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Are you in the market for a brand new noise gate pedal? Perhaps you’re new to the wonderful world of guitars and need a little guidance on what to look for. Well, no matter whether you’re a master musician or a total newbie, our guide is here to help find the perfect noise gate pedal for you.
The noise gate pedal isn’t a popular guitar accessory, not unless playing the guitar is something you do for a living. But despite the fact that it’s less known, it can be a wonderful piece of equipment that can take your sound to another level. So, today we’re wanted to talk about what they are, what they do, and how to choose the best noise gate pedal from which you can benefit.
In this article, we’re going to explore the world of guitar pedals. We’ll explain how they work, how musicians can use them, what makes a good one, as well as giving you some examples of our favorites.
The guitar pedal industry is a pretty big one. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of pedals aimed at both ends of the market before telling you which ones we’d go for.
First, let’s take a look at an overview of the 7 pedals we’re looking at today.
7 Best Noise Gate Pedals – an Overview
|Best Overall: ISP Technologies Decimator II Pedal||Check Price|
|Runner Up: Electro Harmonix Noise Gate Pedal||Check Price|
|Best Value for Money: BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor||Check Price|
|Premium Choice: MXR M-135 Smart Gate Noise Pedal||Check Price|
|Most Affordable: Donner Noise Killer Pedal||Check Price|
|Most Compact: Rowin Guitar LEF-319 Gate Suppressor:||Check Price|
|Editor’s Choice: TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal||Check Price|
Noise Gate Pedals 101
A noise gate pedal can create a very interesting sound effect when using the right. Guitar and bass players used just a pedal when they want to block undesired signals that are quite normal in an electric setup. The reason why this item may not be this popular is that it’s mostly used by professionals, either on stage or inside a recording studio.
Noise gate pedals are devices that will maintain the quality of the sound output at a high level while blocking the aforementioned signals. As you know, the guitar is typically connected to the amp via a cable. Between the two devices, there are a lot of different audio signals that come from different sources. For example, single coil pickup guitars can create some of these audio signals.
There are people who prefer to use a single pedal that meets all their requirements, but these are generally called multi-effect pedals, are not to be confused with noise gate or effect pedals. The most important thing to remember about noise gate pedal features is the threshold level.
On the front side of such a pedal, there’s a pretty large control knob that allows you to establish the noise level. This level will typically vary depending on the brand of the pedal, but it could be anywhere between -70DB to +10DB., for example. Once the level of noise goes below or above this interval, the noise gate pedal is triggered to block unwanted sounds.
Efficiency & Budget
At this point, you may be wondering just how efficient a noise gate pedal is. The answer is very dependent on the brand chosen, which means a higher or a lower quality product. Of course, a good noise gate pedal will always be efficient, because it’s an extra mean to help musicians get the best sound quality possible. But there are so many different noise gate pedals on the market, that making a decision could turn into a nightmare.
One thing is for sure, noise gate pedals are one of the most underrated guitar accessories on the market. In fact, people that use a noise gate pedal will never want to play without one ever again. If you often find yourself recording your own tunes, this item should totally be on your next shopping list. Once you’ve used it a couple of times, you will notice the difference between before and after you’ve included this pedal into your system.
Rest assured, there are many different products that are available in all shapes and sizes, not to mention for all budgets. If you don’t have the time to do the research and discover which are some really good noise gate pedals, keep reading this article, as we have some awesome suggestions for you. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Keep in mind that with noise gate pedals, the price tag is often a reflection of quality, so if you want a really good product, you will have to pay extra for it. Assuming you are on a tight budget, but would still like to own a decent noise gate pedal, you will have to cut down on things like design or number of features. You can look for pedals that are simple and effective, and still find one within your price expectations.
Setting Up Your Pedal
Depending on the type of noise gate pedal you choose, you can get one, two, or more knobs, each with its own functions. But don’t be fooled: even a pedal with just two knobs can be tricky to set up. It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive pedal in the world, it won’t really do you any good unless you understand how to use it.
The threshold knob will require some fine-tuning in order for it to do a great job in kicking in to cancel noise just when you need it to. If this is not set up correctly, you could end up killing softer notes.
Decay is another knob typically found on noise gate pedals. It will determine the speed for triggering the noise gate when the selected threshold is reached. You can opt for a fast decay, but it could cause your tone to become more unnatural. On the other hand, a slow decay can cause the noise gate to function improperly, making you feel like the noise gate pedal is useless.
Sadly, there isn’t a formula that we can give you to get the best set up after the first try, but it’s rather a matter of trial and error, individual preference, but also the types of tunes your normally play.
You may be wondering what is the best placement for your new noise gate. There are two options to choose from. In case you’re not using a delay or reverb, you can place the noise gate pedal at the end of the signal chain. If you are using delay or reverb, you can place the pedal before them, to make sure it doesn’t interfere with these effects.
What are the Main uses and Advantages of Using Noise Gate Pedals?
Noise gate pedals are guitar pedals that have a very specific function. When you are playing amplified sounds all you hear are the intended notes and tones.
However, when a player stops playing there is often static noise produced by the amp. To stop this annoying buzz during performances musicians use noise gate pedals. Once activated, the pedal removes the unwanted hum of the amp.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, these pedals can be set at certain thresholds. This means that you don’t have to manually engage it every time you need it. It also helps when playing in a band scenario by allowing other instruments to be heard more clearly. Noise gate pedals are both very useful and very easy to use.
Whether you actually need one or not is an interesting point and often subjective. There are many musicians who regard the hum generated by amps as all part of the electric guitar sound and there are others who regard it as simply annoying. If you agree with the latter, a noise gate pedal could be for you.
Mitigating Amp Static
This is the main benefit of noise gate pedals. When you’re playing away and have just finished a big solo or are in between chord stabs, having a noise gate pedal included in your setup automatically stops the static hum that your guitar and amp naturally produce.
Easy to Use
Another advantage of these pedals is that they’re incredibly easy to use. You simply wire them into your pedal chain and set the level at which it kicks in. Once you have this set up your noise pedal gate will automatically kick in when the signal and sound levels you’re producing drop below a certain level.
How Does a Noise Gate Pedal Actually Work?
The concept behind noise gate pedals is fairly simple. It does what it says on the tin in that it allows a ‘gate’ to open and close. When you are producing enough sound, the gate is open allowing the signal to reach the amps. When your levels drop off, the gate closes and the signal is cut.
Elements that produce the static hum include;
Your Amp of Choice
As amps get older they tend to produce a louder humming sound. If you are using an analog and high gain amp in particular then be prepared for a buzz.
The Amount of Volume and Gain
All amps produce a certain level of static, which is unavoidable. However, if you push the volume or gain up, you’ll find your amp will produce much more.
Your EQ Settings
Boosting mid and treble frequencies will boost any unwanted noise your amp is producing.
AC Supply and Other Interference
You may not automatically think of this, but the quality of your mains supply also has an impact. If the quality of power is poor, your rig will produce a much less ‘clean’ sound.
Radio and Static
Electrical appliances, cell phones, Bluetooth, and two-way radios can all have a bad effect on amp static.
Top 7 Noise Gate Pedals
We’ve gathered the 5 most impressive noise gate pedals, looking to add something in here for all our readers. You will find some of the most expensive units, but also some cheap budget options, for those of you who are just starting off and don’t want to spend too much money on such a product before knowing if it’s actually something that can improve their sound.
ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal – A Top of the Range Noise Gate Pedal for the Ultimate in Noise Reduction
Another top of the range option, the ISP Technologies Decimator II will appeal to those that want the very best and aren’t averse to paying for it. One of the most expensive options on our list, the Decimator II doesn’t suit those on a tighter budget.
Although pricey, you get what you pay for with unrivaled performance and extra features, including the ability to connect two pedals via a ⅛ inch end. The second iteration of the Decimator range, ISP Technologies actually has two patents pending on the design and tech contained within.
This tech allows for an excellent linear release and time-constant response, resulting in an exponential release curve of the downward expander. Or, in other words, it sounds damn good!
The excellent sound and build quality mean this noise gate pedal has a great reputation amongst guitar fanatics. If you opt for this one, we’re pretty confident you’ll like it.
- 5.5 x 3.5 x 2.7 inches
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Power supply: 9V cell (not included)
- A more refined version of the Decimator I
- Contains industry-leading tech
- Excellent sound quality
- Suitable for performing or practicing
- One of the most expensive items on our list
Electro Harmonix The Silencer Guitar Noise Gate Pedal with Effects Loop: Runner Up
Electro-Harmonix is one of those brands that everyone who has used a guitar has heard about at least once. This particular noise gate pedal is really amazing, featuring three different control knobs, for reduction, threshold, and release. Fiddling with these three knobs, you can get the best-fine-tuned sound.
Specifically, the release button can regulate the period of time in which the game remains open once the signal drops below the threshold. This time period can be anywhere between 8 milliseconds to 4 seconds. With the reduction know, you can adjust the threshold level between -70DB to +4DB.
You have four different jacks, that are used to input, output, send, and return. The sturdy build of the pedal looks like it can withstand the test of time, so wear and tear won’t be visible any time soon.
Unlike cheaper models, the Electro-Harmonix also works with a battery, aside from the usual power supply these devices are paired with.
Who Should Purchase This?
If you’re looking for something a little fancier, the Electro-Harmonix noise gate pedal is definitely up that alley. It has more controls that the basic features of less expensive models, so you can expect to pay more for it.
- 5.8 x 3.5 x 2.8 inches
- 70DB to +4DB Threshold
- Adjustable threshold reduction
- Release control change
- Works with both battery and power supply
- Four jack ports
- May kill sustain when holding a note
BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor – Best Value for Money Noise Gate Pedal
The BOSS NS-2 is compact and more than adept at keeping that static hum at bay. BOSS uses a unique noise detection circuit that preserves the natural attack and envelope of a guitar’s sound.
The pedal also comes with an adjustable threshold and decay knobs. This means that musicians can shape the elimination and suppression as desired, giving you more control over your sound.
BOSS promise that the NS-2 Gate Pedal will effectively cancel out humming and static noise produced by your amp, ensuring original tonality is preserved.
- 5.75 x 3.5 x 2.5 inches
- Weight: 7.68 pounds
- Lithium-ion power cell included
- BOSS provides a 5-year warranty
- High quality
- Good value for money
- Threshold and decay knobs mean extra control over your sound
- Lack of attack control
- There are cheaper options available
MXR M-135 Smart Gate Noise Gate Pedal: Best High-End Option
If there’s one thing that you notice when you first check out the MXR Smart Gate noise gate pedal is its spicy price tag. But rest assured, the reviews are 95% words of praise about how awesome this pedal is and how well it delivers. There are three different modes of noise cancellation, and this is definitely something you don’t see in cheaper pedals.
The little device operates in a second and can deliver great noise cancellation. There’s a convenient LED indicator that will let you know when the MXR M-135 is doing its job. The noise elimination modes have a switch that allow you to shuffle from one to another.
The MXR M-135 Guitar Pedal is built with two jacks, for input and output. Despite its size, it can withstand some serious wear and tear, so this baby will definitely stick around for a long time to come. The MXR M-135 comes with four different cables, which eliminates the hassle of placing an extra order. You can operate it by using a 9V battery, or an AC adapter.
Who Should Purchase This?
The MXR M-135 is definitely a premium noise gate pedal, which means that it will cost a great deal more compared to the less expensive options on the market. However, if you want the best results (and are willing to pay to get them), this is the product for you.
- 6 x 7 x 10 inches
- 2.65 Pounds Weight
- Includes four cables
- Three noise cancellation modes
- Works with both battery and power adapter
- Features a true bypass
- LED indicator for reduction level notification
Donner Noise Killer Guitar Effect Pedal Noise Gate Pedal – One for the Budget Conscious Buyer
Here is another product that’s worthy of your money. The Donneis a noise reduction pedal and it has two different modes, with hard and soft effects of noise reduction. There is a knob that allows you to set the noise threshold, from -70 to +10DB.
The case is made with aluminum alloy, and have a nice green finish, which is definitely a plus compared to the other models which are typically black or white. In order to enjoy the Donner Noise Gate Pedal for many years to come, it’s important to abide by the instructions given by the manufacturer. That requires keeping the pedal away from high humidity, but also from temperatures that are too low or too high.
Who Should Purchase This?
The Donner noise gate pedal is perfect for people looking to a product made by a trustworthy manufacturer. It has the most important features you require from a gizmo of its kind.
- 5 x 2 x 2 inches
- Weight: 10.2 ounces
- Power supply: 9V DC
- Hard and soft modes
- ¼ input and output jacks
- Durable aluminum alloy casing
- LED indicator for operation information
- Power supply not included
Rowin Guitar Noise Killer Noise Gate Suppressor Effect Pedal LEF-319 – A Compact Offering that Offers High Quality at Low Cost
Those of you who are on a budget, but still feel they can use a noise gate pedal. Rowin is a manufacturer that has more than eight years of experience, looking to create high quality pedals at affordable prices. This particular noise gate pedal delivers as promised, having the basic features that you need from a noise killer.
There are two different modes, allowing to opt between the hard or the soft noise reduction. The Rowin LEF-319 Gate Pedal also has a LED indicator, that will notify you whenever the effect is on. The downside is that there is no option to use the pedal with batteries, which means that you’ll always need to provide power supply.
Who Should Purchase This?
If you’re looking for an inexpensive noise gate pedal, the Rowin is a pretty solid product, giving you all the basic features you can find in such a product, with the guarantee that you’re not wasting your money on inefficient stuff.
- 3.74 x 1.77 x 1.89 inches
- Weight: 8.1 ounces
- Threshold range: -70dB to +10dB
- Requires 9V DC power supply that is not included
- Hard and soft mode available
- Made with a zinc alloy
- LED indicator to indicate operation
- Affordable price
- Power supply sold separately
TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal: Editor’s Choice
The Sentry is the kind of noise gate pedal that feels so complex, you don’t even know where to begin describing it. It features multi-band gating technology, which means that you can tweak gate levels to the finest of details. But that’s just one of the things that push the Sentry at the top of the list.
The Tone Print technology of the Sentry is an Android and iOS app that features a very generous library of individual setting for guitar players that use this noise gate pedal. If you’re not a fan of smartphone, there’s also the possibility to use Mac or PC software and customize the settings to your own liking.
You will also get two free cables, which is one less thing to worry about. The front side of the TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal has three knobs that allow you to change the damp, threshold, and decay. Also important: you have the option to power it with an AC adapter, but it also works with a 9V battery, in case a power source isn’t nearby.
Who Should Purchase This?
The Sentry is the kind of noise gate pedal suitable for people who know that sometimes they have to spend more money to get a really high-quality product. Even so, despite its spicy price tag, it can deliver high-quality noise reduction, to the delight of all people who’ve used this gadget so far.
- 3 x 8 x 10 inches
- 15.2 Ounces
- Comes with two free cables
- Integrates TonePrint technology
- Computer customization options
- Versatile send and return loop
- Little guidance on how to use the pedal
FAQs About Noise Gate Pedals
Question: What’s a noise gate pedal for?
Question: What is the difference between a noise gate and a compressor?
Question: Where does a noise gate pedal go?
Question: What is the difference between a noise suppression pedal and a noise gate?
Conclusion: Which Noise Gate Pedal is the Best?
It’s been around for a couple of years now and is consistently rated as one of the best. Its great reputation and the buzz around the product hasn’t come from anywhere!
If you’ve got the budget then we say go for it. If, however, you’re looking to spend a little less on your pedal then we recommend the Rowin Guitar Noise Killer Noise Suppressor.
Rowin has produced a great little pedal here and for anyone looking for a cheaper option, or who may be just starting out, it’s a great choice. Sturdy, reliable, and with good sound quality – you won’t go wrong.
For more information on guitar, pedals make sure you check out our brilliant guide on how to choose the best ones. Maybe you’re looking for a new amp, if that’s the case then you can read all about how to find the best amps around. Or, if you’re new to the guitar world, check out the best online guitar courses.
We know that purchasing guitar accessories can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying out a new product for the first time. In fact, considering how much instruments have evolved, pretty much any purchase of a product that wasn’t previously used is turning into a regular part-time job.
In a way, that’s a good thing, because there’s a lot of fierce competitors on the market, that manufacturers are doing their best in coming up with the best, cheapest, most feature-packed and awesome product. We, as consumers, have a broad range of products to choose from, which is always better than having to pick the same darn thing over and over again.
The choice for a noise gate pedal depends on what kind of guitar player are you. If you’re the kind of person that plays at home, alone or with a group of friends, you won’t need the most pretentious pedal.
However, if you record your own music, use a studio, or play professionally on stage on a regular basis, you might want to invest in a higher-end product because the results and the improvements a high-quality noise gate pedal bring are really noticeable.