Purpose and purpose of the noise gate
The noise gate, as its name suggests, is designed to reduce the excess of noises arising from the sound system, which can be felt especially when the stove is turned on. Often at high power, even when we are not playing anything, the noises can be very burdensome for us and the environment, causing the same discomfort when working with the instrument. And for those guitarists who are particularly disturbed by this and who would like to limit them as much as possible, a device called the noise gate was developed.
Who is the Noise Gate for?
It is definitely not a device without which the guitarist will not be able to function. First of all, it is a peripheral, additional device and we can use it or not. Besides, as it usually happens with this type of devices, there are many supporters of this type of pickups, and there are also many electric guitarists who believe that the noise gate, in addition to eliminating unnecessary noise, also eliminates the natural dynamics of the sound. Here, of course, everyone has their own right, so let everyone individually consider what is most important to him. First of all, if you have such a gate, let’s use it consciously, because you will not always need it. When, for example, we play on quite quiet settings, we probably do not need such a goal. Our gate should be turned on, for example, when using a highly saturated sound, where when played loud and sharp, amplifiers can generate more noise and hum than the natural guitar sound itself.
The type of amplifier used is quite an important issue. Supporters of traditional tube amplifiers must take into account that this type of amplifiers, apart from their advantages, unfortunately collect a lot of unnecessary noise from the environment. And in order to reduce these unnecessary additional frequencies, a noise gate is a really good solution.
Effect of the noise gate on sound and dynamics
Of course, like any additional external device through which the stream of the natural sound of our guitar is to flow, also in the case of the noise gate it has some influence on a certain loss of naturalness of either its sound or its dynamics. How big this percentage will be depends primarily on the quality of the gate itself and its settings. With the use of a good noise gate class and its appropriate setting, our sound and dynamics should not lose its quality and naturalness, on the contrary, it may even turn out that our guitar sounds better and thus benefits a lot. Of course, these are very individual feelings and each guitarist may have a slightly different opinion, because hardened opponents of all kinds of pickups will always have something to fault with. Even a top-class device that improves one parameter will do so at the expense of another parameter.
Optimal noise gate setting
And here we have to play with our settings a bit, because there is no clear instruction that will be good for all amplifiers and guitars. All settings must be configured to find this neutral point that will have no effect either on dynamics or on sound quality. With a good noise gate, this is quite possible. It’s best to start setting the gate by turning all values to zero, so that we can first hear what the amplifier sounds like with this output zero gate setting. Most often, the gate has two basic HUSH and GATE TRESHOLD knobs. Let’s start our adjustment with the first HUSH potentiometer to set the appropriate sound of our guitar. Once we find our optimal sound, we can adjust the GATE TRESHOLD potentiometer, which is mainly responsible for eliminating noise. And it is with this potentiometer that we need to use common sense when adjusting, because when we want to forcibly eliminate all noise as much as possible, our natural dynamics will suffer.
In my opinion, the priority should always be the sound, so when using the noise gate, do not overdo it with the settings. The slight hum will really not be a problem as the guitar will sound good, on the contrary, it can add some charm and atmosphere. An electric guitar, if it is supposed to keep its naturalness, cannot be too sterilized. Of course, it all depends on the individual expectations of the instrumentalist.