Noise Gate Pedal - How to Choose the Right One For You
Noise Gate Pedal is the new gate to a sound-filled and totally dynamic live performance. Its cutting-edge multi-band technology is set to cater for all your buzzing and hum-killing needs without all the extra equipment. It takes out the need for a sound technician to come onsite every time you have a live show. Just plug it in and let it do the work for you.
A noise gate pedal has three bands of sensing transducers which are linked to each other by thin conductors. When the threshold of one of the bands is exceeded, a signal from the other band will be generated. It is designed in such a way that once you let go of the footpedal, it immediately returns back to its original threshold position. You can adjust it up and down and also have it automatically blend with the threshold signal. This is why it is such a great addition to any stage DJ setup.
Noise gates use some revolutionary transducers to generate a low-frequency signal which is very similar to the human hearing range. The mains input signal can be bridged to the third band through the use of a mid-side insert. The gate is then able to output a high-frequency signal effortlessly. In most cases this will be the kick drum or bass line. There are a number of popular manufacturers of noise gates and most use the same types of hardware and software for their pedals.
Some popular brands are Emotive, Sansui, UTI, Korg, Line 6 and many more. All the above brands produce different types of noise gate pedals but they all utilize the same transducers. The difference between them is the amount of gain that can be achieved when the signal is at full swing. The higher the gain, the deeper the frequency response. Basically, it is what produces the deep bass lines that are so popular in trance and chill out songs.
There are two types of noise reduction gates - threshold and hybrid. Both utilize the threshold approach to produce a limiting signal. Threshold gates are typically more expensive as they require two separate signals. They allow signals to reach the full swing of the signal but when the signal gets too low the threshold signal turns on. It is still important to monitor your signal level when using threshold gates to prevent clipping.
The second type is a hybrid of the first one - a gatekeeper. A gatekeeper performs two functions. First, it acts as a threshold or limiting signal. If the signal gets to below a certain point (set by the knobs), the gatekeeper kicks in and allows the signal to continue reaching its full swing. Second, when the signal gets above a certain point (set by the knobs again), the gatekeeper will shut off and allow the signal to return back to its balanced level.
There are four different types of noise reduction knobs. The first two that come to mind are volume knob (sometimes referred to as a volume slider) and the equalizer knob. The fourth type is the envelope expansion knob which is used to set the envelope of the signal to control how long it stays within the phase range you want. You can use any combination of these four knobs to control the amplitude and frequency response of the signal.
Before purchasing a Noise Gate Pedal, the first thing you need to do is to find out what the maximum threshold limit is. Usually the manufacturer will provide a default maximum threshold value but if it is not set, then you will need to check price range to ensure that the pedal will work for your purposes. Some manufactures such as Audio- Nirvana offer an "aperture" feature that is included in the design. This will allow the signal chain to reach the full amplitude as the threshold value is reached and will automatically reset the threshold so the signal chain is protected against excessive noises.