Looking at our effects racks today, it’s easy to forget that producers haven’t always had access to such a wide range of sound sculpting tools. Indeed, some of the essential processors that we now take for granted were actually ‘invented’ by accident.
Join us, then, as we explore the weird and wonderful history of effects, charting the key developments from the past ninety years or so. For a comprehensive selection of effects tutorials and techniques, check out Computer Music Special: Effects (issue 47) which is on sale now.
We start in 1920, the birth year of legendary US audio engineer Bill Putnam - widely regarded as the godfather of the modern recording. His unbelievable list of firsts includes tape repeat, multi-voice recording, multiband EQ and the use of reverb as an effect. Oh, and he was also the man behind the UREI company, which was responsible for several classic bits of kit, including the 1176LN compressor.