How a recording-studio mishap shaped '80s music


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Published: 1 year ago
Warning: This is an unapologetic ode to gated reverb drums

Here's a Spotify playlist of some of the best gated reverb songs: http://spoti.fi/2vH7ZZL

Over the past few years a general nostalgia for the 1980s has infiltrated music, film, and television. I deeply love those gated reverb drums of the '80s - you know that punchy percussive sound popularized by Phil Collins and Prince? So for my second episode of Vox Pop’s Earworm I spoke with two Berklee College of Music professors, Susan Rogers and Prince Charles Alexander, to figure out just how that sound came to be, what makes it so damn punchy, and why it’s back. 

Correction: At 2:01, a previous version of the video mistakenly said the noise gate only lets frequencies above a certain threshold pass through. We should’ve said “amplitudes” instead of “frequencies.” The error has been rectified.

At 3:45 we noted that plate reverb boxes were made using aluminum. In fact, they were usually made of steel.

Further reading: http://www.musicradar.com/news/drums/classic-drum-sounds-in-the-air-tonight-590970

Some songs don't just stick in your head, they change the music world forever. Join Estelle Caswell on a musical journey to discover the stories behind your favorite songs.

Check out the entire Vox Earworm playlist here: http://bit.ly/2QCwhMH

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Here's a Spotify playlist full of gated reverb heavy songs from the 80s and today! Let me know which songs you think I should include and I'll pick a few to add: https://open.spotify.com/user/estellecaswell/playlist/5zh0IzdP530nxTKRmarv5q

1 year ago

i was just in the beginning of making a playlist for gated reverb omg thxxx

1 month ago

> Awesome! Commenting so I can check later.
Is there some way to subscribe to a particular comment? If you reply to a certain comment, you get notification when a reply to the same comment is made. But what if you don't have anything particular to say, but think it is a useful comment ("HARK! A useful comment on YouTube!") that you want to pay attention to?

(Yes, I suppose I'm still stuck back in the early-to-mid-90s when "social media" consisted of the Usenet, and have the idea that "commenting" could actually lead to something useful - you know, personal learning, evolution of ideas, etc..)

2 months ago

I would add: Piano In The Dark by Brenda Russell.

3 months ago

oh so this is to blame for the shitty timbre of the 80's drum music. please just let the 80's die.......jazz is king resistance is futile.

3 months ago

Even hardcore bands like Broken Teeth use that effect to create an oldschool feeling.

15 hours ago

Anyone else notice the 2 examples of songs produced by this Jack (Anton)off guy are about being in someone else's car???

18 hours ago

the other thing that this video shows me is just how gross new york subways are...

1 day ago

the other thing that this video shows me is just how gross new york subways are...

1 day ago

A lot of stuff is coming back from the 80s. Like synth.

1 day ago

It's the power snare sound.

1 day ago

What is this reporters name? I saw two videos and they are amazing. I wish I could subscribe to only her and not Vox

2 days ago

I'm old enough to remember the 80s, but thought it was just me that noticed these 80s drum beats in mainstream music over the past 5 years or so (and I am not talking about the synth pop Stranger Things fad thats still going on). That said, I was personally happy when the 90s came around and music significantly improved for the next decade and a half.

3 days ago

Being born in the seventies, I've always loved this sound.

3 days ago

0:41 song? unless if they literally said it and i wasn't paying attention.

4 days ago

What about spring reverb?

4 days ago

"That drum fill is kind of always something I've had in my head" - yea, cause it's from Phil Collins and John Cougar Mellencamp....ya dingus. Come up with your own fills.

5 days ago

Unlistenable drum sound.

1 week ago

I 💙💙💙 the 80s

1 week ago

Compression on top of more compression, then compress that more. You have modern music.

1 week ago

Whoever chose these example songs has an excellent taste in music!

1 week ago

What is this boy girl talking about?

2 weeks ago

4:35 "he looooved that gay reverb"

2 weeks ago

I've always hated those drums that always sounded like small explosions.
I'm glad it died, but I have noticed a comeback.

2 weeks ago

Oh oh oh, give The Wombats' "Greek Tragedy" a try, then!

2 weeks ago

AMS NOT the first digital reverb..... EMT 250..circa 1976.. get yur facts straight

2 weeks ago

Slight error on the AMS Digi-verb ...
Wife Pauly and I were recording an LP to be released on CBS Europe and in the studios we were using ... namely Trident, Marcus and PRT, the AMS was already in the racks doing their thing. Maybe they were prototypes but defo were out before 82 ;)
Well done on your videos tho .... keep em' up ;-)

3 weeks ago

I love sonics and sonic landscapes and the technology stories behind them...but I hate Vox and everything else left wing,no thumbs up or thumbs down I suppose.

3 weeks ago

please let me know what the track at the end of the video is ...

3 weeks ago

Vox used to have decent videos like this. Now its all liberal bullshit

3 weeks ago

In the Air tonight was also made thanks to AMS Reverb

3 weeks ago

Am I the only one who actually likes gated reverb. This is the reason why I love 80s song honestly

3 weeks ago

I always thought the big echo sound was from EMT plates... not a talk back mic. My drums do not have any muffling on them, and I have played sessions with a talk back mic, but my drums did not sound like that. Is this Vox entity sure that all of the 'big' echo we are hearing is from a talk back mic with a gate? Noise gates were big in the 80's as outboard gear. I recall having my drums gated as well... because that is what the engineer wanted. It was not up to me, and definitely not an accident.

4 weeks ago

When the Yamaha SPX90 came out a lot of people I knew got their first digital effect. It was like the Ford Model T... not the first but the first cheap one and many people's first one. You can get the gated snare sound with a plethora of devices but that $600 SPX90 was, as I recall, what made it used and overused so much around '85 - 90.

4 weeks ago