Fix It In The Mic: Vance Powell

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Part 2:

Part 3:

He is a true legend, a big fan of no-bullshit analog recording, and has crafted most of Jack White’s top-selling records: say hello to producer/engineer and studio owner Vance Powell! He sits down with us at his Sputnik Sound studio in Nashville, Tennessee to talk shop and share some of his secrets.

In the first segment of the three-part interview Vance explains how he chooses microphones in general and how to mike up drums in particular. Vance is a ribbon mic aficionado and uses a wide range of AEA ribbon mics in addition to his collection of vintage mics. In the second half of the video, Vance goes into details about how he created the sound for Jack White’s “Blunderbuss” hit album.

In the second segment of the three-part interview Vance goes into detail how he benefits from his extensive live sound experience in the studio by being able to work extremely fast. This translates directly to his work with Jack White who likes to track with little to no time for rehearsals or sound check. Even more importantly, Vance explains how the limitations of working fast, committing to a sound early on, and limiting yourself to only a small number of tracks, can spark creativity and create a sense of freedom and satisfaction that ultimately leads to better records.

The third and final segment of the three-part interview is all about preamps and using them creatively to sculp unique sounds. Vance explains what preamps he likes and how he combines the AEA TRP preamp with vintage Neve preamps to get the best of both worlds. As a special treat, Vance gives us a rare insight into creating the fuzzed out guitar solo tone on Jack White’s song “Take Me With You When You Go” by accidentally overloading a chain of preamps.

Ribbon Recap
Are Ribbon Mics Dark or is Everything Else Hyped?
Tricks of the Trade
How To Choose the Right Ribbon Microphone for the Job
Tricks of the Trade
Near-Field vs. Far-Field Ribbon Mics: What’s The Difference

Knowing the difference will change the way you record.