How a recording-studio mishap shaped '80s music


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Published: 11 months 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

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comment  Comments

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

11 months ago

Vox oh ffs, have your narrator learn to pronounce names. "Pad gum" for Padgham? Seriously???

4 days ago

Justyn219 thank you for you’re excellent commentary and constructive criticism,VERY constructive

2 months ago

Wow, never realized this is the part I liked from Midnight City

2 months ago

Rose Coloured Boy - Paramore

3 months ago

"Wild Nothing - This Chain Won't Break"

16 hours ago

Think about it: this was less than 40 years ago. Humans spent thousands of years making music in kind of similar, acoustic ways and now technology comes around and changes everything (for most people at least)

1 day ago

It's ok. I still have the Alesis drum machine. It's a quick fix. Else it's out to a digital reverb and back to to the DBX compressor. 😂

1 day ago

so interesting

2 days ago

The sound of the 1980s was actually the Linn LM-1 Drum Computer, at least you vaguely mentioned it.

2 days ago

i can listen to susan rogers all day

3 days ago

HOLY MOLY,THIS MATERIAL IS GOLDMINE!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

3 days ago

4:38 does anyone know that track?

4 days ago

Anyone know the song at 0:42 ?

4 days ago

Pssst! **"Richie from the Dingle" had already 'been there, done that!' by 1964****Don't believe it? Then listen to the "I Wanna' Hold Your Hand" number here on 'Tube' played 'live-on-stage' and you can hear it for yourself...it's damn close considering it's just him and the 'kit'*

4 days ago

I always read about the talk button mistake but this was an excellent explanation of all of it. Nice job - thank you 🙏

4 days ago

This is awesome!!!!! Thanks!!!!!!!

4 days ago

Something's I actually enjoyed from vox, thank you.

5 days ago

I don’t really like Vox but this is a cool video

5 days ago

I found with one of my Marshall combos is If I face the amp toward the wall in the corner of my bedroom I get this awesome reverb effect for clean sounds when cranked loud.

5 days ago

I loved this video, loved what I learned, and thanks to you discovered The Bleachers/Jack Antonoff's music, thanks!

5 days ago

What is the brand of stereo they show at 5:18?

6 days ago

Putting 80's tracks up against Carly Rae Jepsen's song really shows how squashed a lot of music sounds now. It's a shame, a lot of today's music is dope but it's so quashed in mastering you can't hear/ feel the musical subtitles, there's no room or depth to the point that even modern gated reverb sounds flat!

1 week ago

Outstanding video but it missed one important point in the evolution of reverb.

Prior to the digital age, there was one reverb unit that was transportable, economical, and available to the masses. This was The Spring Reverb.
It consisted of a set of springs suspended between two magnetic pickups that resembled cassette player tape heads. The springs were set into motion by playing the audio into the magnetic pickup at one end of the spring and a resulting echo came out ot the second pickup at the other end of the spring.
As early as the '60's they were widely used in guitar amplifiers and add-on units were sold for automobile use to enhance the mundane sound that emanated from the non-stereo, AM radios that were prevalent in most automobiles at the time.

1 week ago

Drops a can in the studio
Producer: YOO DO THAT AGAIN REAL QUICK!

1 week ago

Woah

1 week ago

It's a cool effect but it's ubiquitousness in the 80s just made it such a dated sound.

1 week ago

See tame impala

1 week ago

6:20 : Threw up in my mouth.

1 week ago

I HATE reverb. I feel like the stand was rushed and had no definitive form

1 week ago

Damn. Thats cool!!!

1 week ago

As a listener , I hate drum machines and other tech ways to duplicate musical instruments . If it isn`t people playing the actual instruments ,it lacks heart.

1 week ago

Melt is a great album.

1 week ago

I prefer the reverb drums if its recorded if live i would like it clean

1 week ago
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