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The Stutter Effect

The diagram shows the different vocal effects being used in the billboard top 40. Among the commonly used effects like reverb and delay, the stutter effect is a pretty 'exotic' effect like auto-tune.

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sound examples of the digital stutter effect

Stuttering in pop songs is not new. A lot of songs used the 'human' stutter effect:


The Who „My Generation“

Bob Seger „Katmandu“

Bee Gees „Jive Talking“

David Bowie „Changes"

Elton John „Bennie And The Jets“

The Knack „My Sharona“,

Bachmann Turner Overdrive "You Aint Seen Nothing Yet" -  just to name a few.


In most cases, the digital stutter effect is made by slicing an audio file, re-arranging it in a sequencer and putting the pieces in a rhythmical order.

1986 - Falco "Rock Me Amadeus". The "Max Headroom" style was copied in many pop songs.

1989 - The System "Face The Music". Keyboardist David Frank did the introduction with a Sampler (Akai S 900 or Akai S 1000

2009 - Lady Gaga "Just Dance".

1986 - Art of Noise "Paranoimia". Featuring Max Headroom as a prototype of digital stuttering done with a sampler.

2009  - Britney Spears "Circus"

2009  - The Black Eyed Peas "Boom Boom Pow"

2009  - Jason Derulo "Watcha Say"

2010 - Usher "OMG"

2010 - Iyaz "Replay"

2011 - Katy Perry "E.T."

2011 - Britney Spears "Til The World Ends"

2011 - Kesha "We R Who We R"

2009  - Jamie Fox "Blame It"

2012 - Flo Rida "Good Feeling"

Max Headroom as prototype of sampling and stutter effects

Art of Noise - Max Headroom in "Paranoimia"

Max Headroom in the David Letterman Show

Stutter Edit Tutorial