• Artist: Peter Gabriel
  • Album: Peter Gabriel (#3 - melting)
  • Label: Geffen
  • Year: 1980
  • Producer: Steve Lillywhite
  • Engineer: Hugh Padgham
  • Studio: Peter Gabriel's place in Bath via Manor Mobile Truck and Townhouse, London.

First Gated Reverb

This is the first recording to include gated reverb, though maybe not the most famous example. It's actually compressed and gated reverb. The effect was both discovered and invented.
The room wasn't especially large, but it was live. The SSL console through which they were tracking had a built-in "Listen Back" button which enabled the control room to hear what was going on in the live room at the push of a button. A permanent microphone hanging in the room fed a microphone preamplifier and a rather aggressive limiter. The limiter was there, not for it's sound quality, but for the utility it offered, narrowing the level difference between loud drums with guitars and a distant/faint voice. Usually the button was pressed during conversations, not performances. Engineer Hugh Padham, "Well, it just so happened one day that I had that talkback mike open when Phil was playing the drums in the studio…” and he was smart enough to recognize the potential of the sound. He refined it further with a well-timed gate.
And so began the 80s.


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