep 13
The process, commit, commit, commit,,, I really enjoyed this,,, I'll be coming back to this many times I'm sure,,, Thank you for sharing,,,
2017 Sep 13
Hello, please translate french? thanks
2017 Sep 12
really really enjoy watching and learning... Thank u so much~~~
Some Guy
2017 Sep 11
Was this whole thing rehearsed before shooting? 'Cause holy crap was it ever done well. I don't mean to be rude but this makes some of the older videos look like amateur hour. The topics presented, the pace, editing, graphics, levels, all bang on. I didn't have to reach for the volume once the whole time, yay! Of all the gold in this video, one thing I'll single out is I appreciate the time taken to explain the cue setup. It tends to go unmentioned a lot of the time (in general, not PureMix specifically), but it's hard to make good music if you give the musicians lousy monitoring.
2017 Sep 09
For me? This is a game changer. Excellent tutorial. Hits every answer in creativity & solution on tracking that I could ask. honestly is like I was there in the session. More of this type of tutorials, please.
2017 Sep 04
This is everything I'm looking for in a tutorial. Just perfect. (Thanks Vance and PureMix).
2017 Sep 04
Simply amazing! Thanks Vance and PureMix! Amazing to watch Vance work and his ethos on recording music. Truly inspiring.
2017 Sep 03
I absolutely love the approach and no-nonsense techniques displayed in this tutorial. I could smell an breath music, passion and great skills from the whole team. Musicians and engineers working together on an intense project, I wantend so much to be together with them in that room
2017 Sep 02
This was absolutely phenomenal! Possibly one of the best PureMix videos to date!!
2017 Sep 02
I love VP's approach. WYHIWYG !! Thanks pureMix...
2017 Sep 01
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! This video was incredibly helpful for those of us who mostly dabble in guitar oriented rock music! I for sure saw and heard some tricks and techniques I plan to check out in some upcoming songs. Thanks Vance and PureMIx for doing this video!
2017 Sep 01
“SM57’s to me are the best mic ever, I can mic a whole drum set with 57’s and be happy, except for the kick drum.” Vance Powell is awesome! Thanks pureMix!