Noise Gate Tutorial for Live Sound – Threshold, Range, Attack & Release Explained

Noise Gate Tutorial for Live Sound – Threshold, Range, Attack & Release Explained


I want you to imagine standing in front of
a gate that leads to someone’s mansion and whispering, “Open, please”, but nothing
happens. Then, you yell, “OPEN PLEASE”, and this
time, the gate opens. The higher volume is what triggered the gate
to open. That’s exactly how audio gating works, and
in this video, I’m going to tell you how and when to use it. This video is brought to you by Behringer
X32 Mastery, the fastest way for church sound techs to master the X32. And, with a team license, you can enroll unlimited
team members now and in the future. Finally, everyone will be on the same page. Visit x32.church or click the link in the
description to learn more. Well, hey. If we haven’t met, I’m Kade, creator of
Collaborate Worship. And we are dedicated to building confident
worship teams. In other words, we want to help you master
technical skills so your church can worship without distraction. Alright, so we are talking about gating, but
first let’s talk about when to NOT use gating. Never use gating just because it is available. It should only be used to solve a problem. That being said, it is unlikely that you will
ever use gating on a keyboard or acoustic guitar. The most common use of gating is to cure mic
bleed. Whether it is too much cymbal noise coming
through the snare mic or too much stage noise coming through a vocal mic, gating can suppress
mic bleed. Gating can also be used to clear up a signal. For example, let’s say your electric guitar
has an annoying hum or buzz when they are not playing. A properly set gate will suppress the buzz
while letting the actual guitar tone come through untouched. The first step to setting a gate the right
way is to understand all the available controls. So, let’s go through them one-by-one. First up is the threshold. Threshold is where the gate opens and closes. Signal below the threshold will be suppressed,
meaning the gate will be closed, whereas signal above the threshold will pass through. So, start at -40dB and adjust to where the
only thing passing through the gate is what you want to hear. Keep in mind, if parts of the signal are being
suppressed that should be coming through, your threshold is set too high. Next up is the attack time, which controls
how fast the gate opens once the signal goes above the threshold. Start with the fastest attack time possible,
but if you hear a click or distortion when the gate opens, increase your attack time
until it disappears. Now let’s talk release time, which determines
how fast the gate closes. In most cases, the release time should match
the natural decay of the instrument. For example, a snare drum will have a shorter
release time whereas a tom drum will have a longer release time so you can hear its
natural decay. In short, if the gate opening and closing
sounds unnatural, increase the release time until it sounds natural again. The last timing control is hold time, which
determines the minimum amount of time the gate is held open. I recommend starting with a short hold time,
around ten milliseconds. Then, if the gate is opening and closing too
often, you can increase the hold time to fix that. Alright, now let’s talk about range, which
controls how much the signal is suppressed once the gate is fully active. A good starting point is 18dB, as this will
generally make signals below the threshold inaudible. But, if you can still hear the suppressed
signal in the mix, increase the range until you can’t hear it anymore. Last but not least is the key filter, which
allows you to target a specific frequency range that triggers the gate to open. For example, let’s say you have a gate on
the snare drum to cut out bleed from the cymbals but your cymbals keep sneaking through anyways. You could use a key filter to target a frequency
range that is prominent in the snare but not the cymbals, like two hundred and fifty hertz. This would prevent the cymbals from triggering
the gate to open. Now that you know how gating works, one of
the best ways to get started is with some gating sample settings for common applications. I put together a PDF that you can download
and print off for free by clicking the link in the description. If you have questions, drop them in the comments. I’d be glad to answer. If you’d like to see more videos like this,
give me a thumbs up to let me know. And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe
to our channel and ring the little bell so we can let you know when a new video comes
out. See ya next time.

6 Replies to “Noise Gate Tutorial for Live Sound – Threshold, Range, Attack & Release Explained”

  1. I have a gate set on my electric guitar amp nice to eliminate the buz that comes through from some of the pedal sets. I've been wanting to play around with the gates on our drum mics. I had forgotten about the key filter. That may help the bleed over. I need to spend some more time on the drums. Tough to do when time is short for practice. Thanks for the reminder and info.

  2. Hey man! So I have gates on all my drums, use your settings: tweaked it a little for liking. The only thing that I can’t figure out is that kick drum is leaking into the snare mic and it’s sounds like it has reverb in it in the in ear mix

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