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Old 21st February 2003
Smart Research
I didnt have anything to do with 'slave to the rhythm', (though I think Trevor Horn used Synclavier a lot) and as Chrisso says he is a production legend !.

To generalise a bit about the '80's though I suppose use of the SSL 4K meant more use of automation; compression and gating because it was never as available. Attention increased on this in the production process...then, synclavier and fairlight emerged, more in the hands of producers than artists; creative focus changed....fixing stuff later; a more technical bias; longer projects became more common.

It's probably the same each time any new technology 'cycles': everyone dives in headfirst, then finds out the drawbacks as well as advantages, and five years on stuff is held in more realistic regard alongside previous stuff. After multitrack, would some of the most significant changes to the recording process have happened through the 80's ?

Audio wise, I think lack of transients characterised sampling and digital formats through the 80's, and 90's. Finding material that has useful transients intact we can use for compressor testing is informative, and still difficult. I'm not an audio snob though....creativity is king...but you need to be given the choice to **** up your transients !.

By the way, I would suggest US producers have always been more aware of audio quality than UK producers.....