How a recording-studio mishap shaped '80s music

How a recording-studio mishap shaped '80s music

Warning: This is an unapologetic ode to gated reverb drums

Here’s a Spotify playlist of some of the best gated reverb songs:

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:

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:

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