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Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by drmilktruck, May 12, 2019.
Interesting story of where the 80s drum sound came from.
I still remeber being extremely angry over our sound engineer`s efforts trying to emulate these sounds in the late eighties. He wasted hours and hours of precious studio time on this with very poor results.
I am still unhappy hearing Yes- drum-samples from "owner of a lonely heart" on some of our heaviest numbers.
In the early nineties the D-Drum was a big step in bringing classic and modern drumsounds to the stage and the studio.
It was incredibly expensive but it delivered.
In these time I used a refrigerator-sized rack. Everything was produced before it hit the p.a..
Lots of headache and possible failiure.
The only good point was that it was very calm and controlled onstage.
It felt unnatural to me. That was not how rock`n roll should sound like.
I hated the gated reverb drum sounds we had to produce in live concerts during the '80s. Everyone was mad for it and Yamaha even started making multi-effects units with gated reverb presets. The drums always sounded fake to me. I always preferred a bit of "airiness" to the drums and natural reverb room sounds.
Like everything else that's over used gated reverb on drums got boring and tired after a while. It happened to fuzz boxes, wah wah pedals and tremolo too. When used sparingly and tastefully it's all cool but not on every freakin' song on every album for a whole decade....
I remember it all too well. I never cared for that sound. When we record, when use distant miking of the drums and add a touch of reverb post-prod. I don’t care for artificial sounding music.
Drum sounds! My favourite topic. (I am a drummer, after all.)
IMHO, the gated reverb effect sounds fantastic on Phil Collins/Genesis records, and it sounds terrible on everyone else's. Hugh Padgham, the engineer who created the effect, used just the right amount of reverb and compression to make the drums sound huge without making them sound like they'd been drowned in hairspray.
Check out "No Reply at All" from the Abacab album: those drums sound snappy and alive, crackling with energy. The producers who tried to copy the effect just drenched the drums in reverb until they'd soaked all the life out of them. (Of course, those producers didn't have drummers as sophisticated as Phil Collins to work with either.)
Not just drums, nor music, either. It fits in many areas. Find something that's new and different, and it gets beat to death in no time. We had one building with a certain new roof style, then, Whamo!, we've got 7 in town. TV, movies, books---it happens everywhere.
So true. As a structural engineer I sometimes get a first hand look at how closely related architecture and fashion are.
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I totally agree with you. If it had been just the Genesis "signature drum sound," then it would have been fine. By the time it became the sound for everyone, it just stopped being special, and it just lends to the feeling that "Music, Inc." found another formula.
I get that formulas can sell records, but creativity suffers in the process.
An astute observation, my friend!
I agree. I never minded that sound on Genesis albums, but the imitators beat it to death.
I think You just helped me figure out my musical taste during the eighties...avoid gated reverb
Cool and interesting video . I remember in the 80's , Phil Collins was the hottest ticket in town
Please add “stereo chorus”...[shudder]
I'm a chorus freak myself ... but we're still friends
Let's hear it!
I usually don't pay much attention to the drum sound (Sorry!) but even I think the drums on In the Air Tonight are outstanding. The section at 3:16 is one of my favorite breaks in all music.
Chorus is one of very few effects I like, but it was so overused in the ‘80s that I had my fill. I use is sparingly, these days; it still has its place, but in the ‘80s it was like an inch-thick layer of icing, making the cake far too rich. This was especially true in Jazz Fusion, where virtually every guitar track was drenched in it. A lot of otherwise good music was ruined because of it.
The only thing worse than the 80's gated drum sound was the cheesy crappy drum machine hand claps. On the No Reply At All video it's bad enough that they are faking the brass parts but they're faking the hand claps too....
Personally I liked Mike and the Mechanics better.
Steve Lillywhite (who was the actual producer of the third Peter Gabriel album. Padgham was the engineer) also used that Big Drum Sound.
Check out Big Country (everything about that album is big!)
Or U2, where the drums emulate automatic weapons fire.
I’m not trying for new and different in my music struggles. I’m trying for old and traditional: rockabilly and early 50’s to early sixties roots of rock and roll: Carl Perkins; Gene Vincent/Cliff Gallup; Sun Sessions/Scotty Moore; Ricky Nelson/James Burton. It’s hard to get that simple early effect using similar technology today (that is, without a pedal, just the right guitar and amp): a little reverb but otherwise clean. Most pop (so-called rock) made after 1979 relies on too much non-instrument influence for my tastes. (Yes, I’m an old troglodyte. Get off my lawn!)
In the '50s, much of the day's music was recorded in ensemble, all at once in a single room with a minimum of mikes. Even top of the chart big bands were recorded with just a few mikes. That lasted well into the '60s. I've recorded many small chamber groups with just a stereo pair (into the 2000s). The KISS Principle works.