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I love/hate noise gates... (YouTube video)

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor

Haha... I'm coming out, I haven't used noise gates in years. Not for guitars and not in mixing either. I just don't like the sound they produce. Recently I've been wanting to try more gain to really dive into a more brutal high gain territory and in that case I think I may need a noise gate so what I found out was that when I place the noise gate after the amp I get something much usable than with the noise gate in front. Check it out! :)

PS. Using the new ML Bulb Zilla Cab Pack for this demonstration.
 

Pwrmac7600

Power User
I gotta tell ya, prior to getting the axe, I never used a gate in my analog rig. When I got the axe I tried the different forms of gating and I found that they very much suck tone off the top end. I feel like the crunch goes flat when I use either gate. I have messed with my own settings, and I have also tried Gate settings of others. But no matter what I try I still can hear a loss of top end and crunch in my tone. So I just deal with the noise now. I edit out what I can in my DAW, would love to find a solution though for those sustained notes.
 

Rich5150

Inspired
I have never gotten the gate to sound good no matter where i put it, At this point i just use the input gate set so it just kills off the hiss when the vol is rolled off and it doesn't affect the tone any.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
I gotta tell ya, prior to getting the axe, I never used a gate in my analog rig. When I got the axe I tried the different forms of gating and I found that they very much suck tone off the top end. I feel like the crunch goes flat when I use either gate. I have messed with my own settings, and I have also tried Gate settings of others. But no matter what I try I still can hear a loss of top end and crunch in my tone. So I just deal with the noise now. I edit out what I can in my DAW, would love to find a solution though for those sustained notes.
The noise gate itself shouldn't affect the frequency balance too much (if my information is correct) but it's exactly that first transient which loses it's punch = brightness and is the problem I've been having. I think I'll still go without a noise gate for serious recordings as I can also add a noise gate in post if the noise is a problem or cut the tracks by hand. Still, having the noise gate after the amp is IMO way way waaaayyy better than having it in front so you don't mess with how your guitar signal hits the amp stages.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
There's many different ways to use a noise gate and I have always used them as part of my signature sound.

NOTE: ING = Input Noise Gate and GTE = Noise Gate Block (Gate/Expander)
  1. ING to reduce noise and feedback from guitar
  2. ING to increase dynamics (See my tutorial link below)
  3. ING with a slow attack (Above 100ms) to create fade ins
  4. After amp GTE to reduce noise and feedback from guitar but can cause unnatural note decay and sustain
  5. After amp GTE but side chained (SCSEL) to Input 1 to reduce noise and feedback from guitar but will follow guitar input and won't be affected by high gain amp noise, so you can get natural note decay and sustain
  6. After amp GTE but side chained (SCSEL) to an empty Row, like Row 1 but then you can add a Compressor, Drive, EQ or all 3 to shape what the side chain hears. Before I had my Axe-Fx II, I used to have a BOSS Blues Driver BD-2 in my side chain and I'd enable it for solos because it would increase my level going to the Gate and add a little compression, so my notes could sustain longer. I also, used to use it to lower the side chain lever to make the gate tighter. I originally did this because I couldn't figure out how to control my Gate's Threshold with my MIDI Controller's Expression pedal and I didn't want to disable the Gate because then I'd get a lot of feedback. You can assign Row 1 blocks to an IA on your MIDI Controller to enable and disable them or use Scenes.
NOTE: The Side Chain signal doesn't affect your tone and only affects how the noise gate's threshold adjusts to your playing dynamics.

Try connecting a modifier to an expression pedal and one of the ING or GTE parameters like the Threshold or Ratio.

Step 2 above works great when you can control the Ratio in Real-Time because it will allow you to control how dynamic you want to be. Another cool trick you can do with Step 2 is to put a Compressor AFTER the amp block with the same ratio as the ING, so then your preset level will sound smoother when you go from picking light to hard.

Here's an old tutorial I wrote over 4 years ago, a little after I got my Axe-Fx II Mark I with Firmware 5. If I find time, I'll try to write an updated tutorial with all the different ways a noise gate can be used. Wow I just realized I've saved over $600 on power tubes since buying my Axe-Fx II :)

Here's a Tip for anybody who wants more dynamics and pick attack: http://forum.fractalaudio.com/threa...ho-wants-more-dynamics-and-pick-attack.49252/
 

shasha

Fractal Fanatic
I never thought of doing that. I steer clear of the gate for a whole lot of reasons (like I suck at setting them up), but that's pretty brilliant.
 

acidfrost

Inspired
I use the intelligent input gate with a low threshold. That way it doesn't mess the first attack but high enough to cut off the noise (hum, interference, unwanted feedback, etc). It's the closest I could get to the MXR Smartgate, which IMO is the best gate pedal ever.

I played with a band in the last couple months and the other guitarist has a tube amp with a couple pedals and no gate. Man the background noise when he doesn't play is horrible, not talking about the unwanted feedback.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
Haha... I'm coming out, I haven't used noise gates in years. Not for guitars and not in mixing either. I just don't like the sound they produce. Recently I've been wanting to try more gain to really dive into a more brutal high gain territory and in that case I think I may need a noise gate so what I found out was that when I place the noise gate after the amp I get something much usable than with the noise gate in front. Check it out! :)

PS. Using the new ML Bulb Zilla Cab Pack for this demonstration.
I just added your post and YouTube video to the Wiki: http://wiki.fractalaudio.com/axefx2/index.php?title=Noise_and_noise_gate#More_information_and_tips
 

lauke-lux

Power User
Never use aggressive gate settings (ING mostly at -70 to -67dB) except on a U2 Vertigo cover we do where the amp settings are very extreme and I really need to tame the beast for not exploding the PA and reduce excessive feedback.The FAS gates work flawless BTW.
 

LoPaN

Inspired
First off thanks for this Mikka, I really struggle with noise gates on my Axe, when I ran tube amps I had a Decimator noise gate and that thing was a one dial pedal and did the job perfectly. Just tried your settings on one of my presets and it works great for me, its subtle and doesn't get in the way of my playing and doesn't kill any tone to me ears.

P.S saved this block for future use, named it "Mikka-gate" :)
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
First off thanks for this Mikka, I really struggle with noise gates on my Axe, when I ran tube amps I had a Decimator noise gate and that thing was a one dial pedal and did the job perfectly. Just tried your settings on one of my presets and it works great for me, its subtle and doesn't get in the way of my playing and doesn't kill any tone to me ears.

P.S saved this block for future use, named it "Mikka-gate" :)
That's awesome. I also love the Decimator in the loop of real amps and that was actually the spark for this idea. :)
 
Dude, I'm going to try this setting out. My set up from left to right is as followed

Input (intelligent gate off) -Hard compressor-Drive-amp-cab.

So by using your idea with my set up, it would be Compressor-Drive-amp-Gate-cab.

Dude, if this works then I owe you dude. I'm very happy with my tone but at times my gate cuts off my notes. I love quick unnatural cuts but I also want longer lasting notes.. I'll try this out and post my feedback via a video from my phones cam.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
Dude, I'm going to try this setting out. My set up from left to right is as followed

Input (intelligent gate off) -Hard compressor-Drive-amp-cab.

So by using your idea with my set up, it would be Compressor-Drive-amp-Gate-cab.

Dude, if this works then I owe you dude. I'm very happy with my tone but at times my gate cuts off my notes. I love quick unnatural cuts but I also want longer lasting notes.. I'll try this out and post my feedback via a video from my phones cam.
If you set the gate block's side chain (SCSEL) to input, you'll get the best results, just make sure the input gate is disabled.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
Interesting. Can you write step by step how to do this please :)
Here's an example preset with extreme gain settings that without the Gate set to SCSEL Input 1, you would have to set the threshold, so high that if you picked softly the notes would get cut off and you wouldn't get any sustain.

You may need to go into the Gate Block (GTE in Axe-Fx II, GateExp in Axe-Edit) and adjust the Threshold for your pickups. I tested with Humbucker and Single Coil pickups at high volumes and didn't get out of control feedback. You should be able to stay in the range between -80 to -70 and still have notes sustain without getting cut off. If you want a real tight choppy sound, adjust the Threshold to between -60 to -40 or higher.

Scene 1 is super metal high gain and Scene 2 is more of a rock high gain.

I don't ever use this much gain but used extreme settings to show how well the Gate works when set to Side Chain Input. If you want to hear how much noise the Gate is removing, try disabling the Gate but be careful because you will get tons of noise and feedback that may set off your smoke detectors and send any pets in the house running and hiding under your bed :eek:
 

Attachments

Here's an example preset with extreme gain settings that without the Gate set to SCSEL Input 1, you would have to set the threshold, so high that if you picked softly the notes would get cut off and you wouldn't get any sustain.

You may need to go into the Gate Block (GTE in Axe-Fx II, GateExp in Axe-Edit) and adjust the Threshold for your pickups. I tested with Humbucker and Single Coil pickups at high volumes and didn't get out of control feedback. You should be able to stay in the range between -80 to -70 and still have notes sustain without getting cut off. If you want a real tight choppy sound, adjust the Threshold to between -60 to -40 or higher.

Scene 1 is super metal high gain and Scene 2 is more of a rock high gain.

I don't ever use this much gain but used extreme settings to show how well the Gate works when set to Side Chain Input. If you want to hear how much noise the Gate is removing, try disabling the Gate but be careful because you will get tons of noise and feedback that may set off your smoke detectors and send any pets in the house running and hiding under your bed :eek:
I see.....

So my threshold is at -35 that I know for a fact and I did this because I love how fast it chops of my palm muting for that staccato feel especially I'm I'm going back and forth between 16th and 8th notes (chugging)

But what I don't like is my leads getting cut off..... being that I did use the threshold to how you described, I may look into setting up my compressor correctly now.... but I'm sure there is a thread on that. Thanks buddy you helped greatly.
 

vangrieg

Power User
One way to avoid using a gate with a lot of gain is to plug your guitar into a low noise sound card/preamp and then connect to Axe FX digitally.

The thing is, Axe FX has rather noisy inputs, with about -110 dB SNR. A great interface should move you closer to -118-120 dB. It won't be easy to find though.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
One way to avoid using a gate with a lot of gain is to plug your guitar into a low noise sound card/preamp and then connect to Axe FX digitally.

The thing is, Axe FX has rather noisy inputs, with about -110 dB SNR. A great interface should move you closer to -118-120 dB. It won't be easy to find though.
I feel like the Axe-Fx input has less noise than any real tube amp I've tried.
 

vangrieg

Power User
I feel like the Axe-Fx input has less noise than any real tube amp I've tried.
Well, I won't argue with that - I have no idea how noisy tube amp inputs are, although reamping with a really quiet interface can still allow one to avoid using a gate. But that doesn't really matter because you aren't plugging into a real tube amp, and the model shouldn't have any of those noise problems. What does matter is that you aren't plugging into that model directly as your signal goes through AFX's preamp and converter, which have a noise floor significantly higher than a quiet humbucker may have. If you lower that noise by 8-10 dB, much less noise will be amplified and compressed by the model, and you'll have a much quieter sound.
 
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