MainStage: Use Noise Gate

Use Noise Gate

Set the Reduction knob to the lowest possible value to make sure that sounds below the Threshold value are completely suppressed. Set Reduction to a higher value to reduce low-level sounds but still allow them to pass. You can also use Reduction/Ducking to boost the signal by up to 20 dB, which is useful for ducking effects.

The Attack, Hold, and Release knobs modify the dynamic response of Noise Gate. If you want the gate to open extremely quickly for percussive signals such as drums, set the Attack knob to a lower value. For sounds with a slow attack phase, such as string pads, set Attack to a higher value. Similarly, when working with signals that fade out gradually or that have longer reverb tails, set a higher Release knob value that allows the signal to fade out naturally.

The Hold knob determines the minimum amount of time that the gate stays open. You can use the Hold knob to prevent abrupt level changes—known as chattering—caused by rapid opening or closing of the gate.

The Hysteresis slider provides another option for preventing chattering, without needing to define a minimum Hold time. Use it to set the range between the threshold values that open and close the gate. This is useful when the signal level hovers around the Threshold level, causing Noise Gate to switch on and off repeatedly, thus producing the undesirable chattering effect. The Hysteresis slider essentially sets the gate to open at the Threshold level and remain open until the level drops below another, lower, level. As long as the difference between these two values is large enough to accommodate the fluctuating level of the incoming signal, Noise Gate can function without creating chatter. This value is always negative. Generally, −6 dB is a good place to start.

In some situations, the level of the signal you want to keep and the level of the noise signal may be close, making it difficult to separate them. For example, when you are recording a drum kit and using Noise Gate to isolate the sound of the snare drum, the hi-hat may also open the gate in many cases. To remedy this, use the side-chain controls to isolate the desired trigger signal with the High Cut and Low Cut filters.

Important: The side-chain signal is used only as a detector/trigger in this situation. The filters are used to isolate particular trigger signals in the side-chain source, but they have no influence on the actual gated signal—the audio being routed through Noise Gate.

Use the side-chain filters

  1. Click the Monitor button to hear how the High Cut and Low Cut filters affect the incoming trigger signal.

  2. Drag the High Cutoff slider to set the upper frequency.

    Trigger signals above this are filtered.

  3. Drag the Low Cutoff slider to set the lower frequency.

    Trigger signals below this are filtered.

    The filters allow only very high (loud) signal peaks to pass. In the drum kit example above, you could remove the hi-hat signal, which is higher in frequency, with the High Cut filter and allow the snare signal to pass. Turn off monitoring to set a suitable Threshold level more easily.

Use Noise Gate in Ducking mode

  1. Insert Noise Gate into an aux channel strip and click the Ducker button.

  2. Assign all channel strip outputs that you want to “duck” (dynamically lower the volume of the mix) to a bus—the aux channel strip chosen in step 1.

  3. In the Noise Gate plug-in window header, choose the bus that carries the ducking (vocal) signal from the Side Chain pop-up menu.

    Note: The ducked side chain is mixed with the output signal after passing through the plug-in. This ensures that the ducking side-chain signal—the voiceover—is heard at the output.

  4. Adjust Noise Gate parameters as required.

Published Date: Aug 8, 2019
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