Getting Started Using Noise Gates in Home Recording - dummies

Getting Started Using Noise Gates in Home Recording

By Jeff Strong

Noise gates can be extremely useful in getting rid of unwanted noise. The most common use for a gate is to eliminate bleeding from drum mics. For example, your snare drum might bleed into your tom-toms mics. When using noise gates, keep the following tips in mind:

  • When the threshold is reached, the gate allows the signal through. If your background noise is high enough, when the gate opens, you still hear not only the intended sound but also the background noise.

    This can be a problem if you’re using gates to eliminate the noise of your hard drive fan or other room noise. Your best bet is using acoustic panels to eliminate the noise rather than using gates.

  • When gating drums, be sure to set the attack very fast. Otherwise, the initial transient is lost, and you end up with mushy-sounding drums.

  • Take your time setting the release time of the gate so that it sounds natural and doesn’t clip the end of your instrument’s sound.

  • Only set the range high enough to mask unwanted noise. If you set it too high, the sound becomes unnatural because the natural resonance of the instrument may be filtered out.