Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hugh Padgham is a record producer and audio engineer, and, although he makes no claims to having any musical talent, has become one of the world's most successful and influentual producers. He has won a string of awards for his production and a 1992 poll in Mix magazine voted him one of the world's Top Ten Most Influential Producers.
Padgham started out as a tape-operator at Advisions Studios working in recording sessions for Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. From there he went to Landsowne Studios and moved form tape-operator/assistant engineer to head engineer. In 1978 Padgham got a job at Townhouse where he engineered and/or produced acts including XTC, Peter Gabriel, and Phil Collins.
Padgham is credited with creating the 'gated' drum sound used so prominently on Phil Collins' single In The Air Tonight, and which became the template for much of the sound of recorded drums in the eighties. The effect was believed to have first been used on the 1980 third self-titled solo album by Peter Gabriel, which Padgham engineered and on which Collins played. At this time, Padgham was working regularly as the recording engineer for noted UK producer Steve Lilywhite , and they collaborated on many well-known albums and singles in the early 1980s.
The 'gated drum' effect is created by adding a large amount of reverberation to the original drum sound, and then feeding that reverb signal through an electronic device known as a noise gate. This unit can be programmed to cut off any signal fed through it, either after a specified time interval (in this case, a few milliseconds), or when the incoming signal falls below a preset volume threshold. The result is the arresting 'gated reverb' effect, in which the reverberation which cuts off abruptly, rather than fading away.
Padgham's previous work with Gabriel and Collins led to a long and enormously successful collaboration with Genesis in the 1980s, which produced a string of hit albums and singles including Ababcab, Land Of Confusion and We Can Dance.
Artists for whom Padgham has produced or engineered include:
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