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How to set up noise gates for a high gain patch?

Discussion in 'FX8 Discussion' started by alexwald, May 8, 2016.

  1. alexwald

    alexwald
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    just curious what's your strategy for setting up the input noise-gate and the noise-gate block.
    I have a EVH 5153 head and use a overdrive block in PRE, and have a noise-gate block in POST.

    I'd like to be able to bypass the noise-gate block for clean channel, so it should take care of most of the noise / feedback while on dirty channel. any tips how to achieve efficient gating with minimum tone suck?
     
  2. Rex

    Rex
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    Neither the input noise gate nor the Gate/Exp block will change your tone. But either one can cut off your note tails if they're set too aggressively.

    Your guitar is your biggest noise source by far. So the gate at the input is the one that matters. The noise gate you've got in Post might not be doing anything for you.

    Bring up threshold until your rig goes silent when you're not playing. Fiddle with Threshold and Ratio to get the gating action that suits you. Where you wind up will depend on your guitar, your environment, your gain, and your playing style. There is no setting that works for all situations. Mess with Release if you don't like how your notes are trailing off.

    If you have to be able to bypass the gate, you'll have to use the gate block. Or set up different presets for clean and dirty; then you can use either one.
     
  3. wolbai

    wolbai
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    I have a Marshall JVM410. The JVM is well known for being noisy on the OD-channels in Orange and Red mode.

    With high gain amps you typically have TWO sources of noise / feedback / hum you want to eliminate with a noisegate:

    1.) your guitar (feedback from the pickups or hum from single coils)
    --> use the Input Noisegate therefore (at the beginning of your signal chain)

    2.) the pre amp section of your amp
    ---> use the GateExp Effect therefore (use it as the first effect directly after the pre amp in your FX loop)

    I have used TWO noisegates in my signal chain for years. The FX8 is doing that job pretty well. That was one of my "must haves" with the FX8.

    I use these noisegates of course only in the OD-channels of my amp.

    Here are my settings which are of course amp/guitar related. These settings are pretty ok for me.
    Check it out. It is a balance you have to find which fits for you:

    Input Noisegate:
    - Threshold: -75 db
    - Ratio: 2,5
    - Attack: 5ms
    - Release: 100ms
    - Input Z: Auto

    Gate Exp effect:
    - Threshold: -30db
    - Ratio: 2
    - Attack: 5ms
    - Hold: 100ms
    - Release: 100ms

    wolbai
     
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  4. Ken Wolfe

    Ken Wolfe
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    Wolbai,



    I have an AX8 connected to a Marshall JVM410H amp then connected to (2) Avatar Cabinets and have a noise issue, see below:

    1. The AX8 is correctly connected to the Marshall using CM4 method

    2. Issue is when using Marshall high gain (distortion) channel 3.

    3. When I plug my guitar directly into the Marshall (not using the AX8) on channel 3 the hum is not a problem.

    4. When using the AX8 connected on channel 3 even with the guitar cable not connected to the AX8 there is a hiss.

    5. Turning on the AX8 ground lift does not help.

    6. I tried ungrounding the Marshall (using an ungrounded 120vac plug) which did not help.

    7. I’ve tried this setup at multiple locations and don’t believe it is a bad outlet grounding issue

    8. The humbuster cables really helped and tried the below you suggested which also helped:

    Input Noisegate:
    - Threshold: -75 db
    - Ratio: 2,5
    - Attack: 5ms
    - Release: 100ms
    - Input Z: Auto

    Gate Exp effect (directly after pre-amp, which I assume is after FX block):
    - Threshold: -30db
    - Ratio: 2
    - Attack: 5ms
    - Hold: 100ms
    - Release: 100ms

    [​IMG]

    9. There still is a livable but annoying hiss when the AX8 is connected VS. when I just plug the guitar directly into the front of the Marshall amp.


    I’m new to the AX8 and wonder if you have any suggestions and could email me some presets you are using with your JVM410.


    Thanks Ken
     
  5. wolbai

    wolbai
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    Ken,

    I have my Marshall and FX8 Multi-FX in the rehearsal room. I will be there next week. I then can have a closer look for more details how I set up the I/O-impedance. I then can send you some presets via PM.

    Having that said, here are a couple of questions / thoughts up front:

    1. Do have an AX8 or an FX8 ? If it is an AX8, there are some differences regarding the 4CM-cableing as far as I know. I only can give you further infos based on my FX8/JVM410 equipment.

    2. What FX-Loop are you using in the JVM? I have connected the FX8 to the parallel FX-Loop of the JVM. The The wet/dry knob has to be set on 100% wet. The parallel FX-Loop works pretty good together with FX8-MultiFX.

    3. At the parallel FX-Loop there is a button to switch between Instrument level (-10 dB for guitar pedals and MultiFX-boards) & line level (+4 db for studio effects). Set it to -10 dB. You should setup the FX8 signal in the I/O-section at the same -10db level.

    4. What channel mode on OD-1 are you using? Orange & Red mode are the ones which cause some hiss problems from the pre amp section. I set my Gain on OD-1 & OD-2 (Orange/Red Mode) between 2/10 to 3/10 (9 o'clock - 10 o'clock). Togehter with a Tube Screamer in the pre amp section, that is pretty much what I need to get a sustained high gain tone.
    Everything above 3/10 causes even more hiss from the JVM pre amp section. You probably know that the JVM has plenty of gain. Many think too much. I think: do not go over 3-4/10. If you have your gain says around 5/10, the above mentioned values for the Gate EXP effect needs to be adapted. Experiment with the Treshold and Ratio parameter.

    wolbai.
     
  6. Ken Wolfe

    Ken Wolfe
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    1) I have an AX8 which I understand from Fractal is more prone to noise that the new FX8 MKII. I’m not sure if my AX8 is more prone to noise that the FX8 you’re using. I believe the CM4 method is the same for both units and I have my cables correct.

    2) I’m using the JVM Serial / Parallel FX Loop just as you are and had WET almost at 100% and now have it at 100%.

    3) I had my set at +4dBu and discovered my AX8 FX loop settings did not match (one was +4dBu and the other -10dBV) which was causing some of my noise. I kept the setting at +4dBu because at -10dBV the volume seems to drop a lot and believe at -10dBV the noise reduction matches the volume lost so no gain. Let me know if you are sure it should be -10dBV?

    4) I’m using channel 3 green and mostly orange and adjusted my gain to 9:45 and am using the Gate EXP with your suggested settings just after the FXLoop block. See attached preset file.

    Based on your suggestions and my experimenting most of the extra noise the AX8 was introducing to the JVM410H is gone. It’s not perfect but I believe I can live with it but am still looking for additional improvements.

    Thanks so much for your help and let me know if you have any additional thoughts.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. #7 wolbai, Nov 9, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    wolbai

    wolbai
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    Although my FX8 + JVM410h is in the rehearsal room, I am pretty sure that I have matched the db-levels to -10dB on both sides (FX8 + FX loop of Marshall amp).

    I wouldn't care initially on the volume drop. I initially would take care to get rid off unwanted hiss & hum.

    If that is fixed, then adjust any volume drop that may occur with your amp settings (or, if necessary with the AX8-Presets). With that 100 watt Marshall you have plenty of them :)

    Another hint:
    The JVM410 cannot match the channel volume over all 12 modes just by using the two master volumes and the channel volumes. (That applies especially, if you are using more than Clean Green Mode on channel 1).
    You can use the FX8/AX8 to even out the channel volume levels by using the FILTER block effect on your AX8/FX8.
    Set the Filter to NULL and Gain to the db-level to match the other channel volume levels.
    With this settings and by placing the Filter block at the very end of your FX8/Ax8-preset, your tone will remain uncolored.
    (Placing the Filter block pre amp is a different story).

    In addition to match channel volume levels on the Marshall JVM, I also use the filter block to toggle (S1/S2-Toggle with the FS) Rhythm versus lead volume (in all presets where I cannot use my guitar volume knob for that purpose).

    wolbai
     
  8. Ken Wolfe

    Ken Wolfe
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    Wolbai

    For me the +4dBu works fine, I don’t have enough noise any more that it is a bother.

    I also understand what you mean by not being able to match volume levels for all 3 options on each of the 4 channels. Do you use a different preset for each of the 12 options or somehow changing the Filter in the same preset?

    Where do you set the Out 1 and Out 2 volume knobs on the AX8?

    Also, Robboman on this forum suggested the below, which I don’t think works well with the JVM, you can see my post regarding this. I’m interested in what you think about Robboman suggestion?

    AX8 output direct to the loop return on the back of my tube head. I took the same preset and added an amp block, then I went into Global settings and set Power Amp Modelling to disabled. With this setup, The AX8 amp block is replacing the preamp and tonestack in my head, while real tube power is still driving my cab.

    Ken
     
  9. #9 wolbai, Nov 11, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    wolbai

    wolbai
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    Well, if +4dB on both units works fine, then all is good.

    I use 6 out of 12 modes over all 4 channels of the JVM410h. The Reverb on the Marshall is disabled, because the AX8/FX8 reverbs are much better (although they are CPU intensive). I initially have matched the channel volumes (Modes) with the master volumes and the specific channel volumes. Everywhere I haven't managed to match the volumes, I activated the Filter block and did the volume fine tuning with Gain parameter on the Filter block within the specific preset.

    I have matched all my preset volumes with a level metering instrument in the rehearsal room at rehearsal/gigging volume levels.

    Not aware on any OUT1 + OUT2 volume knobs on my FX8. Probably set in the global settings to factory setting.

    The suggested cable connection from Robboman will work with the JVM, although I haven't tried it.
    That is one possibility to connect a modeller to a tube amp. They way you have done it (4CM), passes your guitar signal through TWO pre amp sections (AX8 pre amp modeling, Marshall JVM410 pre amp section). That may cause also some "Hiss" problems and sound coloration.

    If you really want to be as close as possible to the sound of the AX8 amp model (and if the AX8 amp model gets his tone mainly out of the pre amp, e.g. modern high amp models), then I would say Robboman's suggestion should be the most "uncolored" way to connect the AX8 to your JVM. If not, leave it as it is.

    For AX8 amp models which gets their tone also (or mainly) from the power amp section (e.g. old Marshall Plexi Lead), your final sound will be hearably different to the AX8 amp model (pre amp and power amp section).

    Bear in mind that the JVM410 gets his tone mainly from his pre amp section. It has a lot of negative feedback to stay clean and tight on the clean channel and on compressed high gain tones at very high volume levels.

    The power section of the JVM410 stays completely clean around 5/10 on master and channel volumes. Power amp distortion is hearable starting at 6/10 (Master AND channel volume together).

    But tube power amp distortion is not necessarily a good thing for your tone, although a lot of players see that different. The clearness of the notes is lacking, the more you drive the power amp section into saturation. With out using an power attenutator 6/10 volume on a 100 Watt Marshall amp is also ALARMING loud.

    The second possibility to connect a modeller to a tube amp is by exclusively using the clean channel of a tube amp. Together with a 4CM you would only use channel 1 on the JVM410. In this case you will run the full amp model (pre amp and power section model).

    At the end of the day, you have decide for yourself, what fits to you best.

    For me, the Marshall JVM410 has so much tone variety within it's 4 channels and 12 modes, that I do not need any external pre amps (analog or digital) at all. That is also the reason why I have a FX8 and not the AX8. High quality effects, a good midi controller to switch between amp channels and minimal footsteps by using presets is all I need. (It could be wise using the AX8 as a backup solution, if the tube amp is down).

    Lot of words ...

    wolbai
     
  10. Ken Wolfe

    Ken Wolfe
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    Best of both worlds:

    At present I’m going with the 4CM method with global setting set to Power amp modeling off and Cabinet modeling in bypass so I can do either of the below:
    1. Use Presets with FX Blocks which uses the JVM preamp and all of its preamp settings (tone, gain, individual channel volumes).
    2. Use Presets where Amp Blocks replace FX Blocks which then uses the AX8 amp modeling, drives, etc. Here I keep the JVM on channel 1 Green (full clean sound).

    Option 1 has more noise which I can live with and is easier to setup, option 2 sounds better but is much more work to setup the different Amp Blocks.

    Thanks for your posts, I've made unbelievable progress.

    Do you know of a video or link that explains what MIDI is and how to use it?


    Ken
     
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  11. Rex

    Rex
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    Here's a good overview of MIDI as it applies to all musical gear. It'll get you ready to dive deeper into MIDI on your own gear.
     
  12. wolbai

    wolbai
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    Shouldn't be that complicated to find a Video on YouTube that explains MIDI in general terms. Just search for ...

    Here is a link to the Fractal specific MIDI-capabilities: http://wiki.fractalaudio.com/axefx2/index.php?title=MIDI

    For the Marshall JVM specific MIDI-capabilities: just have a look into your JVM manual or download it from www.Marshall.com

    Regarding the cabling: You need a midi cable to connect to your AX8: Midi OUT/THRU port an to your JVM410: Midi IN port (rear side)

    All in all is sounds more complicated than it is.

    Amp channel switching via MIDI with your AX8-Presets enhances the power of the AX8/FX8 even more.

    Good luck - wolbai
     
  13. wolbai

    wolbai
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    @Rex you was just a tick faster than me :)
     
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  14. Rex

    Rex
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    This. You'll have a couple of "Oh, now I get it!" moments, and then it'll start to come easy.
     
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  15. Rex

    Rex
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    Score! If only there were a prize... :)
     
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  16. Ken Wolfe

    Ken Wolfe
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    I thought my noise issues were gone but when I took everything to our practice room, I had the below noise issue.

    1. I have a Fractal Audio AX8, hooked via the 4CM “4 cable method” to a JVM410H amp, going to (2) Avatar Cabs and playing an Ernie Ball John Petrucci Music Man guitar.

    2. I did not notice this issue at my house.

    3. When I plug my guitar directly into the JVM410H amp (the AX8 not hooked up) there still is the noise. AX8 is not inducing the noise.

    4. It’s coming from the guitar.

    5. Pointing the guitar pickups at the speakers causes most of the noise.

    6. It is not a feedback sound but more of an electrical “buzz”

    7. If I leave the room (I have a wireless device) the noise goes away.

    8. If I hold my fingers on my strings (touch the strings) the noise goes away.

    9. Working with the Input settings in the AX8 Preset I was able to reduce the noise but it made the guitar to unresponsive.

    Our other guitarist has several different external devices he wants to try but I’m hoping there’s a setting an the AX8 that can help with this. Also, I’m going to try using the ground lift and the AX8 when I return to the room.

    Wolbai feel free to send a few preset my way I’d love to see how they work.

    Thanks again to all who have given me help.
     
  17. wolbai

    wolbai
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    Hmm ... some questions and some thoughts ...

    1. As far as I am informed, my FX8 presets will not work on your AX8 and vice versa. So any presets from me will likely not help you.

    2. Everything you have done regarding the db-settings, the FX loop connectivity and the GateEXP settings on the AX8 to reduce the Hiss of the JVM410 pre amp section was necessary. As long as you use one of the OD1 / OD2 channels in orange/red mode, you need to setup a GateEXP block to reduce the hiss from your JVM pre amp section.
    What you can do is to try different parameter settings for Treshold, etc. to reduce the lack of responsiveness of your guitar.
    But be aware: using noise gates is always a trade-off between reducing unwanted noise and guitar responsiveness. You just can find an optimum for that.

    3. You have to make sure that you can isolate the problem to a root cause: guitar pickups, cable, amp channel(s), AX8, wireless device, quality of the electricity, etc. So you should exchange all the hardware, step by step. Some of them, you have already done (e.g. testing without your AX8).
    Try different cables (by leaving all the rest of the signal chain the same), try it without the wireless device (by leaving all the rest of the signal chain the same), use a different guitar (by leaving all the rest of the signal chain the same), etc.

    4. IMO any other (different sounding) noise (other than the Hiss from the JVM pre amp section) can come from:
    a.) either your pickups and the distance how you are standing to your amp and/or
    b.) external devices/sources, e.g. bad electricity/grounding, bad cables, your wireless device, etc.

    5. I personally suspect your pickups (4a.) causes the Hum problems at a certain volume level (not shown at home) together with your JVM410 amp channel selection at a certain volume level. And you probably may stand a bit to close to your amp.
    (The number 7 + 8 of your post indicates that as well).

    I would check that first:
    a. Does Hum noise increases by turning the guitar pickups to your amp?
    b. Is the Hum noise mainly on the OD1/OD2 (orange/red) modes and not on the clean (green) channel mode?

    If 5a. and 5b. applies, I would say that this is a pretty normal tube amp/guitar pickups "problem".
    This type of Hum (coming from the pickups and NOT from other potential sources like bad electricity, wireless device, etc.) I initially had in my rehearsal room as well.

    I therefore use the preset Noise Gate of my FX8 (should be the same in the AX8). See my settings some posts above as a starting point.

    The noise preset Gate Settings and the GateEXP block settings have reduced MY unwanted noise (hum/hiss) to a minimum, I can live with.

    If you cannot eliminate your Hum noise problem with these two type of noise gate-settings (and by accepting a certain amount of minimal noise which is hearable when the band is not playing), then something else is the root cause of your Hum noise.
    In that case, any help from distance is more speculation and therefore difficult.


    Hope that helps. May be others have some additional thoughts for help as well.

    wolbai
     
  18. Ken Wolfe

    Ken Wolfe
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    Wolbai,



    Thanks again for taking so much time to help me.

    1) Being close to the amp and turning my pickups toward my amp greatly increases the noise.

    2) I have done most of the isolating you suggested and it is either the guitar pickups or room ground or a combination of both. I think it is a pickup issue.

    3) I will try a different guitar, adjusting the Input Gate and adjusting the GateExp.

    4) Please confirm the GateExp should be placed just after the FXLoop Block even if the noise is pickup related?

    5) Should I adjust the GateExp Low Cut (10.00 Hz) or High Cut (7509 HZ) setting and if so, what settings are you using?

    6) Please confirm the noise preset Gate you refer to is reached when clicking on the “Input Gate” in each preset?

    7) Have you ever used a Filter Block in your FX8 to reduce noise?

    8) Our other guitarist has an ISP Decimator Pro Rack G he wants me to try if all else fails, what do you think of this? Do you think the AX8 and FX8 has as much noise reduction capabilities as this Decimator?

    9) Our other guitarist has a FXII and FXIII and has software to change presets from one model to another, so if you send me a few presets we should be able to export the blocks or just copy the setting to my AX8.

    Thanks again Ken
     
  19. wolbai

    wolbai
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    Ok, just keep working on the Hiss noise ...

    1. What you tell me, confirms my assumption that you are dealing with a "normal" Hiss/Hum issue that any Tube amp will more or less generate when it comes to High Gain sounds. Don't be irritated, don't think that your equipment is bad. I think it is "just" a question how to adapt your equipment to High Gain tones (and I assume now, your Hiss problem is mainly driven by the High gain Tones ---> OD1/OD2 in orange or red mode). I am pretty sure you will fix it.

    2. Guitar players deal pretty different with High Gain Hiss (from guitar pickups and amp itself). Some of them (like me) are using Noise Gates. Some of them roll back the guitar volume knob between breaks and keep the fingers ON the strings (as you have already discovered). It is important that you do not overly use Gain on your JVM410 amp. The settings 9:45 (approx. 3/10) is ok. Don't go over that.
    The fixing will be even harder. If you need more gain, use a OD pedal like the Tube Screamer (Drive to zero and Gain up how much you need). It is the classical approach that many High Gain players are using since the 80s. The Tube screamer also cuts some wolly bass frequencies and pumps up the mids. That tightens up your High Gain sound and let it cut through the (band) mix more easier.

    3. IMO there is NO NEED to use external Noise Gates like ISP Decimator. It will be just more complex. The AX8/FX8 Noise gate capabilities should fix it. If not, there has to be another root cause that generates the unwanted Hiss noise.
    If the FX8 could not have fix that Hiss problem, I wouldn't have bought it.

    4. A different guitar with different pickup impedance and pickup types (Single Coil / Humbucker) will very likely behave a different.
    Especially guitars with Single Coils will add a new "Single Coil Hum" you may not have realized up to now (the exceptions are the position 2 and 4 on a 5 way selector-switch).

    5. You should ONLY use the Noise gate function in your AX8 presets for High Gain sounds (and by using the OD1/OD2 orange/red modes on your amp). Using Noise gates for clean and crunch tones, will very likely make your tone too inresponsive.

    6. Use the Input Gate AND the GateExp block in each AX8-preset to fix your High Gain Hiss problem. The Input Gate covers mainly unwanted noise coming from the guitar (pickups, feedback). The GateExp block covers mainly unwanted noise coming from the pre amp section of your amp when using the OD1/OD2-channels in orange/red mode.

    7. The GateExp block is the FIRST effect in your AX8-FX signal chain. Do not place it pre amp or somewhere else. That is the most efficient place to cover the pre amp section Hiss from the JVM410. After this effect block you typically will then have effect blocks like modulation effects, Delay, Reverb. I have not set any low cut / high cut other than the standard setting in the GateEXP block. And I doubt you really need it.

    8. Once you have set the treshold parameter under 100%, the Noise Input Gate should be activated and work at preset levels.
    My suggestions for the parameter settings for both Gates somewhere above in this Thread are starting points for you.
    They can be different for you, because of different components in my signal chain than yours (for example the guitar pickups).
    So you have adapt the parameters of the gates (treshold, Attack, Hold, Release) to your specific environment.
    You may also have a look at some internet explanations how a noise gate will work in general and what the specific parameters are doing.

    9. I have never used a Filter block to deal with Hum/Hiss noise. I think that is not needed.

    10. I am in the rehearsal room on Thursday this week. I will copy some presets and send it to you, somewhere this week.

    wolbai
     
  20. Rex

    Rex
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    These things strongly suggest that your guitar is picking up electromagnetic interference from something nearby. It's not hum, and it's not hiss; it's interference. And it's coming in through your guitar; it's not a ground loop.

    The fact that the noise goes away when you touch the strings suggests that there may be a grounding issue in your guitar. It could be a broken bridge-grounding wire, or it could be something else.

    The short-term fix would be to hunt down the source of the interference, and turn it off. It could be the amp. or it could be something else that your pickups are pointing at — either in front of them or behind them — when your guitar is facing the amp.
     

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